Running Back to You:
Juliette Fletcher is a girl with a plan. Not one to sit back and wait for life to happen, she moves back home after graduation and begins to carve out a life for herself.
Evan McGuire is desperate for a fresh start. His career in the NFL depends on it. Years of partying and carefree living have caught up with him. After buying a beach house in need of renovations, he begins to rebuild his life and his reputation.
What Evan doesn’t expect is a chance meeting with Juliette out on an early morning beach run with her dog. A strong mutual attraction draws them together, but fear of scaring her away keeps Evan from revealing his true identity. Evan finds himself in an unfamiliar situation – forced to work harder than he ever has before to prove himself worthy of her affections.
Tragic misunderstandings and unexpected obstacles threaten to derail a fragile relationship. Someone is watching, waiting, and tormenting Juliette, desperate to destroy everything. Can they find the strength to overcome jealousy, insecurity, and fear before it’s too late?
Running Home to You:
Running Home to You: continues the journey of Juliette and Evan that began in “Running Back to You”.
Juliette Fletcher thought she had it all – a strikingly handsome man who adores her, a new business venture with her best friends by her side, and a dream house right on the beach. But appearances can be deceiving and everything comes at a cost.
Evan McGuire has just survived a vicious attack that almost ended his professional football career. He’s on the mends now, trying to piece his life back together again, and build a life with Juliette.
But Evan’s erratic behavior has Juliette worried. She must figure out how to save her struggling restaurant, her fragile friendships, and her now unhealthy relationship with the man she loves. Juliette and Evan find that they’ve placed their trust in the wrong people and the price they pay for that mistake may ultimately cost them everything.
Running Home to You is the second book in the Running Series.
- Where did you get the idea for the novel?
I love to read, particularly books in a series so I can watch the characters develop and grow over time. Many of my favorite books are set in places like Seattle, Seaport, and Manhattan. Thanks to some of those great writers, the setting became just as important as the characters.
As a proud resident of the Jersey Shore, I knew that my hometown would be the perfect setting for an amazing romance novel. I grew up on the beach and have often fantasized about the lives of the fortunate few who live in the beautiful beach homes that span the shore.
We have always had the occasional celebrity buy homes in our community. We are a short drive from Manhattan, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City. My mind was made up, and all that was left for me to do was to develop the characters that would live here.
- Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?
The title changed many times over. As I was researching some football terminology, I noticed the term "Running Back" and thought it would make an interesting turn of phrase. The more I played with it, the more I realized the potential for simple word play that would enable title changes. I was more than halfway through with the book when I finally found the title I wanted to keep.
- Why did you pick this genre? What do you like about it?
I go through periods of time where I consume books of a certain genre. Since the popularity of FSOG, I have been lost in the world of Romance and Coming of Age. Although many years separate me from my main character, that time of life between the end of youth and the start of adult life and responsibilities is one that we can all relate to.
- Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
I had a reviewer compare my writing to Nicholas Sparks once. I was floored. I don't necessarily think that my stories will ever rise to the level of popularity as his, I think it was more of a remark about how we both idealize our community and make the setting nearly as important as the people who live in it.
- What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
Amy Bartol and the Premonition Series. I like to delve into different genres and this hybrid of Paranormal-Young Adult-Romance-Action-Adventure is engaging and beautifully written. Perhaps it is the popularity of the Hunger Games and Divergent, but I now find myself in the middle of another Young Adult action/adventure series and I cannot seem to get enough of it.
- What is your writing process?
I write at home in any quiet spot I can find. I might grab my MacBook and barricade myself in a bedroom. If I'm lucky enough that the house is empty, I might curl up on the couch with my laptop on my lap. When I write, I have three specific requirements: (1) isolation; (2) comfy chair; (3) movie with a good soundtrack playing. As I write, I am very structured. I will write, read, revise, and rewrite a chapter over and over until I'm pleased. I cannot move on until I feel it's right.
Before the first word is written, I plot and plan meticulously, taking pages and pages of notes and combing through the notes from my previous books. But once I begin, a lot of my ideas get thrown out the window. Some of my best ideas are the ones that come spontaneously.
- At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say?
I am a full time elementary school teacher. Traveling to promote my book is not an option for me at this time. Perhaps in the future that will change, but for now, I have to fantasize about what it would be like to actually meet some of my readers.
- What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I cannot find a publisher or literary agent willing to work with me. It's much harder than I ever imagined. I'm sure there is a critical piece that I am missing when I send out my requests, but I'm not quite sure what that is. I'm hoping that someday, I will make that meaningful connection, but until then, I'll remain an Indie Author struggling to find my audience.
- How do you react to a bad review?
If it's a review from a Beta reader or an ARC reviewer, I take it very seriously. I send pre-published copies and early editions to no less than fifty people in total. It's never too late to make changes. Their insights were invaluable to me and more often than not, I will make all or most of the changes they recommend.
Once the book is published, I stop reading. I keep track of the average scoring and individual rating, but I try not to read the actual reviews. I know that I cannot be all things to all people, so there's really no sense in even trying. I know I've made the book the best it can be within my own limitations as an Indie writer, so I try not to torture myself.
However, I still get letters from readers and I make sure to read and respond to each and every one. I must say that the readers who take their time to write to me usually have very kind words and it's a thrill to hear when something I worked so hard on connects with people and brings them some enjoyment.
- How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I celebrated each and every sale cautiously. I still find it hard to believe that my little book, without the backing and support of a publisher or agent, sells as well as it does. My first real celebration was when I made the top one hundred list for its genre on Amazon. I took my family out to dinner to celebrate.
What I've also done is to take screen shots of the first unsolicited reviews that were posted online. I plan on framing them and hanging them in my home office. I don't have a home office yet, but one day, when I'm an empty nester, I will get my chance.
Wanting to know a little bit more about him, I press on. “I don’t mean to pry, but I was just wondering … do you live here? I mean, is this your house? Is there anyone who might walk in and have a problem with me sitting here right now? A wife? Girlfriend? Boyfriend?”
He chokes on his water and spits it out. I guess he’s never been asked that before.
“Wow, you get right to it, don’t you? No, Juliette, I live here alone, most of the time, anyway.” Another cryptic response that I’ll leave alone for the time being.
He hands me a fresh bottle of water.
“How about you? Anyone special in your life right now?” He folds his hands in his lap and I can’t help but notice they’re the exact type of hands I love: large, strong, and manly.
“No. It’s just Maddy and me against the world. She watches my back and I scratch hers.” It’s my lame attempt at humor. Absentmindedly, I start twirling my fingers through my ponytail.
He has a one-word response, “Interesting.” I’m perplexed.
I attempt to change the subject, “I think it’s time to take off the ice. Didn’t you say fifteen-minutes on and fifteen-minutes off?”
Evan checks his watch and agrees, “Yeah, let me check it. I want to make sure it’s not swelling up.” He tenderly removes the compression bandage and the ice. When his hand makes contact with my skin, something inside me awakens and I have to catch my breath.
He quickly removes his hand from my leg and walks away from me, over to the banister, gazing at the beach as the waves break on the shore. His back is to me and I take the opportunity to admire his physique without fear of being caught. His biceps are impressive. I can see them contract as he grasps the deck railing. I wonder why he pulled away like that.
“Hey, Evan, can I ask you a question?”
“Well, do you really own this place? It’s truly impressive. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never met anyone who lives in one of these homes. How can someone so young afford a place like this? I mean, I can barely make my rent and here you are in this huge beach house.”
There’s a moment of silence, like he’s considering my question and measuring his response. He’s still not looking at me.
“I’ve bought and sold a few houses over the past several years. Each one gave me a small profit, which I used to purchase the next one. My last house was in Houston and I flipped it for a very nice profit.”
“So, are you planning on selling this one soon? It looks like it’s almost done.” I’m hoping he says no.
“I haven’t decided yet. I’m starting to like it here. It looks promising.” He turns and stares right at me, “Very promising.”
Suzanne Sweeney is a graduate of Georgian Court University where she studied Elementary Education and Sociology. For some time now, she has been sharing her love of literature with the young minds who sit before her in class each and every day. After years of teaching the art of writing, Suzanne has finally taken her own advice and put pen to paper in order to produce her debut novel, Running Back to You. She writes what she lives, residing in the community she loves, Point Pleasant, with her family who provide a constant source of inspiration and support.
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