Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Interview ~ MONTANA CHRISTMAS MAGIC by Kaylie Newell

Montana Christmas Magic (The Cole Brothers, #1)
by: Kaylie Newell
Series: The Cole Brothers
Genre: Contemporary Christmas Romance
Release Date: October 28, 2020
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Amazon | Paperback | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

Can a rescue dog help two lost souls find love at Christmas?

All accountant Griffin Cole wants for Christmas is stability. After spending his childhood traveling the world with his one-hit wonder rocker dad, he loves his quiet and unremarkable life in Marietta. Then the beautiful Raelyssa Woods knocks on his door. Her bold spirit immediately turns his predictable life upside down, and suddenly Griffin wants to ask Santa for so much more.

Rae Woods loves running her café in the small Montana town she calls home. She specializes in comfort food because she loves spreading joy to everyone she meets—two-footed or four. But after she impulsively takes in a homeless dog she names Noel, her big heart lands her in bigger trouble when her landlord threatens to toss her out. Grasping at holiday straws, she remembers a cute accountant who owes her a favor—and she happens to know he’s got a fenced yard and hidden soft spot.

When Griffin reluctantly agrees to foster Noel, he inadvertently sets in motion several Christmas miracles that neither he nor Rae could have ever seen coming.


Hi Kaylie. Welcome back to Read Your Writes Book Reviews. How are you?
Hi, Kim! Thank you so much for having me. I’m doing well, gearing up for the holidays, which I can’t believe have snuck up on us so fast.

I know! It seems like the rest of the year has been really slow. But once November came, the time just seemed to start flying by. Your newest release is Montana Christmas Magic. It’s the first book in your Cole Brothers series. What can you tell me about the book and the series itself?

This is a series about three brothers who were sent as pre-teens to live with their aunt in the small Montana town of Marietta. Their father was a famous rock star who had a huge Christmas hit in the nineties, but all they wanted as kids was normalcy. Fast forward twenty years, and the Cole brothers are all grown up, but have lingering issues from their childhood that they’ll have to overcome. Griffin’s story, Montana Christmas Magic, is about learning how to open your heart, and rediscover the magic of the holiday season.

I have to say I love that Griffin is an accountant. What else can you tell me about him and heroine Raelyssa Woods?
Well, I really pictured Griffin as a sexy Clark Kent-type. In fact, there are a few superman references thrown in there for good measure. ;) Even though he’s the son of a rock star, he wants nothing to do with that hard and fast lifestyle. He’s perfectly happy going to work in a blazer and tie, and crunching numbers for a living. That is, until he meets Rae Woods, grilled cheese food truck owner, and dog-lover extraordinaire. Rae will start to thaw Griffin’s frosty heart, and will remind him of all the reasons Christmas is so magical (and fun!). Things he’s forgotten along the way.

Aside from Griffin and Rae, the other important character in the book is Noel. Tell me about him/her.
Noel is a foster dog (more specifically, a big, goofy Bloodhound) that Rae is determined to re-home before Christmas. The only problem is, her grumpy landlord refuses to let her keep Noel long enough to do that. So she asks a certain cute accountant for a favor. She knows Griffin Cole has a fenced yard, and a hidden soft spot. Noel will end up teaching them both about love and loyalty, and following your heart.

Can you tell me about one of your favorite scenes from the book, and why is it a favorite?

I really loved the first kiss scene. It was a kiss under “mistletoe coercion” (Rae and Griffin were grabbing a cup of hot chocolate from Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop and a nosy neighbor saw the mistletoe above their heads). So they kissed, but it was quick and awkward, and kind of embarrassing. So Griffin will of course want to make up for it immediately. Their second kiss-outside, standing in the snow, underneath the stars-isn’t so quick. Or awkward.

Oh, sounds good. Can you tell me a fun fact or two about Montana Christmas Magic?
The entire book was inspired by a local grilled cheese food truck we have here called The Melt. I asked for permission to use their name in my book, they said yes, and a Christmas story was born! I wanted Rae to specialize in comfort foods, and what better way to do that, than operate a mobile grilled cheese unit??

Did you find any scene or scenes, in particular, to be hard to write? If so, can you tell me about it/them?
The dark moment is always a little tough to write. Griffin is so used to keeping people at an arm’s length, that Rae has a hard time reaching him. In the end, his rock star dad will help him see the light by reminding him about what’s most important in life-and that’s love. At least, that’s what Griffin will come to believe.

How do you get into the Christmas mood to write a Christmas story when it’s not Christmas time?
I wrote this book in the middle of summer, in the midst of quarantine, so it was really hard to get into the holiday spirit, to say the least. But luckily, I have a pretty active imagination, so once I got writing, I got lost in Marietta and all things Christmas. (It helped to have the air conditioning turned down really looow.)

What can readers look forward to from you next?
The next book in my Cole Brothers Series will be coming out early next year! It’s called Montana Rancher’s Kiss, and is Brooks’ story (Griffin’s older brother).

Kaylie, thank you for answering some questions for me.
Thanks so much, I enjoyed it. And happy holidays!

Happy holidays to you too.

The Melt was a café in name only. As Griffin stood there looking around, he felt mildly claustrophobic. It was cute, no doubt about that, with red checkered tablecloths on the small, round tables (three—there wasn’t room for any more) and a matching valance over the frosted windows that looked out onto Railway Avenue. It was a tiny yellow building that sat huddled at the edge of the hospital parking lot. A food truck was parked close by—a mobile grilled cheese unit eager for warmer weather. There were pictures on the walls of people eating sandwiches. Presumably her sandwiches. The place was cozy, which he guessed was the point. And most of the people in line didn’t seem to mind the lack of space. Several women had just walked past with their to-go orders, taking their lunches back to their offices, or cars, or wherever. Like Tawny had said, the food here was obviously the draw.

That, and possibly the petite woman working behind the counter, with the pretty face and megawatt smile.

Griffin cleared his throat and put his hands in his pockets, trying not to stare. But it was hard. His gaze seemed drawn to her.

She laughed as she rung up a customer, the sound carrying over the Christmas music in the background. There was Christmas music on at the end of November. Of course there was. He sighed, the smell of warm bread and cheese filling his senses. It was impossible to tell what was more distracting—the food, or the woman behind the counter.

It didn’t matter. He’d come to thank her, and that’s what he was going to do. And then he’d go back to the office, where he had a pile of paperwork waiting, and forget all about Rae Woods and her grilled cheese sandwiches.

The line moved up, and there was a pause in the music before the next song. And then, over the speakers, came the distinctive guitar riff that had dictated the entire direction of Griffin’s life. And his brothers’ lives. It was what had landed them in Montana as pre-teens. It was what had made their father rich and famous, and his life a veritable train wreck. And what had made his youngest son decide to be an accountant, a career that screamed normalcy. Yeah, with a little beige on the side, but whatever.

Griffin stood there stiff as a post. Heat crept up his neck and into his face, as the song began to play in earnest. Marietta was a small town, and he wasn’t fooling himself thinking that most people didn’t know who Eddie “the Christmas hit wonder” Cole was. Still, the looks that settled on him right then were brief and well-meaning. People loved this damn song and just couldn’t help but be curious about Griffin, Porter, and Brooks Cole by association.

“Next!”

The line moved up again, and he waited as the elderly man in front of him ordered a classic with monster sauce, whatever that was, and waved to the big tattooed guy working the grill.

“It’s on the house today, Chuck,” the woman behind the counter said. They argued quietly for a minute, before the man finally seemed to give up and squeezed her hand from across the counter.

“Bless you,” he said.

Griffin studied his shoes, trying not to look like he was eavesdropping.

“Next!”

He stepped toward the counter.

“Hi, there,” she said, smiling. “What’ll it be?”

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Kaylie Newell was born in the great state of Oregon, where she was raised alongside rivers and lakes and scruffy dogs that chased their tennis balls as far as Kaylie’s noodle arms could throw. As she grew, so did her imagination, and it didn’t take long to realize she was a romantic at heart. She began to fancy herself the future wife of a cowboy, the likes of which graced every paperback novel she could get her hands on. She decided to go to college in Oklahoma to snag herself one, but irony won over when she fell in love with a hippie in sheep’s clothing instead. Together, they came back to Oregon, started a family and watched their dreams unfold. Kaylie wrote her first book when her girls were toddlers, editing sex scenes with The Wiggles on in the background. She’s proud of many things in life, among them the fact that she can still recite her lines from Romeo and Juliet from her seventh grade play, the fact that she can set a grilled cheese sandwich on fire faster than most people can make one, but mostly she’s proud of the stories blossoming inside her noggin on a daily basis.

Places to find Kaylie Newell:


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