Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Romantic Reads: The Key to Love

Welcome Betsy St. Amant to the blog!

It's a special day for Betsy because her new novel, The Key to Love, releases today!

Please join me in wishing Betsy a "Happy BOOK birthday!" 

She's celebrating with us today by talking about her book, the setting, its characters, Paris (France) and French-inspired bakery treats like macaroons and Petit fours.

Now here's what's in it for you: Betsy is going to give away one, signed paperback copy of her book to the winner of the giveaway contest! You can enter the contest via the Rafflecopter widget that is located at the end of this blog post.

Now onto the interview ...

Interview with Betsy St. Amant about her book, The Key to Love:

Alexis: “The Key to Love” is a lovely and unique title for a story! What is its significance?

Betsy: The title is referring to the lovelocks that are featured in the story, where my heroine, Bri, has created her own version of the lovelock wall at her small town Parisian themed bakery after the real lovelock bridge was shut down in Paris years before.

Alexis: What was your inspiration for writing this story?

Betsy: I started with two ideas—one, I wanted to incorporate the concept of the lovelocks, but when I started plotting the story, Paris declared the locks on the bridge over the Seine river an eyesore, and replaced the locks with glass panels. I had to revise my initial idea for the story, so I had my heroine make her own version instead in small-town, mid America! I ended up liking it this way so much better. Two, I wanted an opposites attract trope for my hero and heroine, which is why Bri is girlie and everything romance obsessed, while Gerard is the scorned, permanent Bachelor type who Bri accuses of “making flowers wilt when he walks by.”

How did you research this story? Did you travel to Paris (France) and Kansas?

Betsy: I’ve never been to Paris, unfortunately. It’s on the bucket list! But I did a lot of research online and through chatting with people who have been, and I mapped some things out that applied to my story. I’ve been to Kansas years ago to visit a dear friend and loved it. The tulips were blooming when I visited, and I was so charmed with the entire state in general. It seemed the perfect spot to set my fictional town!

Alexis: “Story” is a very cute name for a fictional town! Paint a picture of it with words.

Betsy: Story, Kansas is a town reminiscent of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls, where everyone knows who you are, and everyone knows everyone else’s business, but nobody really minds, because it’s all done in love!

Alexis: Let’s talk about the heroine of your story, Bri Duval. What does she look like? Sound like? Act like? What are her primary passions, character flaws and strengths?

Betsy: Bri is dainty and blonde and a huge romantic at heart. She usually bakes in a frilly apron and comfy sweatshirts, and loves the term “wanderlust”—it’s on the wall of the bakery and on a steppingstone leading to the lovelock wall outside. She’s kind and compassionate and knows what she wants—but her flaws come into play in that she’s kept her late parents on such a pedestal, determined to hold out for a love like theirs, that she doesn’t recognize love when it does come her way. She’s placed her identity in the wrong things and begins to lose herself when the pedestal her parents are on starts to wobble.

Alexis: What were Bri’s dreams for her bakery when she opened it and what are her dreams for it now?

Betsy: Bri’s mother, who passed away when Bri was only 18, learned to bake at the same bakery that Bri operates now. It’s owned by two eccentric elderly sisters, Mabel and Agnes, who are not blood-relation to Bri but loved Bri and her mother like their own. They serve as both comic relief and voices of reason in the story, and I love them! They continuously cracked me up. Bri bakes there in memory of her mother, but she’s also trying to save the bakery from being sold to her conniving ex-boyfriend, a town lawyer.

Alexis: Why are petit fours the dessert of choice for Bri? What is her favorite flavor?

Betsy: Since the bakery is Parisian themed, there are a lot of petit fours and macarons! There’s also some decorated sugar cookies and delicious iced coffee and other goodies. Bri spends a lot of time trying to recreate her mother’s macaron recipe, except there’s a problem—she doesn’t know her mom’s secret ingredient.

Alexis: Why did Bri re-create the famous Parisian lovelock wall at her bakery?

Betsy: Bri made the lovelock wall to serve as a memory for her parents’ love story, and to encourage the concept of love and romance in her town. The eccentric bakery owners, Mabel and Agnes, are known around Story, Kansas as matchmakers, so every time they match up a couple, they hang a lock in their honor.

Alexis: Let’s talk about the hero of your story, Gerard Fortier. What does he look like? Sound like? Act like? What are his hopes, life goals, most telling weakness and his greatest strength?

Betsy: Gerard is scorned by love after a failed engagement and a lifetime of watching his mother get dragged around by men. He’s sworn off love and is content to be a permanent Bachelor. His goals are more career-oriented right now, and he’s determined to promote up into his travel magazine’s lead writing position so he can write about things he really cares about—and make more money to help take care of his mom. His flaw is that he tends to run from the hard things and from “putting down roots.” He’s a permanent wanderer.

Alexis: Why did Trek Magazine send Gerard travel to Bri’s bakery to write a feature story about it?

Betsy: Trek sent Gerard to write about the bakery after it went viral from the matchmaking schemes of Mabel and Agnes, and the lovelock wall. Gerard didn’t want to do it, but if he wants the promotion, he’ll have to!

Alexis: What are Gerard’s first impressions of the bakery and Bri?

Betsy: Gerard first thinks that Bri is naïve and a little weak (though he reluctantly notices how pretty she is).

Alexis: How does Bri feel about Gerard when she first meets him?

Betsy: Bri thinks Gerard is a little rude, and a little too rough around the edges. He doesn’t fit her mold of anyone she’d be interested in (though she begrudgingly notices how handsome he is).

Alexis: How does her parents’ true love story affect Bri’s expectations for her own?

Betsy: Bri kept her parents on a pedestal all this time, holding out for a love as perfect as their own. But when that image gets tainted, Bri has to realize who she really is and what she really wants—outside of her parents— and recognize that love doesn’t always look the way she thinks it should.

Alexis: What is the moral of the story?

Betsy: The Key To Love is a story of identity. I hope readers come away from their journey with Bri as she discovers where her identity truly lies, to being encouraged in their own.

Alexis: If you could step into this story as a baker for Bri’s bakery, which one of the desserts on the menu would be your favorite to make and taste? Explain.

Betsy: I’m a sucker for a good petit four, but they’re incredibly hard to make! So, I’d probably just end up buying a few from Bri and binging later that night with a good book. Hehe.

Author Bio:

Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas.

She resides in north Louisiana with her hero of a hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, a vast collection of coffee mugs, and an impressive stash of Pickle chips. 

Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she’s not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha–no whip.

She blogs frequently at www.ibelieve.com, a devotional site for women. 

Betsy is proud to be represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency.

Blurb for Betsy's book, The Key to Love:

The only thing Bri Duval loves more than baking petit fours is romance. So much so, she's created her own version of the famous Parisian lovelock wall at her bakery in Story, Kansas. 

She never expects it to go viral — or for Trek Magazine to send travel writer Gerard Fortier to feature the bakery. He's definitely handsome, but Bri has been holding out for a love story like the one her parents had, and that certainly will not include the love-scorned-and-therefore-love-scorning Gerard.

Just when it seems Bri's bakery is poised for unprecedented success, a series of events threaten not just her business but the pedestal she's kept her parents on all these years. Maybe Gerard is right about romance. Or maybe Bri's recipe just needs to be tweaked.

Novelist Betsy St. Amant invites you to experience this sweet story of how love doesn't always look the way we expect 
— and maybe that's a good thing.

Buy Betsy's book on Amazon, Baker's Books or Barnes and Noble

Connect with Betsy:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/BetsySt.Amant
Twitter - https://twitter.com/betsystamant

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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