Interview with debut contemporary romance author H.C. Bentley

My guest today is H.C. Bentley and we’re chatting about her debut contemporary romance
novel, Her Last Love (Book 1 of the
Small Town Hearts Trilogy). 
Chapter 1 can be read here for free!

H.C. Bentley is a
veteran of the U.S. Army, as well as a part-time professional photographer. Her
life is filled with books — she is not only a writer and an avid reader, but
she is also surrounded by books in her job at her local library. She is
currently working on her second novel, and resides in Kentucky with her husband
and two daughters.
Please tell us about your current
Her Last Love is
a book about second chances, friendship, and following your heart. Lieutenant Lynn Johnston returns to her small Kentucky
hometown with a secret to keep and a desire to find peace. She discovers Carter
Mathis, her ex-fiancée, is also living there, along with his two sons and a
soon-to-be ex-wife who hates Lynn. Lynn has to decide whether or not she wants
to overcome obstacles in order to follow her heart and get the life she’s
always wanted, or if she has to walk away once and for all.
What inspired you to write this book?
The idea for this story brewed in the
back of my mind for about a year before I ever picked up a pen to write it.
Having been away from everything I knew when I was stationed overseas, I
understood the longing and angst of being away from the person you love. There
are also the lifelong friendships, such as Lynn has with Bethany and Kari. Her
Last Love comes from all of that.
An excerpt from Her Last Love:
It had been
much too long since Lynn had enjoyed a girl’s night with her two closest
friends. She realized how much she was looking forward to it as she approached
the front door to Kari’s cute little house. Lynn took a deep breath, she
gripped the bottle of promised wine in one hand and rang the doorbell with
the other, preparing to surprise one of her oldest and dearest friends with the
news of her homecoming. The door opened slightly, and Kari peered through the
narrow crack.  
“Oh, good, it’s you.” Kari hissed as she reached out
and grabbed Lynn by the arm to pull her into the house.  
“Were you expecting someone else?” Lynn laughed quietly as
she closed the door behind her.  
“No, no. I’m just so excited to see the expression on Bethany’s
face when she sees you!” Kari turned to Lynn and smiled. “We’re
in the kitchen. Give me a ten second head start before you come in?”
Lynn smiled, nodded as she watched Kari make her way through to the
kitchen. She heard Bethany ask who was at the door as Kari came back into the
“Jehovah Witness.”  
It took all Lynn had to keep from laughing out loud as she made her
way to join them. When she reached the doorway, she took a second to study
them, these two women who had been more like sisters than friends. Kari, the
bubbly blonde, stirred something in a pot on the stove. And Bethany, the sweet
brunette, sitting at the breakfast bar, leafing through a magazine while she
chatted with Kari.  
“Got room for one more?” Lynn asked, holding up the bottle
of wine. Bethany looked up from flipping the pages, tears welling up in her
eyes and a look of stunned disbelief on her face. “Oh, my God! When did
you get here?!?” She hopped off the stool, rushing to wrap her in a
“Yesterday,” she replied, squeezing her friend. “Been
getting settled in at Mom and Dad’s or I would have met up with you
“Doesn’t matter.” She sniffed, pulling back to look at
Lynn. “You’re here now, so that’s what counts.” She whirled around,
pointed an accusing finger at Kari.  
“You!” She scolded, walking towards the stove.
“You knew she was here and said nothing??”  
“Yes, and yes.” Kari looked at Bethany, before glancing
over at Lynn. “To be fair, I just found out this morning, but I thought it
would be fun to surprise you. And it was. Besides, you’re happy she’s here, I’m
happy she’s here, and she’s happy she’s here, so you can’t be mad.”  
“You’re right.” Bethany sighed. “I hate when that
happens.” She did a little dance in place before going to Lynn, putting
her hands on her hips.  
“How long are you here for this time, missy? A week, maybe two?
I hope your leave isn’t too short because the girls would love to see
“Well, here’s the thing.” Lynn exchanged glances with Kari
as she walked over to set the bottle of wine on the bar. “My leave doesn’t
end. I’m home for good.” She turned and faced Bethany, who pointed the
finger her way this time.  
“Don’t you tease me. Don’t you dare tease
me!” She shook her finger. “Are you really? Truly?”  
“Really and truly. It’s gonna be hard getting rid of
me now.”  
“Oh, yay!” Bethany bounced before hugging Lynn again.
“I’m so glad! Those goodbyes when you had to go back always sucked.”  
“Yep, major suckage.” Lynn laughed as Bethany pulled
away again. She peeled off her jacket, hung it on the back of one of the bar
stools and rolled up her sleeves.  
“So, what can I do? Chop something? Get out dishes? Put me to
“Nope.” Kari shook her head. “Tonight we’re
celebrating your homecoming. The only thing I want you to do is open that
bottle of wine and pour us a round. Corkscrew is in the silverware drawer, and
the glasses are up there,” she said, pointing to a cabinet by the sink.
“I can handle that.” With deft hands, Lynn pulled the cork
from the bottle, gathered and poured three glasses of the cool, clear liquid.
“I’d like to make a toast.” She handed out the wine,
raised her glass. “Here’s to two of the best friends a girl could want. I
couldn’t ask for a better welcome home.”  
What exciting story are you working
on next?
I’m actually in the editor/beta
portion of the second book of the trilogy, When Love Comes Home, which is
scheduled for release in November. I’ve been working on it pretty much non-stop
since before Her Last Love released, so I’m welcoming the break!
When did you first consider yourself
a writer?
Probably when I was in middle school.
I’d entered several short stories in a national contest and won, meaning my
work was published in the contest’s magazine. I think my parents still have
multiple copies of those somewhere…lol
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
No, as much as I’d love to write
full-time, I don’t. I work full-time as the cataloging librarian at my local
library, where I also lead our book club. Plus, I play chauffeur and personal
assistant to my two teenagers. lol Typically, I’ll write for an hour or so at
night after the kids have gone to bed. I also take advantage of my lunch breaks
and down time at work, and my one weekday off (especially when the kids are in
What would you say is your
interesting writing quirk?
I only get to pick one? lol Let’s
see…I rarely write in chronological order. If I had to, I doubt I would get
very much done! I tend to bounce around to the scenes or chapters that are
pulling at me the hardest, then when everything’s down in writing, I go back to
make sure they flow together and make any necessary adjustments.
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
I decided pretty early on that I
wanted to writer in some way, shape, form or fashion. I remember the summer
before high school, sitting down with my mother and mapping out all the classes
I would need to help me be a journalism major in college. I went into the Army
with the express purpose of going into the journalism field, but there were no
positions available. After that, I set writing aside and didn’t pick it back up
until a couple years ago.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I love
hearing from people and getting to know readers. I encourage them to follow me
on social media (where I probably spend entirely too much time, but that’s
beside the point. lol). Instagram and Facebook are the best places to find me
to say hello!

Buy links:
Thanks, H.C.!

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