Romance veteran Jill Shalvis' immensely popular Lucky Harbor series is coming to a close this month with One in a Million. In the final Lucky Harbor book, a jilted and jaded former-bride resolves that falling in love just isn't worth the risk, but when a beautiful deep-sea diver arrives to her small town, she questions her decision.
Jill chatted with us over email from her Sierra Mountain home about the beauty of a small town, finishing up a beloved series and of course, cookies.
What do you think it is about small-town romances like the Lucky Harbor series that readers love?
I think of it as comfort food—like mac and cheese! There’s an undeniable sense of community that comes with a small town setting. I’m not talking about a cutesiness or clichéd silly antics. I’m talking about the coziness that comes with being in a place where there’s a shared history (good or bad), like the song (and the great sitcom "Cheers"!) says—a place where everyone knows your name. Readers respond to that, and so do I.
How does living in the midst of the Sierra Mountains in a small community influence your books?
Well as someone who was born in NJ and grew up in SoCal, I had no sense of a small town before I moved to the wilds of the great Sierras, where my problems shifted from finding a parking space to wondering if there is a bear between me and the trash can. So I have to say, I think this has had a huge influence on my books. Because I’m new to small town living, I’ve been able to mine the funny out of it. And the irony.
With more than 50 romance novels under your belt, what's your favorite type of scene to write?
The funny. It doesn’t matter what the scene is, I like to try to find the funny. Writing a love scene? Well, maybe the heroine ate a pizza earlier and wants the lights off because she’s bloated. 🙂 Writing a serious I love you scene? Then maybe the hero and heroine somehow they end up with an audience. An embarrassing one. I like to torture my people as often as possible.
Are there any characters or places that you'll miss the most as you leave behind the world of Lucky Harbor?
Yes. Everything. I didn’t set out to write a series; I sort of fell into it. Willingly, of course. But now that I’m here looking back, leaving is going to be really difficult, as I loved the Pacific Northwest setting. I loved the heroes. I loved the ancient gossip Lucille!
After 12 Lucky Harbor books, do you have a favorite hero of the series?
That’s a little bit like asking my favorite kid. And the answer is always the one who is standing in front of me. So let me say in that same vein, it’s the last hero, fromer Navy SEAL Tanner, from One in a Million. I loved how fiercely loyal and protective he was, how much he loved Callie from the start, how tough he’d become from all he’d been through and yet how thoroughly and completely he fell for Callie in spite of himself.
Now that you've written the final Lucky Harbor book, I hope you've got a little downtime! What's your favorite way to relax?
Walk, read, nap, eat cookies . . . and not necessarily in that order. 🙂
What's on the horizon for you?
I’d tell you but then I’d have to kill you . . . 🙂 Okay, fine, twist my arm. I’m starting something new and here’s a hint: the guys are hot and badass.