Tax day is behind us (in the U.S. anyway!)—yeah! Time for some light-hearted fun from Sheila Roberts, who celebrates the launch of her new series today with WELCOME TO MOONLIGHT HARBOR.
Sheila, your new book begins with Jenna Jones celebrating her 40th birthday with a rather unusual gift—a divorce from her deadbeat artist husband, who demands spousal support. After all, a guy has to have some way to support his mistress. How in the world did you find a way to give this story such a fun spin?
Actually, there’s nothing fun about divorce and the complications that come with it. But knowing my heroine will triumph in the end, I’m willing to put her through a little suffering. I do believe we reap what we sow, and our behavior, whether good or bad, is eventually rewarded. Jenna will get her just desserts, and they will be yummy.
We understand you and your husband have your own beach retreat on the Washington State coast. Did you write WELCOME TO MOONLIGHT HARBOR there? On the beach? On a computer or paper pad? How does the beach ambiance affect your writing?
The beach is definitely my happy place. I love it there, rain or shine. We’ve met some great people down here at Ocean Shores, WA, which was the inspiration for Moonlight Harbor. And, yes, they do have deer wandering around everywhere! I’ve written at a computer ever since I got my first one back in 1990 (I was twelve – hahahah!). The only thing that’s changed since then is that it’s now a laptop instead of a desktop, and I can prop myself in front of any great view I want and get inspired.
Besides Jenna, who is your favorite character in WELCOME TO MOONLIGHT HARBOR? Who would you like to see have her or his own book?
Jolly Roger, the parrot, no doubt about it. I doubt he’ll ever get his own book, but Jenna’s sister, Celeste, is going to get her own in a couple of books, and I do love Celeste and want to see her get her own happily ever after.
As a child, did your family go to the beach? Do you have a special childhood memory to share with us?
My family actually had property on a small island across from Seattle, Bainbridge Island, since before I was born. When I was a child it was mostly strawberry farms and vacation cabins, and I spent many a carefree summer playing with my friends on the beach or in the woods around our little cabin. My older brother had a horse, and we would ride that horse all over the place, from property to property. Alas, the island is way too overbuilt for that now, and those good old days are gone. So am I. But I had a wonderful time while we lived there. Many of my writing pals are living there now and enjoying island life. Where we are now was a popular day trip destination when our kids were little, and it’s funny that we’ve come full circle and wound up at the same beach.
You and Gerhardt love to dance. Have you ever danced on the beach?
Not yet. We need to give that a try!
Although you are one very busy author, writing light-hearted romances for MIRA books, you have another creative outlet. Tell us about that.
Before I became a writer I wanted to become a famous songwriter. That hasn’t happened yet, but I still enjoy writing songs. Years ago we made a fun music video to go with my novel Merry Ex-mas. You can still find Merry Christmas Mama on YouTube and see me getting hauled off by Santa. Of course, you might not recognize me—my hair was still brown back then. (But after surviving chemo, I’ll take my gray hair and be grateful. Any hair is better than no hair!)
You are no stranger to adversity, having survived cancer, the early passing of a child and the death of your beloved brother. How do you manage to keep your positive outlook on life?
By trusting God to get me through. That’s it, pure and simple. Jesus said we’d have trouble in this world (and we all do at some point), but he also said he’d overcome the world. So, to anyone out there going through hard times, I can only say, “Don’t give up. You’ll get through it.”
What women served as role models for you growing up?
My mom. She was creative, kind, gracious, and always a lady. Just like my grandmother. Both went through hard times. Neither complained.
You and Gerhardt also love to travel. Share a fun story from one of your adventures.
Ha! Early on in our marriage, Gerhardt, now a good planner, wasn’t always skilled in that respect. I remember wandering the red light district in Amsterdam with our luggage, trying to find someplace that would take us for just one night. And then there was the trip to East Germany before the wall came down, where the hotel took our passports to register with the police. I was afraid we’d never get back to the U.S. to our kids. If we hadn’t have gotten out, someone would have been found dead in our hotel room, and it wouldn’t have been me. That same trip I got locked in the women’s bathroom in the dark. (Too complicated to explain, but let me tell you, it was creepy.) Of course, now all these stories are vastly entertaining. At the time, not so much.
Night owl or early bird? Picky eater or open to culinary adventures?
Night owl if there’s a party going on. Otherwise, I’m off to bed with my book at ten p.m. Picky eater? Don’t give me liver or sushi, but I’m up for almost anything else, especially if there’s chocolate involved.
What do you crave when you’re writing?
Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. But here at the beach, I’m happy to settle for salt water taffy.
The favorite gift you’ve ever received?
The charm bracelet my daughter made me. It’s comprised of miniature books bearing the covers of all the books in my Life in Icicle Falls series.
We hear you enjoy getting together with your readers. Where can they find you in the coming months?
I will be all over the place—at Liberty Bay Books in Bremerton, WA on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 3 p.m., then at the RT Booklovers Convention in Reno, May 14-19. If you register for the Convention, you’ll want to come to the giant party I’m throwing with Brenda Novak, Rae Anne Thayne and Melinda Curtis on Tuesday, May 15! After that I’ll be hanging out at Li’l Book Bug in Lancaster, CA on May 24, time TBA. So, if you’re going to be near any of those places, come see me!
Thanks for joining us today, Sheila. Congratulations on the Moonlight Harbor series launch!
Thanks, Tammie. It’s been fun catching up with all you Night Owls.
On 4/17/2018 - Want to have some more fun today? Sheila has taken over the Writerspace Facebook page and is giving away beach-themed goodies (pedicure anyone?) every hour, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Even more fun: some of Sheila’s writer pals—Marie Bostwick, Nancy Naigle, Brenda Novak and Susan Wiggs—are guesting in the takeover and will be giving away their own surprises. A note-to-be-missed, fun time! Check it out— https://www.facebook.com/Writerspace/