So, hi there! I’m Ava Miles, a contemporary romance writer who burst onto the scene with her book NORA ROBERTS LAND, which kicked off my acclaimed Dare Valley series. Now, I’m delighted to talk about the first book in a connected series called Dare River, set in the deep South, titled COUNTRY HEAVEN. Thanks so much to Sue for hosting me today.
With this book, I did something pretty unusual. I wrote songs. Yes, that’s right. Songs. Country music songs since the book’s hero, Rye Crenshaw, is a steamy country music singer. I grew up in a pretty musical family, and for some reason, my hero just wanted me to share his music. So when the chapter opens in his point of view, I wrote a song to kick it off.
It was a unique experience, writing lyrics. Of course, there’s no musical accompaniment to the songs—yet. But who knows? Tim McGraw might hear about my songs and buy one.
You never know in life. Wouldn’t it be fun to hear it on the radio?
Country music is like poetry to me sometimes. I was a late bloomer to country music, and this is after having lived in the South for many years. Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” just blew me away with its lyrics, the force of the song, and her powerful voice. From then on, I was hooked. I fell in love with Tim McGraw, the image and the family man. Then there was the hit TV series, Nashville. And my novel, COUNTRY HEAVEN, mostly set on the country singer’s tour bus.
Songwriting is another art of storytelling. A good song tells a story. The words used, the pace created, even the punctuation all matter. Take out one, and it sounds “off.”
It was fun to stretch beyond my usual comfortable persona of storytelling. Trying on another hat enlarges our abilities, and for me, writing songs was just another way to convey the story, the character of my hero, and the themes in the novel.
Perhaps as the creativity with ebooks continues, we’ll have songs embedded into our stories. Who knows what the future will hold? I only know that I’ll look back on the writing of COUNTRY HEAVEN and always know it holds a special place in my heart.
It’s when I became a songwriter, not just a storyteller.
About the author:
USA Today Bestselling Author Ava Miles burst onto the contemporary romance scene after receiving Nora Roberts’ blessing for her use of Ms. Roberts’ name in her debut novel, NORA ROBERTS LAND, which kicked off The Dare Valley Series and brought praise from reviewers and readers alike. Much to Ava’s delight, USA Today Contributor Becky Lower selected it as one of the Best Books of the Year. Ava continued The Dare Valley Series in FRENCH ROAST, which Tome Tender says “raised the entertainment bar again” and then THE GRAND OPENING, which reviewer Mary J. Gramlich says “is a continuation of love, family, and relationships.” The next books in the series, THE HOLIDAY SERENADE, was met with high praise and her ode to the early 1960s, THE TOWN SQUARE, what she calls Mad Men in a small town with a happy ending, melted reader’s hearts.
Ava based her original series on a family newspaper, modeled after her own. Her great-great grandfather won it in a poker game in 1892, so Ava is no stranger to adventurous men and models her heroes after men like that—or like Tim McGraw, her favorite country music singer.
Now Ava shares the Dare River series, set in the deep South, telling the story of a country singer and a beautiful cook in COUNTRY HEAVEN. A former chef herself, Ava used her culinary background to infuse the story with family and personal recipes, but she also used her love for music to write country music songs to set the stage in the novel, creating a unique book experience. Ava—a writer since childhood—now lives in her own porch-swinging-friendly community with an old-fashioned Main Street lined with small businesses.