Welcome back to the Blog, Carole! Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.
I’m a widowed mom of three adult kids. I live in a rural area in Michigan about five miles from where I grew up. I attended college for journalism and also spent some time in Mexico studying Spanish. I married the man of my dreams and had a wonderful 20 years with him. My faith is the foundation for everything I do in life.
Give us a quick taste for your latest book, The Reluctant Billionaire:
Jessica returns home after a divorce and her friend and neighbor, Liam, is there to help her pick up the pieces of her heart. Although Liam has been in love with Jessica for years, the fact that she was married meant he couldn’t show her how he felt. Now that she is single again, he decides to show her how much he cares. As their friendship grows into a romantic relationship they face many challenges, not the least of which is problems with Jessica’s ex.
What was the catalyst for your interest in writing?
We moved to a new school when I was in second grade. I didn’t adjust well and cried a lot. I saw a school counselor along with two other children. She played games with us to help us deal with our emotions. One day she told us to go home and write a story. I wrote about a pet rabbit. She had me read my story aloud to the kindergarten class. And that’s when the author in me was born.
Do you have a day job? If so, how do you find time in your day to write?
I’m a housekeeping aide for the elderly. I like serving the people I work for and it’s great exercise. I work part time, so I have free time before and after work.
Are you a night owl or morning person?
Definitely a morning person. I like to get up before four o’clock in the morning, fix a cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet time.
Do you reward yourself when a book is finished? If so, what is your favorite treat?
I used to reward myself with cake. Then I decided that wasn’t very good for me. Now I buy a package of my favorite flavor coffee.
Are you a plotter or a panster?
Definitely a panster. I have a rough outline of where I want the story to go, but it develops as I sit down at the computer and type.
Do you have a favorite author or book?
Grace Livingston Hill would be my all-time favorite author. I have a collection of 100 of her books. The Gold Shoe and The Substitute Guest top my list of favorites.
What’s next for you as an author?
I’m working on a holiday novella. I haven’t ruled out a sequel to The Reluctant Billionaire, but I have to get some of the important details figured out before I can proceed with it.
Here’s your lovely cover and a brief excerpt from the book:
“Liam’s here.” Her dad’s voice carried from the living room, jarring Jessica from her thoughts.
She took a deep breath and left her bedroom. Despite this being a fake date, there was nothing fake about the way her heart started racing when she walked into the living room and saw Liam standing there. He looked red-carpet ready in his black tux. It fit him as naturally as his work clothes or swim trunks. His white shirt set off his suntanned face with his trimmed beard.
His mouth gaped as his gaze swept over her. “Wow, you look great.” He walked over and stood in front of her.
“You’re too tall for Liam,” Julie said. “You should ditch the heels for something shorter.”
He put his hand on Jessica’s shoulder, and she blushed. “It’s okay. I like to be able to look her in the eye,” he said.
“Are you sure? I have a different pair of heels that would put me a couple of inches shorter.”
“You’re fine.” His voice was husky.
Jessica held up a necklace and a string of pearls. “I can’t decide which to wear. What do you think?”
Liam pulled a velvet box out of his pocket. Jessica gasped when he opened it, revealing a silver necklace with diamonds and sapphires. The necklace was obviously a Douglas Engstrom original and probably worth a fortune.
“Would you consider this appropriate?”
“It’s beautiful.” Jessica lightly touched the gems. “But it’s too valuable to wear.”
“I thought you could wear it in memory of Dad.”
“Oh, but—” Her gaze flew to his. “You should save this for someone special.”
His face paled, and she could tell he struggled with what to say.
Jessica’s dad stepped forward. “I think it’s a great idea. Fasten that thing around her neck.”
Liam hesitated. The velvet box moved as his hand trembled. He was nervous.
“I can do it.” Her mom took the necklace out of the box. “Turn around, Jessica.”
When Jessica turned her back to Liam and her mom, she met Julie’s enraged expression. And her dad’s gentle one. He seemed pretty pleased Liam was asking her to wear the necklace. Did her dad have an ulterior motive in mind? Was he trying to be a matchmaker? That was an unusual thing for him to do.
She walked over to the hall mirror. The reflection was of a sophisticated woman with her hair swept up and perfect makeup. Her dress shimmered in the light, and the diamonds and sapphires sparkled at her throat.
Liam appeared in the mirror behind her. His admiring gaze nearly took her breath away.
“I guess I’m ready.” She spoke a little too loudly, stepping away from the mirror and picking up her silver clutch.
© Carole Underhill 2021
Here’s the back cover copy and
you can buy yourself a copy here: https://amzn.to/3wad6zR
The Reluctant Billionaire
With her husband’s ultimate betrayal, and the finalization of her divorce, Jessica Palmer’s dreams for her life go up in flames, leaving her devastated and lost. Now, she’s leaving Chicago and moving back into her parents’ house in an effort to rebuild her life. Longtime neighbor and friend, Liam Engstrom, is the only reason she hasn’t completely fallen apart, but the closer they get, the more she realizes the depth of his feelings.
Liam has loved Jessica since they were teens, but she never noticed him as more than a friend. Now that she’s single, he’s determined to show her how much he cares and that not all men are like her ex-husband–if she’ll let him.
Jessica is reluctant to trust again after what her husband did to her, and Liam refuses to be the rebound guy, but their attraction is hard to deny. So, together, with a little help from God, they decide to give love a chance. But between Liam’s recent inheritance and an unwanted public billionaire status that has people lining up with their hands out, and Jessica’s ex-husband monitoring her every move, their relationship is off to a rocky start. And when tragedy strikes, Liam pushes everyone away—including Jessica. Can they both learn to forgive and grow, or are they doomed to be alone?
You can find Carole online here:
Thanks again for sharing your story today, Carole! If anyone has a question for Carole about her books or her writing, please drop it in the comments and she’ll be happy to answer it for you.