Friday, September 16, 2022

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY - The Hometown Dilemma by Julie Archer

The Hometown Dilemma


Get a behind-the-scenes all-access pass to Julie Archer's The Hometown Dilemma, book seven of the multi-author series Meet Cute Book Club!


The Meet Cute Book Club series contains eight standalone romances of different tropes and is a swoon-worthy collection of stories where meet-cutes don’t only happen between the pages of romance novels and members find their own happily ever afters. The Hometown Dilemma is a return to hometown romance.

There are book club meetings every month, either virtually or in person, where the group catch up to talk about that month’s book and see what’s going on in their lives.


What is the sub-genre and trope?  Did your characters lead you to this genre or was that decided before the story began?

As a multi-author series, each author expressed an interest in the trope they wanted to write out of the options provided. 

So, in this instance, I started out with return to hometown and the characters came from there. 

Jaime and Wade are actually the second version of The Hometown Dilemma as I had a whole other different story plotted until I discovered this worked better.

Are you more character or plot driven?

It depends on the story, but with The Hometown Dilemma it was definitely more character driven. For instance, I didn’t realise quite how hot Wade was going to be until I started writing him!

With many main and secondary characters, how do you keep them separated in your mind?  Do you have a story/vision board above your workspace?

I’ve learned that having too many characters in a story can confuse the reader (not to mention me!), so keeping the supporting cast down is a deliberate decision. 

Sometimes I’ll draw out a mind map to show character connections and keep that pinned up while I’m writing to keep track.

I know from previous interviews that characters take on a life of their own.  Were any of the characters in this series determined to take their own direction instead of where you initially wanted them to go?

I think Cami could be easily led, although I’d have to write her book to find out! 

Despite saying I’m usually character driven, both Jaime and Wade were relatively well behaved in this instance.

Are any of the male/female POVs based on anyone you know?

No, not really. I tend to create characters from a lot of people around me not just one person.

Was there any one character/scene that was harder to write about than the other?

The ones towards the end, where I wanted to bring them back together without being too much of a cliché. No spoilers, but here’s a taster…

“Wade leaned forward and met my lips with his. I could taste the salt from my tears in our kiss. A kiss that could be our last. I closed my eyes, wanting to savor this moment as long as I could. He pulled back and I sensed him get up to leave. I couldn’t bear to watch him go and threw an arm up over my face.

“You have to make this decision on your own, Jaime. Let me know as soon as you do.”

I heard the door slam shut as he left, my heart shattering into tiny shards.

What a decision to have to make.”

What is your favorite book in the series?

The Hometown Dilemma of course! In all seriousness, this series has something for everyone, there are so many great authors involved and different tropes to choose from.

I know that we aren’t supposed to have “favorites” as far as our children, but seriously, who’s your favorite character and why?

*Coughs* Cami… She’s a fun supporting character and I think has some issues of her own to work out.

How do you get inside these character’s heads to find their perfect HEA?

Spending a lot of time with them through initial first drafts and throughout the editing process. 

Sometimes they’ll surprise me with what will make them happy when I thought it would be something else entirely.

What scene in this book sticks out the most for you?  Why?

When Wade returns to Abbott Ridge from New York after he gets a call from his mom. He’s just argued with Jaime and there are question marks over what that trip means for their relationship. 

Initially, I had another way forward for this part of the story but changed it last minute and I think it works better this way.

This question is if you write in MULTIPLE POVs not just the hero and heroine - I love the multiple POVs in a book.  It’s not just the hero and heroine, but we get inside the heads of multiple characters throughout this series.  I feel that it gives the story further depth.  Do you think you will write another book or series following this multiple POV outline? 

My early books (sadly no longer available) were in multiple POVs and it was fun to explore the storyline from more than just the hero and the heroine. But I don’t think I’d go back to it.

How long did it take you to write this book?

The Hometown Dilemma took me around three and a half months to write. 

But then with alpha readers, beta readers, edit and ARC readers, it was another six months before it finally came out. So this one feels like a proper book baby!

How did you come up with the title for your book and series?

As it is a multi-author series, we decided on the series title together – The Meet Cute Book Club. There were several other alternatives, but this was the one that won out. 

As for the title, we’d already decided it would be a three word title starting with ‘The’. Given my book is return to hometown and Jaime has to choose between home and New York, The Hometown Dilemma just seemed to work!

If you met these characters in real life would you get along?

I think Wade and I would go for a beer and chat sports. 

When I’m not writing, I work in a bar/restaurant, so I think we have a lot in common!

Series question – Did you know in advance that you were going to write this as a series or did one of the characters in book one demand their own story?

Not applicable for The Hometown Dilemma, but this did happen with The Ever After series, which was only ever meant to be one book but ended up being three! 

And my rock star series should have been a standalone, but one of the band members piped up with a story of his own to tell. 

Sometimes it’s a great thing when this happens, but other times I just want to write a totally epic standalone!

If your book/series were made into a movie, which actors do you see as playing your characters?

Ooo, that’s a tough one! I honestly can’t decide, so I’ll let the readers choose…

Can you give us a hint as to what we can expect next?  Whether a new book and series or a sequel to an existing series?  Can you share a small tease?

I’m currently working on a standalone British small town angsty romance with a summer fling to forever, opposites attract, some grumpy/sunshine and darker elements than The Hometown Dilemma. 

It’s still very much in the planning stages, so nothing to share yet I’m afraid!

Check out all my interviews/reviews for Julie Archer!


Author of contemporary romance featuring rock stars, small towns, a healthy dose of angst, some steamy times and always a happy ever after!

When not writing, I can usually be found binge watching teen drama series on Netflix, or supporting Spurs from my armchair, and running around after my two feline children, Corey and Elsa.

Follow me on Facebook or Instagram, see my latest releases on Amazon or drop me an email,

Real Angst. Real Romance.

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Who says you can't go home?

Coming back to Abbott Ridge and starting over was my plan. But, just like everything in life, plans change. Especially when the interior design reality tv show I dreamed of taking part in gets canceled before filming even begins. Now I'm stuck without a job and forced to rethink how I'll start my own company.

Insert Wade Dempsey.

Owner of Dempsey's bar, and one of my closest friends from college. He immediately offers me a temporary job working with him, like old times.

It's an offer I can't refuse. Oh, and did I mention that my new boss is even sexier than I remember?

Things between us are going great...until a call from New York presents me with a new offer that has me second guessing my stay in Abbott Ridge.


I've spent my whole life in Abbott Ridge, running in and out of my family's bar until I was finally old enough to take over. Now I'm in charge, but it's a struggle to keep the place from going under. I need fresh ideas to compete with all the fancy bars and clubs popping up downtown.

Insert, Jaime Harlow.

Having Jaime back behind my bar seems like a good place to start. She's an inspiration and a breath of fresh air, in more ways than one.

Old times, new feelings - and one stormy night - are all we need to ignite the desires I never realized existed.

When New York calls for Jaime and the only future I've known goes up in flames, we find ourselves faced with a huge dilemma that threatens our new found relationship. Can we really make this work when right now it feels like we can't even see eye to eye? There's only one way to find out.

The Hometown Dilemma is a standalone, return to hometown romance that is part of the multi-author series, Meet Cute Book Club. Escape with this swoon-worthy collection of romances where meet-cutes don't only happen between the pages of romance novels and members find their own happily ever afters.

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