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Happy Valley & Return to Edisto Blog Tour: Author Interview + Giveaway

Happy Valley Return to Edisto JustRead Blog Tour 
Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Happy Valley & Return to Edisto by Lin Stepp, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!
Happy Valley by Lin Stepp Title: Happy Valley
Author: Lin Stepp
Publisher: Mountain Hill Press
Release Date: April 2, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Escape to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in this sweet tale of two young people who meet by chance, their paths soon overlapping and intertwining amid a cast of warm-hearted characters in the small rural community of Happy Valley.

With Grandpa suffering a heart attack, Juliette Hollander saw little choice but to head back to their Tennessee mountain farm in Happy Valley to help out.  She didn’t expect, or want, to leave behind her life and work in North Carolina to return to her grandparents’ home so soon. Nor did she imagine meeting, and working with, the mysterious man she met briefly last summer and never thought to see again.

Walker Logan spent the last two years traveling the United States, seeing the beauty of the country and running from his past. But an old rock house he sees while hiking near Abrams Creek Campground unexpectedly calls to his soul. With danger close behind, he never stayed in one place long enough to put down roots. Yet now, with a new vision, he decides to take the risk.

  PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Return to Edisto Title: Return to Edisto
Series: The Edisto Trilogy #2
Author: Lin Stepp
Publisher: Mountain Hill Press
Release Date: April 2, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Return to Edisto Island in the rich, Lowcountry story of a young woman’s difficult decision to run from threat and danger, changing the course of her well-ordered life and, in turn, the life of the young man who loved and lost her.

It was a long trip back to Edisto Island, South Carolina, and the beach house that shaped so much of Mary Helen Avery’s early life. Now her mind flashed between anger and hurt over the difficult situation she’d left behind at the job she loved.  Was she doing the right thing to leave? Should she have stayed to fight? She hoped at the quiet, beloved island she knew so well, she’d find the answers she needed and peace from all this turmoil.

J.T.’s heart took a familiar lurch when he saw the car with New Jersey plates parked at the Avery’s beach house. Even after ten years, the memory of Mary Helen Avery still tormented him.  Finding her on the porch weeping lit old fires he thought long dead. Was he a fool to hope for something more between them with all their problems of the past? Probably so, but if she stayed long enough, he’d find one more chance to try.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Lin Stepp

Lin Stepp is a native Tennessean, businesswoman and educator. A New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon best-selling international author, Lin has eighteen published books, including her twelve beloved Smoky Mountain novels, all set in different Tennessee and North Carolina locations, her newest Mountain Home book, a novella in one of Kensington’s Christmas anthologies, and two novels in her new Edisto Trilogy, set on the South Carolina coast. Lin and her husband J.L. also write regional guidebooks, including a Smoky Mountain hiking guide and a Tennessee state parks book.

Stepp’s latest 2020 releases are Happy Valley, set in a quiet rural valley near the Smoky Mountains, and Return to Edisto, set at Edisto Beach, South Carolina. Lin’s previous title Claire At Edisto was the 2019 Best Books Award Winner in Fiction: Romance, sponsored by American Book Fest, her novel Welcome Back a finalist in the 2017 Selah Awards, and Lin and her husband’s guidebook Discovering Tennessee State Parks a 2019 American Book Fest Best Books Award Finalist in Nonfiction: Travel Guides and Essays.

Lin enjoys speaking for events, festivals, libraries, and book clubs, reading, hiking, exploring out of doors, and keeping up with her readers on Facebook, Twitter, and through her monthly blog and newsletter which you will find on her website at: www.linstepp.com

CONNECT WITH LIN: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Hi Lin! Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions and giving my readers the chance to get to know you and your newest books- Happy Valley & Return to Edisto- a little bit better. I always like to begin these interviews the same way with something fun… tell us 5 random facts about yourself that we WON’T find in your bio.
(1) I grew up in a small rural neighborhood with warm friendships and rich family ties, much like in the stories in my books.
(2) My mother was one of twelve children, my father one of eight. And I loved all the stories they told about growing up in big, happy families.
(3) I love to paint and draw. I especially love watercolor painting. I created the hiking patch illustrations in my husband’s and my hiking guidebook The Afternoon Hiker … and I draw all the maps in the front of my novels for my publishers.
(4) I have always loved the outdoors and the beauty of nature. I played outside more than inside growing up. I walk every day when the weather is good, my husband I love to hike, and many of my books have been inspired in time out in God’s beautiful world.
(5) I love thrift stores and garage sales. My parents did, too, and they taught me the “art” of looking for top quality items at a great bargain.

Let’s talk writing! When did your passion for writing begin, and when did you know that it was something you wanted to pursue professionally?
When growing up a part of me was a tomboy, the other part more traditionally “girl.” Playing outdoor imaginative games with my friends, I was the one who “conceived” the dramas we played out. Playing dolls, I created elaborate scenarios for all the dolls in the huge dollhouse my dad helped me build. All my dolls had character names, backgrounds, history, and later “written” personality sheets. I was writing back then and didn’t even know it!... To my family and friends this was just “play” and no one saw the “writing gift” in me or encouraged it in any serious way.
I carried a dream that I’d love to write books because I read like a fiend and still do … But I went off to college and majored in more “sensible” subjects. And, frankly, there were no “creative writing” majors in my day.
Along the way I wrote for school newspapers, created ads as a production artist and wrote copy, penned multitudes of academic articles and papers, edited, did layout work, and wrote articles for my husband’s outdoor magazines as needed. I also worked, teaching college and as educational reps in marketing and sales jobs. But only at midlife, when the children were gone did I get the idea for a series of books set in the Smoky Mountains near my home. And then I begin to write novels. I wrote my first books while teaching college and working part time in a marketing job … but my old for love and passion for writing roared back into my life then. Blessedly, readers loved my books so I could keep writing.…. Now I have fifteen published novels, a novella in one of Kensington’s Christmas anthologies, two published guidebooks written jointly with my husband … and many books more coming. I’m a great example of the old quote: “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
Can you tell us a little bit about Happy Valley?

Happy Valley is the first book in the new Mountain Home series. Last year the twelfth and final book in the Smoky Mountain series published … but fans were writing and upset that my books in the Smokies might end, so my publisher suggested continuing stories in the mountains with a new series. Like the Smoky Mountain series, the Mountain Home books will all be “stand-alone” stories, each with their own set of characters, their own unique setting and story. I have loved writing a linked series like that and readers have loved reading them, too, knowing they didn’t have to be read in any particular order. With the new Mountain Home books I’ll be able to take readers to new places around the Smoky Mountain region I know and love so well.
… Happy Valley is set in a lovely, scenic valley below the Foothills Parkway between the Chilhowee and Smoky Mountains – not far from Abrams Creek Campground. The idea for the book actually came to me while hiking one of the wonderful trails out of the Abram Creek area. The synopsis for the book is above and the story is about two young people who meet, at first by chance, in the small rural community of Happy Valley—which is a real place…. I think readers will enjoy this new story. Juliette is an artisan quilter, who especially loves creating crazy quilts, and her work plays into the story in many ways. Walker, which you learn in the first chapter, is running from something but has decided to take a chance and settle down in the quiet community of Happy Valley. To the surprise of everyone in the valley, he builds a store in the valley and renovates an old house near it. But of course secrets always cause problems … and these gradually unravel along with a delightful story introducing the reader to a host of fun and memorable valley characters.

Like most of your previous novels, Happy Valley takes place in the Smoky Mountains. What is it about the Smoky Mountains that inspires you and makes it the perfect setting?
I am a native Tennessean. My relatives trekked down the Appalachian Trail to settle this area and my roots go deep here. I have grown up here in Knoxville, Tennessee, only a short drive to the mountains and over my life have spent much time in the Smokies.  I love being an Ambassador to this beautiful part of the world and bringing readers here to visit this area through my books.  

What about Return to Edisto?... Return to Edisto is the second book in your Edisto Trilogy. Will readers who have not yet read book one be able to enjoy the story on it’s own, or will they need to read book one first?

After twelve novels set in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, I tool another departure in taking readers to my family’s favorite vacation spot at Edisto Beach, South Carolina. Edisto is halfway between Charleston and Beaufort and scenes from the small, less known island we love and these two lovely, historic cities play into the story.  Return to Edisto is the second book in the Edisto Trilogy. In the first book Claire at Edisto, Claire Avery comes to Edisto after her husband’s death with her two young daughters Mary Helen and Suki to try to decide on a new direction for her life. Return to Edisto follows the story with Claire’s daughter Mary Helen’s story when she grows up. Although readers would enjoy Mary Helen’s story in this second book, they would enjoy it far more if they had read Claire at Edisto, the first book in this trilogy first. Next year, the third book in the series will follow the second daughter Suki’s story when she is grown … completing the trilogy.
…I’d like to add here that readers have loved these new Lowcountry novels, and Claire at Edisto was the 2019 Best Book of the Year in Fiction: Romance in American BookFest’s big annual contest. With over 2000 entries from many major publishers we were thrilled that Claire won this fine award.

What do you hope readers will take away from these books?

As a psychologist, I weave a number of messages throughout my novels—that love heals and prevails, that forgiveness is better than bitterness, that life can offer new beginnings, that people have the capacity to help others men and heal after sorrows. I am a positivist and an optimist and I write books full of hope and promise with happy endings. I am concerned about the current fascination today with dark and immoral topics in books and movies, and I worry about the diet of trashy, violent, and immoral images America is constantly feeding into its mind through literature, television, and online media. Like an old line from Alice in Wonderland said, “We are what we eat.” … I believe it is still possible to write a compelling book readers will love and buy without throwing in excessive violence, explicit sexual content, cursing, vampires, or witchcraft. That is what I try to write. Within every book, I also plant a few spiritual seeds—that prayer works, that God is still real, that you can have a genuine relationship with the Creator, and that faith makes life richer and better.

I’m excited to check out both of these books and they’ve certainly made their way to my TBR! I have found that writers are so often some of the best readers too. If we were to take a look at your own TBR, what might we find there?

I mentioned earlier that I’m usually reading four favorite types of books at once. … And in my “To Read” stack is a lovely romance novel called The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins, the latest Alexander McCall Smith mystery To The Land of Long Lost Friends (in the Ladies No. #1 Detective Agency series set in Africa), a wonderful inspirational book by Shad Helmstetter Finding the Fountain of Youth Inside Yourself and a lovely devotional I found by Smith Wigglesworth.

Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions. Before we go, can you give us an idea on what we can look forward to next? Any projects you are currently working on that you can share?

Next year the third book in the Edisto Trilogy will publish, Edisto Song, my next Mountain Home title Downsizing, set above Gatlinburg in the Arts and Crafts Community … and, hopefully, my husband J.L.’s and my new 365-day devotional A Journey of Words that we’ve been working on prayerfully together for some time.

(1) winner will receive a print copy of Happy Valley & Return to Edisto, matching bookmarks, and a $25 Amazon gift card!

Happy Valley & Return to Edisto JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 23, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on March 30, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.


  1. These books sound interesting!

  2. Thank you so much! - JustRead Tours

  3. They sound like incredible reads.

  4. You have the best author interviews! Great post!

  5. Thank You for this generous giveaway.

  6. Randi ... Thanks for hosting my new books HAPPY VALLEY and RETURN TO EDISTO on your site. I enjoyed meeting you in cyber space and doing our interview together!! I posted links on both my Facebook pages and Twitter ....Stay safe and well. Hope you enjoyed my new titles. All best your way, Lin


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