After fifteen or so books set in big cosmopolitan cities, it came as a bit of a surprise to some of my readers to find out the new series was set in a small southern town. Honestly, y’all, it was a bit of a surprise to me, too. But it’s been so much fun getting to know the people of Magnolia Beach.
I’ve been asked what attracted me to the small town setting, and after some serious thought I realized it was the same thing that attracted me to reunion and second-chance romances: the history.
In a reunion romance, our hero and heroine are forced to face parts of their past they’d really hoped they’d get to forget. Whether it’s that unfortunate (but temporary) obsession with Adam Sandler or that strange thing you did to your hair that time, we move on and conveniently forget. Stupid things said and done and bad choices made can be filed away under “Lessons Learned” and we can believe we are no longer that person.
Hook up with your ex (like in The Girl’s Guide to Flirting with Danger and The Million Dollar Question) or even that person you went to school with and haven’t seen since (like in The Downfall of a Good Girl or Grace Felt the Heat), and you’re faced with the person who witnessed those questionable choices and may still see you as the person you were then. In a small town, that’s multiplied: everyone remembers those knee-high moccasins and the time you had to be pulled off the bar and sent home in a taxi. You may be forgiven, but it’s not forgotten, and while you may be an improved version of that younger person, it’s all still you. It’s baggage you get to carry everywhere, all the time.
That history, those connections to the past and other people, are catnip for me. I love to explore the way characters handle that history — whether it’s the guy who’s still living his high school football glory days, the reformed wild child who’s moved on, the guy who’s never gotten over his high school crush, or the couple who’s passionate affair fizzled out and they’re okay with it. (Really. Stop asking. They’re just friends.)
Some do it gracefully; some don’t always handle it well. The same goes for the folks around them. But there’s always a story there, waiting to be told.
And that’s what brought me to Magnolia Beach. I hope you come to love the place as much as I do.
Kimberly Lang is a USA Today bestselling author and Southern belle with a troublemaking streak. A former ballet dancer and English teacher, she now does yoga and writes the kind of books she always loved to read.
She’s married to her college sweetheart, is mom to the most amazing child on the planet, and shares her office space with a dog named Cupid.