And take a look at her debut book, THE “WHAT IF” GUY.
Brooke is a new writing friend I’ve only recently met. Her debut book, a chick-lit/romance has been just recently released and she has graciously agreed to come here and talk to us about it. It’s a feel-good story about a courageous heroine starting over and lost love recaptured in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. Brooke’s writing sparkles with humor and warmth and you’ll find yourself chuckling more than once. You’ll probably want to put her on your keeper shelf.
As a new author, she has been asked about a million questions and one of them is why she chose a small town setting. Following are her comments.
Why Write About Small Towns?
By Brooke Moss
When I set out to write what turned out to be my debut novel, The What If Guy, I considered a handful of settings.
I thought about having it set in a big city. I am a fan of big city romances, but alas…my knowledge of the big city (any one of them) is limited. I know the city of Seattle, and that is the setting for my trilogy coming out next summer. I needed some place fresh! Some place that nobody has heard of before.
And then I had it….my own hometown of Fairfield, Washington. Population five hundred residents. A place not reached by any freeways. A town with not one stoplight. It was the perfect setting for my new book. Who in the world would expect to run into their long lost love in a town the size of half a postage stamp?
Autumn Cole certainly never expected to.
One of the great bonuses that I discovered when I decided to write about the town of Fairfield was the amazing cast of characters that I’d tapped into. People that I hadn’t appreciated as a kid. Town gossips, quirky people who—in any other town—would seem peculiar, and of course, the misunderstood townies whose roots are so deeply woven in the town’s history that one without the other makes no sense. These are the types of people I wanted to write about.
Another reason why I wanted to base The What If Guy in Fairfield, Washington, is because of its stunning beauty that is often overlooked. When most people hear the words “Washington state”, they picture lush green trees, rain, fog, and miles and miles of Pacific rainforest. However, the great thing about Washington state is, it offers desertland and the rolling, golden plains of the Palouse as well. I wanted to paint a picture of the beauty that is found in eastern Washington, and make it as desirable as the Twilight saga made the lush western side of the state for so many visitors.
I love my home in the city. I love the convenience it provides, and the sound of horns honking and trains blowing their horns in the distance. But every once in a while I watch my children playing in their fenced yard, or in their city playgrounds, and feel a tug in my heart.
They will never experience the joy of running and running for miles, barefoot and without limits. They will never hear me calling them inside for dinner from our front porch clear across town. They will never be lulled to sleep by the lullaby of frogs an crickets. These are details about my childhood that a treasure, and mourn the fact that my own kids will never experience the same things.
A book with a small town setting provides an additional character: the town itself. And I, for one, am charmed by all that comes with its presence in a love story.
My name is Brooke Moss, and my debut novel, The What If Guy, is now available from Entangled Publishing. It tells the story of single mother, Autumn Cole, who is returning to the miniscule hometown of her youth, to reluctantly reclaim her role as daughter of the town drunk. Things become even more complicated when she discovers that her son’s history teacher, Henry Tobler, is none other than the college sweetheart she left behind, but never stopped loving.
The What If Guy is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel Books, Books on Board, and at your local bookseller. Grab a copy today, and tell me what you think. Reader feedback is priceless, and I am anxious to hear who YOUR what if guy is.
Find me elsewhere on the web, at my website, blog, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.
This is a taste of what’s in store for you when you read THE “WHAT IF” GUY. And now for the best treat of all, we have some excerpts!
Here’s what happened in the prologue:
“Why are you doing this?”
The desperate, sad look in Henry’s eyes made my heart ache. His brown hair fell
across his forehead in rain-soaked waves, and his eyelashes gathered in dampened
clumps. Henry’s eyes, the same shade of gray as the weeping clouds above us, searched
my face for answers I was too ashamed to give.
“What we have is real, Autumn.” He pulled me against his chest. I felt his heart
pounding through the wet fabric of his soft, flannel shirt, and we trembled in unison,
standing on the front steps of Henry’s apartment building. “Why do you want to break
up? Don’t you love me?”
“Don’t do this,” I said weakly. My eyes filled with hot tears that threatened to
undermine my brave façade. When he grazed his fingers across my cheekbone, swiping
away a tear, I instinctively turned my face into his hand, breathing in the warm,
outdoorsy aroma of Henry.
He kissed my cheeks, my temples, my shivering lips. My resolve started to
crumble. Strength. I needed to show strength. I needed to walk away before I ruined his
life, before I hurt him any more than I already had.
“Tell me that you don’t love me,” he whispered into my drenched hair, tangling
his fingers in my curls. “Tell me, and I’ll let you go.”
I choked on a sob. I did love Henry. The past two months had been the best
months of my life. Not once had I dreamt of meeting someone who made me feel safe,
peaceful, beautiful, and deliriously happy, the way Henry Tobler made me feel. I wanted
to be with him—and no one else—forever.
“Of course I love you,” I said.
“Then why are you doing this?” His voice cracked.
I shivered in Henry’s arms, not only from the cold, but also from the burden I
bore. Pulling back, I raised my eyes to meet his. “I….I’m pregnant.” My words were
barely audible over the sound of the pounding rain and passing traffic.
His face morphed from shock to anger, then settled on absolute sadness. We
hadn’t slept together yet.
“It was from before,” I explained lamely, feeling dirty as the words came out my
mouth. Henry’s shoulders drooped. He released me and a shadow fell across his eyes.
That said it all. His girlfriend was pregnant with someone else’s child.
Henry deserved better than me.
I had to get out of here. I backed away, down the cement steps and onto the
sidewalk. I rubbed my chest, my heart breaking just beneath the surface.
“I’m sorry,” I said, words quavering. “I’m so sorry.”
I turned and ran. Away from love.
And this is what happened after that:
I knocked on the door of room five. Elliott briefly slipped his hand into mine and
whispered, “Love you, Mom.”
I squeezed his hand. “Love you, too, buddy.”
“Come on in,” a male voice called.
The classroom looked and felt exactly the same way it had when I was a kid,
including the judgmental stares from the students. With his back to the class, the teacher
scribbled a makeshift map on the whiteboard at the front of the room. All of the students’
eyes shifted to Elliott. Some looked at him with interest, but others already glared with
disapproval. I wished that El hadn’t been wearing his yellow and black checkered vest
and a bow tie when I’d thundered down the stairs to find him waiting at the front door,
tapping his foot. What had been stylish in his funky Seattle school was a blinking neon
sign declaring I’m an oddball at a small country school like this.
“Um, hi?” Elliott’s voice cracked. “I’m Elliott Cole, and I’m, uh, new.”
Pride swelled in my chest, and I beamed at my son. I leaned down and whispered
in his ear. “You’re awesome, El. I love you.”
He gave me a stiff nod. “Thanks.”
“Welcome, Elliott, it’s good to have you.” The teacher spoke in a low, gravelly
I straightened and smiled at the teacher. “Thanks…”
All the oxygen left my lungs, and I stood paralyzed. The class became silent.
Elliott’s teacher and I stared at each other, dumbfounded—mouths open, hands half-
extended, eyes round and wide like headlights set on bright. My insides vibrated like the
engine of an idling grain truck. All in response to the teacher, who gawked at me with
what appeared to be the same mixture of shock and disbelief.
Elliott’s teacher was Henry Tobler.
“What are you doing here?” I whispered.
I regretted my words the moment they came out. I should have said something
eloquent or profound. Something that would have made seeing each other for the first
time in over a decade less awkward. As if that were remotely possible.
Henry’s eyes, that rainy-day shade of gray, narrowed, and a line formed between
his eyebrows. “I work here.”
I couldn’t help staring. Henry looked like a teacher, but no teacher I’d ever had at
Palouse Plains. He wore a grayish-blue button-down shirt, untucked, and a worn, olive-
colored sport coat. His wavy, brown hair was cut shorter than I remembered. Even at ten
o’clock in the morning, he sported a sexy five o’clock shadow that made my stomach
twist. I remembered those whiskers well.
He still resembled the young man I’d made eyes at across the lecture hall during
college, so long ago—his face chiseled and rugged-looking. Back then, a perpetual smile
had teased at one side of his mouth. Now, I saw no hint of that smile. But his eyes still
revealed his emotions, no matter how hard he tried to hide them. I wish he’d outgrown
that, because his eyes screamed, I’m not happy to see you.
“Y-you’re a teacher now?” I stammered.
“I’ve always been a teacher.”
See? I told you you’d like it. And if you want to know what happened after that, you’ll have to read the book. <huge grin>
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