Lorona Connelly is ready for a change from her carefully planned, bookish life. When sparks fly at a costume party, she embraces a chance for romance with the handsome Kestrin Feather. However, she quickly realizes that even love and destiny may not be enough to overcome the reality of an overprotective mother-in-law and Kestrin's long, tarnished history of relationships.
When Lorona's curiosity leads her to Kestrin's journal, doubt plagues them both with insecurities and threatens the relationship. Can true love overcome the odds, or was their whirlwind romance just a frivolous crush? Author Elise Stephens shares a journey of young love, fate, and wounded trust in the story of Lorona and Kestrin, a couple who must learn to overcome their fears to share a life together.
Q: Where did you get the idea/inspiration for MOONLIGHT AND ORANGES?
Elise: I’ve loved Greek myths for a very long time. When I read the story of Cupid and Psyche—a whirlwind love story with a marriage that crashes on the rocks almost immediately, followed by how the young wife has to face the wrath of her mother-in-law in order to get back with her husband, I knew I wanted to make a novel out of it. Moonlight and Oranges is its own story, loosely based on the myth, with a lot of contemporary twists that make it exciting, relatable, and fun.
Q: What was the most difficult part in writing this story?
Elise: Writing Kestrin was hard. I wanted to get into both his head and Lorona’s, but I naturally understood Lorona’s motivations more easily, since her and my personalities are more similar. I had to work very carefully with Kestrin, a highly emotional man, and have my guy friends tell me when Kestrin didn’t sound authentic enough.
Q: What was the most fun?
Elise: Lorona and Yuki’s friendship was pure joy to write. They’re roommates and best friends who understand everything about each other and are able to be free, ridiculous, flirtatious and theatrical when it’s just the two of them because there’s no awkwardness holding them back. Writing the dialogue and jokes between this duo and showing all the ways they fiercely love each other was a blast.
Q: What is your favorite scene in the book?
Elise: My favorite scene was the carnival scene with Madame Ovary. The magic and mystery and seriousness of the scene in contrast with Yuki’s silliness and Lorona’s skepticism made plenty of fun tension for me. I’ve always had a love for things like the circus and carnivals and psychics. These themes crop up in my stories all over the place.
Q: Which character was your favorite to write and why?
Elise: Although I love both Lorona and Kestrin, I’m head over heels for Yuki Miller. She was a character of spirit who grew stronger and brighter with each sentence. I love her wild care-free attitude, her devotion to Lorona, her rebounding optimism, and her romantic streak that runs hot and deep. The emotional sacrifices she makes for Lorona are signs of just how much she loves her best friend.
Q: Is there anything you would like readers to take away after reading the book they may miss that you want to point out?
Elise: Moonlight and Oranges should leave readers with the hope that even when a dream seems to shatter and fall apart, there may be a greater purpose behind it all. Kestrin realizes when he looks at the mess that led Lorona back to him that all these things had to happen in order for him to be together with her in peace. The pain paved the way for the greater joy. Not all tragedies stay tragedies forever. Many of them are still waiting to turn into happy endings, if those involved will persevere and seek the redemption that’s possible. Choosing to trust again, even after that trust has been damaged, is the beginning of real enduring love. In short, I want my readers to remember that learning to trust again can still be part of any love story, and sometimes the love stories that require forgiveness and second chances make for the best adventures along the way.
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