Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Romantic Reads: The Reluctant Billionaire by Carol Underhill

Interview with Carol Underhill about her book
The Reluctant Billionaire:

Alexis: What or who inspired you to write this book?

Carol: I’m not sure what inspired the original idea, but I do remember thinking about a couple who’d been friends for a long time. While he had a major crush on her, she never knew it. Then the story started to develop from there.

Alexis: Tell me about the heroine of your story, Jessica Palmer. Describe her looks, personality and heart. What is her greatest need and her deepest desire?

Carol: Jessica is a 30-year-old nurse who struggled with an eating disorder in the past. She’s tall, slender and very pretty, but her ex-husband always found reasons to criticize her. Even though she tried to be the perfect wife, she never felt like she was good enough for Paul. Her greatest need is to be loved and accepted as she is. Her deepest desire is to have children and be a mom.

Alexis: What dreams did Jessica have for her life before they went up in flames?

Carol: She wanted what her husband had promised her: She’d worked to put him through law school and once he made partner, they were supposed to buy a home and start a family.

Alexis: In what ways did her husband’s betrayal and resulting divorce, help Jessica (as oftentimes God works everything together for our good an redeems our pain)?

Carol: She was able to see that her ex-husband controlled and criticized everything from the way she did her hair to what she did or didn’t eat. She realizes she is free to be herself and make her own choices.

Alexis: Why does Jessica think she can rebuild her life by moving back into her parents’ house?

Carol: Her apartment in Chicago was too expensive after her divorce. She moves in with her parents so she can save the money she would have paid in rent. She wants to buy a home of her own and needs to save for a down payment.

Alexis: How do Jessica’s parents feel about her leaving her independent life in Chicago and moving back into their home as their grown adult daughter? What tensions, if any, does this create?

Carol: They haven’t seen Jessica since she filed for divorce, so they couldn’t comfort her face-to-face with hugs the way they wanted to. They are glad she came home so she isn’t alone in Chicago and they can show her their support.

There is some tension because her mom is concerned that Jessica has lost weight that she can’t afford to lose. Jessica doesn’t like to be reminded to eat and it causes some tension. Her mom doesn’t say much, but her tight-lipped disapproval makes Jessica feel guilty.

Alexis: Let’s talk about the hero of your story, Liam Engstrom. Describe his looks, personality and dreams. What is his greatest strength and his worst weakness?

Liam has dark hair and a beard that always looks like a few days’ shadow. He’s just short of six feet tall, broad shouldered, and muscular from both his job and his home gym. He’s 28 years old. He likes to tease and remind Jessica that she’s older than he is. Although he’s a billionaire, Liam prefers working at his construction job instead of taking life easy. He’s content with his life and the only thing that would make it better is if Jessica were his.

Liam’s strength is that he treasures Jessica. He thinks she’s perfect the way she is. His weakness is that his billionaire status has made him withdraw socially. He tends to shut out everyone but Jessica and her family.

Alexis: Why and how does Jessica draw strength to hold herself together, from Liam?

Carol: Liam doesn’t bad mouth her ex-husband or tell Jessica she made a mistake. He looks out for her and anticipates her needs. The care that he shows her is so different from the way her ex put her down. She gains confidence in herself again because Liam values her.

Alexis: What is it about Jessica that inspired Liam to feel love for her since they were teens?

Carol: Liam was shorter than other boys his age when he started high school. Jessica was two years older and popular. Liam was bullied and Jessica stopped it. He was already crushing on her because she was pretty, and then she became his champion.

Why does Jessica only see Liam as a platonic friend, not a romantic partner?

Carol: Jessica grew up with Liam, who was the same age as her younger brother. She used to play tag and baseball with them when they were kids, until she became a teenager. Then her focus was on friends her own age. Her ex-husband asked her out when she was sixteen, and after that, her life centered around her relationship with him. He didn’t like her to spend time with Liam, so their friendship fell by the wayside.

Alexis: What lengths does Liam go to convince Jessica that there is hope for lasting love after divorce?

Carol: Liam tells Jessica that he is willing to wait and take their relationship at her pace, giving her time to heal before making a commitment to him.

Alexis: What inspires Liam and Jessica to give their not so platonic love a chance?

Once Jessica is aware of how Liam truly feels about her, she allows her little crush to flourish. Their attraction won’t be denied.

Alexis: What brings Liam together romantically and what (or who) threatens to tear them apart?

Carol: She attends a fundraiser ball with him. They are in awe of each other’s appearance and have a great time dancing. Afterwards, they have dinner at a restaurant and open their hearts up to each other. Jessica’s ex-husband keeps tabs on what she is doing and tries to interfere in her life.

Alexis: What role does faith and forgiveness play in this story?

Carol: Jessica and Liam are both trying to figure out God’s purpose in their lives. Liam needs to make decisions about his inheritance, and Jessica has to discover who she is after her divorce. They’ve made mistakes in past relationships and they want to honor God as they move forward as a couple. Jessica has to forgive Paul for his betrayal before she can move forward with Liam.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about The Reluctant Billionaire?

Carol: God can take our shattered dreams and piece them back together with love and acceptance, often giving us greater blessings than we had before.

Alexis: Complete this sentence: If I were not an author, I would try to be _______________ because ____________________________________________.

If I were not an author, I would try to be a chef because I love to create new recipes.

Thanks for the interview, Carol! Do you have closing comments to share?

Carol: The Reluctant Billionaire is my first full-length published novel. I also have a Christmas novella with a sequel coming out called next holiday season.

Author Bio:

Carol Underhill lives in rural Michigan a few miles from the farm where she grew up. She is mom to three adult children and a spoiled Lab. Her household also includes several rescued cats.

She likes finding new authors on Kindle and binge-reading all their books.

Carol rewards herself for meeting deadlines with a cup of fudge-flavored coffee.

She enjoys quiet mornings and spending time with her family.

Blurb for The Reluctant Billionaire:

With her husband’s ultimate betrayal, and the finalization of her divorce, Jessica Palmer’s dreams for her life go up in flames, leaving her devastated and lost. Now, she’s leaving Chicago and moving back into her parents’ house in an effort to rebuild her life.  

Longtime neighbor and friend, Liam Engstrom, is the only reason she hasn’t completely fallen apart, but the closer they get, the more she realizes the depth of his feelings.

Liam has loved Jessica since they were teens, but she never noticed him as more than a friend. Now that she’s single, he’s determined to show her how much he cares and that not all men are like her ex-husband--if she’ll let him.

Jessica is reluctant to trust again after what her husband did to her, and Liam refuses to be the rebound guy, but their attraction is hard to deny. So, together, with a little help from God, they decide to give love a chance. But between Liam’s recent inheritance and an unwanted public billionaire status that has people lining up with their hands out, and Jessica’s ex-husband monitoring her every move, their relationship is off to a rocky start. 
And when tragedy strikes, Liam pushes everyone away—including Jessica.

Can they both learn to forgive and grow, or are they doomed to be alone?

Buy Carol’s book on Amazon or Anaiah Press

Connect with Carol:
Facebook: https://facebook.com/authorcarolunderhill
Twitter: https://twitter.com/@carolunderhill7
Website: https://authorcarolunderhill.com

Enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of Carol's book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 

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  1. This sounds like such an interesting story!! I don't think I would want to marry a billionaire.

  2. I think being a billionaire's life would be a lot like being a celebrity. Liam doesn't like being in the spotlight, but with Jessica by his side, who knows if that will change?

  3. What do you have to lose? I say go for it if the both of you love each other and the both of you want marriage!


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