Tule Author Q&A: Melissa McClone prefers hot chocolate to coffee

Melissa McClone stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the third book in the Silver Falls series, A Cup of Autumn!

Where did you get the inspiration for A Cup of Autumn?

A Cup of Autumn is book 3 in my Silver Falls series. When I wrote the first one, the heroine had three brothers so I had in my mind they would each take place in a different season. I also was trying to decide which of her friends would match with which brother. The coffee shop owner, Raine, and the professor, Keaton, seemed like it would be a fun story. Most of the stories have some event happening in them, so I tried to come up with something fall-related. I live in a small town and they have a trick-or-treating event at businesses in town so I decided to use that


Free Cup of Brown Coffee Stock PhotoIf you visited Raine’s coffee shop, what would you order?

I don’t drink coffee, so I would get one of her hot chocolates. They are loaded with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. I’m sure I could get her to add a little chocolate sauce and a candy cane in it, too!


If you could spend the day with Keaton or Raine, who would you choose and what would you do?

I would spend the day with Raine. I’d ask her to teach me how to make all her wonderful coffee drinks and how to do the latte art because my husband is a coffee lover. I’d love to surprise him with something special. He was my test tester for a recipe of hers I made up for a Pumpkin Spice Latte.


What was your favorite scene to write and why?

I loved when Keaton offers to help Raine organize the Boo Bash. This is what will bring them together (besides his sending resumes and writing in the coffee shop each day). It was just fun because he’s a bit out of his element trying not to be and she’s a bit in shock over the offer since she’s desperate for help. It was just fun to write and showed me these two opposites could have an HEA after a rather rocking start when he first arrives in town.


Here’s a snippet:

“Hey. I didn’t see you come in.” Raine had been focused on making sure Heather left. “Sorry for the wait.”

“Not a problem. Quite a morning you’ve had.”

“How much did you see?”

“Enough. You okay?” Keaton asked, his tone concerned.

“Yes.” But her staffing issues might be behind her. A warm, fuzzy feeling, as if she’d sipped a hot cocoa drizzled with hot fudge sauce and candy cane sprinkles, flowed through her. “An Americano this morning?”

“I want to try another pumpkin spice drink. Something different from the lattes yesterday.”

“There’s plenty to choose from on the menu.”

“Surprise me again.”

“Living dangerously?”

“It appears so.”

She ran through the pumpkin spice drinks. “I know exactly what you need.”

“And so do I.” His face reddened. “I mean what you need.”

Her heart thudded.


That was a strange reaction. Keaton’s words sounded a little flirty. But he wouldn’t, would he?

His smile wavered. “I want to offer my services.”

The words hung in the air between them.

Raine thought she’d heard him correctly but maybe not. “Your what?”

“My services.”

O-kay. Except it wasn’t. “You lost me. Not surprising given you’re a professor and I’m me, but what services?”

Because after yesterday, she couldn’t imagine him working for her as a barista. Strike that. She could imagine it. He couldn’t. Wouldn’t. Of that, she was one hundred percent certain.

“At dinner with my family the Boo Bash came up,” he clarified.

“You mean, the thorn in my side.”

“How would you like help pulling out that thorn?”

She was missing something. It wouldn’t be the first time given how long she’d missed the signs of Emmett’s unhappiness in Silver Falls and with her. “Huh?”

“I want to help you organize the Boo Bash.”

The words rushed out as if he were nervous, so much that Boo Bash sounded like one word. The result was adorable.

He adjusted his glasses. “That is, if you want help organizing it.”

“Are you kidding? They gave me a bin of stuff, and I haven’t opened it. The event is four weeks away, but I have no idea where to start. No time…”

It was her turn for the words to gush out one on top of another. She didn’t care. An unlikely hero was stepping in, and she couldn’t be more grateful.

“I’d love your help. Like love it so much you’re my new best friend, and I want to name a tea blend or coffee drink after you.”

He laughed. “There’s no need for the latter, but a person can never have too many friends.”

She nodded, back and forth as if her head had turned into a rocking chair. “Like I said we have some time…”

“I’m the planning type so what if we get started sooner rather than later?”

Raine needed the help. Somehow, she would have to make time to work on the Boo Bash. “Sure, when?”


She swallowed.

He laughed. “Don’t look so worried. The Boo Bash doesn’t have to be built in a day, but it’ll be October soon.”

“I didn’t realize I looked worried.”

“When your eyebrows draw together, little lines form above your nose. That suggests worrying. Or at least contemplation. And not in a positive way.”

“No one’s mentioned that before.” She touched the spot to double-check. “I was worrying.”

“Stop. You’re no longer on your own.”

With each of his words, her stress lessened.

“I’m working here this morning,” Keaton continued. “When things slow down, we can discuss the first steps. How does that sound?”

Like she wanted to drop to her knee and propose on the spot.

Okay, not really, they were too different, but a part of her was in shock. The other part would be eternally grateful to him. “Sure. Sounds great. Thanks. Your drinks are on the house.”


What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading A Sprinkle of Spring, Book 4 in the series, that I just finished writing a few days ago, and this book. I’m doing a workshop on revisions and using examples from both for it.


For a chance to win Melissa’s fun giveaway including a $10 Amazon.com gift card, pumpkin spice tea bags, pumpkin spice ground coffee, stickers, bookmarks, recipe cards, and more, comment below what your favorite thing about autumn is!




About the Author

With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa McClone worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters. She’s now a USA Today Bestselling author and has also been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award. Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, a spoiled Norwegian Elkhound, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!


  1. Oh there is so much to love about Autumn… the pumpkin & apple goodies, the cooler weather, the colors, Halloween, etc. :D

  2. God’s paintbrush of leaves and trees, which is only made better by the radiant sunlight in my region during the month of November. It’s a photographer’s dream come true. Thank you!

    1. What is there not to love. You got the changing of the leaves that brings the smell of autumn. There is the cooler weather that brings sweaters,chilli,and bonfires. And lets not forget spooky season. I love autumn

  3. I truly love everything about fall. But if I had to choose one thing it would be all the gorgeous colors. Thank you for the chance.

  4. I love the drinks associated with Fall. Mulled apple cider and hot chocolate. Prefer in front of a wood burning fireplace

  5. I love that we start getting cooler weather. We don’t have much of a fall but at least our heat index isn’t usually in the 100’s in autumn!

  6. Summer is my favorite but there is so much to love about fall too! The colors, pumpkins, scarecrows, pumpkin spice, snuggling under a blanket with a good book and hot toddy.

  7. I love Fall for the leaves changing colors on the trees, cooler weather for wearing leggings and sweatshirts, going to the pumpkin patch and picking out pumpkins. Thanks for this amazingly generous giveaway.

  8. Oh my goodness, it’s the cooler weather that brings on the easiness to breath in fresh air. The holiday Thanksgiving, fall festivals, and riding bikes with my son without sweating are also what fall brings which I love!

  9. My favorite thing about Autumn is when the leaves on the trees change color and the weather turns cooler.
    Also it means that Halloween is returning.

  10. I think my favorite Fall thing is watching earth and it’s animals getting ready for winter. The vivid colors, the thicker and shaggier coats on animals all seem to say it’s time to slow down and rest.

  11. I love EVERYTHING about Autumn. The beautiful colors in nature, the weather turning cooler but not cold, bringing out sweaters and leggings and boots, some hot tea, and a warm blanket snuggled on the swing reading!

  12. My favorite thing about fall is the beauty of the colorful leaves, and especially when you see the grouping of the trees, sometimes a bright yellow beside a vibrant red, and spectacular orange!

  13. Fall is my favorite season. Warm days, cool nights. Football games, bonfires, smores, hot chocolate, beautiful New England trees.

  14. I have a bunch of favorite things about fall, wearing cozy sweaters, boots, crunching in the leaves. Drinking hot chocolate or tea, my husband is the coffee drinker. Campfires

  15. I love the cooler weather, the changing of the , and picking, hayrides, wearing and hoodies, apple cider donuts and drinks, and hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream and marshmallows and cnat forget watching all the Michael Myers Halloween movies!

  16. My favorite thing about fall?!? That’s so difficult from the cooler temperatures to the yummy smells…I think I’ll choose the beautiful fall colors as my favorite! Nothing beats the beauty of the variety of hues in the leaves and trees in autumn. Thanks so much for this chance to win! Happy Fall!

  17. The cooler weather for sure, but the fact that the bugs are starting to die is also another big plus in my book. It also means we’re one step closer to Christmas and I really love Christmas.

  18. My favorite thing about Autumn? My wedding anniversary is in October and we often get in the car and go different places to view the changing colors of the season. It’s been 39 years this year. My favorite time of autumn still is my anniversary and the guy that laid claim to me.

  19. I love the cool, crisp air, the sounds of leaves being shuffled on the ground, Hallowe’en, Sweaters, football…..

  20. Fall is so beautiful and my most favorite time of year. All the colors of the leaves. Perfect sweater weather. The beginning of Football Season. Hot Coco for the kids and Pumpkin Lattes for me. Apple and Pumpkin picking. Apple and Pumpkin pies.Halloween seeing kids dress up and happy.So many great things about the Fall. ☕

  21. I love everything about Autumn! It’s my favorite time of the year! I love the cooler weather, the changing colors, snuggling with a book, enjoying a cuppa, walking in nature, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and comfort foods.

  22. Being able to curl up with a fire and cozy blanket and a cup of spiced tea or coffee. The leaves turning. Wearing sweaters.
    Going to orchards and pumpkin patches

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