Headed North or South? Donna Alward And Shirley Jump on the Virtues of Their Vacation Spots

Which would you choose for your summer getaway, North or South? While we do love embroidered khakis, we're kinda leaning towards heading South for guaranteed warmth (hey, this past winter was long), but both sound tempting. To help you decide Shirley Jump and Donna Alward both have new contemporary series out this year, and while Shirley's is set in Florida — her latest is The Sweetheart Rules — Donna has chosen to set hers smack dab in the middle of the Maine coastline — her series starter, House on Blackberry Hill, is also out now. Both authors join the blog today to chat about the virtues of North vs. South.

The cover for The House on Blackberry Hill

Shirley: Hands-down, it’s pretty clear where the best place to live is—right along the Gulf of Mexico, where the breezes are warm, the water is clear and the margaritas are cold! Rescue Bay has all that and more, along with a history of pirates and a romantic lighthouse, just perfect for a moonlit stroll along the beach. I’ve vacationed along the Gulf of Mexico for years, so I know from personal experience that it’s the perfect place. I mean, where else can you see dolphins one day, manatees the next and enjoy the warm Florida sun all year long? Sure, it gets blazing hot in the summer, but the idyllic winter weather more than makes up for a few months of crazy heat.

Donna: Okay, so I gotta admit, I’ve read your first two Sweetheart Sisters books and Rescue Bay does sound pretty sweet. But I’m also kind of partial to Jewell Cove, my small town on the midcoast of Maine. Maybe it’s a bit more harsh in winter, but there is the possibility of a white Christmas. And in the summer time — well, whale boat tours, sails down the coast, fresh seafood and ice cream cones while sitting on the dock sound pretty darn good.

The cover of  The Sweetheart Rules

Shirley: That’s true. I do miss having a white Christmas. What I love about Jewell Cove is how real and fresh it is, and how it has that added little bit of charm and mystique with some good-old fashioned ghosts lingering in the shadows. The people are warm and friendly, and if I had to pick a cold-weather place to visit, Jewell Cove would be it!

Donna: I have to admit, Shirley, my favorite thing about your Rescue Bay setting isn’t the beach, (though the beach is fab) but the retirement home where Greta and her friends live, and where she’s trying to fend off the advances of Harold Twohig. How’d you come up with that, anyway?

Shirley: I just pictured what I’d be like as an old woman, scheming with a few good friends (ahem, like Donna) about the neighbors. I loved your warm and friendly family in Jewell Cove, how they were flawed but supportive. Where did that come from?

Donna: *grins* Hey, aren’t all families flawed but (hopefully ) supportive? Know what? I think we could have the best of both worlds. Jewell Cove in the summer, complete with ice cream and whale watching on the bay, and Rescue Bay in the winter, to get away from those harsh Nor’Easters. What do you think?

Shirley: I’ll bring the margaritas.

Sounds good to us! Check out Donna's House on Blackberry Hill, out now, and Shirley's latest The Sweetheart Rules, also available now! And for more contemporary love stories, both North and South, be sure to visit our Everything Romance page.