Today Wednesday Writers welcomes Kimberly Rose Johnson to the blog. Kimberly will be talking about setting for her contemporary romance An Encore for Estelle. Welcome, Kimberly!
When I sat down to write A Love Song for Kayla, the first book in this series, I wanted to set it in a small town without having to do any research. I also wanted to place the story in Oregon—up to that point in my writing career, all of my published books had been set in Washington State, so I thought it would be nice to change states.
I created a town called Oak Knoll, positioned NW of Salem, in the Willamette Valley. The name was inspired by a golf course West of Salem called Oak Knoll Golf Course. I imagine my town is somewhere near the golf course.
Oak Knoll is quaint like any small town should be. It has the usual places: a coffee shop, florist, churches . . . you get the picture. In An Encore for Estelle we see the community center, where the theater is located and the coffee shop—I wanted a hangout where my characters could go and visit with one another outside the theater.
I’m currently writing the third book in the series, and I’ve added a block to the town where Amber’s dance studio is located. We meet Amber in An Encore for Estelle. She is the dance choreographer for the musical. She is also the main character in A Waltz for Amber, which I hope to release in October.
It’s been fun to create a town and see it expand as the series grows. So far I have two series set in actual places and two in fictitious locations. The advantage of making up own town is that I can have whatever I want there. The advantage of using a real location is that people can relate to the story when they’ve been there. It’s so fun for me when people tell me I nailed those locations, and they feel like they were there as they were reading.
An Encore For Estelle
by Kimberly Rose Johnson
A former A-list actress seeks to redeem herself in the most unlikely of places—a children’s theater. The writer/director didn’t anticipate a famous actress would ever show interest in his musical much less him. Will their pasts pull them apart or join them together?
Estelle turned to face the man. She sucked in a breath. He had to be over six feet tall. His dark hair had a messy look that she liked. Get it together. He wasn’t the first ruggedly handsome man she’d ever met. Plus there was Jeff.
He looked down at her with chocolate brown eyes. “It’s nice to meet you. Helen has told me all about you.”
Estelle shot a look toward Helen. “Don’t believe everything you hear.”
“Believe every word, Blake.” Helen waved a finger toward Estelle. “My friend here is a remarkable woman.”
Estelle’s face warmed. There was nothing remarkable about her, but people had always said stuff like that about her. Although it had never bothered her before, it did coming from Helen. She thought Helen knew her well enough to know she wasn’t all that.
Blake grinned, although it looked forced. “I’m heading to town. Did either of you need me to get anything while I’m there?”
“No thanks, but maybe Estelle would like to join you.” She raised a brow toward her.
Estelle caught her breath. Was her hostess trying to play matchmaker? She ought to warn her to give up now, because she was a relationship disaster. At least that’s what she felt like.
“How about it?” Blake asked. “Would you like to come along?” His words were friendly enough, but the look in his eyes was guarded. Almost like the last thing he wanted was for her to say yes.
Why did he seem wary? She didn’t recall ever meeting him—she would have remembered. “No thanks. I should finish my lunch then get settled.”
He dipped his head. “Okay then. See you around.” He turned and headed in the direction from which he’d come.
Estelle sat back into the chair she’d vacated when Blake showed up.
Helen leaned forward and lowered her voice. “Isn’t he cute?”
She burst into laughter. “You are old enough to be his mother.”
“I didn’t say I wanted to marry him. Goodness.” She frowned.
Estelle sobered. “I’m sorry, Helen. I didn’t mean to offend you.”
“Sorry, I overreacted. I’m fine. Don’t give it another thought.” She fanned her flushed face. “One would think at my age that I’d stop blushing so easily, but it appears that trait will forever plague me.”
“At least when you blush you’re pretty. When I blush, my neck turns red, and I get all blotchy.” Estelle made a silly face. “It happened once on set and the director was not happy. They had to take time out for the makeup artist to cover the red before we could continue filming.”
Helen bubbled with laughter. “It’s going to be fun having you here. Have you given any thought to how you’ll fill your time? I know three months is a long vacation.”
“I agree, and like I said, I may not stay the entire time. I have no idea how I’ll fill my days.” It’d been forever since she’d had the freedom to do whatever she wanted. There always seemed to be something or someone that needed her attention.
“You could volunteer at the community center. Every summer they do a children’s theater program. Auditions are coming up, and they’ll begin rehearsals soon.” She dipped her head and fiddled with her fork.
“You know I don’t act anymore.”
“So you said, but those kids don’t care. They’d be thrilled to have a real actress—” she raised a hand, “former actress mentor them. A little birdie told me you used to volunteer with the children’s theater in LA.”
Estelle sighed. It had been a long time since she’d done anything with the children’s theater. She liked kids, but she’d left that life. Then again, this was Helen asking. “I’ll think about it.”
“Don’t think too long. My son tells me this new musical is ambitious for such a small town, and Blake needs help.”
If Derek was concerned then there was probably reason to be. “What does Blake have to do with the children’s theater?”
“Didn’t I mention that it’s his brainchild? He coordinates the program. He’s the reason I invited you. Actually I’m hoping you’ll stick around through the summer too. The theater has become a big deal here, and no matter what Blake thinks, he can’t keep doing it all on his own.”
Estelle shook her head. This must be the real reason for Helen’s invitation to spend the summer with her. Not that she minded, but wished her friend had been upfront about the reason behind her request. “You neglected to mention any of this.” She felt snookered, but it was fine. She’d do almost anything for Helen. Plus the timing worked—at least for now. If she could manage to stay away from her restaurant, and her life for three months remained to be seen. If necessary she could fly home a couple of times to check up on things. The idea of working with the theater sent a tingle of excitement zipping through her. That settled it—she was in if Blake would have her. She loved the theater.
Want to read more? You can get An Encore for Estelle at
About the Author:
Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. You can sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter via her website at: http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/index.html