About Beneath a Star-Lit Sky
Book: Beneath A Star-Lit Sky
Author: JL Crosswhite
Genre: Christian romantic suspense
Release date: February 21, 2022
Small town girl looking to mend her broken heart… …Small town boy needing to repair his reputation. Who knew those simple goals could unearth life-threatening danger? Holcomb Springs has a wild past, and the wilderness outside its borders hides a treacherous present. Teacher Ella Sommer is ready to forget about her broken engagement and escape from running into her ex. An overnight hiking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail offers what she needs to clear her head and breathe out under the stars. Ex-military Reese Vega left Holcomb Springs with a bad boy rep, but has returned wiser, longing for a fresh start in his hometown. His hiking tour business offers that opportunity, especially when he can get into the great outdoors and let his past evaporate into the mountain air. When Reese and Ella are thrown together on the overnighter, what starts as a simple trek ends up being filled with danger when they stumble across something they weren’t supposed to see. Can they put aside their history and use their wits to get out of this situation? Or will it be too late? You’ll love Beneath a Star-Lit Sky because while the wilderness can’t be tamed, the human heart can.
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About the Author
JL’s favorite thing is discovering how much there is to love about America the Beautiful and the great outdoors. She’s a mom to two, navigating the young adult years while battling her daughter’s juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, exploring the delights of her son’s autism, and keeping gluten free. A California native who’s spent significant time in the Midwest, she’s thrilled to be back in the Golden State. Follow her on social media to see all her adventures and how she gets inspired for her books!
More from JL Crosswhite
What does writing a book have in common with… Compost?
I’ve got a new series with the first book releasing this month. The series is called Holcomb Springs Small Town Romantic Suspense, and the first book is Beneath a Star-Lit Sky. I like how this series and this book show how long the creative process can end up being for me.
Before when I’ve talked about where I get my book ideas, I mention that I call it the compost pile. Any of you gardeners know about the magic of compost. You take a bunch of unrelated kitchen scraps—coffee grounds, carrot tops, egg shells, lettuce that went bad, rotten oranges—and throw them in your compost pile. With the magic of decomposition, in about a year you have something wonderful for your plants.
The creative process is a lot like that for me. I get bits and pieces of ideas from all over the place—things I’ve experienced, places I’ve visited, a news story that stuck with me—and I toss them in my mental compost pile. When something has come together enough to actually be a story idea, it gets its own file.
The germination of Beneath a Star-Lit Sky began at least ten years ago. I remember being on a long drive and talking to my dad on the phone and somehow getting on the topic of criminals in the wilderness, particularly the Sidney Poitier movie, Shoot to Kill. A lot of things can go wrong in the wilderness, and having a bad guy after you just makes it worse.
As I was writing and finishing up the previous series, In the Shadow, I had been wanting to write a series set in a small town. I liked the idea of all the characters continuing to run into each other and being a part of one another’s lives, for good or for ill.
My previous books had been based in the Southern California beach town of Laguna Vista (which also exists only in my imagination). But if you’ve read any of the In the Shadow books, you might have noticed that they made frequent visits to the Southern California San Bernardino mountains.
Since I grew up at the base of these mountains and spent a lot of time up there, I wondered if I might figure out how to create a small town in the mountains. There are some up there, but I like creating my own so I can take liberty with things and not feel like I’m insulting any real town.
There was an old gold mining town—Belleville—that used to exist in an area called Holcomb Valley. I imagined what would have happened if that boomtown had continued on to become a resort town similar to Big Bear or Lake Arrowhead. I liked the idea of having a small town on the edge of the wilderness with all of the problems and possibilities it can bring. And it was within driving distance of Laguna Vista, so all of our old friends could come up and visit.
So the compost pile came together to truly cause my story idea to flourish and blossom into a full-fledged book! Toss in a few previous characters, and I had a ton of fun thinking about all the possibilities while keeping in touch with old characters who have become like friends. I hope you enjoy what’s to come. It’s going to be an adventure!
How do you pick your characters personalities, or looks?
I’d like to say that they generally pick me. Most of the time, characters pop into my head, and as I get to know them a bit better, I sometimes find they remind me of someone I know with their mannerisms or perhaps someone from a movie or TV show. But once I start writing, they take off and become their own selves.
What is your favorite genre to read? What is your favorite genre to write? And why are they your favorites?
I enjoy reading and writing Christian romantic suspense. And Susan May Warren has put her own twist on it, calling it epic romantic adventure, which I also love. I think the reason I love the genre is that the characters are often ordinary people that get pulled into crazy circumstances. They have to rely on God and others to get through. And at the end, we know it will all wrap up and we’ll get a happy ending, which you can’t say about real life.
Once an idea takes root, how long does it take you to write it down?
I usually jot down ideas right away. I have a whole file of them, some more complete than others. But it can take me much, much longer to get around to writing those stories into a book. I like to say I’ll go to my grave with unwritten stories in me. My current book, Beneath a Star-Lit Sky, has story elements that I’ve been playing around with for close to ten years. So they can have a long germination period.
Do you have a favorite author? Or someone whom you would say has influenced your writing style?
As I mentioned earlier, I really love Susan May Warren’s books and writing style. I took her Deep Thinkers Retreat four years ago, which was so helpful and encouraging. I love how she mixes romance, faith, and adventure. Her books are always a must read for me.
Lastly, what was your favorite book growing up?
I loved the whole Little House series. I read them compulsively until my mom forbid me from borrowing any more from the library until I’d read something else. But I think Laura’s love of the outdoors and her sense of adventure have permeated my writing.
To celebrate her tour, J.L. is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.