I’m tickled pink to share my review of Pepper Basham’s latest release, Just The Way You Are. Seriously. Tickled. Pink! I also have the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Basham, and I know you’re just going to love it.
Let’s get started!
About the Book
Wes Harrison has a past he’s ashamed to confess. Suspicious and cynical, he’s managed to avoid romantic entanglements since a tragedy upended his career and life, that is until American Eisley Barrett comes along. Her authenticity and kindness upend his bitter assumptions and send his heart into unscripted territory.
When his past threatens to ruin a second chance at love, can some Appalachian matchmaking and letters from the grave salvage their unexpected romance?”
First, the lines! Ahhh! There are so many great quotable lines in here that I laughed out loud, cheesed from ear-to-ear, and teared up in that happily-ever-after glow. Just in case you need proof I’ll offer two: “post romantic betrayal disorder” and “post romantic kiss disorder.”
Y’all, Ms. Basham knocked this one out the ball park. Eisley Barrett is quirky, clumsy, and honestly refreshing. She’s not afraid to laugh at herself, but there is one thing she’s afraid to do: trust.
Enter the dashing Christopher Wesley Harrison. Y’all, it’s like BBC came to live in a contemporary setting and what could be better? I was transported to London, Derbyshire, and the Appalachia Blue Ridge Mountains. Sparks flew, faith grew, and love blossomed. It was absolutely fantastic and I think I’m going to have to make time to reread it and savor my favorite moments for a moment of two.
If you’ve never read Ms. Basham, Just the Way You Are will make you a fan for life. If you’ve already are a fan, then Just the Way You Are will make you swoon with glee that Ms. Basham’s writing got better. (I know, how is that even possible?)
*This book gets 5 stars, because I will be rereading it.
**I received a free copy. This review is my own, honest opinion.
Thank you sooooo much, Toni! You are a great encourager! I’m thrilled to get to chat with you today and share more about my FAVORITE story!
I’d love to hear how you came up with the idea.
I really don’t know that it’s all that an exciting of a story. I was watching an interview with North & South actor, Richard Armitage (pre-Hobbit & Robin Hood days) and, in all honesty, he was just an adorably sweet, genuine, gentleman. So, my writing brain took off and I wondered…’what sort of girl could woo a good-hearted, reformed-rogue-actor?’. A few days/weeks later, I was washing the dishes and daydreaming, and I closed my eyes. Out of nowhere, I saw this red-headed woman walking through Heathrow airport pulling a pink bag behind her…and she tripped. As I started figuring out who she was, I realized…she was MEANT for my reformed rogue :).
Ah! I LOVE that! Eisley is so spunky and clumsy which is a hilarious combination! Did you base her off of any real person or is she strictly from your imagination?
Well, she did come from my imagination, and maybe she’s a combination of all the romcom movies I’ve fallen in love with over time. (Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock). I’d love to say she’s like me, but I’m not that cool 😉
Sandra Bullock is awesome!!
How did you select the names of your characters for this book?
Wes’ name wasn’t too hard. I figured he needed to have three names and go by the middle name to kind of show the difference between his actor persona and the ‘regular’ guy he wants to be when with Eisley. For Eisley (Eyes-Lee), I was researching names from British/Irish descent, because it’s part of the storyline. Her name is Eisley Honora Barrett. Honora is a family name (Irish). Eisley is English. I liked the way they sounded together. Her twin brother’s name is super cool! It’s Brice Solomon.
Fantastic! This is your sixth published book. Do you ever fear that your writing isn’t good enough or do you believe you’ve arrived, so to speak, in the publishing world?
I ALWAYS think my writing isn’t good enough. EVERY SINGLE TIME! Just ask, Carrie Schmidt. There are so many amazing authors who’ve written remarkable stories. I constantly ask myself how on earth I could write anything to add to the massive compilation of great novels…but then I have to remember, ‘earth’ has nothing to do with it 😉 Heaven does. If God’s given me a story AND the ability to write it, then I have to trust His ability and calling to make my stories what He wants them to be (and, more importantly, to touch the hearts He’s meant for them to touch)
But self-doubt? Yep, it’s a very frequent companion.
Wow! I’m amazed because your books are sooo good!
How about a few personal questions!
Are you a crier? If so, what was the first book that made you cry?
YES!!!! I’m a big-time crier. First book to make me cry? Goodness, I can’t remember. Maybe The Secret Garden? Or Anne of Green Gables?
Love Anne of Green Gables!
If you could meet any author, alive or dead, who would you pick and why?
I’d love to meet C.S. Lewis, not just for his fiction brain but for his theological wit. And…if I could add another, I’d absolutely adore meeting Jane Austen.
Yes to Jane Austen!
Candy or chocolate? Just because ever reader wants to know. 😉
Chocolate! Definitely! (even though I love the hashtag #Wescandy)
I have some aspiring writers who stop by my blog. I’d love to ask you a couple of questions for their sake.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Disappointment. It’s a true struggle. Also the comparison game. I still get stuck in this one lots of times. (see previous answer 😉 I think the biggest thing we can remember as writers (and Christian writers at that) is remembering the JOY of writing. Disappointment, rejection, bad reviews, etc are going to come, but if we remember the reason we love story, the calling on our hearts to invest time in our talent, then it helps us see the bigger picture of our story-creating even when the trials come.
I do the comparison game All. The Time! *sigh* What book would you recommend they read to help their writing process?
Well, I have a few that I’ve really appreciated. I really enjoyed Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, I also love hearing presentations and information by screenwriter, Michael Hauge. Most books by Donald Maas are great too.
Thanks! And last but not least, what are you working on now?
Hmm…quite a few things, actually. I’m finishing up a new historical romance novel (with a mystery thread), beginning work on book 2 of the Pleasant Gap series, and then moving into a really fun new britallachian romance called A Thyme for Romance.
By the way, book two in the Mitchell’s Crossroads’ series comes out in November! SUCH a fun story! It’s called Charming the Troublemaker.
Yay!! I can’t wait!!
Thanks so much for letting me stop in today, Toni! And thanks for celebrating the release of Just the Way You Are with me!
I’m so glad you stopped by! Praying you success on your new release!