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Beacon of Love
by Allie Boniface
Well, I loved the idea of creating stories from the moment I could read. I spent much of my childhood coming up with characters and plots and writing them down in composition notebooks. So I'll give credit to my parents for instilling the love of language in me early on. But my first published novel, One Night in Boston, is dedicated to my fifth grade teacher because she wrote in my yearbook, "Someday I'll read books written by you!" I never forgot that. When you're ten, words like that stick with you forever :)
2.How did you come up with ideas for your books?
Sometimes the ideas come easily, sometimes not so much! I get ideas from the things I read or hear on the news, from songs, from experiences people have around me. Beacon of Love was inspired by my annual trips to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the lighthouse in Corolla. My husband and I love lighthouses and visit them whenever we can. They all have fascinating – and sometimes mysterious or gruesome – histories. After we climbed to the top of the one in Corolla, I started wondering how many of them might be haunted, and that's where the first idea of Beacon of Love came from. As most writers do, I'm always asking "What if?"
3.What components are necessary for the genre of this novel?
Romance demands a happy ending, which is part of why I'm drawn to it. We see so much in real life that doesn't guarantee that kind of ending, that it's nice to get lost in a book that promises happiness at the end. I also think compelling, believable, complex characters are crucial, as well as emotion you can feel in the pit of your stomach. I hope I've accomplished all that here!
4.As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
I hope to continue writing for as long as I can, as long as characters and story ideas pop up in my head. I do enjoy the "happy ever after" promise of the romance genre, though I'm also working on my first Young Adult novel right now. I teach high school students and constantly have their voices (and their angst) in my head. So far, I like branching out and exploring another genre. We'll see how it goes!
5.If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
Believe it or not, I would be Kira March from One Night in Napa, because she is so completely different from me. She's tough as nails, tattooed, pierced, and not afraid of anything. She's also fiercely devoted to her family and brave enough, by the end of the story, to confront the demons from her past. I loved writing her!
6.Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?
I've belonged to 2 different critique groups at different points in my writing career: early on, before I was published, and after I had published my first couple of books. Both groups were helpful to me in shaping my writing and also toughening me up to take criticism. I currently don't belong to a formal group; I found that as my writing grew I preferred to send my chapters-in-progress to one or two good writing friends who were at the same point in their careers as I. You need to look carefully at what you want and need, and what you're getting, from your critique partners. Don't be afraid to switch or move on if the feedback isn't as helpful as it once was. We all change.
7.What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)
Best advice: believe in yourself and keep writing. Keep trying different avenues if the first one doesn't work out. This is a tough business to break into, and a tough business in which to sustain a long-term career. Be willing to change as you want and need to.
Worst advice (from an agent, in a rejection letter for my first novel): Your writing isn't strong enough to be published. This is not a field you should continue in (different words, but something to that extent). Nice, right? Good thing I didn't listen to her!
8.Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I have to outline; I have enough OCD in me to need that structure and to know where I'm going. Interestingly enough, though, I've gotten a little more flexible over time and do let my characters and plots go off in their own direction. In Beacon of Love, the whole sub-plot of who commits the attacks on Sophie and Lucas came from a character I hadn't originally planned. All of a sudden, this character popped up and started having a whole other personality side, and I thought, Wow, this is fantastic! I couldn't have plotted this if I'd tried.
9.What is your favorite reality show?
Believe it or not, my husband and I still watch Survivor – the granddaddy of all reality shows, right? We've watched every season since it began, which is kind of neat because we were just dating when the first season aired, and we'll be celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary this summer! I'm not exactly sure why the show still captivates us, except that it's easy to get caught up in the survivors' personalities and interactions (and manipulations). Makes for a fascinating character study, actually!
10. Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
Oh, I'm so glad you asked! I know this might be strange to admit, but the black moment in Beacon of Love is my favorite of all the books I've ever written. To this day, when I go back and read that scene, knowing every word and action that's about to unfold, my heart still aches for Sophie and Lucas. I began this book thinking that the haunted lighthouse was the most important element of the plot, and that the black moment would stem from local boy Lucas not wanting outsider Sophie meddling in the town's history and traditions. But in the second and third revisions, a whole other sub-plot started to take shape: the loss of Lucas's best friend ten years earlier. The most poignant part of Beacon of Love comes from that loss. For me, it feels like the truest black moment in any of my works, because it focuses on the deepest, most personal wound a person can have, and whether anything – or anyone – can help them over it.
Welcome to Lindsey Point, Connecticut: suspicious of outsiders, loyal to tradition, and absolutely devoted to its local legends.
Enter Sophie Smithwaite, feisty travel show host, in town to film an episode about Lindsey Point’s haunted lighthouse. But digging into the story of a tragic murder-suicide and love gone wrong reveals startling connections to Sophie’s own past. When a gorgeous local handyman fills in behind the camera, Sophie’s life gets complicated by more than just her family history.
Part-time paramedic, handyman, seasonal Santa-Lucas Oakes does it all–except get attached. He’s still reeling from the death of his best friend ten years ago and the more recent infidelity of his ex-fiancee. Yet despite Sophie’s big-city nosiness and her insistence on chasing long-dead ghosts, he’s drawn to her.
But mixing with an outsider means questioning people and traditions Lucas has always defended. When a series of attacks seem to be connected to Sophie’s investigation, both Sophie and Lucas must decide if they are willing to risk everything to uncover the town’s secrets…and their own.
“Want something to drink? Water?”
Sophie shook her head.
He set the glasses down on the counter. “What?”
“Come over here and kiss me.”
His smile crooked. “Or what?”
She took two steps toward the kitchen, and he took one toward the living room, and they met in the middle. “Or I’m going to go crazy.”
He placed his hands on her cheeks and kissed her forehead.
Sophie closed her eyes, waiting for the slow, inevitable slip of his mouth down her neck. To her curve of her collarbone. Maybe lower.
“There you go,” he said. His hands went away.
Her eyes flew open. “That’s it?”
“You said you wanted a kiss.”
Her fists landed on her hips. “Ha ha. Funny guy. So funny, in fact, I think I’m gonna recommend that comedy special you were talking about to Lon. He’s looking for a new show, you know. Maybe you’re the next big thing.”
Lucas swung her off the ground. Her arms went around his neck and her mouth ended up a fraction of an inch below his. “Maybe I am.” He kissed her again, this time not on the forehead. And not sweetly. “What do you think?”
But she couldn’t answer, couldn’t think of anything at all except his tongue teasing hers, her legs wrapping themselves around his waist and holding on like she’d never held onto a man in her life. Fire sizzled up her spine, and the air in the room went hot. Her hands--God, her hands couldn’t get enough of him. They wanted to be everywhere, in his hair and on his face and unbuttoning that damn shirt and taking off her own dress that was so in the way right now.
Allie Boniface is a small-town girl at heart who's traveled around the world and still finds that the magic and the mystery of small towns make them the best places to fall in love and find adventure. From the New England coast to Rocky Mountain hotels to tiny European bars, she's found more character and plot inspirations than she could ever count. Currently, she's lucky enough to live in New York's beautiful Hudson Valley with her own "Hometown Hero," a guy who can fix, build, drive, and grill anything and is the epitome of the strong and silent type.
When she isn't writing love stories, Allie is a full-time high school English teacher who gets a kick out of helping her teenagers negotiate the ups and downs of writing along with the ups and downs of life (because, really, she's still trying to do the same thing!). And while she'll continue to travel far and wide, Allie knows there's really nothing like coming back to the place where the people who have known you forever welcome you home with open arms.
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