About the Book
Series: Sequel to The Last Summer
Genre: Adult, Christian, Contemporary, Fiction, Inspirational, Romance
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Publication date: February 4, 2019
Debra Hart is moving on. Maybe. Hopefully. One day.
As a radio show host, Debra spends her mornings as Miss Lonely Heart on air, empathizing with all the broken hearts in the Denver metro area. She spends her evenings watching old musicals and trying not to think about the guy who broke up with her and subsequently fell in love with one of her best friends. Alone in a new city, Debra questions where she belongs and who she is now.
When she stumbles into the indie music scene, Debra meets singer Ben Price. Rock star appeal, with a day job as a worship pastor, Ben is everything Debra wants to avoid. But he’s determined to be her friend, and it so happens she could really use one. Because try as she might, nothing seems to erase the anger and betrayal she feels.
It’s time for a new dream. But how does she start over when she doesn’t even know what she wants anymore?
About the Author
Brandy Bruce is a mom to three kids, a wife, a writer, a book editor, and someone who really loves dessert. She and her family make their home in the beautiful state of Virginia.
After the Rain is a sequel to The Last Summer, but reading the first book is not a requirement for reading the second. Brandy Bruce tells the story of Debra. She is coming off a bad break-up (from The Last Summer) and has re-designed herself and moved to Denver. Debra, a radio announcer, almost accidentally finds herself in the role of Miss Lonely Hearts, which is not necessarily a good role for her considering her recent horrible break-up. At times her bitterness comes out and gets her into trouble with her boss on one occasion. In Texas, Debra was active in church and tight with a group of friends. In Denver, she is avoiding church and has made just one friend. Almost blaming God for the breakup. She spends time with a counselor as well as time alone contemplating her life and what she wants to change. The counselor doesn’t necessarily give Christian advice. “I think you’re very spiritual, Debra. I just think it looks different for you than it used to, and that’s absolutely okay. Your journey is your own.” Paige introduces her to lead singer of a local secular band, who also happens to be a worship pastor. Debra’s journey from “rejected” girl friend to engaged is a rough one. She encourages her worship pastor/band leader boyfriend to try the tour circuit which means he leaves his role at the church and travels for four months. The story is well-written with likable well-developed characters, but worldly pursuits take precedence over Biblical ones.
Potential problem areas – I usually donate my review copies to the Christian school library where I work – I don’t have much that appeals to my teens. Unfortunately, I will not be able to donate this one as there are many bar scenes and drinking of alcohol which is not appropriate for my audience. I’m not even sure this book would find a place in a church library. I realize that many Christians visit bars and drink alcohol but having spent many years on and off a Native American reservation and in school situations, I have seen first-hand what alcohol can do to people and their families. I hesitate to highly recommend any book which promotes this type of behavior. (Matthew 18:6, Romans 14:21)
10 Behind the Scenes Facts About the Book
- I love all the connections to rain throughout this book. As a girl from Texas who lived in Colorado for years, I know well the sense of missing the rain, needing the rain. I missed the thunderstorms in Texas while I lived in Colorado. I wanted to share that with Debra, especially for the season of life she’s in—this sense of missing what we don’t have.
- One of the best sources of inspiration when I was working on this book was the song Never Gonna Love Again by Lykke Li. Find it on Spotify or Pandora or Amazon music and turn it up loud. If After the Rain had a soundtrack, this song would be number one.
- I tend to set my books in places that I’m familiar with. Several of the places mentioned in After the Rain are places I have connections to/memories of. The Sixteenth Street Mall in Denver, the rock at Castle Rock, the Denver Zoo, Breckenridge—these are all great Colorado locations where I’ve spent time.
- Debra’s love for theater stems from my own experience of watching musicals with my grandmother. She introduced me to movies with Fred Astaire. A few years ago, I went to the theater district in Denver to see Wicked with my sister, and it was so fun that I knew I wanted to include that setting into a book somehow. Including the quotes for every chapter was one of the most fun aspects of writing this book!
- There’s a crossover character in this book from another series! He’s not actually in the book, but he’s mentioned. Readers of the Romano Family Collection will recognize the name Leonardo Romano. (If you haven’t read that series, I hope you’ll check it out too!)
- I love music so much, but honestly, I’m not very musical. (I think I might be tone deaf. Sad!) I definitely needed help with the musical terms/pieces in this story. A friend of mine, Kollette Decker of Renegade Road, is an amazing singer and the lead singer of a band that’s making a name for itself in the Denver area, and her help with reviewing and offering advice for After the Rain was invaluable.
- One cool thing about writing is drawing from our own life experiences and then creating scenes and even dialog from moments you’ve lived. My own experiences are weaved throughout all my books. Even something as small as a dish I tried at a café. There are too many cases of this to share them all, but one example from After the Rain is the name of the bar/café called Percival’s Island. There was a Percival’s Island bar/café in the town where I went to college, and in my mind, I was recreating that same kind of fun, hipster-but-still-gritty, raucous kind of place, perfect for live music.
- I knew I wanted Debra to see a counselor, and I also knew I wanted that to be as authentic as possible to what that might have looked like. Lucky for me, I’ve got several friends who are amazing counselors! One of them reviewed the book for me early on, specifically looking at the counseling sessions. I didn’t want to move forward until I had her ‘okay’ on the material. I think counseling can make such a difference in people’s lives.
- When I first saw the cover of After the Rain, I had this huge sigh of relief. Because it was perfect. Maybe more perfect than the designer realized! I love the fact that the girl on the cover is dressed all in black. I love that she’s running, because I think of Debra as someone who’s running from life disappointment and also someone who’s started literally running in her life as a good outlet for stress. And I love that the umbrella is off to the side. It’s this sense that she’s already soaked, the umbrella can’t help her now. And it also captures the idea of a woman wanting to feel the rain, needing to feel something.
- The name “Logan Fox” is mentioned in the book. That’s the name of the grandson of some special friends of ours. I remember when I saw that name posted in the baby announcement on Facebook, I loved it and knew I’d use it at some point!
Deb, I miss you. I think about you. Just wanted to say it again.
I read the text from Lillian—Lily—Spencer as the elevator doors opened. Then I tucked the phone into my small purse. I walked toward the exit of the condominium building I called home now, catching a glimpse of myself in one of the mirrors on the wall.
This woman—with short hair, ringlets barely brushing my shoulders. Dark colors, chocolate-colored eyeliner—nervous about a simple thing like going to a coffee bar. I didn’t recognize her.
I stopped mid-hallway and leaned against the wall, my heart hurting.
I’m starting all over.
I closed my eyes. I’d cried all the tears already. None were left. But the pain didn’t stop. A reminder of how much I’d loved Luke Andersen. How ready I’d been to link my story to his for forever.
But he’d chosen my friend Sara.
Quiet, lady-like, sophisticated, predictable Sara.
My eyes opened. Cassidy and Jake, my neighbors, stood in the hallway, looking worried. I must have seemed ill. With one hand, Jake carried a baby car seat, inside it their five-month-old daughter, Gilly, slept soundly.
I pushed myself off the wall. “I’m okay,” I said without eye contact. I walked straight out of the building, to my car, and drove downtown.
Giveaway includes the following:
- Print copy (or e-copy if they want)
- After the Rain guitar-pick necklace
- DVD of Grease
- Beatles quote mug
- Coffee warmer
- After the Rain bookmark