Rad-Reader:  How did you come to write this story?

Dayle:  Dayle: Early in my writing career I won several awards for short stories. Unfortunately, there isn’t a large market for short stories, so as a freelance writer, most of what I wrote was nonfiction. However, I always wanted to write a novel. Ideas for novels germinated and then floated around in my brain for years, but what motivated me to finally sit down and get started on one is a funny story. I am not only a writer but also an avid reader. Over the years as I read beautifully crafted novels, I would feel intimidated at the idea of trying to write one myself, unsure if I could write as well as those authors did. Then a few years ago when I was recovering from an illness, a friend brought me a stack of books to read. I started one of them but found it so poorly written that I only got through three chapters and then couldn’t stand to read anymore. I wondered how that author had managed to get such a poorly written novel published and was stunned when I looked inside the front cover to find that she had a long list of books she’d written. At that, I thought, “I can write at least that well, so if she can be a novelist, so can I.” I don’t remember the title of the book or the name of the author, but I owe her a debt of gratitude.

Rad-Reader:  Where did the idea come from?

Dayle:  Interestingly, the first part of the book I came up with was actually the end where they are in the snow cave. That idea came years ago when my husband and I were riding snowmobiles with friends in a remote area. I thought, “What if something happened and we had to stay out here all night.” I had just finished reading a book where a couple was forced to take shelter together for the night, and the two just morphed together into what would one day become an important scene in this book.
      The overall idea was one I’ve mulled over for years. Living in a small, close-knit community, I’ve seen a lot of matchmaking efforts, some welcome and some not. I thought it would be fun to write a book about a man who everyone is trying to set up. At first, I thought it would just be a humorous story, but as I tried to write it that way, it just wasn’t working. The characters seemed shallow and their actions arbitrary. It wasn’t until I started asking “Why?” that things began to come together. Why didn’t Jack want to date? Why did Ally turn him down? Once I understood the motivation behind the actions, the characters became more real, and that led to the deeper, more emotional parts of the story. 

Rad-Reader:  Can you give us the backstory on Ally and Jack that the blurb/synopsis doesn’t give us?

Dayle:  Jack grew up on the family farm in Corbett, Idaho, and has never lived anywhere else. He married his high school sweetheart, Katelin, just a couple of years after graduation. He’s a nice guy but one who doesn’t talk about feelings easily. He’s carrying around an emotional burden stemming from Katelin’s death, a burden which he hasn’t examined and which he doesn’t completely understand himself.
      Ally got married in college and had a son, Ben. She worked as a schoolteacher to put her husband, Ewan, through medical school. Then just as Ewan was about to finish his training, he announced to Ally that he wanted a divorce. He was at that time involved with another medical student, Lorraine, who he married after the divorce was final. This experience has left Ally carrying some emotional baggage as well.

Rad-Reader:  What happened to Jack’s wife?

Dayle:  She died from cancer.

Rad-Reader:  How long ago did she pass away?  How long were they married?

Dayle:  The book says that Jack has been out of high school for 13 years, that he and Katelin got married two years out of high school, and that Katelin died 3 years earlier. That would mean they were married for about 8 years.

Rad-Reader:  Why is it everyone’s mission to find Jack a wife?  And they feel they have a right to tell him his grieving is over?

Dayle:  Corbett is a small, close-knit town. Most of the people in it have either grown up with Jack or watched him grow up, so they kind of feel like he “belongs” to them. Since he is not one to share his feelings, they don’t realize the depth to which he is still grieving. Instead, they see a thirty-something man who seems lonely since his wife died, and matchmaking just seems to be an inbred impulse in many people--if they see two single people of about the same age, the natural conclusion is they would be perfect for each other.

Rad-Reader:  Why is Jack so spooked about women in general?

Dayle:  Jack is not spooked about women. He’s spooked by his own past experience and believes that no woman would want him if she knew about it. It is easier for him to stay aloof and keep to himself than to deal with what he would have to face if he were to get serious with another woman.

Rad-Reader:  What is Gavin’s story?  It seems like he may be a little slimy by Ms. Ruby’s and Gwen’s disapproval of him.  So, what’s his end game?

Dayle:  Gavin is one of those people who have a very high opinion of himself. He’s not a bad person; he just can’t see anything past his own ego and ambitions.

Rad-Reader:  Who is older Gwen or Jack?  By how much?

Dayle:  Gwen is two years older than Jack.

Rad-Reader:  How did Gwen and Greg meet?

Dayle:  Greg is also a Corbett native, he and Gwen started dating in high school.

Rad-Reader:  Does Gavin know about Ben?

Dayle:  Yes

Rad-Reader:  Is the new Baby the reason Ally got divorced?

Dayle:  No, the book doesn’t say how long it has been since Ally’s divorce, but it does talk about her “staying” in California when Ewan and Lorraine moved to Chicago. The idea I had, and which I hope comes across, is that the divorce is fresh enough to still sting but not so fresh as to be raw. I’m putting it at just over a year earlier.

Rad-Reader:  Why does Ally say no when Jack ask her out?

Dayle:  That is one of the big questions in the story and is answered toward the end of the book. I’ve had several readers tell me they were getting impatient with Ally and how she kept putting Jack off even when it seemed that she liked him. However, once they understood her motivation, her behavior made sense.

Rad-Reader:  What is going on with Ally and Gavin or is there anything but just gossip?

Dayle:  As far as Ally is concerned, nothing is going on. She’s just new in town, and he’s a new friend who is helping her to adjust. Gavin, on the other hand, wants to get something going.

Rad-Reader:  Jack seems to create his own drama due to living in the past and beating himself up over something he still hasn’t revealed.  So, why exactly? 

Dayle:  Jack may be living in the past, but he hasn’t examined the past. He tries to bury his feelings instead of dealing with them. As it says in the book, “Analyzing his feelings was not something Jack enjoyed doing.” However, since he won’t analyze his feelings and come to understand them, his feelings rule him.

Rad-Reader:  Juaquin is missing.  Has Jack even told any of his family so they could help him problem solve?

Dayle:  This is not addressed in the story, but Jack naturally would have told Greg and Gwen. They would have been involved in trying to solve the problem as well, but as Jack says in the book, “how does one go about looking for a missing person in Mexico?”

Rad-Reader:  An accident on the farm causes a chain reaction and it brings Ally to be by Jack’s side.  After the accident how is Jack going to run the farm alone?

Dayle:  The accident takes place in late fall when much of the farm work is done for the year. Winter work involves caring for stored crops and dealing with the business end of the operation. Jack could handle all of this on his own if necessary.

Rad-Reader:  The gesture of love Jack presents to his sister, Gwen, for Elsie is a huge sign of growth for him.  What was it that day that made it okay?

Dayle:  After finally facing the past and letting go of his guilt, Jack is able to open back up to the people in his life. 

Rad-Reader:  Once Ally becomes a side note, Jack becomes involved with Miranda, who would have been great for him, and then Phoebe. So, what happens to them?

Dayle:  Miranda and Phoebe were both fun characters to write. It’s interesting that you say Miranda would have been great for Jack because I’ve had a couple of other people make the same comment. So maybe there is an alternate universe out there somewhere where that is how the book ends.
      I debated what to have happened with both Miranda and Phoebe. At first, I wasn’t that concerned about Miranda, but the more I wrote about her, the more I liked her and the more I wanted her to have her “happily ever after.” I think her ending is a nice one.
      I imagine Phoebe as a sweet, rather naive person, and I didn’t want her to get hurt. I debated having her end up with Gavin or Bryce. When I finally came up with her outcome in the book, I thought it was pretty funny. I hope the readers do too.

Rad-Reader:  If your book was made into a movie who would you want to play…

Ally:  Katharine McPhee

Jack:  Aaron Tveit

Ben:  Pinterest Boy

Ruby:  Becky Fly

Gwen:  Rachel Boston

Greg:  Tim Tebow

Jud:  Pinterest Boy

Trevor:  Pinterest Boy

Sid:  Pinterest Boy

Brandon:  Pinterest Boy

Dayle:  This is a fun question. There are people I know who some of the characters are partly based on and who I imagine when I think of the characters, but I hadn’t thought about what actors would play them. I loved seeing your ideas. Here are some I came up with.

Ally:  Gal Gadot

Though I do really like your suggestion of Katharine McPhee

Jack:  Robbie Amell

—Jack describes himself as being “average” but since he’s the main character, he has to be at least somewhat swoon-worthy. Robbie Amell probably leans way more towards swoon-worthy than average, but still, he’s my choice.
Rad-Reader:  What’s funny I originally thought of Robbie but thought the same thing.  So, I have searched and found this… Closest I could get to average.

Ruby:  Linda Lavin

—this was a tough one because Ruby is described as being a small woman, but she has a big attitude. At 5’3”, Linda Lavin is the right size, and her body of work demonstrates that if she doesn’t actually have the attitude in real life, she can put it on for a character.

Gwen:  Analeigh Tipton

Greg:  I never would have thought of Tim Tebow for Greg, but after seeing him as your suggestion, he’s the only one I can see in that role.

Gavin:  Henry Cavill—definitely Henry Cavill

Rad-Reader:  What song or songs best tell the story or describe your characters or book the best?

“Wanted – Danny Gokey”
Jack was a man walking through his life but no longer an active member since his wife had passed away.  There was a secret he was keeping from everyone that was making him feel unworthy to move on with his life and find happiness with any other woman.

“Shallow – Danielle Bradbery ft. Parker McCollum”
Meeting Ms. Ruby’s Granddaughter when she came into town piqued his interest more than he ever wanted to admit to himself.  So, when she moved to town, he thought he would move out of his comfort zone.  She was not ready.  Really neither was he.

“Leave Her Wild – Tyler Rich”
The one thing that caught Jack’s eye and played to his senses.  Is the one thing people told her were her weaknesses, but they were the things he loved.  She called herself impulsive he called her willing to put herself out there at any cost.  She was willing to suffer the consequences if it meant making things uncomfortable even at her own expense.  Jack loved her spirit.

Dayle: I like your suggestion of "Shallow” from Danielle Bradbery and Parker McCollum"

Rad-Reader:  What would you like to write if it wasn't Christian romances?

Dayle:  I didn't set out to write a specific genre. I just wanted to write a story that appealed to me. The story included love and Christian values because those things are just part of my life and so my stories. However, publishers and marketing require putting stories into genres, so it became labeled an inspirational/Christian romance. I've had a couple of reviewers comment that the book reads more like a women's novel but with a male lead character, and one reviewer, who described herself as an agnostic, said the religious elements weren't so predominant as to bother her. The novel I'm working on now, and the other ones swimming around in my head, are all similar--a bit hard to cubbyhole into a specific genre, but probably leaning more towards women's fiction.

Rad-Reader:  I noticed that you have six children did you get any of the antics from their experiences?

Dayle:  Not any specific antics that were included in the novel, but raising six children gave me a good idea of how children think and act. That helped me write children realistically. It bugs me when I read things in which child characters act unrealistically or in ways that really, aren't, age appropriate.

Rad-Reader:  How do you find the time to write with such a large family?  Do you have set writing hours?

Dayle:  My children are all grown now, which should make finding time to write easier, but which really doesn't. Having lots of kids and now grandkids keep me busy but make life fun. I need to set writing hours but usually, just try to squeeze it in wherever I can.

Rad-Reader:  What is your next project and when will it be coming out?

Dayle:  I have another novel I'm working on, but don't have a date yet. It's also set in a small Idaho town, though a different town and different characters.

Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers buy your book?  Links


Rad-Reader:  Where can our readers find you on the Web?  Links


With your large family, I just don't know where you find the time.  We are so grateful that you were able to take the time to be with us.  Your book was the slam dunk of the books this year.  So far as hits on our blog, almost 400 and over 300 within the first couple of days of running the review.  Not bad for a first book.  
Your humor and realism are what captured my attention.  Children are quick I adopted three at once. And Boy! Was that interesting as well as a huge learning curve.  So, when they were at Gwen's and the snowmobile caper, GOT IT!  So, So Fast!
You have the whole dating and the matchmaking capers there too.  Ms. Ruby is a hoot.  But the gut-wrenching moments of truth for Jack when he finally faces his fears was touching, to say the least.
Thanks for the fun read,

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