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Or anyway, that's the plan.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Midwest of America in the fall - who could fail to be inspired?

Who or what inspires new stories?

Personally, I find many different places, people and objects inspiring. But in the case of my new novel Magic Sometimes Happens the inspiration was definitely a time of year and a place – Minnesota, one of the states in the American Midwest – in the fall.  

I’ve been in Minnesota at that time of year, when the leaves are turning the most amazing shades of gold and crimson, when the sky is a deep, wonderfully rich cerulean and its reflections make the Mississippi River the same astonishing shade of blue, when the chill of the coming winter is already in the early morning mist, but in an as-yet-unthreatening sort of way. Here are some photographs I took on a recent visit. The first is of the Minneapolis skyline looking from Saint Paul (these two conurbations make up the Twin Cites of Minnesota) across the Mississippi River. The second is of the river itself, edged with sumach which - as you can see - is going a gorgeous shade of scarlet. The third is a statue of Hiawatha and his bride Minnehaha which is in Minnehaha Park.  You can't move in the Twin Cities without seeing a Hiawatha something or a Minnehaha something else, all commemorating Longfellow's narrative poem. 

I wanted to take my heroine to the same place at the same time because when the novel opens she is desperately sad and in need of healing.  I thought Minnesota would be just the place where magic might happen for Rosie. 

What’s the novel about?

Here’s the blurb.

London-based PR and promotions consultant Rosie Denham has just spent a year in Paris where she’s tried but failed to fall in love. She’s also made a big mistake and can’t forgive herself.

American IT professor Patrick Riley’s wife has left him for a Mr Wonderful with a cute British accent and a house with a real yard. So Patrick’s not exactly thrilled to meet another Brit who’s visiting Minnesota, even if she’s hot. Pat and Rosie couldn’t be more different. She’s had a privileged English upbringing. He was raised in poverty in Missouri. Pat has two kids, a job that means the world to him and a wife who might decide she wants her husband back. So when Pat and Rosie fall in love, the prospects don’t seem bright for them.

But magic sometimes happens – right?

The cover is the creation of the wonderful Berni Stevens, whose artwork complements my story perfectly because it's about all kinds of journeys.

The Kindle version of Magic Sometimes Happens is available for pre-order now and the print version will be coming along later in the year, ready for Christmas. Click on the cover image to the right of this post to take you to the Amazon page


  1. Lovely photos! It's coming close to the prettiest time of year in Tennessee too.

  2. It's truly a case of America the Beautiful at this time of year - just gorgeous.

  3. I love that gorgeous cover, Margaret. And the book sounds refreshing and sweet. Good luck with it!

  4. Yes, the cover is fabulous - I love it! Thank you, Beverley!

  5. Can't wait to read this book, sounds like just my kind of thing!

  6. Thank you, Sally. I loved writing this story.

  7. As Angela said, is coming close to prettiest time of the year in TN too, especially here in the mountains - tho as it turns out, I'll probably be in Minnesota (Edina/White Bear Lake area to be exact). If I could only time it right, I'd be able to enjoy fall here, then hop on the plane and go enjoy it all over again in Minnesota. With my sister. In either case, am looking forward to both the magic of fall and Magic Sometimes Happens. Love the brief synopsis! :)

  8. Ooh, Jen, I'm so jealous! America is so gorgeous in the fall and I had a great time in Minnesota, which is a totally beautiful state.

  9. Hallo, Hallo Ms. James! :)

    I clicked through to this wicked sweet blog post via Ms. Eikli's Twitter page! :) I happily placed #MagicSometimesHappens on my ChocLit Next Reads List on Riffle! !! :) I found your novels on ChocLit's main site earlier in the year, and I've kept an eye on your forthcoming releases! I love the fact you were able to carry over the war drama series into so many installments! Wow. Absolutely brilliant and I look forward to reading them! :)

    Autumn is one of my absolute favourite times of the year -- personally you can never go far wrong in a Northern state for Autumn, esp during peeper season with all the lovely changing leaves! Ooh, I cannot wait to live outside the South! lol

    I completely agree about the cover art design of Berni Stevens! She has a true gift for bringing out the characters, the essence, and the spirit of the novels writers are penning for readers!

    The holidays have a nice new edition this year, with Magic Sometimes Happens !!

  10. Hello Jorie!

    Thank you for your lovely comments. I found Minnesota in the fall so inspiring I just had to write a story set then and there. As for the Denham family - there are plenty more of them for me to write about and next up is Rosie's Aunt Lily, whose life doesn't exactly go according to plan. But whose life ever does?

  11. Minnesota in the fall looks fabulous. It's on my list of places to visit, especially for the connections with F Scott Fitzgerald. Your book looks and sounds great too!

  12. Thank you, Jean! If you would like to go on a FSF pilgrimage, the Twin Cities is the place for you. There are at least three houses to visit and there's a statue of him, too.