About the Author:
Lucie Ulrich is an award-winning author of inspirational fiction. Her books are filled with faith, family, forgiveness, and a little humor to round things out.
A former drama teacher and performing arts director, Lucie now enjoys going on photo shoots with her husband and taking long (or short) road trips. She continues to find inspiration as she and her husband explore the four corners of the United States.
1. When did you realize you wanted to be an author?
Not until I was in my 40’s. I started small by writing skits for my church’s drama team. Skits became plays, and plays grew into a desire to take my writing to another level.
2. Where do you get your inspiration for your characters?
I’d have to say that 95% comes from my imagination. I might use a mannerism or expression from a family member (or myself), but I do my best not to model my characters after real people. It’s safer that way. Lol!
3. Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
Wow, tough question. So many things have improved since my early attempts—not that I’ve mastered any. I don’t know any author would admit to being a master. There’s always something new to learn. Since I have to choose, I’d say attention to detail. I’m not a huge fan of over-description in books, so I tended to shy away when writing my own. I’d like to think I’ve found a good balance.
4. What is your writing Kryptonite?
Focus! I’m too easily distracted. Case in point: I have at least six or seven novels on my desktop—all in various stages of completion. Unless a story idea is so strong I can’t pull myself away, I’ll go back and forth between two, three, or even four. It’s not that I get bored with them, but while working on one, I get a brilliant (at least to my mind) idea and have to get something down on paper. I’m currently working on two stories and progressing relatively well with each. But who knows what tomorrow will bring?
5. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
It’s safe to say good reviews are easy to deal with. As for bad reviews… well, there really isn’t anything I can do about them. That’s not to say they might not sting a bit, but I learned through years of being part of an online critique group, that not everyone is going to like my stories or my writing style, so I do my best to let them slide—but not before I look to see if there’s something valuable I can glean from the reviewer’s comments.
6. What is your favorite childhood book?
I wasn’t much of a reader as a child, but one year I received two books: Heidi by Johanna Spyri and Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott. I remember reading them over and over again. Wish I still had them, but they literally fell apart.
7. What did you edit out of this book?
Since the book is a novella, and less than 50k words, I was always looking to add and not subtract. I can’t think of any major plot lines or characters I edited out.
8. What are you working on now?
A third book in the Tillie Spencer Series, as well as a full-length novel. Both happen to take place at the beach, though in different states. The novella includes a single father and his five-year-old daughter—my first time writing a character that young, while the novel will involve characters in their fifties—my first time writing lead characters that old. Guess it’s a time for firsts.
Mountain View Lodge (A Tillie Spencer Novella Book 2) by Lucie ULrich
Genre: Romance, Inspirational Romance, family
After his mother’s death, Coll MacPherson returns to the mountains of North Carolina to work for his aunt and uncle. His part-time position at Mountain View Lodge will allow him to hone his photography skills, and hopefully forget the woman who broke his heart. When Uncle Richard asks for Coll’s help to turn an unused storage building into a shop that would feature local art and artists, Coll figures things can’t get any better—until he meets Autumn Nichols.
Always the bridesmaid and never the bride has been Autumn’s mantra for the last few years. After three failed relationships, she’s convinced God is trying to tell her something. If she can just get through her best friend’s wedding, Autumn can focus on building her graphic design business while leaving all thoughts of love and marriage in the past—until she meets Coll MacPherson.
Both having loved and lost, Coll and Autumn are happy to settle for friendship. The enigmatic Tillie Spencer, on the other hand, has other ideas. She knows the two are perfect for each other, and, in typical Tillie-style, is determined to prove it.
“I like that young man.” Tillie leaned close to Autumn. “Don’t you?”
“I barely know him, and you don’t know him at all.” Autumn checked to make sure Coll had rounded the corner. “That aside, how did you know he was going to ask me to the reception?”
Tillie’s tinkling laughter rang out as tables were brought in to turn the wedding space into a reception area. “I overheard the bride and groom insisting he come to the reception. I also spied the two of you talking on my way to the dining room this morning. You seemed to get along well. Coll’s only been here for a day, so who else would he ask?”
The old lady’s answer was thin at best, yet plausible enough for Autumn to let it go at that.
Coll returned wearing a bright smile. “You’re all set up, ladies. You have a table in the Trail’s End room reserved for six o’clock. As for me, I’m going to change into something with legs. Autumn, I’ll meet you in the library in twenty minutes. The room should be set up for the reception about then.”
“Okay, but are you sure you want to change? You’re kind of rockin’ that kilt.”
He laughed while a bit of color came to his cheeks. “Thank you, but since I don’t plan to play the pipes anymore this evening, I’m going for the pants.” And with that, he was gone.
Dawn pulled off her heels. “My feet are killing me. Think I’ll follow Coll’s lead and change into something more comfortable. See you at dinner, Tillie.” She waggled her fingers and dashed away.
“Would you mind if an old lady keeps you company while you wait?”
Autumn narrowed her eyes. Though likable, Tillie was just a touch on the intrusive side. “Why, so you can impart a dose of sage wisdom, or see what you can find out about me?”
Melodic laughter filled the hall. “I like you, Autumn Nichols. You say it like it is, and I appreciate that.” She looped her arm through Autumn’s and took off walking. “Let’s see what we can find out about each other in the next few minutes.”
They scooted through the living area where the bridal party posed for pictures, and guests snacked on tidbits while sipping their cocktails.
Autumn slid one of the pocket doors open and allowed Tillie to step in first. They sat at the farthest table from the entrance. “I can’t believe Dawn will be that bride in three weeks—minus the plaid sash, of course.” A moment of melancholy came and went. “It’s going to be strange not having her as my roommate anymore.”
“Do you have anyone else lined up to take her place?”
Warmth washed through Autumn's veins. Her friendship with Dawn went back to their first day of kindergarten. Dawn, brash and pushy at times, remained Autumn’s best friend and strongest advocate. She already missed her. “Nobody could take Dawn’s place. Since my business is doing well, I decided to stick out the rest of the lease on my own. I have a few months to decide whether I want to keep the second bedroom as my office or move to a one bedroom.”
“You won’t consider another roommate?”
“Not even a husband?” The glint in Tillie’s eyes let Autumn know they’d reached the moment of truth—at least what Tillie likely considered said moment. Autumn chose to take the lead. “Have you ever been married, Tillie?”
“Goodness, no. I have to be free to go where the Spirit leads me.”
“To offer advice, gently coax, and sometimes give a good push to those in need.”
Tingles of dread pricked Autumn’s nerves. This quirky lady had an agenda that apparently involved Autumn, and she wasn’t sure she liked being someone’s project. “And you think I’m in need of your services?”
“Oh, no, dear, not you. Coll.”
Coll remained silent. He stared after the lady until she disappeared into the crowd of partygoers. The sound of Autumn’s chuckling drew him back to the reason he was here. He focused on his companion. “How long have you known that lady?”
“I met her yesterday.”
“She’s . . . interesting.”
“Interesting is one of Tillie’s many characteristics.” Autumn eyed his attire. “You look very nice, though I still prefer the kilt.” She sighed deeply. “There’s just something about a guy in a plaid skirt and knee socks.”
“In that case, allow me to escort you to a room filled with guys in skirts and socks. You can ogle to your heart’s content.” She laughed, and he liked the way it sounded—like a spring breeze, light and airy.
“I’m not going to lie, after that amazing wedding, I just knew I had to get a glimpse of what the reception would be like. Thanks for keeping me from looking like a curiosity seeker.”
“Thank you for not making me go alone.”
Minutes later, Coll found himself seated between Autumn and Chloe, the young girl who’d played the flute. Along with everyone in the room, he applauded when the bridal party was introduced and waited out the hoots and cheers when the newlyweds entered. A portion of his heart fractured when the newly-married couple stepped onto the dance floor for their first dance. Why had he agreed to attend the reception? This wasn’t where he wanted to be. It was one thing to be paid to play during the ceremony, quite another to sit through all the toasts and accolades. Sweat beaded on his forehead, and his palms went clammy.
Autumn touched his arm. “You okay? You look a little pale.”
He focused on Autumn, making sure he seemed at ease. He’d asked her to join him and would make the best of it. “I’m fine. Guess the last couple of days have caught up with me.” She looked doubtful but didn’t say anything more about it.
When couples were invited to join the bride and groom on the dance floor, Autumn stood and held out her hand. “Come on.”
Having no desire to dance, Coll hesitated, but could hardly refuse her offer. He rubbed his palms on his slacks. “I’m not much of a dancer.”
“Neither am I.”
Her smile brightened his mood. He pushed his chair back and stood. Taking her small hand in his, Coll walked in the direction of the dance floor.
“Not that way.” Autumn led him toward the exit.
“Where are we going?” “Anywhere but here.”
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