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A Closer Look at the Neighbours

Book descriptions

I want to take this opportunity to take a closer look at the neighbours. 

Not MY neighbours! THE neighbours – as in the series, of course!

As I’ve been featuring one or more book each week on Social Media, it seemed like a good idea to do this occasionally on my blog, as well.

The entire NEIGHBOURS universe started with the characters. I like people-watching and had developed several characters that I felt could make an appearance in one of my books. As it turns out, I had an entire community!

One reviewer compared the first book to the TV series “Friends”. More recently, someone mentioned, “This Is Us”. (I rather like the last comparison because I enjoyed that series!) The cast is large for a novel, so I chose to write it in sections from various points of view while still moving the story forward. I think it adds interest when you see the story from different angles and it’s a strategy becoming more and more popular in TV shows and movies.

Even though it is a Christian romance, the characters don’t always act the way they are ‘supposed’ to. I think that’s real life. People are people and just because you claim to be a believer doesn’t mean you will be perfect. Perhaps it’s what I like best about this series. The characters are flawed, modern people, and sometimes moral lines get blurred. But that doesn’t mean God isn’t working. If you stick with the series, you’ll see that the gospel wins!

The first book starts off with Lester Tibbett, a rodeo cowboy new to the city who is also responsible for his younger teenage sister. The adjustment is difficult – especially when he finds himself attracted to a woman he hardly knows and who comes from a very different background. For recreation, he frequents a local bar called The Urban Cowboy – thanks to his new friend Jed Malloy – and enters their mechanical bull riding competition.

From there we get entangled in the lives of various other characters, often connected because they live in the same apartment building or because they also frequent The Urban Cowboy. Sherri Chan feels stuck between her traditional family and the need to find love on her own terms. Her twin brother Sherman, who recently moved back to town, goes even further when he confronts their mother’s racist attitudes and defies her wishes about whom he should date. Meanwhile, Lester’s sister Patsi gets into trouble when she lies to Lester about her activities and dates a rich boy with questionable motives.

Add to the mix activist and local cafe owner Tamara Spence, who has been hurt before and doesn’t want to let her guard down when love comes calling. Journalist Steve Russell won’t leave her alone, though, determined to break down her walls. Except… he may have uncovered some shady dealings between a politician and a large oil company that could endanger the lives of innocent people – including Lester Tibbett!

The web of intrigue, romance, and personal drama gets tangled indeed! Woven throughout is Jed Malloy, whose character provides some comic relief. His “Newfie” accent and ways stand out in the crowd – so much so that he and his siblings are the focus of the second book!

Jed is from a large Newfoundland family, each one loud, boisterous, sometimes crass, and generous to a fault. There is a “red-neck meets leprechaun” charm as each sibling comes to visit – and often to stay! Of course, there’s humor and plenty of romance, too, as each one navigates love with their hang-ups in tow. Book two has a strong gospel message, too.

One of the challenges of writing this series was trying to keep it authentic to the way many people from Newfoundland speak while also keeping it readable. They have an entire dictionary of unique phrases and sayings, not to mention the way they drop certain letters like ‘H’. (Sometimes adding it when it is supposed to be silent. Go figure!) At one point, the first part of the first series was made into an audiobook, but the actor just couldn’t get the accent right so we dropped the project. Too bad… I would love to hear this series come to life with an authentic Newfoundland accent. Any takers?

I posted several mock interviews here on the blog which shed more light on each character. (And they’re fun, too!) Check them out here if you’re interested:


Lester Tibbett

Jed Malloy – Part 1, Part 2

Patsi Tibbett

Tamara Spence

Steve Russell

Sherri Chan

Sherman Chan

Cory Roberts

Bo Malloy

Reba Malloy

Will Malloy

Zeb Malloy

Pip Malloy

I’m still in the midst of editing a third book in the series called CHRISTMAS WITH THE NEIGHBOURS! I hope to have it ready before Christmas, so stay tuned!

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