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Author Interview with Courtney Walsh – Just Let Go

 

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh

For Quinn Collins, buying the flower shop in downtown Harbor Pointe fulfills a childhood dream, but also gives her the chance to stick it to her mom, who owned the store before skipping town twenty years ago and never looking back. Completing much-needed renovations, however, while also competing for a prestigious flower competition with her mother as the head judge, soon has Quinn in over her head. Not that she’d ever ask for help.

Luckily, she may not need to. Quinn’s father and his meddling friends find the perfect solution in notorious Olympic skier Grady Benson, who had only planned on passing through the old-fashioned lakeside town. But when a heated confrontation leads to property damage, helping Quinn as a community-service sentence seems like the quickest way out—and the best way to avoid more negative press.

Quinn finds Grady reckless and entitled; he thinks she’s uptight and too regimented. Yet as the two begin to hammer and saw, Quinn sees glimpses of the vulnerability behind the bravado, and Grady learns from her passion and determination, qualities he seems to have lost along the way. But when a well-intentioned omission has devastating consequences, Grady finds himself cast out of town—and Quinn’s life—possibly forever. Forced to face the hurt holding her back, Quinn must finally let go or risk missing out on the adventure of a lifetime.

 

Author Courtney Walsh

Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Just Let Go is her eighth inspirational romance novel. Her debut, A Sweethaven Summer, hit the New York Times and USA Today e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. A creative at heart, Courtney has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children.

Website

INTERVIEW

What inspired you to write Just Let Go?
I think my biggest inspiration is my own inability to let things go. I wanted to explore the idea of forgiving someone who never says they’re sorry because I’ve had to do that in my own life, and I truly think it’s one of the most difficult things to do. Forgiveness is hard enough, but when the person who has wronged you isn’t apologetic, that’s even harder!

When it came to the rest of the story, I loved the idea of a little flower shop in a small town and how the people working there would get to share in all the major milestones of people’s lives. Plus, who doesn’t love flowers?

 

Why did you decide to write about an Olympic downhill skier? Did a real person inspire his character and his journey?
Actually, this will sound kind of funny, but when I was brainstorming this book, I kept thinking of Lightning McQueen from Cars. Isn’t it funny that a light-hearted kids’ movie could have such a poignant storyline? Surprisingly, I’ve never written about an athlete, and I loved the idea of writing an Olympian because I admire their hard work. But then I wanted Grady to be a little different—someone who was used to success and didn’t have to work quite as hard as others for it, though the Olympic gold has always eluded him. What happens when things begin to go south for someone like that right before their last shot at their one big dream? That intrigued me. Also, skiing terrifies me, so it was fun to dive into that world from a safe distance.

 

The heroine in this book is a risk-averse, play-it-safe rule follower, paired with an adrenaline junkie. Do these two ever find common ground, and what do they learn in the process?
Oh yes, they do . . . and the fun part was getting them there. It was so fun to write two people who approach life in completely different ways. They don’t know it at first, but each has something to learn from the other. While Quinn’s play-it-safe nature is holding her back (there is so much she is missing out on), Grady’s adrenaline-junkie nature is starting to get in his way (he’ll never win gold unless he makes some changes). He learns from Quinn’s work ethic and determination, while she learns from his adventurous attitude. I really loved putting these two together—they ended up being quite a lovely pair.

 

How do you hope this book will resonate with your readers?
I hope they will find themselves wrapped up in Quinn and Grady’s story, and that the journey each of these characters is on reveals something true in readers’ hearts. My prayer is that it not only entertains them, but inspires them to think on the idea of letting go. Maybe there’s something they’ve been holding on to—a hurt or disappointment—and maybe in reading Quinn and Grady’s story they’ll be inspired to finally let it go. I believe stories can capture our heart in a way that pure fact can’t. My prayer is always that my stories do that, that the reader turns the final page and feels hopeful about the story they’re writing with their own life as they live out each day.