What happens when three sisters come together in Nantucket for the first time since their mother’s death? Much more than the Marris sisters could have ever anticipated! The Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series (Guideposts Books) introduces readers to Caroline, Gracie and Sam as they gather for a vacation where they spent the summers as children, and follows their adventures as they fulfill their mother’s dream of opening a bed and breakfast. As the sisters heal from their mother’s passing, they bond in ways they never imagined and discover evidence of God’s hand in the unlikeliest of circumstances.
A team of four authors come together under the pen name of Evangeline Kelley to bring the unique personalities of each sister to vivid life and welcome audiences to the charming and historic island of Nantucket, complete with cobblestone streets, quaint shops, ferries, sandy beaches and salty air. The series weaves together the stories of each of the sisters as they progress through their own unique personal journeys. Along the way, readers will discover the wonder of God’s love in the lives of each of his children.
Q: Nantucket brings to mind images of historic charm and a certain mystery. What kind of research did you do in order to portray the essence of the island? If you were able to visit Nantucket, was it anything like you expected?
In researching this book and this series, I loved the historical richness of Nantucket. There were a lot of social and financial changes that happened throughout the decades, and it was a lot of fun to read about the history of the island, including snippets from old diaries of residents. That's what gave me the idea to include an excerpt of a society matron's diary in book three as a clue to the mystery about Hannah. I'm hoping the research that I and my co-authors did gives the readers a taste of the Nantucket historical time periods mentioned in the books.
Q: Several authors came together to write the Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series. How were you able to maintain the characters and the story line from book to book? How did your collaborative process work?
We all started off with three rough outlines of the stories and a document that listed a lot of the pertinent places and people in the series, which had to remain consistent throughout all three books. Patti Berg made sure to include lots of cool pictures! Our collaborative process was all over emails, and it was a lot of fun! We have a Yahoo! group email loop, and we'd often shoot off an email asking about things like if anyone had any details in their book about what the library looks like, or if anyone had already mentioned in their book about the various people who owned the Misty Harbor Inn in the past. Since all three books were written within a few months of each other, we were able to fine-tune any inconsistencies or make sure we mentioned things that ended up changing in a previous book. It ended up being really exciting to see how the books were being tweaked even as we all finished our individual manuscripts.
Q: Is this the first time you have written a series with other authors? How are you recruited by a publisher to contribute to a series?
I had been fortunate to work with Patti Berg, Pam Hanson and Barbara Andrews (as well as other authors) on another Guideposts series, Miracles of Marble Cove. It was a delight to be collaborating with them on another series since I already knew we worked well together, and it was fun for the four of us to be discussing with one another a set of characters as interesting as the Marris sisters. Each of us had originally auditioned for and been selected to work for Guideposts for other series, and then we were asked to work on the Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series.
Q: The Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series has elements from several different genres. How do romance, history, mystery and faith all come together in these stories?
I have to credit our editor for helping us balance the romance, history, mystery and faith so that they all intertwine so delicately and create wonderfully rich and cohesive books. Our editor, Jon Woodhams, worked closely with us from the synopsis phase all the way through the final revisions phase to make sure each of those elements in the books were just right so that no one element overshadowed the others.
Q: Readers are often curious as to whether or not a character in a story is anything like the author. Which of the three sisters are you most like?
It's coincidental that I'm most like Sam, and I was lucky to write the book that focused more on her own character arc. However, I long to be more adventurous like Caroline, and writing her wedding was a lot of fun.
Q: What are some of the lessons the sisters learn as they come together to run the Misty Harbor Inn?
Each of the sisters learn a slightly different aspect about the value of home and family. They are each coming from different places in their adult lives, so they have slightly different ideas of what “home” is to them. Through their adventures at the Misty Harbor Inn, they each come to understand the unique bond they share as sisters and the value of the new home they are creating for themselves in Nantucket at the inn.
Q: What do you hope readers walk away with after reading the series?
Home really is where your heart is! It might be a bit overused today, but the sentiment is always true. God puts us in the specific places in our lives where we can serve Him, love others and learn the value of what He's done in our lives.