by Virginia'dele Smith
GENRE: Wholesome small-town romance
Maree Davenport refuses to let a tearful past rule her future. After losing her parents at the age of five, the big-hearted fabric designer is determined to embrace her feelings and find happiness no matter what. So when she literally runs over a handsome new firefighter in the produce section, the hopeless romantic is certain she’s just collided with destiny.
Everyone Rhys Larsen ever loved has died. And though he may have hit it off with the pretty girl at the store, the haunted EMT knows better than to let her into his heart. But when an accident leaves her wounded and in need of care, he vows to nurse her back to health.
As Maree struggles to break through the grieving man’s walls, she fears his deep-seated superhero complex will make him unreachable. And as Rhys grapples with trying to protect the beautiful woman from his curse, he worries he’ll have to choose between doing the right thing and true love.
Can this conflicted couple reconcile their opposite takes on adversity and find purpose in each other’s arms?
Grocery Girl is the touching first book in the Green Hills wholesome small-town romance series. If you like strong but vulnerable characters, emotional growth, and quaint backdrops, then you’ll adore Virginia'dele Smith’s celebration of joy.
And then her gaze locked with a set of uniquely gray eyes.
Maree had never seen this firefighter before. Their stare held for a smidge longer than a split second. Then he nodded a brief acknowledgment and kept walking. It took her a blink or two — or maybe ten — to get her wits about her.
He was definitely new in town, because there was no way she would have forgotten having seen him before. Taking a deep, intentional breath and with a little shake of her head, she broke out of the mini-trance she’d found herself in, forced herself to refocus, and finished her shopping.
She giggled at herself when she recounted the whole second-and-a-half time lapse of the not-quite interaction to Miss Sadie when she delivered her fruit a half hour later. When Sadie asked what the rest of him looked like, Maree honestly had no idea.
“Miss Sadie,” she confessed, “I didn’t make it past those eyes.”
“Well, that’s surely a shame,” Miss Sadie crooned. “Now you’ll never know if it’s the same fellow when you meet him in town or simply walking down the street.”
She was giving Maree a hard time, teasing in good fun, but Maree wasn’t worried.
“Oh, I’ll know him,” she replied with dreamy confidence. “I’m certain I’d know him anywhere.”
A Word With the Author
1.Did you always want to be an author?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I didn’t pursue a writing career until I was 45 years old. I studied education in college and ended up with a math degree and teaching certificate. Instead of teaching long-term, I was blessed to have the opportunity to be home with my two kids when they were babies. When they were both in elementary school, I earned a master’s degree in library science to create a platform for sharing my love of reading. Around that time, I began blogging and journaling, but I still didn’t consider writing novels. As the kids were finishing high school, several story lines and characters took up residency in my mind. I could see their lives unfolding in my dreams at night. After wrestling with the desire to capture their adventures for about three years, I finally enrolled in a course to guide me through the maze of self-publishing, and I determined that I would finish my first book.
2.Tell us about the publication of your first book.
As I mentioned, I am indie author. And I did everything wrong in my first book launch! I chose self-publishing because I didn’t want to dedicate months, years, or decades to pitching my story in desperate hopes that someone might love it as much as I did. Instead, I wanted to spend that time writing the next book. I am also a bit of a control freak so maintaining control over character development, editing, and cover art were a great fit for my personality. I went rogue in a few areas (particularly the cover art as every wholesome romance these days has the exact same basic graphic with a man, a woman, and a landscape behind them), and I did a few things out of order, but overall, I am proud and pleased with Book 1. Best of all, I learned a ton of valuable lessons to use when publishing Book 2!
3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in?
This is a tough question! My books are wholesome and clean romance which brings Katherine Center to mind. My books are inspirational which brings Karen Kingsbury to mind. My books are set in a small town which brings Linda Leal Miller to mind. My books all include an element of quilts, quilters, and quilting which brings Jennifer Chiaverini. There are simply too many incredible books and wonderful authors to narrow it down.
4.What's the best part of being an author? The worst?
The best part of being an author is seeing characters develop and stories unfold before my eyes. I am often in awe of where a story goes without my guidance, and I love seeing how love conquers all regardless of how daunting the obstacles and challenges that stand in its way.
The worst part of being an author is editing! No matter how much time I spend proofreading, updating, editing, testing, selecting new words and phrases, reading feedback from beta readers and fans, rereading and redoing, there is still more that could be done to make the book even better. At some point, I have to say “stop” and let that draft be the final manuscript. And that is very hard to do!
5.What are you working on now?
The follow up to Grocery Girl is In the Trenches (Book 2 in the Green Hills series). We met the Davenport family in Book 1 and got to know Maree’s older brother, Max, as a devout caregiver with a big heart, a big dog, and a big career as a professional football player. What Max doesn’t realize is that the spotlight that comes with his life on a big stage is the exact reason why Janie Lyn — his sister’s friend who has caught his eye — can’t be with him. Can he convince her that love is worth the war?
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ashli Montgomery is a wife, a momma, and an author whose passion is sharing love stories, books, quilts, yoga, recipes, and all of her favorite things in life. She is quilting to mend the mind by spearheading and educating a community of friends who love quilts and quilting but hate Alzheimer’s disease through Quilt 2 End ALZ, Inc. (https://quilt2endalz.org/) , a 501(c)(3) nonprofit she launched to use her quilting hobby as a platform to advocate for an end to Alzheimer's disease.
Ashli writes under the pen name Virginia’dele Smith to honor Syble Virginia Tidwell, Adele Gertrude Baylin, and Etta Jean Smith. These three cherished grandmothers were beautiful role models, teaching Ashli to love without judgment and to always put family first. Through Grandma Syble’s journals and appetite for books, through Momadele’s priceless cards and handwritten letters, and through many, many hours of visiting over fabric at Mema’s kitchen island, Ashli also learned to treasure words.
You are invited to join Ashli in Green Hills (https://www.facebook.com/groups/welcometogreenhills) and learn more about Virginia’dele Smith by subscribing to Ashli’s newsletter, The Gazette (http://eepurl.com/gJIDcv), at AshliMontgomery.com.
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09KQDK8D8
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/virginiadelesmith
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/AshliMontgomery.VirginiadeleSmith/
Virginia'dele Smith will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.