Interview with Virginia’dele Smith, Author of Grocery Girl

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What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Grocery Girl (Book 1)?

When my now-twenty-one-year-old daughter was in junior high and high school, we had the opportunity to serve our community together through an organization called National Charity League. One of our favorite philanthropic activities through NCL was a weekly delivery of fresh fruit for a local youth shelter. On Monday mornings I would run to the grocery store to select ninety pieces of whatever was in season… apples, oranges, bananas, peaches, plums, and even pears. It was a small task, but a meaningful gift.

Interestingly, there was a fire engine parked outside the grocery store almost every Monday morning when I arrived to shop for the fruit. I figured the crew was there picking up what they needed to prepare meals at the fire house for their shift. The firefighters were always kind and polite, yet they were definitely “on a mission” and quite business-like. My imagination envisioned a sweet and kind young woman and a stoic, handsome fireman noticing one another in the produce aisle – a real meet cute scenario.

The story concept wouldn’t leave me alone. When I tossed and turned at night, I thought about those characters — Rhys and Maree — as well as their story arc, their internal and external conflicts, and of course, their happy ending. I pictured the small town where they lived, and I fell in love with their friends and family. I had to write their romance, had to share their love story. And I based my lead character on my incredible and lovely daughter, Maci Maree.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Grocery Girl (Book 1), what would they be?

Hold Me While You Wait by Lewis Capaldi

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

Romance – definitely! I write heartfelt and wholesome, small-town romance, and I love to read all types of romance. I also read a lot of historical fiction, quilt books (both fiction and nonfiction), stories of families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, and inspirational studies.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

If only it was a single TBR pile!! I’m listening to the Little Beach Street Bakery series by Jenny Colgan on audiobook while I sew and quilt, I’m finishing up November 9 by Colleen Hoover, and I can’t wait to dive into The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles. As I mentioned above, I enjoy lots of books in all the genres!

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

Chapter 24 titled “Mirror, Mirror…” Maree is struggling with the ordeal she’s been through. Rhys steps up to reassure and soothe her in the best possible way. It was a fun scene to write, and it’s a part of the book that readers say they can’t get enough of so they read it over and over again.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

It’s not a quirky habit, but If the weather is cooperating in any way at all, I have be outdoors. It’s so peaceful and calm in our backyard that I can sit on the patio from sun up to sundown and let the words fly from my mind into my laptop.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

It is not our abilities that show what we truly are; it is our choices. – Albus Dumbledore

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

“Life is messy. It’s scary and it’s hard and it’s painful. And every bit of it is worth the risk because love is so much more than any one of those difficult emotions. It’s more than all of them put together. That kind of love makes every day a little brighter. It makes colors more brilliant and laughter more contagious. It’s wonderful. It’s all-encompassing. And it’s a gift.” – Chapter 27


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