Monday, April 22, 2024

ISLAND DETOUR by Maria Imbalzano ~ Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway

Island Detour (Sunrise Island, #1)
by: Maria Imbalzano
Series: Sunrise Island
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 19, 2024
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Falsely accused of wrongdoing at a Princeton Prep school, Sophie Kearns accepts a temporary teaching position at an environmental school in the Florida Keys to wait out her suspension. The time away is meant to be an anxiety-free escape, but her clashes with the hot but arrogant marine biology teacher, Max Heaton, are anything but tranquil.

Max is determined to start an environmental research institute at the school, but he suspects the gorgeous new Lit teacher, who lacks even the most basic outdoor skills, is there to hinder that dream. Yet, something about her tames the demons from his past, and he can no longer ignore the fire she’s lit inside him.

What did Sophie and Max teach me during the writing process?

Sophie and Max are very different people, but some of the truisms that we deal with throughout our lives are some of the same things that they are dealing with.

As a general rule, we are all set in our ways by our early 30s. We’ve hopefully gotten to where we want to be, career wise, and have used and continue to use all of our experiences and education to be good at those careers. We don’t want to change course. We don’t like change. We know what’s best for us.

In “Island Detour,” Sophie has worked hard to get where she is—perfectly situated at a prestigious Princeton prep school to become the next chair of the English Department, and a little further down the line to become Head of School. She’s well-educated (with a PhD in English Literature), driven (she not only teaches high school students, but runs a summer teaching academy for teachers), and happy with her life. Then she’s thrown a curve ball and has to pivot.

Her determination and perseverance in the past, serve her well when she ends up temporarily teaching at a school that favors knowledge of water sports, scuba diving, camping, and fishing. Although she knows nothing about these activities, she is determined to conquer them so she will fit in with the other teachers. That was her goal in Princeton, and it’s her goal on Sunrise Island.

The lesson learned from Sophie is to do everything possible to be successful at a new endeavor, despite the fact that we didn’t want that new endeavor in the first place.

Max, on the other hand, is skilled in the marine area. He has a joint Masters/PhD in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and he loves water sports. But he is a loner, unless he’s with his students, and he has issues trusting others. As a result, he has a need to control.

When he wants to start an environmental research institute at the school, his need to control gets in the way. Until he learns to collaborate with others to pull it all together, he is spinning his wheels.

We must all learn to let go of the past and focus on whatever it is we want to accomplish—with the help of others. No one can do it alone.

“Just because you have issues shouldn’t mean you can’t trust anyone but yourself.” The second the words were out of her mouth, she knew she’d gone too far. But he had started it. And frankly, she didn’t care if she had struck a nerve.

His jaw clenched, an almost imperceptible movement. After a few seconds he bowed his head and sighed. Then he turned his back to her, picked up his rod, and cast the line into the ocean. No comeback. No smart remark. A minor victory. Had she really gotten in the last word this time?

Unfortunately, she couldn’t let it go.

“Is that how you deal with conflict? You turn around and ignore it?”

She was definitely pushing the envelope now, but he deserved it. One didn’t just end an argument by turning away. He needed to stick with it. Fight it out. Until the bitter end.

She watched him in profile, the brooding, detached fisherman whose lips rarely inched into a smile, whose eyes rarely sparkled, and whose cutting words were meant to slice—and hurt. Which they did.

Sophie looked over at Ben, who had remained quiet during their little altercation. He held his finger to his lips as if to say enough.

She itched to continue but followed his unspoken suggestion. He knew Max a lot better than she did. And sometimes, she just had to let things settle down.

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Maria Imbalzano is an award-winning contemporary author who writes about strong, independent women and the men who fall in love with them. She recently retired from the practice of law, but legal issues have a way of showing up in many of her novels. When not writing, she loves to travel both abroad and in the states. Maria lives in central New Jersey with her husband--not far from her two daughters and granddaughters. For more information about her books, please visit her website at where you can also sign up for her newsletter.

Maria is a member of New Jersey Romance Writers and has received many honors and awards for her work including the ACRA Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence Award, the Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers Award, The NEST (National Excellence In Story Telling) Award, the Carolyn Award, Book Buyers Best Award, The Stiletto Reader’s Choice Award, Long & Short Reviews Book of the Month Award (3rd Place for Book of the Year), and Still Moments Magazine Reader’s Choice Award.

Places to find Maria Imbalzano:

You can follow the Island Detour Name Before the Masses Tour here.

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  1. I enjoyed the post. Sounds like a good story.

  2. This looks like a great novel. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love the cover and think the book sounds good.

  4. I love this romantic cover!
    Thank you for sharing this.

  5. I enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. What comes first the title or the characters?

  7. How do you come up with names for the characters?

  8. Where do you story lines come from?

  9. Do you ever envision taking a book to film?

  10. Do you set daily writing goals or use some other time management technique to get things done?

  11. Do you have ideas about the cover or just let the artist go with it?

  12. This sounds like a great Contemporary Romance. I like the cover.

  13. I really enjoyed the excerpt.

  14. Thank you for this fun giveaway!

  15. Thank you for this great giveaway!

  16. Stephanie LarisonMay 7, 2024 at 2:08 PM

    I like the excerpt, has me interested in reading more!

  17. This sounds like something I’d love to read love the cover too!


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