In which we hear from Ava

For the month of December–with bonus posts on November 30 and January 1!–I am delighted to welcome a wonderful assortment of guest bloggers to take over the helm. Please enjoy their generous contributions to the blog this month. My own bloggery will resume January 2. I wish you and yours happiness and health this holiday season. Please note: comments are disabled until my return.


So, hi there, I’m Ava Miles, a new contemporary romance writer who kicked off a small-town series called Dare Valley back in the summer with NORA ROBERTS LAND. Thanks so much to Deanna for hosting me! It’s been a wild ride since receiving Nora’s blessing for my first book, and now I’ve come to my fifth—wow—and I’m in the land of my dreams.

The early 1960s, the setting of my new novel, THE TOWN SQUARE, what I’m calling my ode to Mad Men in a small town with a happy ending.

I’ve been a huge fan of the hit TV series, loving the fashion—yes more please—and the cocktails—no more than two—and the intricate drama of the gorgeous Don Draper and the rest of the cast.

So you’re probably wondering, how did a contemporary writer end up writing a book set in the 1960s? Well, my Dare Valley series has a family patriarch and journalistic legend named Arthur Hale. He’s based on my great-great grandpa who won our first family newspaper in a poker game in 1892. Readers have loved him so much, and me too, that all of the sudden it became obvious that I needed to tell his story. He demanded it, actually.

It answers all of the questions readers have been wondering. How did this Pulitzer prize winner start his own newspaper in Dare Valley after leaving New York City behind? And who was the woman who captured his heart? You see, in the contemporary part of the series, Arthur is a widower, and we only hear stories about his beloved wife, Harriet.

Well, now we get to see Harriet for ourselves, and she’s as complicated as Don Draper, taking on a false identity when she arrives in Dare. And she’s dressed to the nines as his new secretary.

I loved researching the fashion. I have to admit, I’m a sucker for hats and gloves. And the pillbox hat? Well it was just too perfect for words. Then there’s the luxurious coats with buttons the size of chocolate chip cookies. Loved it!

It’s fun to try on something new as a writer, I have to admit, not that the present doesn’t have its own charm. The other part I enjoyed learning about is how incredibly different dating is now from the early 1960s, especially in a small town. Having a romance was different back then, and people obviously adhered to the social and cultural norms at the times. I even had to ask my mom for dating options, a first. J

And then there’s the incredible synchronicity of releasing this book right around the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, totally unplanned. Arthur Hale starts the book off talking about President Kennedy, who was just elected. He’s a journalist, after all, and can sense great change continuing.

So when you think about the 1960s, what do you think about? The fashion? The change? The Kennedys? Come by my site and tell me. I’d love to hear!