Welcome back, Hillary. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I like to write the sorts of books I prefer to read – fiction, for starters, but also stories of women navigating their lives, sorting out issues of faith and family, and eating really great food.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Marrying my husband was pretty great. I was anxious all day, getting ready and doing the photos, but the minute I walked down the aisle and saw Danny on the other end, my brain flipped and I loved every second. My favorite people were there, and Danny was there, and I had a really great dress on, and we were getting married while listening to our favorite music – such a wonderful day.
How has being published changed your life?
So many ways, but one of my favorites is how it’s connected me to authors all over the country. My husband and I travel quite a lot, and it’s fun knowing that wherever his job – or mine – sends us, there’s often another author in that area to connect with over coffee.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading the Advanced Readers Copy for Carla Laureano’s new novel London Tides – so ready to make a trip to
What would be your dream vacation?
A tour of European castles, preferably spread over a couple of months.
How do you choose your settings for each book?
The setting depends on the book. In my first two novels, I needed a place in
where you could, conceivably, find an Amish population. I love setting stories
because it’s been my home for most of my life, so I can really allow the
characters to exist in their surroundings. With the Two Blue Doors Series, I
knew that I wanted to have a story set in a thriving restaurant scene – I never
considered setting it anywhere but Portland.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Anne Lamott – I love the way she looks at life, faith, and writing.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Photography and cooking, though the cooking has been less of a hobby and more of a job while writing the Two Blue Doors books. I’ve done a lot of the promotional graphic design for the series, which I’ve enjoyed. I like to make pretty things – whether it’s using a computer, knitting needles, or jewelry pliers.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Recognizing writer’s block when it’s happening can be hard for me. I’ll be struggling without realizing how hard I’m struggling. Once I figure it out, I can step away and untangle whatever’s giving me pause, usually a sticky plot point or getting to a section that needs to be outlined in better detail.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Place a high value on self-care. It’s easy, when you’re on contract, to throw everything into each book. But writing is sneakily tough, emotionally, physically, and often spiritually. It’s important to exercise, get fresh air, see friends, to eat nutritiously. It can be hard to leave your writing hobbit hole behind, but keeping your body healthy will keep your mind limber and the ideas flowing.
Tell us about the featured book.
Reservations for Two is the continuing story of Juliette D’Alisa, food writer turned restaurant manager. It picks up seamlessly where the first book leaves off – Juliette’s visiting the family chateau in
Provence, trying to
gather clues about her grandmother by exploring the house and interviewing her
French family. She succeeds in uncovering letters between her grandmother and
great-aunt written on the eve of the Nazi Occupation. While she finds answers,
Juliette also finds new questions.
And one of those is how to make a long-distance relationship with Neil McLaren work in real life. Her life in
Portland has its own challenges – her mom is
sick and she’s got a restaurant to open. Neil and his research live in Memphis. Juliette and
Neil love each other, but have difficulty making it work when they’re separated
by both distance and culture. They have to figure out if it’s a love that they
could rearrange their lives to maintain, or simply a chapter in their personal
Of the books I’ve written, Reservations for Two has certainly been the most challenging. But I also feel it’s one of the most rewarding – I really love the way the characters grow and change.
What is your current work in progress?
I’m working hard at the third book in the Two Blue Doors Series – haven’t finalized the title yet. It’s been amazing to start tying up all of the strings! I don’t want to say too much about it before readers have a chance to get their hands on book two, but I’m very excited about book three – it’s shaping up to be one of the most romantic books I’ve written.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Readers can read the full chapter here - http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Reservations-for-Two.pdf
How can readers find you on the Internet?I can be found all over. Readers can visit my website at www.hillarymantonlodge.com to find my blog and connect with me via Facebook Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Thank you, Hillary, for sharing this new book with us.
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