Spotlight | It’s Your Love

Nov 13, 2023 | Contemporary Romance, Guest Post, Spotlight, Sunrise, Writing Spot

It's Your Love JustRead Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog Tour for It’s Your Love by Rachel D. Russell, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

About the Book

It's Your Love

Title: It’s Your Love Series: Fox Bakery #2 Author: Rachel D. Russell Publisher: Sunrise Publishing Release Date: November 7, 2023 Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

When Grayson Fox is asked to return home to Deep Haven and run the wrangler activities for the local camp, the last thing he expects is to run into the one woman he never wanted to see again. Worse…she’s his boss. But Grayson has big hopes for a life back in Oregon, and he must keep the promise to the camp in order to keep his dreams alive. Just because Beth Strauss has stuck around Deep Haven doesn’t mean she doesn’t want a bigger life. And becoming the camp assistant director is the first step to that bigger life. Of course, standing in her way happens to be the one man who has always managed to derail her dreams, way too arrogant Grayson Fox. But if they want to keep the camp afloat and their dreams alive, these two must learn to work together. But will these enemies become sweethearts, and if they do, will they find something better than the dreams they’re striving for? The next delightful installment of the Fox Family series!

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop | BookBub

More Books in This Series

The Way You Love Me

About the Author

Rachel D. Russell

Rachel D. Russell is a member of Oregon Christian Writers, My Book Therapy’s Novel Academy, and is a regular contributor to the Learn How to Write a Novel blog. When Rachel’s not cheering on one of her two teens at sporting events, she’s often interrogating her husband on his own military and law enforcement experience to craft believable heroes in uniform. The rest of her time is spent cantering her horse down the Oregon trails and redirecting her three keyboard-hogging cats.

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It’s Your Love is a really special story to me. I know, every book an author finishes feels special—and, each one is. This one stands out for me in ways that no future book can.

It’s my first published novel that includes horses. I’ve loved horses since I was a toddler. I made up stories about them. I drew them. I talked about them. I longed for them—and I rode every horse I could. 

Writing a novel with horses had an unexpected challenge, though. When I received my first draft back from edits, I realized I use for more equestrian jargon in my everyday life than I ever realized. There were all sorts of funny comments asking me what different words and phrases meant. I had to figure out how to write a story that wouldn’t confuse non-horse readers with specific terms or bore/over-explain horse stuff to experienced riders. I had to think through scenes to rewrite them for a broad audience.

There’s a lot of real-life inspiration in the novel. Without giving away spoilers, there are some rider injuries—both past and present—that are loosely based on my own experiences. From concussions to water crossings. There’s a horse injury that’s based on an injury my own horse suffered. And, of course, there are a variety of camp horses who are based on horses I’ve known.

One of the camp horses is a little red roan, patterned after an adorable horse that lives on the property adjacent to where my own horse lives. My own horse, a sorrel, American Quarter Horse Association registered mare, was used to pattern some of Maverick’s personality characteristics.

In one scene, Beth’s watching Grayson ride Maverick in the outdoor arena. She’s standing in the barn doorway, out of sight, and the man is focused. Riding with simple grace and connection with the horse. When I wrote that scene, I was thinking of a time I sat in on a Buck Brannaman clinic. It was morning. Most the riders were still tacking up their horses. 

It’s always a gift to watch Buck ride in person, and, this morning was no different. While Grayson isn’t as skilled as Buck, that fluid connection, the relationship between the man and his horse—that’s what I wanted to capture. That’s what I wanted Beth to see. For those who have no idea who Buck Brannaman is, he’s a key, real-life character who inspired the fictional skills of Tom Booker in The Horse Whisperer. He’s a master horseman, trick roper, and kind soul.

While in Minnesota for the initial story brainstorming session, Susan May Warren took me on a fun road trip to Grand Marais with my Deep Haven counterparts, Andrea Christenson and Michelle Sass Aleckson. It’s the real-life town that Deep Haven is patterned after, and it provided a lot of insight into the terrain, the town layout, and the feel of it. I was surprised to discover there’s even a public, outdoor riding arena near the outskirts of town.

Of course, we had to hit World’s Best Donuts, purely for research purposes. 

It’s on the streets of Deep Haven that Beth and Grayson’s meet-cute occurs. It’s one of my favorite scenes—the first scene I saw in my head, and the first scene I wrote. Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s a costume involved. Think of the mascots you see on the field at a professional baseball game. Only, not professional. If you’ve ever worn an ill-fitted costume, you’ll have a bit of an idea of what my character’s going through.

Overall, the story deals with themes of fear and trust—how do we let go and trust God, knowing his plans may not be our plans. That life can be full of hard and painful things. So often, we want to pull back. We give ourselves the illusion of control by attempting to minimize our risk of loss or avoiding the fear associated with stepping out of our comfort zones.

Both Grayson and Beth have experienced tragic losses and have allowed those losses to hold them back in life. One of the focus verses for the novel is Deuteronomy 31:8. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” I’ve always found it to be a deep comfort to me. God is with us, even in the hardest moments of our lives.

For the characters, their journeys are nested in moments of truth, laughter, and the tender connection. Though the novel deals with deep hurts and fears, it conveys the hope of Christ to readers. When the last page is turned, I want hearts to be filled with that uplifting light. 

Tour Giveaway

(1) winner will win a print copy of It’s Your Love and $10 gift card to the Sunrise Shop!

It's Your Love JustRead Tours giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight November 13, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on November 20, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.

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