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Michelle Major grew up in Ohio but dreamed of living in the mountains. More than twenty years ago, she pointed her car west and settled in Colorado. Today her home includes her husband, their two children, several furry pets, and a couple of well-behaved reptiles. She’s grateful to have found her passion for writing stories with happy endings.
Here’s the synopsis for The Merriest Magnolia:
Carrie Reed has always been known as her hometown Good Girl, yet she still loves Magnolia, North Carolina—after all, this is where her newly discovered sisters, Avery and Meredith, live. But Christmas is on its way and with it, her first love. Dylan Scott is back in town and planning on changing everything she’s ever loved about Magnolia with his real estate development project…but not without a fight.
Returning to Magnolia was never in Dylan’s plans—it holds too many reminders that he would never be good enough, and memories of the girl he left behind. But when a tragedy leaves him guardian of a grieving teenager, Dylan returns, ready to remake the town into something only money can buy, small-town traditions be damned. But with Carrie determined to stop him, he finds himself wondering if redeeming his teenage reputation is worth losing out on his second chance at love.
Let’s get to know Michelle as she talks favorite novels, writing inspirations and much more!
What are some of your favorite novels?
I read a ton but historical romance is my absolute favorite. I can’t even name all the authors and books that I love. Anyone who is working in this industry to put out the best books they can write while balancing all the other details of life is an inspiration to me. It’s part of what I love about the writer and reader communities — it really makes me know that although I’m alone in my house most days at the computer I’m never really on my own. The romance community is the best.
When did you know you wanted to become an author?
I came to romance later than many avid readers I know. I didn’t pick up my first romance novel until I was 30-years-old (which seems young to me now!). I traveled each week for my job in Human Resources and developed a huge fear of flying. On a whim, I bought a Johanna Lindsey book in an airport bookstore, and the story captivated me so much I forgot to be scared. From there, I had a lot of catching up to do in the genre. The more I read, the more I realized that the stories I’d always told myself in my head were romance plots. I’d worked in journalism and always liked to write, so once I found my passion for romance, it was like coming home.
What do you like best about writing contemporary romance novels?
I actually love the “realness” of the stories. Although it’s fiction, as an author I get to explore real problems, emotions and paths to healing.
What inspired you to write the Magnolia Sisters book?
There was a period of time where it felt like I was reading a number of similar stories of siblings coming together who didn’t realize they were related. I became fascinated with the idea of the “instant family” and how to navigate those sorts of relationships. One theme that’s an aspect in most of my writing is the idea of the heroine discovering the home of her heart — partially through falling in love but also as a result of the friendships and connections she develops in the community where a book is set. I had so much fun creating the small town of Magnolia, North Carolina, and working through where each of the sisters fit into that world.
Can you talk about the process of writing Merriest Magnolia—what do you think are some of the key qualities needed when writing a holiday story?
Carrie Reed and Dylan Scott don’t seem like the right fit at all, which for me is part of the fun because “opposites attract” is one of my favorite tropes. Carrie is a traditional good girl and the kind of person who tries to make everyone around her happy (I think some of us can relate to that!). Dylan is a reformed bad boy with a lot of regrets and a fierce need to make things right when he returns to Magnolia. Both of them want to find someone who can see beyond the masks they wear and love them for who they truly are on the inside. It takes some time but they become that for each other and it makes the relationship so satisfying, and I’ve loved exploring that while writing. I think there’s magic in a holiday story because the season is so special. It can be filled with hope and is a great way to escape into a world filled with love and new beginnings.
What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read)?
I’m currently reading The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs. Next up is Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan.
Click here to order The Merriest Magnolia on Amazon.