Monday 10 April 2023

The Story Behind the Story with Barb Curtis of New Brunswick, Canada.


Let’s welcome another author from our province.

Barb has agreed to tell us about her novels.


Read on, my friends.




A happily-ever-after-crafter at heart, Barb Curtis’ love for writing began with a quick-witted style column, and her background in marketing led to stints writing print and web copy, newsletters, and grant proposals. The switch to fiction came with the decision to pair her creativity with her love for words, and crafting characters and settings she could truly get lost in. Barb lives in rural New Brunswick with her husband, daughter, and dog. You’ll find her restoring the family homestead, weeding the garden, and whistling the same song all day long.


The Sapphire Springs Series:

Forever With You – Book 1

Only For You – Book 2

Falling For You – Book 3



Synopsis / Back Cover Copy  


Forever With You


Jay Wynter wants to be successful on his own merit. That's why he left Sapphire Springs and his family's winery to build a career from scratch. But now that he's successor to Wynter Estate, Jay must return to his small hometown to face everything, and everyone, he left behind-especially his high school sweetheart, who happens to be his stunning new business partner . . .

Leyna Milan knows family legacies come with strings attached, but she's determined to prove that she can run her family's restaurant. Of course, Leyna never expected that honoring her grandfather's wishes meant opening a second location on her ex's property-or having to ignore Jay's sexy grin and guard the heart he shattered years before. But as they work closely together, she begins to discover that maybe first loves deserve a second chance . . .


Only For You


After having his heart broken on national television, Tim Fraser knows only one way to stop the gossip about his love life-a new girlfriend. The problem is, he's done with romance forever. A fake relationship with his friend and Sapphire Spring's sweetest baker, Emily Holland, seems the perfect solution to getting rid of his newfound fame, but their fleeting fauxmance is stirring up the kinds of feelings Tim has sworn off for good.

Emily has secretly lusted after Tim for years, but pretending her feelings are all for show never factored into her fantasy. Still, her decades-long crush makes it impossible to say no to Tim's proposal. But with each date, the lines between pretend and reality blur, giving Tim and Emily a tantalizing taste of life outside the friend zone . . . if they can find the courage to give real love a chance.


Falling For You


Just when recently evicted yoga instructor Faith Rotolo thinks her luck has run out, she inherits a historic mansion in quaint Sapphire Springs. Though Faith never imagined putting roots down anywhere, small-town life is growing on her, as is her fixer-upper house. If only her handsome new contractor, Rob Milan, would stop spoiling her daydreams with the realities of a major rehab…and his generally grouchy vibes.

A single dad of two, Rob doesn’t have much time for fantasy wish-list ideas his clients can’t afford. Then again, Faith’s creative energy might be exactly what he needs right now. But while Rob and Faith work to give her home the second chance it deserves, their spirited clashes wind up sparking a powerful attraction. As work nears completion, and Faith’s house becomes the shining jewel of the neighborhood, will she and Rob realize that they deserve a fresh start too?


Story Behind The Story


I wrote the Sapphire Springs series because they’re the types of books I like to read in order to escape, be it from the bad news in the world, or simply the rat race most of us struggle with on a daily basis. I take comfort in reading and writing Happily Ever Afters, because no matter how much conflict is happening in the story, you can rest assured, knowing the ending won’t disappoint. I’m also a sucker for a good Hallmark movie, and was aiming for that same level of coziness, but with characters a little more relatable to me, in that they might mutter the occasional curse word, drink too much on a Friday night, or (gasp!) kiss before the credits roll.








A question for you before you go, Barb:


Music or Quiet?

Music is a big part of my writing process. I create playlists for each book – not necessarily sound tracks, per se, but songs that inspire certain chapters or scenes. I love putting on a pair of headphones and losing myself in the story. I find it hard to concentrate while listening to music with lyrics though, because before I know it, the inner rock star comes out and I’m singing along, forgetting all about what I’m supposed to be writing. What works best for me is listening to instrumental jazz, because it meets the criteria of music that I love, but that doesn’t distract.



Excerpt of Falling For You (Sapphire Springs Book 3)




Two months was a long time to be off the grid.

An eviction notice clung to Faith Rotolo’s apartment door by a grimy piece of scotch tape and her key no longer fit the lock.

Her heart rate surged as she dug around her purse for her cell so she could call Nick—the friend of a friend whose apartment she’d been staying at before she went to Fiji. Her fingers clasped around the phone. She pulled it out and pressed a button.


“Ugh.” Just great. She spun on her heel to race back downstairs, where her car took up the better part of two parking spots.

Settling behind the wheel, she plugged her phone in to the charger, patiently waiting for it to come to life while the air conditioning washed over her, a respite from the mid-August heat. To her horror, it vibrated with notifications and incoming messages for what seemed like eternity.

A hundred and three emails?  She glanced at the parking meter. The handful of coins she’d shoved into the slot before heading upstairs would only buy her another couple of minutes, and notifications were still pouring in.

She scrolled through her mailbox quickly. Junk mostly, save the occasional email from her father. And then lo and behold, she found the answer she’d been looking for: Nick had sent a brief message a month ago. He’d skipped out on the rent—took off to go on tour with his band. She’d need to find a new place to stay when she got back.

“Ugh, Nick, you flake.” Faith glared upward past the lush elm tree toward the bare second level windows. Thank God everything she owned lived in a storage locker in North Buffalo. She drummed the pads of her fingers to her chin. It’d be impossible to find another apartment with the influx of students arriving to begin the fall semester in a couple of weeks. Either she moved into a hotel until she found a place or she crashed at her father and stepmother’s house.

A hotel might be more welcoming.

She moved on to missed calls and voicemails. Some lady named Maureen Carver, a lawyer in Sapphire Springs, had left a message asking if Faith could please contact her. Then there were two more, the urgency factor escalating in each one.

Hmm. Faith tapped her foot and pinched her bottom lip. Her mom had grown up in Sapphire Springs, but other than that, she knew very little about the place. The town had barely been spoken of in the twenty-three years since the accident that claimed her mother’s life.

What would a lawyer want with her?

Curiosity won out and had her clicking on the lawyer’s phone number instead of looking for a hotel. Her heart rate quickened with each ring.

Surely she wasn’t being sued for a yoga injury. She’d made people sign waivers.

Oh! She’d bumped that car a few months back. Nudged it, really—didn’t even leave a mark, and she’d left an apology note with her phone number so they could call her directly. Couldn’t be that.

“Maureen Carver.”

Spoken like a woman who meant business.

Faith drew in deep breath before speaking. “Good morning, Ms. Carver. This is Faith Rotolo. My apologies for the delay in responding to your messages. I’ve been out of the country a couple of months.” That sounded half-assed professional, if she did say so herself.

The cheeky gerbera daisy on her dusty dashboard bobbed back and forth before Maureen broke into a hearty laugh that continued for several seconds.

Faith Rotolo. Well I’ll be damned. I thought you flew the coop, girl.”

The friendly tone had Faith’s shoulders relaxing. “Sorry about that. I’ve been in Fiji teaching a yoga retreat. Cell phones weren’t permitted.”

“Two months without a cell phone? Sign me up.” Maureen spoke over shuffling papers and ringing phones. “In all seriousness though, you became a bit of a fixation for me. I placed bets with the girls at the office over whether you really existed. I even searched for you on social media.”

Seriously? A lawyer creeping her Instagram?

Maureen continued. “Even your father’s receptionist didn’t return my calls. My imagination went wild. Nobody in your life seemed alarmed over where you disappeared to. I actually debated filing a police report.”

Okay, if she was dead in a ditch, somebody would miss her, wouldn’t they? Her father probably would if he took time out of his busy schedule to notice.


 Maureen gave a hearty laugh. “Anyway, all that to say that I’m relieved to hear a voice on the other end of the line. You’re probably busy catching up on personal business, so I’ll get right to the point. Would you be able to come to my office in Sapphire Springs for a meeting?”

Faith drew in a breath. Sapphire Springs had been all but off-limits since the accident. She’d never been back since. Dad either, as far as she knew. The town held too much sadness.

Her eyes travelled past the blinking light on the expired meter, and scaled the low-rise brick building. “I guess so… I mean—”

“I can come to you, if that’s easier,” Maureen persisted.

And meet where, exactly? The back alley where she’d soon be living amongst pigeons and stray cats? A black car pulled up beside Faith’s lime green Volkswagon Beetle. The driver laid on the horn and gestured to her parking. Before he sped off, he flipped her the finger.

She shrunk a little in her seat and eyed the meter reader turning the corner onto her street. What prevented her from meeting Maureen other than this prickling dread over visiting the town where her mom had grown up and being hit with painful memories? She didn’t have kids to think about, or a boyfriend to check in with. Not even a cat for crying out loud. “No, I guess I could come to Sapphire Springs. I can be there this afternoon.”



Thank you, Barb, for being our guest this week. Wishing you continued success with your stories.




And thanks to our visitors and readers.

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