Someplace good, she realized as she crawled into bed. A holiday festival was bound to lure people to town. Who didn’t like fairs and festivals, especially holiday ones? She could see it now—the storefronts all lit up with multicolored lights, trees in the restaurants decorated with glittery shells and little lighthouses and mermaids, amusement rides and cotton candy and hot chocolate down at the pier, a live Nativity scene in front of one of the churches. And a Christmas parade with Santa bringing up the rear for a grand finale.

You had to include Santa. In fact, the jolly old guy was such a draw, maybe they could include his name in the festival. Sandy Claus? No, that was too close to Sandy Claws, the pet goodies shop. Santa in the Sand? That sounded like he’d gotten his sleigh stuck. Santa at Sea. Sea, seaside… Seaside with Santa! Oh, that had a nice ring to it. Come to Moonlight Harbor and experience the Seaside with Santa Festival. Waves of fun!

Wow, was she brilliant.”

–From Winter at the Beach by Sheila Roberts

USA Today best-selling author Sheila Roberts has seen over fifty books, both fiction and non-fiction in print. Her novels have appeared in many different languages and been made into movies for both the Lifetime and Hallmark Channels. She writes about things near and dear to women’s hearts – love, friendship, family and chocolate.

Book Description:

Jenna Jones, manager of the Driftwood Inn, a vintage motel in the Washington beach town of Moonlight Harbor, is convinced that a winter festival would be a great way to draw visitors (and tourist business) to town during those off-season months. Everyone in the local chamber of commerce is on board with her Seaside with Santa festival idea except one naysayer, local sour lemon, Susan Frank, who owns a women’s clothing boutique in town. The beach gets hit with storms in the winter, no one will come, too close to Christmas. Blah, blah. What does Susan know?

It turns out that Susan knows a lot. A big storm hits during the weekend of the festival, wreaking havoc with the parade and producing power outages all over town. Including at the Driftwood Inn.

Jenna finds herself with a motel filled with people, all with no power. What to do? Enlist the help of friends, of course. Her friends take in many of the stranded visitors, and Jenna and her Aunt Edie take in the others, stuffing them into Aunt Edie’s house next door to the Driftwood.

All the guests come with their own unique stories. The last thing Taylor Marsh wanted was a getaway with her husband. His refusal to give up on his dying business is taking them down financially and killing their marriage. But her sister Sarah (she who has her financial act together and never lets her sister forget it) insists this will be fun for both their families. It will only be fun for Taylor if her husband gets eaten by a giant squid. Then there’s Darrel Wilson, who planned the perfect anniversary getaway for his wife, who’s been undergoing chemo. So much for the perfect anniversary. And the sisters, Lisa and Karen, who can’t seem to go on a sister outing without it turning into a Lucy and Ethel adventure. Unlikely roommates, all of them. But perhaps each one has a valuable lesson to share with the others. And perhaps, what looked like a disaster will prove to be the best holiday adventure of all.

Interview:

Welcome to Blogger News Network, Sheila.  We are so excited about your second book in the Moonlight Harbor series. Winter at the Beach  is looking like it’s going to be just as exciting as Welcome to Moonlight Harbor. Are the same characters in this book that were in your first book of the series? If no, can you tell us about them? If yes, can you refresh everyone’s memory of who is in it?

Sheila: Yes, you will be spending time with characters from the first book once more: Jenna Jones, who runs the Driftwood Inn, her Aunt Edie and Pete the mooching handyman as well as good old Jolly Roger the parrot. Jenna’s sister will be on hand, too, to help with winter disasters. But you’ll also meet some new people who are about to share some bonding experiences at the beach when Jenna’s well-laid plans go awry.

Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?

Sheila: Oh, my. That’s a hard question to answer. I hope my writing voice has improved and I hope I’ve managed to achieve more depth in my stories right along with the humor.

Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?

Sheila: I edit my own work but, thankfully, I also have the editor and copy editor at my publishing house to watch over me. I’m not always good with details, and when you’re building a town it’s easy to lose track of things. Even with people helping I know stuff falls through the cracks sometimes. We do the best we can and hope readers will enjoy the stories no matter what.

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

Sheila: I know I’m initially drawn to a great cover. Of course, we all have a different definition of what a great cover looks like. I think my publisher has done a wonderful job with mine. Of course, in the long run I think it’s the story that brings readers back for the next book.

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

Sheila: I never thought that far ahead. But I can tell you this, I was already writing stories when I was in grade school.

Do your novels carry a message?

Sheila: I think, often there is a message underlying every story. The specifics may vary, but I think the basic message is “Don’t give up. Hang in there and keep working toward your happy ending.”

Is there anything you’d like to tell your fans?

Sheila: I appreciate you all. So much.

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