Jill Shalvis, a well-recognized name in the worlds of romance and women’s fiction, has penned another heartwarming, humorous and engrossing read for fans to cheer in her new release The Lemon Sisters (William Morrow). Brooke and Mindy Lemon are two sisters that are polar opposites. Mindy grew up unflappable and always put-together, happy in their small town Wildstone, CA. Brooke was a free spirit who craved adventure and travel. As the two grew up, they became consumed by their own separate identities and issues. Mindy married her hometown sweetheart Linc, had three children and settled into running the family smoothie shop. Brooke pursued followed wanderlust by working for “Around the World,” a documentary-style show for adventure seekers on the Travel Network.
The Lemon sisters reunite when their personal hardships start weighing them down. Mindy feels overwhelmed by the duties of managing the smoothie shop and parenting three children while her husband is away frequently on business. She also feels distant from Linc and suspects him of infidelity while he’s traveling. In an emotional breakdown, she appears on Brooke’s doorstep in Los Angeles, kids in tow. Shaken by seeing her perfect sister a mess, Brooke steps up to help with the kids. While Brooke must now offer steady support for Mindy, that doesn’t mean that her life is perfect either.
Far from it, in fact. Brooke has more than a few regrets. She used to be the principal photographer of the travel show, smack in the middle of the adventure documentaries they were filming. But, due to a traumatic accident (one that Brooke has kept many details secret), she has remained on the sidelines in the studio editing footage and writing scripts.
While this is a safer position than the one Brooke previously filled, she misses the adventure of her old job. However, unable to reconcile changing her position due to persisting guilt from that fateful day, she goes through the motions of her new role feeling stuck in a rut. Babysitting Mindy’s kids takes Brooke back to her old hometown, allowing her to approach Wildstone with a list of goals to help her sister and also get her own life back on track.
Returning to Wildstone, Brooke runs into one of her biggest regrets, her old flame Garrett. The two have unresolved issues between them, and apparently still lots of chemistry. Through the comedic chaos of helping Mindy’s kids, managing their love lives and reconnecting with each other, Brooke and Mindy powerfully illustrate growth, love and second chances.
We sat down with Jill Shalvis to ask some questions on her exciting upcoming release:
BookTrib: What led you to explore the relationship between sisters? Your own daughters?
Jill Shalvis: What appealed to me about writing this story was the life swap. The wild adventurous sister taking over what she thinks is her staid, boring sister’s life. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, and I’m not sure my daughters would want to try that, given how different they all are from each other! But the thought amused me, and my muse took off with it.
Like Brooke, you used to live in Los Angeles. While she yearns for wild open spaces, you live and write in them. Where is your favorite place to write? Any other similarities with Brooke you share?
I often say I miss L.A., and I do. I miss the wild and crazy hustle and bustle of city life. I’m the misplaced city girl living on a mountain with bears, bobcats, and spiders oh my. But to be honest, I love it. So this is my favorite place to write. I write on the deck facing the woods. I write by the river. I write on a dock at the lake. So I guess in that one way, Brooke and I are alike. But she’s far more adventurous than I am. Maybe that was me living out a secret dream!
The themes of renewal and second chances are strong in this story, both in connection to the romantic relationships the sisters have and their own sibling bond. Do you believe in second chances?
I absolutely believe in second chances! I raised daughters and I often say they’re like a pack of kittens. Can’t stand to be together, can’t stand to be apart. Their fights are real and to them, devastating. And … frequent. Can you imagine if they didn’t believe in second chances? I’m grateful they do, and I love to write them, both in sibling relationships and in love stories. Where would we be without second chances?
After writing so many popular romances, how do you keep your characters unique and your stories so freshly sentimental and authentic?
Cookies help, I think it’s the sugar high. Honestly, this job is both the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the most fun. I mean what other job allows you to work in your bunny slippers and get paid to make things up? I feel so grateful for this job every day, so maybe that’s what keeps me freshly sentimental. I truly love doing it. I also inhale books, movies, TV, and shamelessly eavesdrop on strangers’ conversations. It’s all fodder for my muse.
You have many different series and stories based in different places. Do you have a personal favorite?
Anything on any sort of body of water. The ocean, a lake, a river…that’s always a personal favorite.
You create fictional hunks to make real women swoon. What literary character would sweep you off your feet?
Ha. I have many, many literary, TV and movie pretend boyfriends. Let’s start with the obvious choices. Roarke. Ranger Manoso. Jamie Fraser…
Who are some romance authors that influenced your writing?
J.D. Robb, Janet Evanovich and Nora Roberts. But I also love to read in all genres, and nonfiction as well. I can find myself influenced by a news article, an old repeat of “Friends,” even the back of a cereal box.
What is one takeaway you hope people receive reading The Lemon Sisters?
It’s not just a story of second chances. It’s also a story of trust and loyalty and unconditional love, which can be found in the most unexpected of places. This story is near and dear to my heart. Hope you all get a chance to read it!
What are you working on now?
I’m putting the finishing touches on Wrapped Up In You, which comes out in September. I’ve got a misplaced small-town sheriff/rancher who finds himself in San Francisco, and a woman who runs her own taco truck. Their worlds collide in the most unusual of ways. Magic happens. Stay tuned…
The Lemon Sisters is available for purchase now.
ABOUT JILL SHALVIS:
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the–