Have you read any of Annie Rains books yet? Her most recent title, Reunited on Dragonfly Lane is the last in her longtime series, which just released on January 26th.
About the Author:
Annie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors.
I got to chat with Annie about her incredible Sweetwater Springs series ending, here’s our Q&A!
How does it feel ending a series as loved and wonderful as Sweetwater Springs?
Oh, wow. Well, first of all, thank you so much for the wonderful compliment. I’m thrilled that readers have enjoyed the series as much as they have. I truly enjoyed my time writing the books. It went by way too fast. I feel grateful that I got to write 7 full novels in the series (and 2 novellas) and I’m also sad that it’s time to move on.
What inspired Sophie’s survivor story, are you a rock climber yourself? If not, what kind of research did you do to create this backstory for her?
Noooo, hahaha. If you saw my arms, you’d know I am not a climber. I have to hand jars to my husband to ask him to open them. My series is set in the mountains so climbing is an outdoor activity that I thought Sophie and Chase might have enjoyed together once upon a time. I researched a lot of climbing sites in North Carolina and blogs to the point that I feel like I could go climbing if I wanted to–but I have no arm strength and no desire 🙂
The idea of Sophie’s Fairy Godmother’s Closet is such a strong message of hope and community in your book. What about that idea moved you and made it something you had to have in this book?
I have a friend in real life who sells beautiful clothing for a living. She created a place similar to the Fairy Godmother’s Closet in her church to collect gently used clothing for people in the community who needed to dress nicely for job interviews and work. That inspired me to have Sophie do the same. The folks in Sweetwater Springs have such a heart for giving and helping others in their community. I knew I wanted Sophie to do something out of her boutique so the concept for the Fairy Godmother’s Closet just grew from there.
Of course, we ALL love a puppy in the story, do you have pets yourself?
I do. We have a rescue dog and cat. Our dog, Carter, is half chihuahua, half miniature pincher. Our cat, Spiral, was adopted from the local animal shelter last Christmas. She has been a welcome addition to the family. We spoil her silly.
What was your writing process like for Sweetwater Springs? Did you know when you started there would be 7 books — tell me a little bit about what characters you decided upon ahead of time, and which ones caught you by surprise!
Well, I pitched Sweetwater Springs as a 3 book series so I had Kaitlyn and Mitch’s story, Josie and Tuck’s, and Halona and Alex’s. After that, my publisher asked for 3 more, so I chose the hero and heroine as I went along. I could kind of see the next book’s hero or heroine pop up in the previous book and usually knew whose story was coming next. Luke, Jack, and Granger came really easy for me in books 4, 5, and 6. I didn’t really see Chase Lewis coming until book 7, but I wish I had. I would have liked to have teased my small-town veterinarian throughout the series, but hindsight is 20/20, right? I would say that Sophie Daniels in book 7 caught me by surprise too. She was in all the books, but I didn’t know her story until I sat down to write it. I had no idea that she had lived through a near-death experience or that there was so much depth to her. I found her story very rewarding and that was a great way for me to end the series.
I love that you typically write dual POV with a male and female character — What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I actually don’t find it very hard to write the opposite sex at all. The male POV is very different from the female POV though. The hero’s feelings are relayed primarily through internal thoughts whereas the heroine can think about her feelings and discuss them with her best friend at length. It’s easy to relay what’s going on with the heroine on the page, but the hero isn’t typically as open with what’s going on with his heart. So the challenge is showing how the hero is feeling through his actions.
Of all of your Sweetwater Springs titles, which was your favorite to write?
I think my answer to this question changes depending on the day. I really loved writing all of the books for very different reasons. I really enjoyed writing Sunshine on Silver Lake because Jack Hershey was such a charmer. He charmed me the whole time I was writing his character and I wanted so much for him to win Emma St. James back. I loved Halona and Alex’s story too. That might be a close second for me.
What can you tell us about your upcoming series? I cannot wait to read it!
My Somerset Lake series is also set in the mountain of North Carolina. I drew inspiration from Lake Lure, NC which is where Dirty Dancing was filmed. Somerset Lake is a small lakeside town full of quirky characters, nosy neighbors, and fun hotspots that I hope readers will want to return to over and over again just like they did in Sweetwater Springs. It’s a place of homecomings, second chances, new beginnings, and happily ever afters. The heroine of the first book in the series is actually a character from Sweetwater Springs so it’s a spinoff series in that respect.
What are you reading right now?
I’m going back and forth between listening to Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center and Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim on Audible.
Who are some authors that have inspired you in your journey as an author?
Raeanne Thayne, Jill Shalvis, and Nora Roberts. In my early days of writing, I couldn’t get enough of Danielle Steele, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Nicholas Sparks.
A huge thank you to Forever Publishing for allowing me to read and review Annie’s latest book, Reunited on Dragonfly Lane in preparation for this Q&A – I have LOVED the Sweetwater Springs series! Head over to my review, and watch on Instagram for an upcoming giveaway!