Monday, August 19, 2013

Lizzy Charles on Inspiration and Minnesota

Hey Lizzy! Since you're from Minnesota like me, I want to hear more about where the book was set. I know you used some real MN locations. Can you tell us about them?

Oh, I love this question! As a Minnesota native, I’m so proud of my state. I couldn’t help but incorporate three of my favorite places into the novel.


The main location that Justin and Lucy explore in the novel is the James J. Hill House. The house is my favorite historic location in St. Paul.


James J. Hill was the builder of the Great Northern Railway. Needless to say, he was loaded. The mansion is gorgeous and available for tours. My first tour was in second grade and I had one of those life experiences that I’ll never forget!


During the tour, they showed us the seamstresses room. There was a photo of the seamstress that held my attention through the tour guides entire shpiel about the seamstresses responsibilities. The lady in the picture drew me in. She looked so intelligent, deligent, and kind. Later on the tour, in the kitchen, the tour guide shared that they no longer have any of James J. Hill silverware and do not know where it had gone.


Fast forward to me climbing off the bus and having the great surprise of my grandparents waiting at home. I told my grandma all about the tour. She listened intently as I told her about the seamstress. For some reason, I thought she was so cool (she played with the kids a lot.) My grandma laughed. The seamstress was her cousin!




And that silverware?


Given to the seamstress by James. J. Hill himself. So it’s in our family somewhere! How cool!


After that, I was a goner. I fell in love with the mansion. I’ve gone on many tours and it will always be one of my favorite places in the Twin Cities.


Another location in the novel is W.A. Frost & Company, a stand-out restaurant in St. Paul. I’ve had a few summer dates on their patio with my high school boyfriend (now my husband.) It’s delicious but a bit on the pricey side, especially for a high school and college student budget. But for a special treat, totally worth it (Hint. If you plan to visit and you are on a budget, go in the summer when you can eat on the patio. The patio food is much cheaper than the kitchen menu… and just as good. Get their calamari. Yum!)


Lucy stops at Nina’s CafĂ©, across the stress from W.A. Frost. Nina’s is one of my favorite coffee shops. I actually wrote a good chunk of my novel there on a few afternoons. It’s a great environment, wonderful staff, and good eats. I can’t comment on their coffee, because I’m not a coffee drinker. But I’d definitely check it out.

(Lizzy had another photo for this but unfortunately I couldn't get it on here for love or money.)


Effortless With YouYour cover is beautiful, how did it feel to see it for the first time?


The first time I saw the completed cover, I was in awe. It was exactly what I had imagined, despite the fact we chose the cover prior to me sending in my requests! It was gorgeous and unique. I love that the girl is walking away at twilight and it fits perfectly in with the last chapter EFFORTLESS WITH YOU.


What's the most recent book you read where you fell in love with the leading man?


Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae. I loved how fun Chase was. All the teasing, games, and flavored kisses. Lovely! Also, I have to say, the novella I read prior to that had a totally swoon worthy leading guy too! (*cough* *cough* Lance from SECONDARY CHARACTERS! Such an amazing, talented author wrote that one!).

Aw gee. *blushes* Thanks! I'm so glad you liked it!

In Effortless with You, Lucy gets a summer job painting houses.  So, some random questions, what color is your house? What's your favorite color? Have you ever been in a paint (or paintball) fight?


My house is poop brown. Seriously. I don’t get to choose my house color because I live in a townhome association. The board holds the fate of my house color in their hands every five years, when they decide what route to take for repainting.


My favorite color? Blue! J


I’ve NEVER been in a paintball fight. But I have shot my brother in the neck with paintballs, to help him try to pull off a hickey as a paintball bruise. J How’s that for sibling love?


Rachel! Thank you so much for the lovely interview. It was so much fun!!!
Thanks for joining us, Lizzy! It was great having you here!
You can find Effortless with You on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And don't forget to add it on Goodreads!



  1. Beautiful locations! I love places with great architecture like that. It is so hard to find anymore. Great interview- best of luck to Lizzie.

  2. I had no idea Minneapolis was so picturesque. Thanks for sharing the photos

  3. LOVE that house, and the story of your childhood experience w/it, so neat! I could tour places like that everyday and not grow tired of it. And that is a gorgeous book cover!

  4. I love historic old houses and that truly is a gorgeous cover!!

  5. You have to track down that silverware!

  6. What an awesome place! And you're related to someone who resided there That is really cool.

  7. That story about being related is so cool and L.Diane is right about tracking down that silverware. Thanks for sharing Lizzy and congrats on your book.

  8. Great interviews, and that house is huge! I wouldn't mind living there, because then I'd have plenty of room to store my books (and an excuse to buy more).

  9. What a great story! Love that staircase. :)

  10. Now that's the way sisters should have brothers. Hold still... splat. Ouch. :)

    Love the JJH mansion. That is something I really need to go to. And what a coincidence having the seamstress in your family.

    Lizzy-Have you seen any pictures of the old state hospital in Fergus Falls? Check it out if you haven't. (And if you love old buildings) It's beautiful and could be so creepy with the right lighting. After hearing about it for years, I finally stopped there. (Usually just pass by FF on the interstate). Built in 1888, not used since about 2005.

  11. Now *that* was a fun interview!!

    Can't believe Lizzie *shot* her brother for the sake of his hickey... that's classic :)

    And if I'm ever up in the Twin Cities (brrrr, too cold :) I now know where to eat - and visit :)

    Cheers :)

  12. Look at that woodwork on that staircase! Beautiful!

  13. I agree! The staircase is amazing. That is one gorgeous cover. :)

  14. Wonderful interview ladies! Very excited about Lizzy's book! It's waiting patiently for me to be home long enough to read!

  15. great interview and loved the pics that went with it!