Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

Sweet Characters, Asheville, & Strawberry Lemon Pie—A Tasty Trio!

Posted on Sep 23, 2015 by Lisa Ricard Claro   14 Comments | Posted in The Naked Truth

Alana Lorens cover photo

Today I welcome author Alana Lorens to Writing in the Buff to tell us the Naked Truth about her novella, THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE. Alana’s latest takes place in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina. Just the location alone is enough to entice me—I love Asheville! It’s one of my favorite places to visit. Please read on to learn more about Alana and her novella, and after you’ve finished, I hope you’ll pop over to Alana’s blog where I’ve answered interview questions about my addictions and some other stuff. And now without further ado, here’s Alana!

A great setting, sweet characters, the Internet and strawberry lemon pie—what else can you ask for?

Thanks so much, Lisa for inviting me to share some words about this story!

I love creating my heroines, as a rule, because each one has some feature of me. Sara Woods, from LOVE ME, KISS ME, KILL ME, wears the blackberry amber perfume I love. Suzanne Taylor, in CONVICTION OF THE HEART, is a lawyer fighting against domestic violence. But for my novella, THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE, I took a side trail to follow my daughter instead.

My daughter Kim took an internship as a pastry chef at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, several years ago, after she finished her culinary arts degree. When I went to visit her there, I got my first look at this beautiful city nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Subsequent visits have endeared the place to me—I hope to live there one day—and that’s why I set the novella there.

Leyla Brand meets Arran Lake, when his band Copper Moon plays as part of the Bele Chere festival , once an arts staple every July in the city. Leyla and Arran spend a day together, even going to the Biltmore Estate for a meal at my daughter’s restaurant, The Stable, where they share a slice of her signature dessert, a strawberry and lemon custard pie! (It is sooooo good.)

strawberry custard pie

I also spend an awful lot of time online, and discovered Facebook last year, later than most of those who follow all the latest trends. The ability to connect with long-lost friends and relatives interested me, and I also incorporated that into the story. The Internet has a broad reach, and every so often, it just might help the cause of true love, as well.


Leyla Brand has one perfect day in her life: the day she meets rock singer Arran Lake at the Bele Chere Festival in Asheville. They have so much in common, Leyla is sure they are soulmates and will have a future together.

The very next morning, when Arran receives the call to hit the big time, he vanishes into the world of California rock and roll to become an international star, leaving her behind. Only a few phone calls keep them in touch — until his phone is disconnected. After that, all she has of him is every new song that hits the charts.

Five years later, she gets a message on the Internet from an unfamiliar address. Someone wants to know if she’s the Leyla of Bele Chere. Should she open that door and discover who this might be? Who else could it be? And if it is Arran, why does he want to contact her now, after all this time? Will he just break her heart again?


He continued to stare at the flowers, lost now in some memory of the past, one that obviously hurt him. She changed the subject, wanting to lighten the mood again. “I like this one,” she said, pointing to a bright pink flower identified as oleander.

“I’d make a different choice. That one’s poison.”

She yanked her hand back. “Oh, my gosh!”

He laughed. “Here. Now if this was my greenhouse, I’d give you…” He studied her a minute. “A string of white dendrobium orchids, like little butterflies. You could pin them in your hair, right here.” He reached over to tap her head gently, then his hand slid down her hair to her neck, while he looked into her eyes.

She felt such a connection that almost without conscious thought she moved a little closer. His hand drew her in, till they stood inches apart, gaze still locked. Her lips parted, as if she intended to speak. Nothing came out. Before she knew it, he’d stepped in to kiss her. Right then she knew they wouldn’t leave each other till the morning.

He seemed to feel the same way, because after they left the greenhouse at the estate, they went down to the Grove Arcade, looking in shop windows, then out to the botanical gardens, all the time holding hands and talking. If she could have predicted what a “soulmate” might be for her, someone who seemed to share so many common qualities, right down to their favorite peanut butter cup ice cream, she’d have chosen someone like Arran. A man who took no effort to be with. Someone she could really be herself with. No matter what she was wearing, or how her hair looked, or how much she earned.

It was time.

When they reached the end of the path at the rose garden, she whispered, close to his ear, “Why don’t you come home with me?”

He drew back, his eyes narrowed. “Are you sure? You’ve just met me.”

Another surprise. She’d always believed men were hardwired to say yes any time they were propositioned. Arran was indeed out of the ordinary.

“I’m sure,” she said. “I’ve even got a couple of Danish in the refrigerator for breakfast. And coffee.”

“Breakfast, hm?” He studied her a long moment. “Leyla, I don’t want you to think that because I sing in a band means I just use women. I’d never take advantage of you.”

Now, that could be one hell of a line. Maybe it was. But his eyes were so sincere. She didn’t want to frighten him off, not now. That kiss had promised much more. “Guess I don’t usually stalk guitarists and throw myself at them, either. Does that make us even?”

He actually blushed. “Hey, I’m the one who asked you to lunch.” He held out his right hand. “Let’s call it a draw.”

She took his hand and shook it. “Deal.”

He let go and slipped an arm around her waist, his hold on her possessive. She did the same. “Which way to your place?”



At The Wild Rose Press (digital):



Alana Lorens head shot

BIO:  Alana Lorens has been a published writer for over 35 years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at the South Dade News Leader in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications includes the non-fiction book 101 Little Instructions for Surviving Your Divorce, published by Impact Publishers in 1999, stories in A Cup of Comfort for Divorced Women, in December 2008, and A Cup of Comfort for Adoptive Parents, in June 2009..

Her first published romance was SECRETS IN THE SAND, in the Crimson Rose line from The Wild Rose Press. Since then, the Wild Rose Press has also published CONVICTION OF THE HEART, another romantic suspense novel, the first in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series, and Zumaya Publications published the second in that series, SECOND CHANCES. The third in the series, VOODOO DREAMS, is set at Mardi Gras and is full of danger and intrigue.

A family law attorney during the day, Alana also volunteers making patchwork blankets for Project Linus, which donates homemade blankets to children in hospitals so they have something homey.


Thanks again to Alana for participating in this blog swap with me. Don’t forget to visit me over at Alana’s blog! Hope to see you there. Next up here at Writing in the Buff is this week’s installment of Observations From the Tub. See you Friday!

Have a great Wednesday, Buttercup!

Romance is good for your heart! To purchase your copy of Love Built to Last in eBook or Print, go to  AmazonBarnes & NobleBlack Opal BooksKobo, or AllRomance.

14 Responses to "Sweet Characters, Asheville, & Strawberry Lemon Pie—A Tasty Trio!"

  1. Comment by Rob
    September 23, 2015 at 10:04 am  

    Now I must go to town–for pie. 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 23, 2015 at 5:00 pm  

      I had the same thought. lol So much for the diet.

  2. Comment by Alana Lorens
    September 23, 2015 at 12:34 pm  

    Thank you, Lisa for letting me visit your wonderful blog! And yes. Pie. Always. 🙂

  3. Comment by Claudia
    September 23, 2015 at 5:51 pm  

    I been through the Asheville area one time, beautiful. A novella? You don’t see this lit form much anymore.I wish they would become more popular. Sounds like a great story here!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 24, 2015 at 2:12 pm  

      Novellas are rising in popularity again, Claudia, especially with the advent of self-publishing and eBooks. Romance is one of the genres that has embraced the novella.

  4. Comment by ButtonsMom2003
    September 23, 2015 at 11:21 pm  

    I love Asheville and the Biltmore estate; had a great vacation there about 15 years ago. Your book sounds good. I only wish my TBR list wasn’t so long.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 24, 2015 at 2:14 pm  

      I was just there this past spring with a friend of mine. We turned it into a mini writing retreat. I love Asheville—it’s a dog loving city, and I enjoyed seeing everyone walking their canine pals downtown. 🙂

  5. Comment by Sioux
    September 24, 2015 at 6:28 am  

    The pie DOES sound good. It’s interesting how you–Alana–were influenced by your daughter’s experience. And Lisa–are you trying to convert me into a romance novel reader?

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 24, 2015 at 2:14 pm  

      Hahaha…is it working?

  6. Comment by Theresa Sanders
    September 24, 2015 at 5:17 pm  

    Nice to meet you, Alana — you have a gorgeous name, btw, perfect for gracing a book cover! Your story sounds wonderful, and I love the fact that it was inspired by your daughter and her job. The Biltmore sounds like the perfect setting, and Asheville is a place I’ve always wanted to visit. I’m also partial to rock singing heroes 😉 Thanks so much for an interesting post. And Lisa, thanks for the intro — I’ll head over to Alana’s blog to check out your post 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 25, 2015 at 6:20 am  

      Thanks, Theresa!

  7. Comment by Lynn Obermoeller
    September 24, 2015 at 6:47 pm  

    Now I’m going to have to add another book to my read list and check out Asheville… and that pie, mmmmm.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      September 25, 2015 at 6:20 am  

      Asheville is wonderful, and the next time I go back, you know I’ll be checking out that pie…

  8. Comment by Alana Lorens
    September 27, 2015 at 10:14 am  

    Thank you all for your wonderful comments– Asheville is indeed a splendid place to visit–or live–kind of the Portland of the Smoky Mountains. Biltmore is especially beautiful at every season–whether it’s spring flowers, fall leaves or Candlelight at Christmas. Enjoy!

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