Being a romance writer is all in your head.
Much of my day-to-day life takes place at a computer keyboard, so spending a day with me behind the scenes wouldn’t be very exciting—unless you could get inside my head and help me sort through all the memories that go into writing a romance novel.
Of course, I haven’t experienced everything I write about. That would be exhausting. I’d be falling in love with two cowboys a year, moving to a different small Wyoming town every six months, and facing dangers ranging from temperamental stallions to steroid-addicted police officers. I’m not as gutsy as my heroines, so I’d probably never survive all the ordeals I put them through.
No, the things that come from my own experiences are the details. I savor little things like a stroll through a small town at twilight, a moment of connection with a horse in the round pen, or a trip down the highway at sunrise, concentrating on every sensual detail so I can relay the experience to my readers later.
Because I don’t just want to tell a story; I want to take you into my world. I want you to feel the hot Wyoming sun on your skin, the faint sage-scented breeze brushing your cheek, the creak of leather as you shift in the saddle.
I draw on good memories—and not so good memories. For example, this scene where Lacey falls off a horse should be pretty accurately portrayed, since I’ve had a lot of practice at it:
As Lacey’s legs tensed, she felt Captain’s muscles gather beneath her. He’d been restless the moment the rope came out, but now his head came up, his ears tilted forward, and he was suddenly prancing, his front legs dancing in place. She grabbed the saddle horn just as he took off like a stone from a slingshot.
For a full second she felt like she was suspended in thin air, still seated, her hand still poised in front of her like she was holding the horn, but there was no saddle beneath her. No horse, either. With a heavy whump, she hit the ground, her tailbone taking the impact and sending pain rocketing up her spine.
Yeah, that was me. There are other moments in Tall, Dark and Cowboy that were more fun to experience. Some of Lacey’s four-wheeling adventures are taken from my own experiences, and the scene where she learns to shoot is, too—although Lacey’s a much better shot than I am.
I also get to pass on the little things in life—those quiet moments you wish could go on forever. I’m not big on description—I like things to happen in my books—but once in a while I indulge myself:
As she left the light from the house behind, the world seemed to grow even more hushed. Looking up, she saw the sky speckled with stars, some hard and bright, some faint and far away.
Craning her neck, she stumbled backward and arched her back, almost tipping over in her effort to take in the entire display. She wanted to see the whole sky, to savor the sense of being surrounded with nothing and everything, time and timelessness.
These same stars lit the world long before she was born. They’d shine after she was gone, too, distant and unchanging, unaffected by her life or anyone else’s. She felt a lightness, as if a burden had been lifted. She may have wasted her life, but what good could she have done? She could make things better for those around her—she should do that—but in the long run, her petty problems made no difference. She lowered herself to the ground, crossing her legs yoga-style, her eyes never leaving the sky. She just wanted to enjoy the show.
Writing is like painting—you get to freeze a moment in time, immortalize an instant. But better yet, you get to string those moments together, embellish them with a little extra excitement, and hopefully create a novel that takes readers on an emotional and romantic journey.
My days might not look exciting from the outside—but I love what I do and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
She’s looking for an old friend…
In the wake of a nasty divorce, Lacey Bradford heads for Wyoming where she’s sure her old friend will take her in. But her high school pal Chase Caldwell is no longer the gangly boy who would follow her anywhere. For one thing, he’s now incredibly buff and handsome, but that’s not all that’s changed…
What she finds is one hot cowboy…
Chase has been through tough times and is less than thrilled to see the girl who once broke his heart. But try as he might to resist her, while Lacey’s putting her life back together, he’s finding new ways to be part of it.
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