Title: Bittersweet Junction
Publication date: July 15th, 2013
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
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Best friends once, lovers never, yet an attraction that can’t be ignored.
Five years ago, Julia Bell walked away from her life the moment her high school diploma was in her hand. She left her family and friends behind to start over and escape the chokehold of small town life in Benton Hill. But an urgent call from her little sister brings Julia back to her hometown wholly unprepared for what awaits her.
Ben Miller was always the nice guy. Just before high school graduation, he stepped out of that role hoping to capture the heart of the woman he loved. Instead, in quick succession he lost the girl, and the future he worked so hard to achieve.
Even though Julia and Ben are drawn to each other, echoes of the past block them at every turn. Secrets are exposed, and reality needs to be dealt with if they can ever hope to move past the bittersweet junction that ripped them apart.
Guest Post by Ivy Sinclair
I lived in a small town until I was twelve years old. My sixth grade class had thirteen students, twelve girls and one boy. Needless to say, my odds were practically non-existent for young love. Not only did I spend those formidable years in a small town attending a small school, but my family lived five miles outside of town “in the country”. Standing in my front yard, I saw nothing but open fields and gravels roads.
With nothing else to do, I escaped to new places through books. I had a few friends, but the friends that I really cared about existed within the pages of my favorite stories. It didn’t seem that strange to me at the time. It was just my life.
I didn’t realize how small my small town life was until I moved to another state into an actual city between sixth and seventh grade. To say I experienced a tremendous culture shock would be an understatement. It forced me out of my shell. Although still a voracious reader, I made a larger circle of friends, and started doing things with people outside of my head. Eventually I grew to love living in a city.
I only went back to that small town a few times throughout junior high and high school to visit family. By the time I was in my early 20s, the shift in my perception between small town and city was noticeably evident. When I would go back for a visit, even though I had been gone for a decade, I still ran into a lot of people who acted like they knew me even though I had no idea who they were. “Oh- you’re Jerry and Nancy’s daughter. How have you been?”
It was odd to me how interested these strangers were in the specific details of my life. What was even more uncomfortable was hearing stories about my parents’ adventures when they lived in town, which occurred more than twenty years ago. People had long memories, and not all of those stories were especially flattering, but there were sweet and funny stories too.
Those are the experiences that I drew on when I wrote about Julia, the main character of Bittersweet Junction, coming back to her hometown of Benton Hill. She’s been gone for five years, but when she returns, people expect her that she’s the same person, even though she’s not.
Benton Hill itself is one of the main characters throughout the book, and I believe that anyone who has lived in a small town will be able to related to that. Ben, who used to be Julia’s best friend and is now her love interest, never left Benton Hill. He finds the scrutiny of living under the microscope of small town eyes frustrating and heavy with expectations. This causes several complications for Julia and Ben.
I’ve reached a stage in my life where I can appreciate the benefits of living in a small town. The pace of life is slower, and friendships can easily span a lifetime. Yet I find that I am now a city girl at heart. Between my childhood in a small town, and adult life in the city, I think I’ve had the best of both words.
About the book
Describe Bittersweet Junction in one sentence.
Fate gives two former best friends a second chance at romance, if they overcome old misunderstandings and deceit.
Give a quick blurb about the book and why readers would enjoy it.
Bittersweet Junction picks up with the main characters, Julia Belle and Ben Miller, five years after high school graduation. Julia left the small town of Benton Hill right after graduation because she was faced with some grown-up kind of decisions that she couldn’t make. Ben, one of Julia’s childhood best friends, was left confused and hurt after her departure. Julia’s sister Clary lures Julia back to Benton Hill under false pretenses, and that’s when Julia realizes it’s impossible to outrun the past.
I think what readers will enjoy most about this story is the way that Julia and Ben eventually overcome the obstacles in their path to have a shot at their happy ending. I found it very satisfying to write, and I believe that will resonate with readers.
How did you come up with the idea for Bittersweet Junction?
I’ve had several ideas for stories that revolve around the idea of a five year high school reunion. The idea for Bittersweet Junction started there, although in the end, there is no actual high school reunion in the book. That wouldn’t have been a good enough reason to drag Julia back to Benton Hill.
If Bittersweet Junction were made into a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?
I’ve thought a lot about this. I could see Emma Roberts playing Julia and Chris Pine, with his gorgeous blue eyes, would make the perfect Ben. Emily Browning would play Julia’s little sister Clary, and Max Thieriot would round out the casting as Mike.
Ivy Sinclair cut her romance teeth on classics like Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, An Affair to Remember, and Sabrina. She is a firm believer in true love, a happily ever after ending, and the medicinal use of chocolate to cure any ailment of the heart. Ivy’s guilty pleasures include sushi, endless Starbucks lattes, and wine. Readers of Ivy’s stories can expect smoldering sweet stories of romance that tug at the heartstrings.