Oranges for Miranda
by Annette Bower
Romance Contemporary Sweet
Miranda Porter, a newly retired award-winning businesswoman, leaves home to transition into her new life stage. Always in control, this is her time to have fun without plans and responsibilities. Enter Renato Monteiro, a considerate tour guide with secrets. Miranda isn’t looking for long-term. She wants a purpose in her retirement. Could her purpose in retirement be finding love in this unlikely place? Could her aim be domesticity and caring for and be cared for by a newly found friend? Will a vacation romance end because of miles?
Renato Monteiro has decisions to make. Stay in his birth country where his female relatives want him to marry a woman young enough to give him children. Or does he return to his second home, where he has a purpose and has built a life without children? The day Miranda and he bumped heads changed his life and his pursuit. Now he must decide which is most important the family he was born into or the family he chooses.
A blue and white tiled stairway leading up to the second floor of a house caught Miranda’s eye. She positioned her phone and snapped photos as she thought about the amenities she would prefer in her perhaps forever home or home for a while.
Orange trees in yards were stunning. Back home in Regina, residents planted fast-growing poplar trees in front of a row of fir trees, which would be mature when the Poplars had reached their life span. Her mind leapt. Stacy and Nathan were her fir trees. Her parents started the business and expanded it for her, and she, in turn, developed it for her children. She shook her head, no more thoughts of her Canadian life to ruin this beautiful day with the azure blue sky, the white stucco buildings and the red tile roofs.
Miranda stepped onto the corner café’s patio and sat on the blue-tiled bench attached to the blue-tiled table. A young woman, dressed in black, appeared from a dark interior and gave her a menu with different flags denoting the various translations of the food items. She ordered black coffee and a glass of brandy as a treat she had read that many locals enjoyed during the day. While she waited, she searched in her guide book to discover the tiled pavement in the area was called calcada.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Annette believes home is where her stories percolate. And her home is a condo where she watches the urban life below, airplanes arrive and depart at the international airport, and the seasons change on farmland near the horizon. Annette travels extensively but always returns home to Regina, Saskatchewan. Whether at home or away, and even though directions are always a challenge, she wanders the streets, parks, and lanes observing how people live, love, and care for one another. Your way of sitting, holding hands, the way you tilt your head, or a t-shirt you wear may end up in one of her stories.
On her first trip to Olhos de Água, a fishing village in Portugal, she stopped at a café where the proprietors were a mother and daughter. Annette sat at the outdoor blue and white tiled table and ordered an espresso and brandy. While the sun warmed her back, she opened her new notebook. The older woman walked by carrying a basket, tipped her head toward Annette’s blank page, and shrugged. When black-laced heeled shoes struck the tile, and the scent of just-picked clementine oranges interrupted Annette’s writing, the woman plunked three oranges at the edge of her page. Annette cherishes this gift from one woman to another. Recently, Annette travels with an accompanying Orange and shares pictures on Social media as her way of honoring those Portugues women. A version of this event appears in her new novel, Oranges for Miranda.
During another trip, while searching for an address in Malaga, Spain, she asked a well-dressed man carrying a floral paper-wrapped bouquet if he spoke English? Would he direct her to the address? With impeccable English, he suggested she walk with him. They chatted, and she discovered he was a lawyer in his final days of retiring. Finally, she asked to whom he was giving the flowers. He lifted the cover to reveal a large crucifix. This detail has not appeared in a story yet.
In a coffee shop, looking south between glass tower office buildings, she could be anywhere in the world. However, she is home watching people on Eleventh Avenue run for buses, bring tea to a panhandler, and holding mittened hands while bending into the wind.
Annette uses experiences she gathered as a nurse, town administrator, elected official, traveller, and member of a large extended family to inform her stories because writing is her joy.
Annette Bower is a Soul Mate Publishing author of five contemporary romance novels. Her novel Fearless Destiny was first runner-up in the 2017 Sweet Contemporary RONE awards and winner of the Raven Award. Her novel Ponytails and Promises was a finalist in the 2020 RONE Awards and is the 2020 winner of the Raven Award.
Q&A WITH THE AUTHOR
When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?
I won a chance to submit Woman of Substance to Soul Mate Publishing through an auction held by Brenda Novak for The Cure of Diabetes. Debby Gilbert, the publisher, accepted my novel for publication in 2012, and I thought then I might be a romance writer. When Soul Mate Publishing took Movin On, I thought perhaps I might be able to believe that I was a writer. Each time I send a manuscript away, I wonder if I won’t be the writer I thought I was this time. However, when I read to audiences, people purchased my books and asked for me to autograph the book, I believe, for a little while.
What advice do you have for a new writer?
Find your specific voice by writing, being rejected, and taking all of the writing courses you can. However, be cautious about those you show your work to in the early stages and who you ask for and receive feedback. Finally, and most important, hire or barter for an editor before you send your manuscript away. No matter how good you think, your manuscript is, a professional set of eyes are invaluable.
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
I don’t find any of the processes easy. However, I find the beginning fun when I discover my characters and introduce them to each other in the setting. Perhaps the easiest part for me is the time between the novel’s last edit and when the book becomes available to readers because I can’t change it and only a few readers have read it, so it is still great.
What is your favourite part of this story?
My favourite part of this story is near the beginning when Miranda and Renato bump heads. It just appeared in my imagination when Renato asked Miranda’s permission to take her photograph. I also enjoyed writing the passage where the older Portuguese woman gave Miranda oranges from her orchard. A similar situation happened to me the first time I was in Portugal, and it meant a lot to me. It always signified for me, women knowing what another woman needs, and I wanted Miranda to experience this supported feeling.
What character was the most fun to write about? Why?
In Oranges for Miranda, I enjoyed writing Uncle Tomas because he is an established man. He knows his role in life. He wasn’t searching for anything, and he wasn’t pushing the family line.
Which character was hardest to write about? Why?
The heroine Miranda was difficult because she is a woman ahead of her time. She knew that she couldn’t have everything, so she chose her career and children. She had to be focused and care for her children. In Oranges for Miranda, she is floundering. Her story is about what happens now that her career is over and her children are grown up.
Annette Bower will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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