#authorLaurieLarsen , #Christian Romance author

Dear Readers, I would like to introduce you to an author I am very taken with: Laurie Larsen.

Beachy, heartwarming and inspirational, Laurie Larsen's love stories contain a message of faith in addition to the Happily Ever After. Her beloved Pawleys Island Paradise series gained fans, not only because of the stories and unforgettable characters, but the "arrogantly shabby" real-life island setting.

Laurie, tell my readers about your Pawleys Island Paradise series. Make them want to go there…

Hello Jackie! Thank you so much for letting me visit with you and your readers today. Growing up, it was a family priority to go on vacation every summer. Because I grew up in central Illinois, it took a LONG TIME to get to the beach, but despite the distance, we were beach lovers and therefore, committed. Once we discovered Pawleys Island, South Carolina, we were hooked and ended up going back there time and time again. We somehow discovered The Old Gray Barn on Pawleys Island. Cousins from all over the country went there and we spent the vacation re-connecting while playing in the sand, swimming in the ocean, nursing our sunburns and playing endlessly. The place has become one of those magical, mystical places in my memory. When I decided to write my first multi-book series I knew it had to take place somewhere really special. Voila, I moved the whole series to my favorite place on earth!

How many novels are in the Pawleys Island Paradise series? Do the same characters follow through as you introduce new ones?

There are six novels and one non-fiction companion book where you hear some "Behind the Scenes" stories and see some photos from the family album over our many summers there. The story starts with Leslie Malone on the day she is served with divorce papers, ending her twenty-year marriage to Tim. Looking ahead at a vast, depressing, empty summer, she jumps in the car and follows her whim -- wherever God leads her. She quickly discovers that although she is sad and broken, she still has skills God can use to help others. What starts out as the worst summer of her life turns into one of the most rewarding. She ends up at Pawleys Island and decides to stay when she meets hunky beach house handyman, Hank Harrison. As the series continues, we meet Leslie's daughter, Hank's children, and friends mentioned in one book becomes featured in another. The whole series has a big feeling of family and community.

What exactly is your connection to Pawleys Island? I am sure a lot of my readers don’t even know where it is.

Pawleys Island is a tiny barrier island off the coast of South Carolina, about 25 miles south of Myrtle Beach. In addition to vacationing there as a child, I was lucky enough to move here permanently when I retired from the big day job. Now, I spend my days walking the beach with my feisty rescue dog Weezer, and writing books about God and love and Happily Ever Afters at the beach.

What about your other books? More series?

I have two other completed series. First up is Murrells Inlet Miracles, just a few miles down the road from Pawleys Island. In this heartwarming series, visit the beautiful Lowcountry of South Carolina. A high-powered attorney. An inherited dilapidated horse ranch. A handsome veterinarian with a big secret. And a majestic stallion who unwittingly brings them all together.

Last year, I tried something new and wrote and released FIVE BOOKS in the same year! The result was Matchmaking Moms of Oceanview Church. Still beachy, heartwarming and inspirational like all my other series, but these books are more fast-paced, fun and light. A chance meeting at Bible Study brings together three moms who share one interesting fact: they all have adult children who are striking out in the love department. Could they do something about it? Should they? Under a veil of secrecy, they commit to playing matchmaker to each others' kids. What could possibly go wrong?

I hear you have a new series started set in NYC. What can you tell us about it? New people or any repeaters? And what made you write about NYC?

Yes, my newest series is called Big Apple Blessings. As much as I love the beach, I move away from my trademark South Carolina Lowcountry locale to adventure in the most exciting city in the world -- New York City!

Three compelling stories, each featuring characters harboring dreams to make it big in The Big Apple. I am a huge fan of NYC. When I was in my mid-twenties, my company transferred me from Illinois to the Philadelphia area. Just a few hours away in Queens, NY, four of my best friends from college were sharing an apartment. I visited them on a regular basis, and together, we probably walked over every square inch of Manhattan. Each site carries with it so many fabulous memories.

In the last decade, I've gotten into the wonderful tradition of going to Broadway shows with a fellow theater-lover. We'll stuff four or five shows into a long weekend and love every second. Walking through the streets of New York brings happiness and excitement to my heart, so when I was considering this new series, I knew I needed to change my locale.

Anything is possible in New York. So my three stories each feature a character who is trying to make her dreams come true, big city-style. Book 1 features a business tycoon, Book 2 a Rockettes dancer and Book 3 a Broadway actress. Where else could this series possibly be set?

Book 1 is His Secret Daughter and it came out in June. The next up in the series will be a Christmas novella, One Big Apple Christmas, coming out in October.

I write heartwarming romances and I have a feeling my readers would enjoy your books because let’s face it, we never have enough happy stories to read. Tell us a little about your happily ever after attitude.

Happily Ever After (HEA) is one of the reasons why I love reading and writing romance. Love is not easy, and it's sort of messy. But it doesn't matter how many mistakes we make, or how many times we fall down. It's about getting back up and trying again. When a couple overcomes their problems and prioritizes each other at the top of their list, and when they pray to bring God into the mix, they're going to get a HEA! I love the emotions that come with the journey to love, and I adore that "swoon" of my heart when it all goes right.

Tell us a little about your book covers? The artwork is so compelling. Did you design them or have any say in them?

Well, thank you so much! I have a long partnership with my cover artist, Steven Novak of Novak Illustrations. I believe we've done 25 book covers together. We're very much in sync. I usually just toss him very vague thoughts such as, "It's an autumn book and the plot centers around a German Shepherd," and he runs with it, hitting it out of the park on the first try! Recently, we undertook the project of re-covering my Pawleys Island Paradise books. I had been noticing that the trend for beachy books are covers with just beautiful beachy scenery. Not the typical couple or attractive man or woman that generally appears on a romance cover. I consulted with Steven about it and he designed a whole new set of covers, which I'm absolutely in love with. When I start a new series, he comes up with a series brand that is in keeping with my author brand. Coming up with covers with Steven is one of my favorite parts of the book publishing p