Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Returning to a favourite series

By Narelle Atkins

I loved writing the books in my Snowgum Creek series, and I was delighted to have an opportunity to return to Snowgum Creek and write a novella.

The Bridesmaid’s Hero is a contemporary Christian romance novella in my Snowgum Creek series. The story is set in a fictional town in the Snowy Mountains region of Australia. I had a chance to reunite with Jack, the hero in my debut book, Falling for the Farmer.

Falling for the Farmer was the second book I wrote, and I first started writing it over a decade ago. It was great to see Jack again, and get a glimpse of his life with Kate in-between the first two books in the series.

I've always been a big fan of series books. As a reader, I love visiting familiar settings and seeing characters from previous books after the excitement of their romance and wedding is over. I want to believe that the hero and heroine will live happily-ever-after and their relationship will survive the challenges of life. Series books can provide a window into the lives of the characters we grew to love. They can give us an insight into their new life as a married couple.

Book Description:

Pastry chef Serena Blaxland isn’t staying in the small Australian town of Snowgum Creek. She’s there for her sister’s wedding, and to help out at the family B&B until her mother’s arm heals. Sparks fly when the handsome driver of their bridal car saves Serena from disrupting her sister’s perfect wedding day.

Harry Westmore’s dream of becoming an equine vet was put on hold when his father passed away. He’s working several jobs in his home town to pay his bills and prepare for his future career. He can’t stay away from the beautiful chef when he visits the B&B each day to look after her mother’s horses.

Serena’s home is in Canberra, where she has built a successful career. When Harry’s offered an opportunity too good to refuse, they must decide if their love and faith can overcome all obstacles.

The Bridesmaid’s Hero is a standalone novella and Book 1.5 in the Snowgum Creek series.

The Bridesmaid's Hero is part of the Love Blossoms contemporary Christian romance box set. Marion Ueckermann and Autumn Macarthur also have novellas in the collection, and we add an international flavour to the spring theme.

Here’s a short excerpt from Chapter One of The Bridesmaid's Hero:

Serena Blaxland leaned back into the soft leather rear seat of the white BMW hire car, her bare shoulders tense. Wedding planning had transformed Debbie, her easygoing older sister, into Bridezilla in her quest for a perfect day. She’d never forgive them if they kept her waiting.

The front door of their parents’ Snowgum Creek home remained open. Serena’s younger sister was inside the farm house. Why was it taking Gina so long to find a missing tube of lipstick? She’d been in there ten minutes already.

Serena fidgeted with the hem of her knee-length pale pink bridesmaid dress, her immaculate French manicure catching the early afternoon sunlight. Her nails had never looked this good, but the manicure failed to hold her interest.

The handsome driver of their hire car had captured her full attention.

He paced the length of the front veranda, his elegant suit accentuating his tall, muscular physique. Harry Westmore. The name suited him.

Harry returned to the car and crouched beside her open window, his fair hair ruffled and eyebrows drawn together. “The rest of the bridal party left fifteen minutes ago. Should I find out what’s holding up your sister?”

She shook her head, meeting his concerned gaze. “I’ll give her a few more minutes before I go inside and yell. Unlike Debbie, Gina has no concept of punctuality.”

“The bride was determined to leave on time.”

“That’s Debbie for you.”

His eyes, the color of the cloudless sky overhead, hinted at his impatience.

An idyllic September spring day, and they had a long drive ahead. The bride had left with her parents in a matching BMW. The chief bridesmaid had snubbed Serena and Gina by catching a ride to Sunny Ridge with her boyfriend in his luxury sports coupe. Debbie hadn’t been impressed by Crystal’s last-minute change of plans.

Gina flounced onto the veranda, slamming the front door behind her. Two inch heels didn’t slow her progress across the lawn. “I found it, finally.” She held the lipstick in the air as if it was a precious gem.

Serena let out a deep breath. If Harry drove the speed limit, they should make it on time to Sunny Ridge Community Church in the large town west of Snowgum Creek. Pre-wedding photos were scheduled in the adjoining park.

He opened the car door for Gina and she slid into her seat behind the driver, her skirt a tangled mess around her thighs.

Gina bit her lip. “I hate this skirt.”

“Be thankful it’s not floor length.”

“True, but I wish Debbie had asked what we thought before she chose our dresses.”

“It’s her wedding.”

“And don’t we know it.”

She let Gina’s comment slide. Her younger sister’s relationship with Debbie was fraught with issues, and Harry didn’t need to hear their complaints. He’d already witnessed Crystal’s emotional outburst. Debbie’s best friend had refused to travel to Sunny Ridge in the bridesmaids’ car.

Harry started the car, a quiet purr compared to the cough and splutter of Serena’s aging hatchback. “Ladies, are we ready?”

“Let’s go.” Gina buckled her seat belt. “I hope we won’t be late.”

Serena suppressed a groan. “Me too, because Debbie doesn’t need the extra stress. Harry, I’m ready.”

“Okay.” He maneuvered the luxury car over the cattle guard at the front entrance next to the prominent Blaxland B&B sign, onto a short dirt track leading to the main road. “We have enough time.”

“Oh, good.” Gina stashed her lipstick in her purse. “I’m already in Debbie’s bad books.”

Serena tightened her grip on the door handle. “What did you do this time?”

Read more in the sample at

A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, Narelle Atkins was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle's contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia.

Twitter: @NarelleAtkins


  1. Looks like a great story! Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. Hi Angela, you're very welcome. It was a fun story to write :)

  2. Narelle, I did enjoy meeting Serena & Harry. You may have read this next comment on another blog post so apologies for the repetition but one aspect I particularly enjoyed was how you presented the career v relationship dilemma for Harry. The role his mother played re: that dilemma was very special and enabling for Harry.

    Well done.

    1. Hi Ian, Thanks so much for your encouraging words :) I appreciate hearing your perspective and I'm glad the story resonated with you.

  3. I love series as well and knowing that the happily-ever-after ending didn't just end with the "I do."

    1. Hi Lisa, I agree. The 'I do" is the end of the romance story, but it's the beginning of their lifelong romance as a married couple. :)

  4. Series are a lovely way to follow-up with previous characters. I'm having fun now with book 5 of a series, that involves a romance with the couple brought together by the wedding of the hero and heroine of book 1. It's fun, and I hope readers will enjoy seeing the wedding. Only problem is, now I want to do it for ALL my characters. I could end up with the rest of the series being nothing but wedding themed stories! :)

    1. Hi Autumn, I totally understand, lol. I love reading and writing wedding themed stories :)

  5. Congratulations, Narelle. I've just returned to a favorite series by re-editing them for ebook, so I know what you mean about the fun of seeing characters again!

    1. Hi Donna, That does sound like fun. Enjoy visiting with your characters :)

  6. I'm in the same boat, Narelle, just started working on a new book in my Prospect series. It is fun to go back to the place and people I lived with for years. It also makes the writing easier since so many details are already in place. Good luck with the box set.

    1. Hi Alice, Yes, it's helpful to have the story world fully developed. I look forward to hearing more about your new book :)

  7. Hi Narelle! After last year's conference, you've inspired me regarding writing a series. Like you say it's great being able to revisit the 'happy ever afters' from previous novels. Looking forward to reading this soon!

    1. Hi Carolyn, Yay! I'm so glad to hear you're writing a series, and I'm looking forward to seeing your books in print :)

  8. I enjoyed this novella, Narelle! I love series too, both reading and writing!

    1. Hi Valerie, I'm glad you enjoyed my novella, and I love your series books. Berry on Top was delivered to my Kindle account a few days ago:)

  9. I love series for the same reason, Narelle, It's nice to be able to see how characters' relationships develop after their big "happily ever after" :)