Just over three years ago, I asked fellow Clean Reads author Lucie Ulrich to come and share her sweet romance called The Starlight Inn. I’d read the book and had been fascinated by the character Tillie Spencer. She’s not strictly a main character, in that she’s not part of the romance, but she plays a big part in getting the couple together. You can read Lucie’s post here. Last month, I noticed that Lucie was completing her third romance featuring Tillie and I realized I hadn’t read Mountain View Lodge, Book Two! I quickly ordered the book and asked Lucie to share a bit more about the mysterious Tillie. I’m so pleased she agreed, so I’ll pass the keyboard to her.
I’m often asked if one of my favorite characters, Tillie Spencer, is based on anyone I know. The answer is yes, and no. Tillie is a conundrum—sweet and angelic at times, a bit of a busybody at others, and sometimes, downright intrusive. No matter her mood or tactics, her heart is always in the right place.
There isn’t a single “Tillie” in my life. There are many. My mother had a wicked sense of humor at times, but was no-nonsense when it came to following the rules. My mother-in-law had a gentle demeanor, but could be a bit prickly now and again. I have friends and family members who are filled with compassion, while others offer advice without being asked (and I love each and every one of them). Bits and pieces of each of these people, plus a good dose of imagination on my part, brought Tillie to life. She was never intended to be more than a one-time character, but before book one was finished, I knew she had to return.
To date, Tillie has appeared in two books (with a third near completion), bringing the reader to an inn in Maine, and a lodge in North Carolina. The fun for me is figuring out where Tillie goes next. In book three, she shows up on the east coast of Florida (my neck of the woods) to a small hotel I’ve tentatively named The Beach Shack. I love small towns and cozy lodgings, so creating them gives me great pleasure. My goal is for the reader to want to check in and stay a while.
A somewhat unusual aspect of the Tillie Spencer series, is that, though the books carry her name in the title, she’s a secondary character. She’s involved in the romance, but not part of it—which suits her just fine. She’s also a little on the mysterious side, sometimes knowing things before they happen, which often makes writing her scenes more fun than the romance portions of the books.
I came to the writing world later in life. I worked for an airline and traveled with my husband for seven or eight years, was a stay-at-home mom for sixteen, a substitute teacher, and eventual drama teacher/performing arts director. I’ve never had a job I didn’t love (save for working in a daycare center when I was 17). I have to say, however, that my absolute favorite is being an author. Creating characters and stories that reach and touch others, is an honor and a privilege. Just ask Tillie. She seems to know all.
Blurb for Mountain View Lodge (Tillie Spencer Novella Book Two):
After his mother’s death, Coll MacPherson returns to the mountains of North Carolina to work for his aunt and uncle. His part-time position at Mountain View Lodge will allow him to hone his photography skills, and hopefully forget the woman who broke his heart. When Uncle Richard asks for Coll’s help to turn an unused storage building into a shop that would feature local art and artists, Coll figures things can’t get any better—until he meets Autumn Nichols.
Always the bridesmaid and never the bride has been Autumn’s mantra for the last few years. After three failed relationships, she’s convinced God is trying to tell her something. If she can just get through her best friend’s wedding, Autumn can focus on building her graphic design business while leaving all thoughts of love and marriage in the past—until she meets Coll MacPherson.
Both having loved and lost, Coll and Autumn are happy to settle for friendship. The enigmatic Tillie Spencer, on the other hand, has other ideas. She knows the two are perfect for each other, and, in typical Tillie-style, is determined to prove it.
I enjoyed reading Mountain View Lodge and I’ll post my review next week, when I share the first set of books read for my 2020 Goodreads Challenge.
GIVEAWAY TIME! Lucie is giving away a signed print copy of either of the Tillie books (or an ebook if the winner is outside the USA). To win, simply leave a comment below and tell us about a person in your life who’s provided guidance for you. A winner will be chosen on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at noon EDT.