Tule Author Q&A: Lara Van Hulzen shares her Christmas traditions!

Lara Van Hulzen stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the fourth book in the Silver Bay series, Hannah’s Hope!

Where do you get the inspiration for Hannah’s Hope?

Paul and Hannah were characters in the first Silver Bay book, Return To Silver Bay. Maggie Mitchell is the main character and Hannah is her best friend. Paul is Hannah’s high school sweetheart. Readers get a glimpse of them in Return To Silver Bay and by the time I was done writing it, I had a Christmas story in mind for Hannah and Paul.


How do you relate to Hannah, your heroine, and how do you hope readers will relate to her? How do you relate to Paul?

I think I relate to Hannah in that she tends to be optimistic and upbeat. And the people in her life are the most important thing to her. I’m not sure I relate to Paul as much as I can see aspects of my husband in him – laid back, thoughtful, all about his family. 


What was your favorite scene to write and why?

It’s actually a short, simple scene but one that I think shows the connection between Hannah and Paul as a married couple. It was my first time writing a couple who are already married, and I loved getting to show the deep connection that comes with history and time together. There are tough times and challenges, and yet those are what can make a couple that much stronger. 


Paul smiled at her and her insides did a flip again. His brown hair was cut short in the back but was longer on top. He combed it to the right every morning and Hannah could swear not a strand moved all day. No hair products, no help. The man just had awesome hair.

He wore his work clothes, dress pants with a button-down shirt and sweater. His shirt was opened at the collar, its print showing where the cuffs were rolled up over the sweater. 

As much as the whole package together made her swoon, Paul’s smile had always been what drew her to him. So genuine and kind and full of joy. And every time he smiled, it reached his eyes, the brown depths sparkling like the bay in summer when the sunshine hit. 


She giggled. 

“Why are you staring at me?”

“Just thinking about how lucky I am.”

“Oh yeah? Lucky how?”

“Lucky I got to be the one to snag you in high school.” She lifted an eyebrow and smirked.

He laughed, the sound only adding to the flutter inside her. “Oh yeah?” The blush in his cheeks was beyond adorable. 

“I had to fight the other girls, but they didn’t stand a chance.” 

He laughed even harder at that and stood. He stepped toward her and leaned over, his hands resting on the arms of her chair. He leaned down until they were nose to nose. “There was absolutely never, ever anyone else for me but you, Hannah Wagner.”

She placed her lips on his. They’d shared countless kisses over the years. It never ceased to amaze Hannah how often it felt like their first kiss. So full of excitement and eagerness and promise. And yet with time came security and desire and every kiss, every moment, a sense of coming home.

Paul leaned in, deepening the kiss as Hannah wrapped one hand around his neck and left the other resting on his chest. His heartbeat beneath her fingers seemed to match hers in a rhythm all their own. 


Do you have any favorite Christmas or holiday traditions?

Decorating the tree. My husband and I got married at Christmas and so we have ornaments that were wedding gifts, ones from our honeymoon. Wherever we have traveled over the past 28 years together, I have bought an ornament. And of course, all the ones the kids have made over the years as well. It’s a walk down memory lane for me and I love it. 


What are you currently reading?

I tend to have multiple books going at a time, but I just finished The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek and LOVED it. So full of flirty fun and great romance. 

I’m also reading a non-fiction book called Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee.


About the Author

Writing stories since she was a young girl, Lara’s dream of being a novelist became a reality with her Men of Honor Series.

An avid reader, she worked as a book reviewer for 18 years with various organizations. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a Masters of Divinity in Chaplaincy.

Lara loves tea, baseball and living in San Clemente, California with her husband and two dogs.

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