Photo Courtesy of Mimi Francis

After an awful relationship and a vengeful ex, Serena Chasey has run out of places to hide in “Run Away Home.” Taking her father’s advice, she heads for Montana to stay at her family’s lake house on Flathead Lake — the last place anyone would look for her. She is desperate to start over; desperate to feel normal after the nightmare she has lived for the last three years.

Meanwhile, Evan “Van” Brooks spent the last three years drowning in guilt, swallowed up by a past he cannot get away from, living in isolation in the tiny town of Lakeside, Montana. He wants to be left alone to wallow in his grief. The barrier he built around himself is impenetrable; no one gets in except his best friend and business partner Lincoln and his dog, Soldier. Everything was fine until Serena moved into the condo across the way and turned his life upside down.

Mesa resident Mimi Francis wrote the contemporary romance about two damaged people who find love when they least expect it. When she is not writing, the author’s life is consumed with raising three Shih Tzus, reading and catching up on her favorite TV shows.

Images Arizona caught up with Francis to ask the author a few questions about “Run Away Home” — the latest selection in its summer book club.

From where did you receive your inspiration for this book?
After a trip to my home state of Montana and a visit to Flathead Lake, I was inspired to write a story about a small-town romance in a quiet, lakeside town. That has morphed into a two-book series with a third coming in November 2022 and more to follow.

Aside from that initial inspiration, were there any other experiences from your life that played a part in the setting, characters or trajectory of the plot?
I am always inspired by the people around me. Oftentimes my writing will reflect past or present friendships, acquaintances or other relationships. I also draw on my childhood experiences growing up with a single mother.

What themes did you aspire to tackle with this particular work? Did any other themes reveal themselves to you during the writing process?
The theme of “Run Away Home” is one of redemption, acceptance and hope. While I did not start with this particular theme in mind, it emerged as I wrote the book.

What or how are you hoping your book makes readers feel? What other takeaways do you hope they have?
My wish is that anyone reading “Run Away Home” feels a sense of hope. I also hope that readers will enjoy the friendship that turns to love, and the redemption of two damaged people.

What are some of your own takeaways? Specifically, did your characters teach you anything?
My characters taught me to be true to myself and to trust myself when it comes to the choices I make in life.

“Run Away Home” was published in 2021 and is currently available in paperback from Amazon and Barnes and Noble; ebook from Kobo, Google Play, Scribed, Nook and Kindle; and audiobook from Audible and Scribed.