Welcome, Emily Mims, to Heart-Shaped Glasses. We’re so glad you could join us! Thanks for sharing your Texas roots with us. <3
Setting my Books in a Place I Love
Okay, so this is not exactly a new concept. Every writer from James Michener to Nora Roberts has used his or her favorite place to tell their stories. An author is more likely to weave a compelling tale if she already feels a deep emotional connection to the surroundings where she places her characters, and in the hands of a skilled author these settings become more than a backdrop-they actually become part of the story, adding richness and authenticity that all the armchair research in the world cannot duplicate. So when I imagined the love story between Caroline Stern and Jack Briscoe, two seemingly mismatched people brought together by their love for a child, I turned to my favorite place in the world, a small lakeshore community in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, as the place to tell their tale.
My first visit to ‘The Lake’, as it is referred to in the Mims family, was over forty years ago, when my young fiancé took me to the little lake house his parents had built a few years previously. Although at that time the house was just a one-room cinder block cabin, it was surrounded by towering Bastrop pines and smaller trees laden with peaches and plums and pecans. The cabin was in a tiny village built on a peninsula and there was water everywhere. I fell in love with the swimming beach across the street and the huge reservoir beyond and whooped with delight as Charles and I, collecting mussel shells for my Master’s Degree Thesis, skimmed across the water in a tiny Boston Whaler. As the years passed the trees and the cabin grew, another Mims family house was built a block over and my children grew up swimming on the beach and fishing off the boat dock and going on boat rides with their beloved Grandpa Jim. We took many long, winding boat rides to the upper shores of the lake and watched the deer on the shore and the eagles nesting on the rocky cliffs, and were even known to throw an anchor and go swimming under a fifty foot waterfall. Sometimes the adults would escape and go antiquing in the surrounding small towns or enjoy a tasting at a local vineyard. Then the older generation left us and suddenly we were the caretakers of this marvelous, magical legacy. Now we were the ones attending the homeowner’s meetings and arguing with the tax assessor and going to fund raisers for a neighbor in need. We got to know the wonderful people who shared this delightful community with us. ‘The Lake’ became more than just a weekend retreat. It became a community to us, and we became part of it.
So when it came time to create the lakeshore community of ‘Heaven’s Point’ I had a lot to work with. The picturesque Hill Country needed little or no embellishment-its ruggedly beautiful terrain is most certainly real-nor did the charming small towns sprinkled throughout. Jack Briscoe’s small cattle ranch is certainly typical of the area, as is his need to work a day job and his constant struggle to hold on to his family legacy. The offer made to Caroline by the town of Verde is also typical, and often the only way a small town can lure a full-time physician. The real Heaven’s Point is pretty much as I described it, although I did rearrange a few houses for the sake of stories to come. (In ‘Daughter of Valor’, due out in early 2015, Jimmy Adamcik can see Holly Riley’s house and dock from his place. The houses I used as models are in fact a block apart.) I did pretty things up a little-the house that is the model for Caroline’s cabin to this day is still cinderblock, not the stucco described in the book, and at least for now I have not dealt with the severe drought devastating Texas or its effect on the Highland Lake System. And the warm, wonderful people of the Heaven’s Point? The characters are fictitious, but the warmth, friendliness and caring are very, very real.
Will we be seeing more of Heaven’s Point in future stories? Absolutely! I am telling Rory Keller and Lisa Simmons’ story in the Boroughs Christmas Anthology this fall and the book-length sequels, ‘Daughter of Valor’ and ‘The Soap Maker’, are on the schedule for 2015. And after that? I am hoping to star two more of my favorite places-San Antonio, Texas and the Appalachians of Eastern Tennessee-in more stories set in the places I love.
ON CHRISTMAS DAY… the life of Dr. Caroline Stern changed forever. Her husband was murdered, her baby son kidnapped. When she found the boy again, he was with his biological father – a man Caroline never intended to meet.
There seems no obvious tie between Jack Briscoe and the violence of sixteen months prior, but Caroline just wants her son back – something Jack seems unwilling to grant. He wants the boy, too, and when a wily old country judge demands the two of them work out a shared custody arrangement, Caroline finds herself in Texas Hill Country for longer than expected.
Then she learns Jack wants her, too. And she might want him.
In the beautiful town of Verde, on the shores of Lake Templeton, she begins to rebuild her life. But the dark clouds of the past have not vanished completely, and one last storm of deceit remains. A choice must be made, and only the deepest love will see them through.
About the Author
Author of twenty romance novels, Emily Mims combined her writing career with a career in public education until leaving the classroom to write full time. The mother of two sons and grandmother of three, she and her husband Charles live in central Texas but frequently visit grandchildren in eastern Tennessee and Hawaii. She plays the piano, organ, dulcimer, and ukulele and belongs to two performing bands. She says, “I love to write romances because I believe in them. Romance happened to me and it can happen to any woman-if she’ll just let it.”
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