I had the privilege to be a part of Courtney Walsh’s influencer team for her new novel Just Look Up, which released on July 4, 2017. It was my first time being on an influencer team, and let me tell you, I love everything about it! As a fellow writer, I love being able to help other writers market their book, especially one like this! Courtney has been nothing short of amazing and so sweet throughout this whole process. I have loved getting to know her a little better throughout the last month and I think all of you should, too!
I was given an advanced copy of her book and read it faster than any other book I’ve read in a long time. I won’t give anything away, but if you love the small town romance stories, this is the book for you! By the end of it, I wanted to pack my bags and book the next flight to Harbor Pointe, Michigan. Lane is relatable in so many ways, and Brooks…swoon! There are so many wonderful messages inside to remind us what life is truly about. Some times the things that you are deeply looking for are right in front of you, and you will see them, if you Just Look Up….
I sent Courtney a few fun questions about herself and her new novel, so I hope you enjoy it! Be sure to follow along with her and her writing journey. I’ll post her links at the bottom of the post!
After tirelessly climbing the ranks of her Chicago-based interior design firm, Lane Kelley is about to land her dream promotion when devastating news about her brother draws her back home―a quaint tourist town full of memories she’d just as soon forget. With her cell phone and laptop always within reach, Lane aims to check on her brother while staying focused on work―something her eclectic family doesn’t understand.
Ryan Brooks never expected to settle down in Harbor Pointe, Michigan, but after his final tour of duty, it was the only place that felt like home. Now knee-deep in a renovation project that could boost tourism for the struggling town, he is thrilled to see Lane, the girl he secretly once loved, even if the circumstances of her homecoming aren’t ideal.
Their reunion gets off to a rocky start, however, when Ryan can’t find a trace of the girl he once knew in the woman she is today. As he slowly chips away at the walls Lane has built, secrets from his past collide with a terrible truth even he is reluctant to believe. Facing a crossroads that could define his future with Lane and jeopardize his relationship with the surrogate family he’s found in the Kelleys, Ryan hopes Lane can see that maybe what really matters has been right in front of her all along―if only she’d just look up.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer.
Well, I think maybe I was always a writer, but I didn’t realize it because I was so focused on becoming an actor. We’d been in ministry for about six years when my husband felt pulled to leave music ministry and become the children’s pastor at our church. At first it seemed crazy. Kids’ ministry is challenging…but as soon as he started that job, I realized he was called to it. It was exactly where he fit. I wanted to know if God had something for me that was so obviously what I was born to do, the way Adam was born to teach. So, I prayed. And almost immediately after I asked God, “But what about me? What do you want me to do?” I heard one word… “Write.” And I’d been writing—skits and short plays, we’d written a full-scale musical—but I knew God meant novels. So, I got to work!
What is one thing you can’t write without?
Pandora. I have to have this instrumental movie soundtrack channel playing while I write, otherwise, I get really distracted! (My kids tell me Spotify is cooler, but I don’t care…I stick with what I love!) 🙂
Do you have a favorite writing spot?
I mostly write in my front room because it has the most natural light during the day. I have a chair (that used to be my grandmother’s) and an ottoman to put my feet up and then a little table I bought at this great local store called Urban Farmgirl, to hold whatever I’m drinking. I sometimes move to my back porch, when it’s nice out, but for me, the most important thing is sunlight—I live for it!
Do you put yourself into your books or characters?
And she grows up to be a woman who strives, who has something to prove, who is constantly overachieving—even to the point of making herself sick. Also me. I’m such a work in progress, but I didn’t want to wait until I was all put together to explore these things in my writing. Maybe someone else can relate and will know they’re not alone.
I think Lane is the most autobiographical of any of my characters so far. I mean, there’s some of me in each of them—or maybe I’ll take a part of my own personality and then magnify it x 100—but with Lane, there’s a lot about her that comes from real life. The overweight girl who is teased, who loses friends for no reason, who feels like she doesn’t fit in—that was me.
What inspired you to write Just Look Up?
A trip to New York (my favorite city in the world.) I got the idea when we were in New York on a trip for my husband’s fortieth birthday. (This is us on our way out to see a Broadway show.) I LOVE New York—it’s the city that stole my heart—so returning after years away made me feel like a giddy little kid. We were walking down the street, and I was completely smitten with everything all around me, and I noticed that everyone walking toward us had their eyes glued on their phones. I kept thinking “Just Look Up! You’re missing it! You’re missing everything…” and it stuck with me. It made me realize that these people see NYC every day. It’s not new to them, but that doesn’t make it any less amazing. And then I started thinking about my own life. What was I missing because I’d gotten too used to it? What if the very things a person is longing for are right in front of them…but they don’t realize it because they’re not looking up?
Do you have any fun events planned for your book release?
I have a Facebook launch party on Tuesday, July 11th. I’ve never done one of those before, so I’m pretty excited about that. I’m also considering a local book chat, but that requires me to really put myself out there, so it’ll take some pep-talking on my part to make that happen! 🙂 Join the party HERE.
If Just Look Up was made into a movie, who would your dream cast be?
I love this question! But it’s also hard because honestly I don’t picture anyone famous when I’m writing these characters. I see them so clearly in my head, so it’s difficult to imagine them as anything other than that.
Lane has dark hair and a nice little stubborn streak. She’s not the typical heroine, I don’t think. If I were casting Just Look Up as a movie, I think I’d want a long-haired Jaime Alexander to play Lane. I like that she’s got a tough side, but she can also be tender-hearted.
As for Brooks, honestly, this is much more difficult. I’m not sure such a perfect specimen exists… 😉 But I think it’d be this guy…whoever he is. LOL
Will your characters from Just Look Up continue in future books?
Brooks and Lane DO show up in Just Let Go. I think I’m still so attached to them. I would like to write books about everyone in Harbor Pointe!
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on edits for Just Let Go, the next Harbor Pointe novel. I’m really excited about this one too, and so glad I get to stay in Harbor Pointe a little while longer…
Where do you see yourself in 5 years as a writer?
I’d like to be the kind of author who has developed a good relationship with her readers. I’d love to, of course, have more readers, and get to the point where people are anxiously awaiting what I’m writing next. BUT I’ve also got inklings to write in different genres, mostly because sometimes you get a story idea that doesn’t fit the current genre, and when those stories get a hold of you—they’re hard to let go! Of course, I’ll always have romance stories brewing too—I just pray I can continue telling my stories and that God will do whatever he wants to do with them!
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Courtney as much as I have, and also a little more about her new novel Just Look Up. If you’d like to connect more with Courtney, here are some other places you can find her!
To purchase Just Look Up : Amazon
Thank you Courtney for letting us get to know you and for giving us an inside peek into how Just Look Up came about. I love the story you have written and cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment in Harbor Pointe!! Please keep your stories coming. I have no doubt this is what you were called to do.
If you have any questions for Courtney, please feel free to leave a comment below 🙂