Friday, May 15, 2015

RESERVATIONS FOR TWO - Hillary Manton Lodge - One Free Book

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 Scotland!

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 Oregon where you could, conceivably, find an Amish population. I love setting stories in Oregon 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 histories.

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.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I can be found all over. Readers can visit my website at to find my blog and connect with me via Facebook Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Thank you, Hillary, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:



Deanne said...

The restaurant business sounds like it would be fun to write about especially when you do "research " with all your delicious cooking. This sounds like a true to life book I would enjoy reading in my Pennsylvania home.


Deanna Stevens said...

Family relationships, past & present certainly are interesting! Dee in NE would enjoy reading this :)
dkstevensneAT outlookDotCoM

Beth Gillihan said...

Sounds like a great read. THanks for the chance to win. Love the cover.

Beth in Montana

Melanie Backus said...

I would love to read this one! Thank you for the opportunity!

Melanie Backus,TX

Britney Adams said...

I am eager to read Reservations for Two and would be thrilled to win a copy! Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful interview and giveaway.

Britney Adams, TX

Mary Preston said...

A lovely interview thank you & such a beautiful cover.

Mary P


Angela Holland said...

I live in St. Cloud FL and would love to win this book. Thank you for sharing and the chance.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your great contest!!
Conway, SC.

Loraine Nunley said...

I am interesting in reading Reservations for two. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

Loraine in TX

sm said...

I have not read a fictional restaurant owner/cook novel as yet. I did read Confections of a Master Baker, which was about a baker's experiences in her own bakery. Look forward to reading it and getting to know you as an author. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Rebecca said...

Sounds like an enjoyable book. Thanks for the chance to win!
Rebecca in Oregon

Rebecca said...

Sounds like an enjoyable book. Thanks for the chance to win!
Rebecca in Oregon

Rebecca said...

Sounds like an enjoyable book. Thanks for the chance to win!
Rebecca in Oregon

Merry said...

Love the Portland setting, I miss my home state!
Merry in MN

Melissa M. said...

This sounds like a neat book, especially the angle with the old letters. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

-Melissa M. in TN

A Cooking Bookworm said...

I can't wait to continue Juliette's story! I loved the included recipes in the first book! My kitchen is in the middle of a remodel, but the chocolate cake is at the top of my recipes-to-try when the kitchen is complete!

Binghamton, NY

mybabyblessings AT gmail DOT com

Trixi said...

I would love to have a copy of "Reservations for Two", thank you for the chance!
teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com
Trixi from Oregon

Patty said...

I haven't read A Table by the Window, but sounds like a great series!

Patty in SC

Sierra Faith said...

I have been excited for this book ever since it came out!