Hi, Isabelle, so glad to have you here today. Congratulations on your release! Tell us a little about The Bartender’s Daughter. What inspired this story?
The Bartender’s Daughter is my debut contemporary romance. It is set in a fictionalized town on the coast of Rhode Island, very much like the area I grew up in.
Like all of my books, The Bartender’s Daughter started with one little scene. I saw a woman standing at her father’s memorial gathering. Two things struck me about it. The first was the location. She was in a crowded bar, with music blasting from a beat up jukebox. Secondly, there was a man she kept avoiding but couldn’t seem to take her eyes off of. She loathed him and that kind of anger and hate had to have its start in love. From there, Lee and Sam’s story grew.
Big city transplant, Sam Pierce, returned home to Oldport, Rhode Island for a brief visit after her father’s death. Unexpectedly inheriting half of his bar has her confronting the past and the mistakes she left behind when she ran away two years ago.
Lee Stone, former rich boy has transformed himself into a successful business owner. His latest acquisition is more than just another business to add to his portfolio. A chance at redemption and a final reckoning with his estranged wife is on the line. All he has to do is convince Sam that there’s more to him than the weight of his wallet or the lies in their past.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love when the story is a rush of images and words. It’s a real high getting to know these people and finding out their past and where their future is headed. It’s very similar to the feeling of reading a really great book and you want to talk to someone else about it. The editing and fine-tuning is the hard part and my least-favorite.
What did you learn from writing your first book or what do you wish you’d known before becoming published?
I wish I trusted my gut more and focused on enjoying the process. I definitely get wrapped up in trying to learn at every possible moment. There’s nothing wrong with that…unless it takes some of the joy away. You can’t let that happen.
Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?
Any time I can do it peacefully. With three children, especially with a 2-year-old that’s home with me all day, I don’t have the option to write when it’s best for me. If I had my choice I’d write from 8-4 every day. For now, I catch a few hours early in the morning and a bit more during naptime in the afternoon.
How do you balance writing and everyday life?
I don’t. It’s a constant see saw. There comes a time when my children need me and I can’t write. I can’t be frustrated when my writing time shrinks. I’ve chosen to be a stay-at-home mom and that means that job comes first. On the plus side, being home gives me little moments of time to write. Yes, I have over-boiled water on the stove to nothingness because I was writing and don’t ask me how many pieces of toast I’ve burned. Another plus, when I sold my latest book, I had three children jumping and screaming with me. Priceless!
What do you like to read?
I love almost every type of book and at some time or another I’ve glommed various genres. Of course, my true love is Romance. I love every facet of it, including SFR, Fantasy, Romantic Suspense, and Contemporary.
Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
My mom was the first to teach me that books are our friends. We were never allowed to bend the cover back or dog-ear pages. To this day, I still can’t stand to see a broken binding. I learned to read early in Montessori school and I’ve never looked back. Thankfully I married a man who completely gets me and is as voracious a reader.
These are few of my favorite things:
1. My family
2. My pens
3. All other office supplies
And now Isabelle has a question for you all: I love reading and writing stories about second chances. There’s not much I would change about where I’m at but if I had one opportunity to go back, I’d stress less and enjoy the moment a bit more. What is the one thing you wished you’d have a second shot at?
“I should have known I’d find you outside hiding.”
Two years and he still had the power to send her mind and body reeling. His voice was too smooth, too calm for the storm about to break loose inside her.
She knew she would have to speak to him eventually. He was the son Ray Pierce had always wanted and one of the last people she wanted to see today.
No need to reply. He wasn’t entitled to explanations.
“Lee.” Even his name caused her stomach to churn. There was a time it meant so much more. Now it just brought memories of disappointment and disillusionment.
One word from him and she was pushing back her shoulders and notching up her chin.
Grief could be controlled but anger had a way of rising to the top. She pulled herself back as heat invaded her face. If she could deal with seeing her biggest mistake two months ago at her father’s small funeral, she could deal with him now.
She looked down at her lap and smoothed out the little folds in the fabric. She tried to pull herself together but a few seconds of delay could never prepare her for the onslaught of Lee’s icy blue stare. Quiet and observant. Two of the reasons she had loved him so much. Of course, she’d also thought of him as trustworthy and reliable. Sam had been wrong, very wrong about him.
She drew in a breath and tilted her head up at him. He looked different but so much the same. His eyes scrutinized her as they roamed over the black dress. His brown hair was longer than the crew cut he once wore. One lock fell over his forehead, giving him a tousled, just out of bed look, contradicting the black suit he wore. He was too comfortable, too much the man-in-control, for a bartender attending his boss’ memorial. Like she had for the last two years, she wondered what he’d been doing with his life.
“Your sister was asking for you. Are you coming back in or should I tell her that you’ve decided to leave?”
“I’m coming. Just needed some fresh air.” And there she was explaining herself to him. She stood but the hem of the black jersey dress caught on the wooden bench. She attempted to unhook the pull without damaging it further. The dress was a loan from her roommate’s closet and worth more than two weeks of her pay.
“No one cares about the way you look, Sam. They’re here to honor your father.”
The words hit her with another rush of anger. He had no reason to take that tone with her. “Funny how you’re worried about honoring my father now. Didn’t seem to be a concern of yours while he was still living.”
His hand reached out and grabbed her elbow, pulling her close. “This is not the time, Sam.” He nodded toward a group of people heading their way.
More people here to honor her father or drink a few free beers. Either way, she had no plans on being the evening’s entertainment. She bit back a curse. She hadn’t come home to her father’s memorial to embarrass herself or his memory.
Sam took a step to the side and shrugged off his grip, giving the group room to enter the front door. That one step brought her too close to Lee. She kept herself rigid and hoped she only imagined the heat of his body against her side. He’d still have the power to make her burn if she let him.
As the door slammed behind them, Sam turned back to Lee. “I don’t need you to tell me how to act. Just leave me alone and we won’t have to talk again before I leave.”
“Oh, Sam. It’s not going to be that easy.” He let go of her arm and she took the opportunity to return to the receiving line and away from him.
You can find The Bartender’s Daughter at:
Bio: Isabelle Flynn grew up in a small town off the coast of New England. Returning back to the shore after several years of trailing her husband around the world, she’s finally back where she belongs…within view of Cape Cod Bay and only a short walk to the beach. When not writing happily-ever-afters, Isabelle is living her own with a real life superhero and their three children. You can learn more about her at http://www.isabelleflynn.com
You can find Isabelle at: