Sunday, July 24, 2011

Helen Brenna: The Birth of an Island

Have you ever seen the movie SOMEWHERE IN TIME with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve? It’s the story of a playwright (Reeve) who, becoming obsessed with the photograph of a young woman (Seymour) travels through self-hypnosis back in time to 1912 to find her. This was one of the first time travel movies I remember seeing, and it’s set, to a large degree, at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island Michigan.

Either the filmmakers chose Mackinac Island for filming or the island inspired the movie because it’s the perfect setting for this story. We’re talking cobblestone streets and Victorian B & Bs. Homemade fudge and taffy shops, genteel tea rooms and beautiful flower gardens. No cars are allowed on the island, so there are only horse drawn carriages and a lot of bike riders. And the entire time you’re on the island, you’re surrounded by sailboats and yachts cruising over the deep blue waters of Lake Michigan.

It’s no wonder that on a family vacation I was inspired to set a contemporary romance in a place just like Mackinac, and as I let my imagination run, my own island began to take shape. The only problem is that I don’t write stories that are all quaint and quiet set in tearooms and grand hotels. I write contemporary romances with alpha heroes and strong heroines thrown into not-so-nice circumstances. I needed some wildness to cut the softness.

What I needed was a little bit of Madeline Island, the largest of the Apostle Islands chain located on Lake Superior just off Wisconsin’s northern shore. Madeline is much bigger than Mackinac, so there’s space for log cabins, horse ranches, secluded bays and lighthouses, acres of untouched forest, and even a few brew pubs.

Voila! A cross between Mackinac and Madeline, my Mirabelle Island was born.

On the surface, Mirabelle looks like an idyllic little tourist island that’s become the wedding destination of the Upper Midwest. But when you scratch the surface, you find reality. The Rusty Nail, a bar that’s seen better days. An ex-con just released from prison and the islanders who refuse to accept him. The island doctor who’s not as perfect as he thinks. And a widow running from a dark, bloody past.

Discover the surprises Mirabelle Island has to offer in three new standalone Superromances, THE PURSUIT OF JESSE, HER SURE THING, and REDEMPTION AT MIRABELLE, releasing back to back in July, August and September.

To celebrate the new releases, I’d like to give away one of my first four Mirabelle Island romances today, so check out my website at to see which title you’d like. While you’re there, check out the Upcoming Releases page to see the photos of Mackinac and Madeline that have inspired my Mirabelle!



marybelle said...

I'm loving these books. I popped over to your site too.

I have not seen SOMEWHERE IN TIME for ages. It is beautiful.

Estella said...

The books sound wonderful!

Na said...

Hi Helen, I have always enjoyed romances set in quaint, small towns who have as much character as the characters themselves. From reading this post I can now add islands to that list. I like the idea of a setting that is isolated from the hectiness of the world, no chain malls and stores but family-owned mom and pop shops, distinct landmarks and distinct people. Horse-drawn carriages sounds especailly nice! It rounds out a romance nicely and takes me away for a bit. I adore the picture of Sarah's dream house from your webpage. It's an ideal place to fall in love.

Jo's Daughter said...

It's one of my favorite movies ever. Yes it's an old movie and it shows, but the story is amazing. Crossing the barrier of time for love at first sight... So romantic & the island IS beautiful!

Laney4 said...

Hey there, Helen!
I'm shocked! I haven't read ANY of your Mirabelle series yet, tsk tsk, so if I won, I'd want to start with your first one, FIRST COME TWINS. It looks "Super!"
Hope you have a great week....

Helen Brenna said...

Hi there! I played hooky with a couple of friends yesterday. Too nice of a day to stay inside!

Hi Marybelle and thanks for stopping over at my website!

Helen Brenna said...

Hi Estella!

Na, I love Sarah's house, too. Always looks so cozy to me!

Helen Brenna said...

Hi Jo and Laney!

Laurie G said...

I've visited Bayfield and the Apostle Islands. So Beautiful! Lake Superior is freezing! I visited Mackinac Island when I was in second grade. I still remember the horse drawn carriages, the fort, the fudge and the views!!

I have seen the movie, a tearjerker.

SiNn said...

your a new to me author so all of them look good to me lol I love the web site tho def fgoing to favorite it and explore it more