Title: Back to You
Author: C.J. Miranda
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 25, 2017
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Cover Designer: Claire Smith
Four years after the most confusing summer of her life, recent college graduate Iris Tilley is moving back home with no idea of the repercussions waiting to greet her. Going home means reconnecting with her dad, facing her motherless home, and confronting her gorgeous neighbor, Weston Alcorn.
And all of this, unfortunately, has to be done in a small southern town where gossip is a prized currency.
As the summer forges on, Iris struggles to find her place in a town that’s changed as much as it’s stayed the same, and it doesn’t help that Weston doesn’t seem to know how to treat her. Through awkward encounters, tense conversations, and heartbreaking revelations, neither Weston nor Iris can ignore the spark they ignited four years prior. But as Iris's past and the prospect of her future violently clash, it's no longer a question of can they ignore it, but will they have the chance?
How Hating My Hometown Led to Back to You
by C.J. Miranda
In my debut novel, Back to You, I never mentioned a specific name for the small town at the core of the story. That was completely intentional. I didn’t want it to be some predefined mark anyone could find on a map. I wanted it to be adaptable to the reader’s mind like it was to Iris’, to give them the ability to hate it for its faults but then sometimes love it for its strengths. I chose to do it this way for the same reason I think I got into writing in the first place.
And that was the complete hatred I had for the small town I called home during adolescence.
Like Iris in the story, I grew up in a small town in Louisiana that was just a short drive away from its capital, Baton Rouge. I had neighbors that knew things about my family we didn’t tell them, places to go where it was guaranteed I’d run into people I didn’t want to see, and an experience at school that made me feel like a loser for wanting to get good grades.
I was shy, painfully sarcastic, and despised where I lived; all things I now ironically attribute to my being a published romance author.
Not only did my childhood inspire the setting in Back to You and the reasons why Iris left home for college, but it also gave me plenty of alone time to write and realize just how much I loved it. If I would’ve spent those middle school and high school years at the movie theater or mud riding like a lot of kids my age did, then I don’t think I would’ve fallen as much in love with writing as I am today.
Now that I’m older I realize some of my hatred for the town was self-inflicted, and that’s why, in Back to You, I also wrote about the good that can accompany life in a small town. The same good I overlooked simply because I already hated a few things about it, so why not hate everything? And that’s the abundance of care; the Saturday spent over a table of boiled crawfish, drinking beer and talking about the upcoming LSU football season. And there’s the people, the love, that make staying in a place like that worth while.
In the book, Iris had to take a step away to realize all of that.
And in real life, so did I.
Unfortunately I didn’t find my own Weston to keep me there. Instead I moved in with my best friend in a tiny apartment in a much larger city, but I think that I’ve been able to find the same peace with growing up there that Iris did. Would I ever want to move back? Probably not. But am I able to talk about the town without getting angry like I used to? Absolutely.
And now, whether living there actually helped me or not, I’m living my dream. I’m an author, and doing things that that introverted, awkward little girl I used to be, the one who spent weekends typing away on a crappy laptop, never imagined possible.
CJ Miranda is a twenty-three year old LSU graduate with a romantic side she’s never shown to the people in her life. Having grown up quiet, shy, and incredibly sarcastic in a small town she never felt a part of, CJ spent her spare time writing multiple romance novels that she posted for free online. Having done that since she was thirteen, she now feels that it’s time to pursue what has always been her dream.
When she’s not writing or reading, she’s either working at her day job or drinking wine with her best friend/roommate and laughing at whatever their diva dogs are doing.
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