Happy Monday, Reader Friends!
Please welcome Belle Calhoune to the blog today.
She’s here to talk about her book, Adored.
About the Book:
This series centers around seven brothers and one sister raised by Penelope and Jude Donahue in the idyllic Florida seaside town of Pelican Bay. A blended family of adopted and biological siblings, the Donahue clan always have each other’s backs as they face life’s challenges and search for love. A spin-off of the Cape Cod Donahue brothers, the Pelican Bay clan are their southern cousins.
Caleb Donahue is a chef who has recently achieved his life’s dream of opening his own bistro, The Blue Bayou. Adopted by the Donahue family of Pelican Bay, Caleb’s past is a bit murky. He’s stuffed down the memories of his biological mother and the circumstances leading to his adoption by the Donahue family.
Addie Fontaine steps into his life when he least expects it. Daughter of a wealthy businessman, Sebastian Fontaine, Addie is attempting to prove herself to her father by making inroads in the business world. When her father gives her his partnership in the Blue Bayou, Addie ends up working side by side with Caleb. Addie is determined to step up and live her life out loud, while Caleb is determined to make his bistro a success.
When love comes calling, will Addie and Caleb be able to reach out for the love of a lifetime?
Book purchase link: Amazon
About the Author:
Belle Calhoune grew up in a small town in Massachusetts as one of five children. Although her mother was a doctor and her father a biologist, Belle never gravitated toward science. Growing up across the street from a public library was a huge influence on her life and fueled her love of romance novels. Belle is the author of nine Harlequin Love Inspired novels with a tenth hitting the shelves in March of 2018. She has Indie published the popular and best-selling inspirational romance series, Seven Brides, Seven Brothers. The Secrets of Savannah and Pelican Bay are both spin-offs of her debut series. Belle loves writing romance and crafting happily-ever-afters. When she’s not wrangling her two high maintenance dogs or spending time with her husband and two daughters, Belle enjoys travel and exploring new places.
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Interview with Belle Calhoune about her book, Adored:
Alexis: What inspired you to write this book?
Belle: I have been writing about children adopted through the foster care system for several years now. This series is a spin-off of my original “Seven Brides, Seven Brothers” series where all seven children were adopted from foster care. With Adored, I wanted to create a love story between two people who came from vastly different backgrounds and experiences, yet both yearned for a soft place to fall. The desire to love and be loved is universal.
Alexis: What is the significance of your book’s title “Adored”?
Belle: To be honest, I love the idea of two people adoring one another. Adored is such a powerful state of being. To be adored! I also love the Prince song “Adore” so that sentiment of being so richly loved resonated with me. And I think it resonated with Caleb and Addie.
Alexis: Paint of picture of this story’s setting (Pelican Bay) with words.
Belle: Pelican Bay is a small, seaside town in beautiful, sunny Florida. Known for sunsets, dolphin sightings, and stunning vistas, Pelican Bay is a little bit of paradise.
Alexis: Describe the ethnic and racial makeup of your hero Caleb and your heroine Addie.
Belle: Both Caleb and Addie are African-American.
Alexis: What is about Caleb that makes him the perfect hero for this story?
Belle: Despite his difficult origins, Caleb has a huge heart. He views the world through an optimistic lens and he has a lot of love to bestow on a woman. He is dependable and loyal, loving and strong.
Alexis: What is it about Addie that makes her a good heroine in this story?
Belle: Addie, much like Caleb, has suffered huge losses in her life, particularly the death of her twin sister, Tabitha. Despite that tremendous loss, Addie never gives up on the idea of her own personal happy ending. She lives each day with hope and an open heart.
Alexis: What draws Caleb and Addie to each other?
Belle: They are thrust together for work purposes, but soon find that there is an attraction neither anticipated. Although their backgrounds are very different, they are very similar in what they want for their lives. Faith. Family. Forever.
Alexis: How—and when—do Caleb and Addie they realize that they’re the perfect romantic match?
Belle: I think it’s a gradual realization. For Caleb, Addie is a source of support and she provides him with immeasurable companionship as he unravels the mystery of his past. For Addie, Caleb is the person who helps her grow and change, both emotionally and with regards to stepping outside of her comfort zone. I think both realize that their lives are better with each other in it. At that moment, they know it’s love.
Alexis: Did you research bistros to write this story? I see that the main focus is on Caleb who is a chef and business owner of a bistro. So if you visited bistros, please share details.
Belle: Because I live an hour outside of New York City, I have the good fortune of being able to visit the city often. They have the most wonderful bistros there. I have also been fortunate to travel to Paris on two occasions. Paris has very unique and delightful bistros that offer the most wonderful food in the world.
Alexis: What role does race play in this story…or does it?
Belle: It doesn’t really, other than I enjoy portraying diverse characters as I experience them in real life. Addie is the daughter of a successful businessman while Caleb was adopted into a very loving and warm family. His birth mother loved him tremendously but circumstances were not kind to them. I strive to portray my diverse characters as intelligent, hard-working, God-fearing people who love with all their heart and soul.
Alexis: Do you think that we need more stories like yours in the Christian book markets, stories that feature diverse characters? Why or why not?
Belle: I absolutely think that the Christian market is lacking in diverse characters and stories. The market should reflect the world we inhabit, and sadly, that is not the case at the moment. Diverse authors have so much to give to this genre and they should be afforded the opportunity to shine and tell their stories. It’s 2017 and we still need diverse books.
Alexis: Do you write about your personal experiences related to what you’ve experienced as a woman writer of color, in your stories? Why or why not?
Belle: I have been very fortunate as a writer of color. I have wonderful fans and my stories have been embraced by my wonderful readership. I have written about things that have happened to me as a person of color. When I was a child my family lived in a predominantly white town in Massachusetts. We were one of the first, if not the first, families of African American descent to live there. There were racist incidents against my family, which was devastating since my parents were such loving, hard-working professional people. Several boys racially harassed me in my class for years. It was very scary as a child who had no way to fight back against prejudice. I wrote about this in one of my books in the Secrets of Savannah series. My heroine was able to face her tormentor as an adult. It felt cathartic since I have never been able to do that.
Alexis: How would you describe your view of the world and do you write your characters according to that view? Or do you create them based on imagination or watching people in real-life?
Belle: As writers, I think we always inject ourselves into our works. It’s impossible not to. I believe that we are all humans and it doesn’t matter what color or race we are. People are people. Love is love. God made us all and His command is to love one another. I think I inject that philosophy into all of my novels.
Alexis: What would you say was the most difficult part of writing this story? Explain.
Belle: I tend to get very emotional about my prologues. The reality is that kids end up in foster care for very sad and tragic reasons, whether it’s neglect, drug abuse, abandonment or other reasons. I can’t shy away from it. But when I actually do the prologue and place the child in the scenario it hurts. I have a very tender heart, so it’s not easy. But readers do love the prologues because they get a glimpse into the background of the now adult characters. It makes the readers love the character even more because their journey has been so epic.
Alexis: If you could do dinner with Caleb and Addie at the bistro, what would you order and what would be the focus of your conversation?
Belle: I would love to hear both Caleb and Addie discuss their childhoods. Caleb has the memories of his biological mother that he has repressed for many years, but he also has the memories of his adoptive family, the Donahues. Addie has been raised in luxury, but her parents went through a painful divorce and she lost her twin sister. I would like to hear them talk about these life-altering moments. And I would order a French sandwich, Croque-Monsieur with a side of grilled Kale. I would order sparkling water and chocolate mousse for dessert.
Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Belle! Do you have any closing comments?
Belle: Thank you for inviting me to be your guest. The questions were very thought-provoking and interesting. Blessings.
*Interviewed by Alexis A. Goring