Spotlight & Giveaway: Butterfly Kisses by Leigh Duncan

Posted June 18th, 2017 by in Blog, Spotlight / 46 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Leigh Duncan to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

Hi Leigh and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Butterfly Kisses!

 
Hey! I’m thrilled to be here! Thanks so much for inviting me. Hello, Everyone! <<waving madly>>
 

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

Justine Gale just got incredible news.

She’s inherited the flourishing citrus grove where she spent idyllic summers and formed lifelong friendships. Once on the fast track to success, the struggling single mom has recently learned her five-year-old daughter faces a lifetime of expensive medical treatments. Treatments, she can’t afford. The decision to sell the land her family has owned for generations seems like the simple and smart way for Justine to provide for her daughter’s future. But when she returns to Orange Blossom, she quickly realizes her plans could hurt every resident of the small town that depends on Castle Grove to survive.

Her dilemma is only complicated by Nate Rhodes, her first love and now the mayor, who stakes his own claim to the land Justine has inherited. He’ll do whatever it takes to stop her, even if it means losing the woman he loves…one more time.
 

Please share the opening lines of this book:

From the Prologue:

“It’s not fair.” In a move perfected during her first summer at Castle Grove, Justine slid over the twin bed, landing with a flourish in her usual spot on the floor between Sarah and Penny. “We’re eighteen, almost adults. We should be able to stay here if we want to.”

“Well, maybe not right here.” Scooting over a bit, Penny tugged strands of her red hair loose from where Justine’s shoulder had pinned it to the bed.

“There’s nothing fair about this at all.” Sarah’s dark curls shook.

 

Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • My first glimmer of an idea about Butterfly Kisses came in a dream. That night, a willowy blonde walked through an orange field and simply stopped and stared at me. Though she didn’t say a word, I knew she had a story to tell. I saw it in her sad, blue eyes. Over the next few months, she popped in and out of my dreams on a regular basis, and gradually her story began to take shape. It was one of second chances—for life, for love, for friendship—all set in a small Florida town where the citrus industry is key to the local economy.
  • In writing this story, I drew on a lot of personal experience. When I was in grade school, my father started an orange grove just north of Vero Beach. If I wasn’t at school, I was helping to clear land, plant seedlings, graft sweet stock to the hardier root. Sadly, we lost that land when the State decided to build a highway right through the middle of our eighty acres. And that loss helped fuel my desire to protect Castle Grove in Butterfly Kisses.
  • Facing a life-threatening illness is another strong thread in this story, and it was also born out of personal experience. Twenty years ago, my husband donated one of his kidneys to his teenage niece. Now she needs a second transplant. To raise funds for research and to help patients of kidney disease, a condition that affects 26 million adults and puts 1 in 3 Americans at risk, I’m donating a portion of every sale of Butterfly Kisses to the National Kidney Foundation.

 

Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?

Justine’s fierce love for her child was a constant surprise throughout this book. There isn’t anything this woman won’t do to give her daughter the life she deserves. And Nate’s love for the town of Orange Blossom, his comittment to the people there, really made me smile.
 

If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?

Two people with strong, worthwhile, opposing goals are bound to clash. As in this scene where Justine first realizes that her plans for Castle Grove are not going to proceed smoothly:

She waited, wishing he’d say he was sorry to hear about her troubles. From there, he’d ask about her job, her home, her family. She’d ask the same things, too, the way old friends did after a long time apart. But Nate remained silent, and Justine studied the face she’d once known as well as her own. The stubborn set of his jaw, the rigid way he held his mouth told her he’d decided against getting reacquainted. She smothered a sigh.

“Uncle Jimmy’s attorney said it’d be okay for me to stay at the house,” she said, hoping to diffuse a situation that had grown uncomfortably tense.

Nate only shook his head. “Jimmy wasn’t much for keeping things neat and tidy. You’ll be better off staying someplace else. A hotel in Orlando or Oviedo.”

“I’ll be out of your hair soon, Nate,” she said softly. “I’ll be so busy meeting with buyers and Royce, you’ll hardly know I’m here. After that, I’ll leave. You can forget I was ever here.”

She realized her mistake when Nate reeled as if she’d slapped him. Quickly recovering, he thrust the shovel into the ground so hard the blade slid into the dirt clean up to the handle.

“You can’t sell Castle Grove….The land’s not yours to sell.”

“Not yet,” she agreed. She wasn’t foolish enough to think everyone in Orange Blossom would be thrilled with her plans. Nate, for one, obviously didn’t like change. But he, like the others, would have to adjust. “Once we get through probate, though…”

“Not then. Not ever.” Nate shook his head.

 

What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

A sense of the lasting bonds of friendship between women, the comfort of living in a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business, the belief that there really are second chances for friendships, lives…and love.

 

What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2017?

This week, I sent Sweet Dreams, Book 2 in The Orange Blossom series off to my editor. I’m already hard at work on Broken Road, the third book in the series. I hope to have at least one more Orange Blossom release before the end of the year.
 

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

 

Giveaway: 1 Swag N More prize package, including a tote bag, pen, autographed book from my backlist, coasters, and other items AND a digital copy of Butterfly Kisses to be delivered on 6/13 (release day) — Winner of this prize must provide a US Shipping addy. 1 digital copy of Butterfly Kisses to be delivered on 6/13 (release day) — Open to either US or International. 

 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Orange Blossom is a small, fictional town in central Florida. I grew up in a small town and spent every summer at my grandmother’s farm just outside a very small town in southern Alabama. Which do you prefer—small towns or big cities?

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Excerpt from Butterfly Kisses:

“I miss those summers we spent with your aunt and uncle.” Penny pushed her glasses higher on her nose. “We all grumbled about doing chores, but we had the best times! My favorite was when we picked blueberries.”

“Of course it was. You always ate as much as you picked. Sarah and I, we’d tote full baskets back to the house, and you’d only have a few berries in yours.” She laughed, recalling how mercilessly they’d teased Penny about her blue tongue.

“Remember when Jimmy got all dressed up in his beekeeper outfit to harvest the hives?” Penny’s eyes crinkled.

Justine’s throat ached for the taste of the clear, golden honey that dripped from frames her uncle had called supers. “I’d give my eyeteeth for another piece of that honeycomb,” she said, her voice wistful. They had chewed the thick wax like gum, making it last for hours.

Her roommate cupped one hand over her mouth. “I can still see Nate that time he bit into a bee. He danced around like his mouth was on fire.”

“Nate Rhodes, I haven’t thought of him in ages,” Justine whispered, removing the pins from her hair, one by one. She’d once loved a boy who had run his fingers through the long, straight strands. But that had been years and years ago, back when she’d spent her summers among the orange trees on her uncle’s farm. A wisp of smoke from her last painful encounter with Nate stung her eyes. “I wonder what he’s doing these days.”

“Dad says he comes into the store from time to time,” Penny said slowly. Not long after he moved to Orange Blossom, a bad wreck had ended Mr. Kirk’s truck-driving career. With the money he’d gotten from the insurance settlement, he’d opened the Book Nook on Main Street. “I think Nate took over as the grove manager after his father retired. We could ask Sarah…if you’re interested.” Unlike her and Penny, their friend had remained in Orange Blossom where she worked in the bakery named after her great-grandmother.

“Nah, that’s okay.” Long strands of hair brushed her shoulders as she shook her head. She’d closed out that chapter of her life the summer she graduated from high school.

Penny pointed at the thick raft of papers on the coffee table. “Do you think your uncle might have left you something?”

A bright spark of hope flared in her chest. It died, guttering as quickly as it had burst into flame. “Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Margaret were land rich and cash poor. At one point, they asked about stock in Gale Enterprises, but they didn’t have enough money for a buy-in.”

“Good thing,” Penny murmured without a trace of malice.

“Yeah,” Justine agreed with a half laugh. “Good thing.” Her dad’s company had gone belly-up shortly after his death.

Leaning over the papers, she scanned through page after page, her experience at Jacoby & Sons helping her cut through the legalese like a hot knife through cold butter until she reached a copy of her uncle Jimmy’s will. She ran one finger along the italicized script.

I, James Clayton Castle, being of sound mind…leave all my worldly goods to my wife, Margaret Elizabeth Castle.

She looked up from the papers. When she’d headed home at the end of each summer, Aunt Margaret had always loaded her down with boxes of canned fruits and vegetables. Months later, when icicles dripped from the eaves and snow blanketed Northern Virginia rooftops, opening one of those glass jars had filled the room with the sunshine and the scent of homegrown tomatoes. Wishing the woman had lived to see her namesake, Margaret Grace, Justine returned to the page.

In the event her death precedes mine, I name my niece, Justine Gale, as my sole beneficiary.

The will slid from her boneless fingers. She stared blankly at Penny.

“What?” her roommate asked, alarm filling her face. “What is it?”

Justine inhaled a huge shuddery gulp. Her arm jerked. In one halting movement, she toppled the neatly folded clothes from the coffee table to the floor. Spreading the papers on the scarred wooden surface, she backtracked to the beginning to make sure she hadn’t overlooked some important detail that would negate what she’d just read. She hadn’t.

“I need to go to Florida,” she said at last. “As soon as possible.” Air seeped across her lips as she reread the section naming her the sole beneficiary of two hundred acres of land in Central Florida.

A citrus grove. Castle Grove.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
 
 

Book Info:

Justine Gale just got incredible news.

She’s inherited the flourishing citrus grove where she spent idyllic summers and formed lifelong friendships. Once on the fast track to success, the struggling single mom has recently learned her five-year-old daughter faces a lifetime of expensive medical treatments. Treatments, she can’t afford. The decision to sell the land her family has owned for generations seems like the simple and smart way for Justine to provide for her daughter’s future. But when she returns to Orange Blossom, she quickly realizes her plans could hurt every resident of the small town that depends on Castle Grove to survive.

Her dilemma is only complicated by Nate Rhodes, her first love and now the mayor, who stakes his own claim to the land Justine has inherited. He’ll do whatever it takes to stop her, even if it means losing the woman he loves…one more time.
Book Links: Amazon B&N iTunes Kobo BAM  
 

Meet the Author:

An Amazon best-selling author and a National Readers’ Choice Award winner, Leigh Duncan is the author of more than two dozen novels, novellas and short stories. Her first full-length book, The Officer’s Girl, was released by Harlequin American Romance in 2010. Leigh went on to write seven more books for Harlequin, including the highly acclaimed Glades County Cowboys series, before she began writing the more complex, heart-warming and emotional stories that have resonated with her readers. Leigh lives on Central Florida’s East Coast where she writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance with a dash of Southern sass. To learn more about her, visit her website at www.leighduncan.com.
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46 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Butterfly Kisses by Leigh Duncan”

  1. isisthe12th

    I prefer big cities, I like to watch the people come and go. Great shopping and restaurants. Thank you

  2. Patricia B.

    I love what big cities have to offer. They are great to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. I have already lived in the Washington, DC area and in Sacramento, CA. I grew up in a small town and now live in the country near a small town. That is where we are happiest and want to be.

  3. Joanne B

    Small towns. Everybody knows you and helps when they can, no questions asked and they’re not too crowded.

  4. karawills

    Wonderful interview! Love this story! Growing up right outside of NYC and visiting often, one would think I’d love the big city. Now, I prefer the quaintness of small town living.

  5. Kay Garrett

    Small town for me all the way. In fact, we just moved to the Ozarks and our town may be the county seat but it has less than 4,000 full time residence. 🙂

  6. Banana cake

    Big cities, I have always lived in cities except for college and I hated living in a small town.

  7. diannekc

    I live in a big city now, but I will be soon moving to a much smaller city in the near future. I’m really looking forward to living in a quieter environment.

  8. jillshalvisblog

    I grew up in enterprise Alabama and it was small but grew a lot .I used to love going to my grannys in altavista Virginia.It was really small.Could walk everywhere

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