Friday, 12 August 2022

I Interviews

Interview: Chautona Havig

Tell us a bit about this series and why you wrote a prequel to a thirty-book series.

The premise of the Independence Island Series is that a group of mobile businesses travel from island to island to provide services that the islands couldn’t support individually.  This gives them amenities that they want without resorting to tourist trade to be able to make it feasible to have them.  In each book, the business owner uses her chautona havigbusiness to bring two of her customers/neighbors together in some way.  For my character, Mallory, she’ll use books and coffee.

A prequel to a thirty-book series does seem a bit superfluous, but we thought it would be fun to show what prompted the mobile business influx to the five islands.  The prequel gives us a glimpse of pre-island business life and introduces many of the places and characters before the reader arrives with the first book. And, because… Christmas!


Are all of the Independence Island books romances?

Technically, yes.  Each book will have a romantic relationship featured.  However, this is the only limitation we’ve given the authors.  If they choose to make one a cozy mystery or even employ suspense in addition to that romantic element, they’re free to do so. 

As a general rule, I prefer to avoid straight-up romance, so for my romantic elements, I’m choosing to take familiar romantic tropes like “second-chance romance” or “marriage of convenience” and turning them a bit on their heads. My first book in the actual series, Dual Power of Convenience is obviously the “marriage of convenience” trope.


Tell us a little bit about the prequel, then.

In Christmas on Breakers Point, Mallory returns to the islands to be with her favorite uncle during his last weeks of life and is challenged to try to repair a broken relationship between two people who still love each other… and admit it! As she tries to give her uncle the best Christmas she can, Mallory also convinces the island association to let her experiment with a way to give them the businesses they need without the fallout they don’t want.


What is your favorite part of this series?

I’d have to say getting to not only come up with island culture but also this history.  At first, we named them the “Independence Islands” because we decided the patriots had changed the name from the Georgian Islands to Independence after we won the War for… Independence. 

Then, at about the same time, author Melissa Wardwell came up with a history of piracy on Merriweather Island while our editor helped me name a character—after an actual pirate from that era.  So… out of the blue… we have a history of battling pirates between characters. 

That kind of discovery and creativity is my favorite part of writing, and doing it with five other authors makes it exponentially more fun!


Who is your favorite character in Christmas on Breakers Point?

Without a doubt, Uncle Bud.  Buford Earnest Barrows is quite the character with his ever-shifting terms of endearment and talking about his “expiration date.”  I fell in love with him when I saw how much my main character, Mallory, adored him.  Their relationship reminds me very much of my own with my mother, and considering I got a very similar (but less terminal!) call just after I wrote the opening scene, this book is very special to me.


What would you like to tell readers about your books, about this series, and about your books in the series?

As an author, I use story to connect readers to the Master Storyteller.  So, with this series, I want to show this love of story in the life of Mallory Barrows and her using story to do that very thing—connect her customer/readers to one another and our Lord.  And somehow, I managed to answer a three-part question in two!  Considering that each book in the series is only fifty-thousand words (almost half what I usually write), I consider it proof that I can do it. 

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