Cover of the new book "Sail Away with Me"

Sail Away With Me




Read Bookpage’s interview with Susan.

When I first envisioned the tiny village of Blue Moon Harbor, I knew it needed a “heart.” What better place than a bookstore + coffee shop? And so Dreamspinner came into existence. I wanted it to be family run, and because the Gulf Islands have had such a diverse population from the time of the first settlers, I chose a Japanese Canadian family to run it. From there came Iris Yakimura, the young bookseller who is passionate about books, loves romance stories with happy endings, and is introverted and painfully shy. From the beginning, I knew she’d need her own romance, but I had to find the perfect guy for her.

He turned up in Fly Away With Me, when Aaron took Eden dancing at Quail Ridge Community Hall, and Julian Blake was making one of his rare visits to the island, singing with his dad’s band, B-B-Zee. Eden saw Julian as a “tarnished angel,” which was more perceptive than she could possibly realize. From the first, I knew that Julian had a troubled past, and perhaps a dark secret. What could be better (as in, more challenging) for a romance-addicted heroine like Iris than a true lost-soul hero like Julian?

So, even as I was writing Come Home With Me, which stars Miranda and Luke (Julian’s stepbrother), Iris’s and Julian’s characters were coming alive for me. Iris became an old soul, the kind of person who, despite some personal issues, has a deeply rooted sense of self and a unique morality, and offers perspective and wisdom to her friends. I also knew that, since the Yakimuras had been in Canada since the late 1800s, my country’s horrendous treatment of Japanese Canadians during the two World Wars would be part of her family history.

As for Julian, I somehow knew from the very beginning that Bart Jelinek, the respected community leader, had a dark side. When I put that together with Julian’s wounded soul, I realized that Julian had, as a boy, been abused by Bart.

Writing about childhood sexual abuse is hard. It’s such a horrible crime in so many ways. But it’s also a prevalent one, and so I felt compelled to tackle it. I also, of course, wanted Julian—like any lost soul in a true romance—to finally find healing and to believe that he deserves to love and be loved. And of course Iris, like the romance heroines she reads about, has to face loads of challenges as she struggles to earn her own happily-ever-after.


The Blue Moon Harbour Series

  1. Fly Away With Me (novel; Eden and Aaron)
  2. Blue Moon Harbor Christmas” in Winter Wishes (novella; Jillian and Michael)
  3. Come Home With Me (novel; Miranda and Luke)
  4. Sail Away With Me (novel; Iris and Julian)



Books by Susan/Savanna

Cover of the new book "Champagne Rules" - a black man and a white woman kiss in deep wine-coloured light


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