Spotlight & Giveaway: Southern Comforts by Nan Dixon

Posted December 4th, 2014 by in Blog, Spotlight / 83 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome debut romance author Nan Dixon to HJ!

Hi Nan and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, SOUTHERN COMFORTS!

Thank you so much, Sara, for having me! I’m thrilled to talk about by Debut Release – SOUTHERN COMFORTS.

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

Southern ComfortsAbby Fitzgerald longs to open her own restaurant. Unfortunately, her dream is stuck on the back burner until she and her sisters finish converting their Savannah mansion into a bed and breakfast. Facing a loan repayment on Fitzgerald House, Abby refuses to lose the house that’s been in the family for generations. She juggles multiple roles–B&B manager, chef and caterer. Pride keeps her from asking for help. Betrayals have taught her not to trust any man with her precious dreams.

Gray Smythe won’t let another woman fool him. If he can’t find a girlfriend that cares more for him than his net assets, he’ll avoid relationships. Fed up with Boston, he heads to Savannah to turn his newly purchased warehouse into condominiums. Six-months of solitude and excellent cooking is just what he needs.

The last thing Gray expects to find at Fitzgerald House is another woman with money problems. Besides, he lives in Boston, she’s anchored to Savannah. Her cooking is enough to make a man propose, but money, her lack and his abundance, hampers their simmering romance. Gray secretly tries to solve the B&B’s financial plight. His high-handedness and Abby’s inability to trust destroys their fragile relationship. Only love can tear down the barriers money has created.

Please share the opening line of this book:

Rule #1–The guests are always right, even when they’re wrong. Mamie Fitzgerald

“Score one for Team Fitzgerald.” Abby tapped the occupancy permit against the porch railing and waved to her contractor as he headed to his truck. The final room on the second floor could be used.

Please share a few Random facts about this book…

The story is set in Savannah Georgia. Savannah has the second largest St Patrick’s Day celebration in the US. Almost 250,000 people come to town for the holiday. (And Abby wants them all to stay her family’s B and B.)

Abby longs to open her own restaurant. Unfortunately, she and her sisters need to complete the restoration of Fitzgerald House before she can even think of opening SOUTHERN COMFORTS, her dream restaurant, in the carriage house.

Gray comes from old Boston money, but as a real estate developer he loves to work side by side with his construction crews.

Gray can’t stop eating Abby’s Brandy Pecan Bars. She even offers him a lifetime of bars in exchange for funding the restoration of the third floor. Gray can’t tell if she’s kidding. As my critique group reviewed the book, they said I would have to start bringing food. I was making them hungry when they read!

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

Abby didn’t tell me her ex-fiance cheated on until the third revision on the book. I thought she had come home from New York City because her mother needed to help a sick aunt. Abby’s cheating ex is one of the reasons she doesn’t trust men with her dreams. Abby thinks that men destroy dreams.

Gray doesn’t trust anyone. Too many people have pretended to be friendly because of his money or his connections. Even with Abby, he doesn’t know if she’s interested in him or his money.

What, in your mind, distinguishes this book from other books out there in the same genre?

This book is about the value of family–the families you’re born into and the families you create. Both Abby and Gray must learn that they can rely on others to be loyal, loving and trusted with their dreams.

The First kiss…

Its so much fun.
Gray has messed up Abby’s schedule as she prepping for a catering event. He apologizes and ends up kisses her instead. The kiss sizzles, but she pushes him away, telling him she’s not part of the B and B’s services. Since he’s offered to help her catch up, she has him wash dishes. He expected to hire help for her–since he’s used to solving problems with money.

Did any scene have you crying or laughing (or blushing) while writing it?

When Abby finds out that Gray is stealing her dreams and her world crumbles, I cried

“Actions speak louder than words.”
Tears trickled down Abigail’s cheek. The ice in her eyes frightened Gray. “I’m going back to Savannah. I’m going home.”
“Abby.” This couldn’t be happening. Not when he was in love with her. “Stay. Please.”
“We’re done.” She wheeled her bag around him.
Desperate, he blurted out. “I think I’m in love with you.”
She stopped. Her shoulders shook. She turned around, pity filled her face. “You can’t buy my love, Gray. That’s not how it works. It’s something I would have given freely.”
Panic bubbled inside his chest like lava in a volcano about to blow. “I’m not trying to buy your love.”
She didn’t even stop.
He ripped a hand through his hair. He’d been trying to help her, for God’s sake. And she’d thrown everything back in his face. He told her he loved her. He had the money. He could fix her problems. Make her life easier. Why wouldn’t the stubborn woman let him help?

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

This is the second day of Gray’s stay in Fitzgerald House. She’s setting up for the afternoon tea when Gray comes in to the library.

Abby was almost out the door when Gray called, “Wait, Abby, I have a question.”

She paused. He waved her over to a chair, before taking another bar.

“Can you recommend any contractors?” he asked. “I’m putting the work out for bids.”

Settling into the chair, she tried to remember who’d worked on the warehouse before Gray took over. “Did you talk to Jeb Haskins?”

“Just met with him.” He frowned. “Not letting that guy back on the project. I have a couple of other names, but I like the work you’ve done on your B&B. I wondered who you’d used.”

“I can give you the names, but our focus has always been on restoration. I’m not sure this would be the same kind of job.”

“You’re right—I’m not looking for restoration, but I need a contractor who’s experienced with old buildings.”

Abby’s heart warmed at his respectful tone. “I use Sam Forester. He’s done all the work here since we started. He and his son, Daniel, run a local construction company. I’ll call and see who he’d recommend.”

“Thanks. Add this Forester to the list, too, would you? They’ve done a nice job here.”

She froze. Gray wanted to talk to the Foresters? Samuel fit their work in between his other projects to help keep her costs low. Gray’s work might slow down her own restoration.

But she couldn’t keep business from Sam and Daniel. They were practically family.

Hoping he hadn’t noticed her delay, she said, “I can do that.”

Abby tapped her lip, thinking of other contractors she could direct him to.

Gray stared at her mouth, making Abby’s heart beat a little faster. What was it the magazines said? If a man stared at your mouth, he was thinking of kissing you?

If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?

I would tell Abby asking for help is not a weakness. And Gray needs to know that money can’t buy him love.

What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2015?

My editor is currently reviewing a proposal for Abby’s sisters stories — books 2 and 3 of Fitzgerald House. Plus I am finishing up revisions on a Romantic Suspense. It finaled in the Golden Heart in 2014.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

Giveaway: Two commenters will receive copies of SOUTHERN COMFORTS. If the winner is in the US — it will be an autographed book — otherwise I will send an eBook.

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: I got the story idea when my sisters and I took a sister weekend and spent it in Savannah. Where is your favorite vacation location? What made it special?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


“It’s a cash-flow issue. We’ll see if we can get a loan, but…” Abby shrugged with a tight smile. “I know how much you love my brandy pecan bars. How much would you pay for a lifetime supply?”

A chill settled over Gray’s skin. Was she joking, flirting—or testing the waters?

He’d eaten in her intimate kitchen for the past three weeks. And they’d spent hours talking. He’d told her more about his life and his family than anyone back in Boston. They’d become friends. Why couldn’t he tell what Abby wanted?

He was paying her for the room and the meals. And now Abby suggested he could buy a lifetime of her bars? Had to be a joke. He kept his own tone light in response. “It might be worth it.”

He tugged her out of her chair, and when her body brushed his, it was as if he’d grabbed a live wire.

Did she feel this connection, too?

“Do you have a restaurant you’ve wanted to visit tonight?” He couldn’t stop brushing her knuckles with his thumb.
He thought he saw confusion in her green eyes. At least he wasn’t the only one.

“There’s a little Italian place over on York Street called Amore. We can walk over if you want.”

So, they would go out to dinner. It didn’t have to be a big deal; they’d had plenty of those already. Then they’d see what happened next. “I’ll make a reservation.”

Book Info:

Abigail Fitzgerald has always followed her mama’s rules when it comes to running their family’s B and B. But her mama never had to resist a man like Grayson Smythe. A long-term guest, Gray spends his evenings having dinner with Abby in her kitchen—and it’s not long before their attraction begins to sizzle.
Although Gray’s kisses are a delicious distraction, Abby’s priorities are the B and B and the dream of opening her own restaurant. And Gray definitely has the means to help her. But when money seems to be all he can offer, Abby suspects she might get burned.
Book Links:

Meet the Author:

Nan DixonNan spent her formative years as an actress, singer, dancer and competitive golfer. But the need to eat had her studying accounting in college. Unfortunately, being a successful financial executive didn’t feed her passion to perform. When the pharmaceutical company she worked for was purchased, Nan got the chance of a lifetime—the opportunity to pursue a writing career. She’s a five-time Golden Heart finalist and lives in the Midwest where she is active in her local RWA chapter and on the board of a dance company. She has five children, two sons-in-law, one grandchild, a husband and one neurotic cat.
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83 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Southern Comforts by Nan Dixon”

  1. mrsmac19

    I have a soft spot for vacationing in Washington, DC because I’m a political nut and I LOVED the undergrad semester that I lived there!

    • Nan Dixon

      I finally got to see the cherry blossoms. They were gorgeous. There is so much to see and do in DC. I think we could keep going back.

    • Nan Dixon

      I have always wanted to visit the Outer Banks! Hubby and I and a daughter and son-in-law spent some time last fall on Hilton Head — but I don’t think its the same thing.

    • Nan Dixon

      Perfect spot! My daughter danced for San Diego Ballet for many years. I loved to go see her dance and spent time in La Jolla! Especially to escape a Minnesota winter!

    • Nan Dixon

      And such great food! I only traveled out there for work, but did get a chance to see the salmon come through the locks area. Would love to go back.

  2. Glenda

    I haven’t been to Savannah in years! And I have been to the St Paddy’s Day celebration a couple times. 🙂

    Best vacation in past few years? Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. There are so many spots to hike and just observe nature.

    • Nan Dixon

      I have only driven through Tennessee. And that was during a tornado watch. Yikes! But it was beautiful. With 2 daughters now living in that section of the country, I hope to see more of the eastern mountains.

  3. Trudy Dowling

    My favorite vacation is anywhere in the mountains where there are easy walking trails.

  4. Terri Shortell

    I loved Maine when I visited but my favorite would be Chicago. It’s special because my son and I have taken the train there and attended concerts. It was great spending time with him and seeing the sights. I have always wanted to go to Savannah. I’m originally from Georgia and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never been there. Thanks for the review and giveaway.

    • Nan Dixon

      I would love to see Maine in the fall! Since Chicago is so close to Minnesota – I do get there and love the shopping! It is one of the sister trips we have taken!

  5. ndluebke

    We usually end going to Galena, Illinois. It’s a historic town, home of Ulesses Grant and my mother in law and where my husband grew up. We can usually relax a bit and his mom is a good cook. She loves to feed us. Hard to keep up with her and she’s 90 now.

  6. christinamarch

    Christina R. in the rafflecopter

    LOVE New Orleans! It’s my favorite 🙂 And Savannah is my favorite as well 🙂

    Just in case rafflecopter shows my location outside US, I’m doing a semester abroad and would use my regular US address.

    thank you so very much 🙂

    • Nan Dixon

      Oh so fun to be doing a semester abroad! New Orleans is incredible! I wish I could have spent more time there, but it was a quick business trip–with lots of food!

    • Nan Dixon

      Oh I want to go there! I have been to France – but it was a bucket list–skiing in the Alps. Daughter’s college had an Austrian campus. That was the only year her twin brother had the same spring break, so we met her at the airport in Geneva and then went to Chamonix for 4 days and Florence Italy for 4. Loved that trip!

  7. manic33

    My favorite family vacations were in Florida. We used to go once a year. We’d pick a different city each time. Was so much fun!

  8. Cheryl Hastings

    The Cape….I’ve been going there every year since birth…probably before!! It reminds me of my grandparents

    • Nan Dixon

      Oh so fun! My sisters and I were just there this fall. I didn’t realize how beautiful it was down there. Or how many lakes were formed with dams!

  9. Erika Kelly

    I’ve got your book queued up in my e-reader–can’t wait to read it this weekend! I think my favorite travels have been road trips with the kids. We’ve seen so much of the country–Glacier, Bryce, Zion, Mesa Verde, Mt. Rushmore, Mammoth caves in KY. Such great memories!

    • Nan Dixon

      Thanks for stopping! (And planning on reading the book!) I want to see Mammoth! With a daughter in KY – I think I should get a chance–right?

  10. Sally Orr

    Hi Nan, what a great read. I live in San Diego so I’m always on vacation. 😉 When I do travel, London is my destination for fun. Cheers.

    • Nan Dixon

      Oh England! My mother was British. She grew up in Gloucester – but my Grandparents moved to Weston-Super-Mare on the sea. Cheers to you!

  11. Colleen C.

    My grandparents’ home was my fav vacation place… I miss them and the house… so many great memories.

  12. Terri C

    I can’t really say that I have a favorite yet in my adult life. When I was little it was my grandparent’s house in the Lake of the Ozarks. It was so much fun being with the cousins!

  13. holdenj

    I recently visited Chicago and met up with some old college friends. That made the trip unique and special.

  14. Sandra Owens

    Favorite vacation was to Bar Harbor, Maine because not only was it beautiful, but I ate lobster for lunch and dinner for nine days straight. 😀

  15. Carrie Padgett

    We have friends with a family cabin in Yosemite and we’ve been going there for twenty-five years now. Our girls have wonderful memories there and now they get to bring our granddaughters. I get choked up at least once every trip just thinking about the legacy of family, fun, and memories we’re privileged to be a part of.
    I can’t wait to read Southern Comforts, Nan! Congratulations!!

  16. Jacie Floyd

    Hi Nan! Great post! Savannah is a wonderful and charming place to set a book. And there’s so much Southern hospitality associated with a B&B. Add in a great cook and financial problems, and there’s all the makings for a delicious read. Best wishes on your fabulous debut.

    • Nan Dixon

      Thank you Denny! I was so please with the USA Today HEA article. My problem has always been conflict – and to have her open with Tension, tension, tension gave me a thrill! Thanks for stopping over!

  17. ae jones

    Nan –
    This book sounds better and better to me. It is sitting on my Kindle waiting for me to finish edits on two (yes two) of my projects right now. I think I will read Southern Comforts over the holidays…it seems like the perfect book for that.


    • Nan Dixon

      My oldest is in school in Portland right now, so we went to see him this spring. My first trip there. So incredible. And the food was incredible too.

  18. Lisa Reigel

    My favorite vacation spot (as a child) was a family cottage in Canada (I’m from the US). We would spend 2 weeks in the woods and at the lake. I would get to see all my Canadian cousins and have a blast. My father was from Canada. We would go every 2 years or so. Fun times!

  19. BookLady

    Hawaii is my favorite vacation spot. Love the sun, ocean, beach, and beautiful flowers.

  20. Darcy

    Wonderful (and delicious) post, Nan!

    Italy is one of my FAVORITE vacation spots. I could eat and drink my way up and down that boot and die a happy girl. I especially love the smaller Tuscan towns like Lucca, Montepulciano, & Cortona–where I had the BEST fresh tortellini with shaved black truffle! That dish could easily inspire sonnets. 🙂

  21. Cathy P

    My favorite vacation was the year we went to Alaska. We had a great time, and Alaska is beautiful.

  22. Nicole Potter (@NiiArt)

    I’ve been to Colorado several times and LOVE it there! My family also went on a family vacation in Branson, MO when I was a kid, and I loved it! It’s somewhere I’d like to visit again and see if I like it more now!

  23. angela smith

    i’ve never really been on a vacation.but i would love to stayin a log cabin in the woods

  24. mirandaliasson

    What’a not to love about this book? Feisty heroine, hunky but misguided hero, family, food, and Savannah! Can’t wait to read! Congratulations, Nan!

  25. laurieg72

    Door County, Wisconsin (Ephraim, Fish Creek and Sister Bay) Wonderful B&B’s pretty views, Peninsula State Park for hiking and biking, excellent food, visit wineries, cherry pies, and Wilson’s for ice cream!

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