Hello! Today I’m Journalist Jan, filling in for Novelist Jan, who is supposed to finish revising two books this month ahead of her busy summer schedule. You can preorder one of the these books, Her Love So Sure (Hometown Weddings Book 1), in the Save the Date anthology box set that will be published in September 2021 in three formats (ebook, paperback, and jacketed hardcover).
Today, I’m dispatched to St. Simon’s Island, one hour south of Savannah, Georgia, to have a chat with Ivan and Brinley from His Longing Heart (Seaside Chapel Book 1). This second edition was previously published as Share with Me in 2015. If you have read either edition, you would have known the happy ending, but for the sake of this interview, we’re going to focus on their relationship development as the novel begins.
Ivan and Brinley are waiting for me at the Seaside Chapel wedding pavilion overlooking the sand and surf of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a bright sunny morning with clouds in the sky and pelicans flying by. Ivan and Brinley are in T-shirts, shorts, and sandals. At this point, they’re still dating each other (wedding bells are coming but you’ll have to read the novel to find out what happens between now and then), but they look so loving together.
Me: This weather contrasts with the start of your romance in the cold month of December. Was your sister’s birthday party the first time you two talked to each other?
Ivan: Actually, no. Brin and I have known each other since the year before that. She supports the Sea Islands Symphony Orchestra.
Brinley: He’s the first string and plays lovely violin.
Ivan: And she collects violins, although I do have a question about her collection. I’ll ask her later about it.
Brinley: Wish I could play the violin, but I leave that to the musically gifted.
Brinley: I enjoy playing the piano, although I need more practice.
Ivan (laughing): We all need more practice!
Me: So when and where did you first meet a year ago?
Brinley: It was in June. SISO’s Conductor Petrocelli hosted a dinner party at his house. By then, I had been attending SISO concerts for a while and had seen Ivan playing his violin, but at the dinner, we talked to each other more than we ever did before.
Ivan (nodding): It’s as though we’ve always been friends. If you want to know what we talked about at the dinner party, we made a cameo appearance in Leon’s novel, Ask You Later.
Brinley: I remember Leon. He and Sophie looked so cute together. I was surprised that they showed up at Petrocelli’s party.
Ivan: Me too.
Brinley: Anyway, Ivan and I lost touch with each other until last December, when I came home from Europe. I was burned out, and I wanted to quit my job at my dad’s company.
Ivan: You were also getting over a breakup with your ex-boyfriend.
Brinley: That was a while back, but yeah, the residual effect was still there. That’s why your violin music was therapeutic for me.
Ivan: Don’t forget the song I wrote for you.
Brinley (reaching for Ivan): Never.
Me: Brinley, how does your family view Ivan?
Brinley: My parents were neutral because they’ve seen Ivan around, although they were not in the same circle of friends. My brother, Diehl, however, doesn’t like Ivan.
Ivan: I’m praying for Diehl. He looks stressed out all the time.
Brinley: He’s a workaholic. Since our brother Parker passed away unexpectedly, Diehl has to shoulder a lot the weight in our family business.
Ivan: As for your other sister, Zoe, she married my brother, so… I don’t know what she thinks of me.
Brinley: I don’t think Zoe cares. She and Quincy moved to Paris, and that’s probably where their baby will be born.
Me: What about your family, Ivan? How do they view Brinley?
Ivan: Grandma Yun loves Brin. They have tea often and read the Bible together.
Brinley: I adore Yun. She’s like the grandmother I never had. She’s patient with me when I don’t understand the Bible.
Ivan: Yes, she’s a teacher at heart. She and Grandpa Otto raised all three of us after our parents abandoned us. Everything I know about life, I learned it from them.
Brinley: I haven’t met your sister, Willow. Yes, I learned a lot about the Bible from Yun. In fact, she led me to Christ. Even though my own grandpa had taken me to church when I was little, I didn’t have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ until Yun explained to me what Jesus did on the cross to save me from my sins.
Ivan: Grandma Yun explains the Bible more clearly than many can.
Brinley (nodding): Indeed she does.
Me: Tell me about the island where you live. Or, shall I say, islands, since there are at least two islands on the Georgia coast.
Ivan: Yes, you’re referring to Seaside Island and St. Simon’s Island. I live on the latter, where our church, Seaside Chapel, is located. This is where the restaurants and grocery stores are.
Brinley: St. Simon’s is also where my dad and I do a lot of renovations on old homes. There’s also Jekyll Island, where my family likes to go for dinner at Saffron. Sebastian co-owns that restaurant. At night, I drive home to Seaside Island next door, to Brooks Cottage that my grandpa built.
Ivan: It has a violin-shaped heated outdoor pool in the backyard. You should see it.
Brinley: Grandpa loved the violin, even though he played the piano more. Oddly enough, no one in our family currently plays the violin.
Me: Speaking of musical instruments, what are your hobbies?
Ivan: I play the violin all the time, both at my job and also as a hobby. I wake up, read my Bible, and play the violin. I also compose songs for the violin. I enjoy composing and teaching violin.
Brinley: Even though I do play the piano, I have other interests. Since my grandfather left me his collection of violins, I have continued the collection. Other than that, I also like to renovate and restore old homes, especially ones with history.
Ivan: And she likes to fix things. She’d come to my house and try to fix everything.
Brinley (laughs): Not everything.
Ivan: Just about.
Me: I have more questions to ask you, but I don’t want to give away your special moments.
Brinley: Then let’s adjourn the meeting. Would you like to have lunch with us?
Ivan: Yes. And we’ll let you decide between barbecue and sandwiches. What would you choose for lunch?
Brinley: Either one is fine with me. Barbara Jean’s also makes delicious crab cakes.
Ivan: They do, so we could go there, if you want. Or we could go to Southern Soul to grab some beef brisket that you like so much, Brin.
Me: Let’s go to one for lunch and the other for dinner.
Ivan: You’re paying then, Journalist Jan!
What about you? Barbecue or sandwiches or both for lunch? Do comment to have your name randomly drawn to win an ebook copy of His Longing Heart, in which you can read the rest of Ivan and Brinley’s love story. The giveaway ends on Monday (April 19, 2021).
I hope you enjoyed this interview. You can read a sneak peek of His Longing Heart on Amazon. For this entire weekend, this 668-page novel is only $0.99 if you can’t wait for the giveaway. It’s also available to borrow via Kindle Unlimited.
If you have already read His Longing Heart and want to read a different beach romance, check out Ask You Later for free. This novel is mentioned in the interview above, and contains a prelude in which Ivan and Brinley both made cameo appearances.