Today’s post is brought to you by the ever-talented Alexa Aston. An award-winning and USA Today bestselling author, Aston writes Romances set in several different historical eras, as well as Contemporary Romances and Thrillers. Her latest with OHB is a series of Contemporary Romances set in the small Oregon town of Maple Cove, the fourth of which, The Lyrics of Love, was released yesterday!
Take it away, Alexa!
Readers often ask me what inspires the romances I write. Sometimes, I draw from a certain historical event for my historical romances. Other times, I take the things that motivate my characters, weaving in their goals, and that anchors a story’s plot and conflict.
For my current Maple Cove series, I drew inspiration from my trip to the Oregon coast last summer! I stayed in Seaside, where practically everyone in town goes down to the beach each night and to watch the spectacular sunsets. We did day trips to nearby coastal towns such as Cannon Beach, where we saw the famous Haystack Rock, & Ecola Beach State Park, where we hiked near the Cape Meares lighthouse. And a huge hit was our tour of Tillamook Creamery, where we saw various cheeses being produced and got to eat grilled cheese sandwiches & ice cream at the end.
I enjoyed the laidback feel of the Oregon coast and decided to create my own town called Maple Cove. I researched and found five trees that grow well along the coast and surrounding towns, one of them being the Oregon (or bigleaf) maple. I’d also seen several coves as we’d walked along various beaches and decided to marry the two—thus, the coastal town of Maple Cove was born!
Both my Maple Cove and Hollywood Name Game series are about the family you choose. These contemporary romance series each feature friends who find their soulmates and, thanks to those connections, new friends are pulled into their “family” circles.
My anchor couple for Maple Cove appear in Book 1’s Another Chance at Love. Dylan & Willow were high school sweethearts, torn apart by tragedy. He left The Cove for a ten-year hitch in the military police and has now returned to the Oregon coast, where he serves as town sheriff. Willow, an artist, has lived abroad for a decade and comes home when her beloved grandmother, Boo, passes away. Boo leaves her rambling house to Willow and Jackson, Willow’s brother, an attorney in L.A. (who eventually moves back to The Cove in Book 3’s Coming Home after getting off a guilty murder suspect).
And thus the series began!
I enjoyed incorporating the coastal vibe of Oregon, infusing it into Maple Cove, which residents call The Cove. Dylan & Willow draw others into their orbit, often celebrating at highly competitive Game Nights, where the winners receive their favorite sweets from Buttercup Bakery, owned by pastry chef Ainsley (whom I match with Jackson).
I tried to recreate some of the small towns in Oregon, with the funky little places to eat, as well as shops. Ainsley’s cousin Rylie operates the town’s antique store. Dylan’s best friend Carter is a local firefighter. Gage, a former Navy SEAL, holds fitness classes in scenic places around The Cove. I researched hiking trails in the area and SUP—standup paddleboarding—and incorporated those elements into Maple Cove.
I had to bring new people to The Cove for some romance to heat up, including Willow’s two college roommates, Tenley & Sloane. Tenley comes from the world of PR in NYC and Sloane is an award-winning, international journalist. Both women come to The Cove to heal after traumatic events in their lives—and find love. Hey, it IS a romance series!
Probably my favorite romance in the series is this week’s release, The Lyrics of Love. Don’t you love that title? Not only did I get to do some fun research into antiques so Rylie would sound like she knew what she was talking about, but I also investigated the world of country music because Nash Edwards, a singer/songwriter who’s had a boatload of heartache, comes to The Cove to heal from all his trials & tribulations. The most fun I had with this romance (besides writing scenes where Nash & Rylie fall in love) was creating different song titles for the music Nash writes—with Rylie being his muse. The Love in Your Eyes is my favorite title I came up with. I only wish I knew Keith Urban or Brad Paisley (two country artists I’ve seen in concert) so they could write the music and lyrics for this song!
Maple Cove is my first small town romance series. I had a blast creating the residents for my heroes & heroines to interact with. Familiar faces will pop up in each book—the local realtor, diner owner, and contractor, to name a few. Although each book reads as a standalone, I think reading the series in order lends itself to a richer reader experience.
Hope you’ll enjoy reading the love story between Nash & Rylie in The Lyrics of Love and that you’ll try the other romances set in Maple Cove! The entire series is available for free with Kindle Unlimited.
Book 2 – A New Beginning (Carter & Tenley)
Book 3 – Coming Home (Jackson & Ainsley)
Book 4 – The Lyrics of Love (Nash & Rylie)
Book 5 – Finding Home (Gage & Sloane)
Award-winning, internationally bestselling author Alexa Aston lives with her husband in a Dallas suburb, where she eats her fair share of dark chocolate and plots out stories while she walks every morning. She loves reading, watching movies, and attending sporting events when she’s not watching Survivor, The Crown, or The Great British Baking Show.
A former history teacher, Alexa’s historical romances are set during the Regency, Medieval, and American Old West Eras—where she brings to life loveable rogues, dashing knights, and rugged cowboys and lawmen. She also writes contemporary romances which are light and flirty and sometimes contain a bit of suspense.