A dozen years ago – though believe me it doesn’t seem nearly that long in some respects – I wrote my last cowboy. He was Deke Malone, new single father of a two year old son, making peace with his own father after years of estrangement, and discovering that the love of his life had, a long time before, been right under his nose. The book was called The Cowboy’s Christmas Miracle, and it was very much a book of my heart.
I got to “go back” to Elmer, Montana briefly in my Presents, One-Night Love Child, a few years later when the heroine of that book, Sara McMaster, had her life thrown into chaos by the sudden unexpected appearance of her six year old son’s father. Flynn wasn’t a cowboy, most of the book took place in Ireland, but it still made me happy because I got to touch base with that world.
Since then, I’ve been writing other books set in other places – exotic places like Santorini and Fiji and the Cote d’Azur and intensely urban bustling places like New York City. I did sneak back to Montana a couple of times (once in the Santorini book and once in the Fiji book), but my heroes had never been cowboys – and to be honest, I’ve missed them.
Now, thanks to Tule Publishing’s Montana Born imprint, I get to go back. Later this spring (or very early summer, depending on how you define these things, which in Iowa, this year, could still be winter) my new book, my COWBOY book, Last Year’s Bride, will be coming out. And I can’t believe how much fun I’ve had writing it (well, I still am. The fun continues even as I write).
You know what else has been a treat? Working with all the wonderful women I’ve been privileged to work with in the brides’ series in Tule’s Montana Born books. Mine is either the last or the second to the last in the series. I haven’t figured that out yet.
But I’ve been absolutely loving reading the ones that have already appeared. Trish Morey and Sarah Mayberry wrote these spectacular twins – Scarlett and Tara Buck – and I adored both of their stories (Trish’s Second Chance Bride and Sarah’s Almost a Bride), especially how seamlessly their heroines moved from Trish’s book to Sarah’s.
I loved Jane Porter’s Sheenan guys. I read Troy’s story(Beauty’s Kiss) first because I’ve got a scene in his hotel. But then I went back and found Brock’s (Christmas at Copper Mountain) and now I just want her to stop with all this publishing stuff and just write and write and write. (No, Jane, I don’t. I just want you to have more hours in a day – 48 at least – so you can do both!)
read Kelly Hunter’s What A Bride Wants and so loved Ella and Sawyer that I wanted the story to go on and on. I’m caught up on Brides at the moment (though I think there’s a new one this week), but fortunately I have several Copper Mountain books to go back and catch up on. It’s so much fun.
I think the fun is in reading these women whose books I have always enjoyed, writing something a little different. They are branching out, having fun with the lack of “line” to write to, writing instead the stories they want to read (well, I don’t know, maybe they always want to read their other stories, too. I shouldn’t put words in their mouths). All I can say is, I’m really liking being able to see them do new stuff, fun stuff, deeply emotional stuff, laugh-out-loud stuff.
And I’ve so enjoyed doing it with them – loaning a character for a newspaper interview for Kathleen O’Brien’s book, borrowing a character to have a bit part in the back story of my own book. Using the world of Marietta to bring a greater life to my own book has been such a delightful experience.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve loved all the earlier books I’ve written. I’ve been happy creating Elmer, Montana and Day’s Harbor, Maine and various other worlds for my own characters to inhabit. But sharing a world with other writers is something I’ve rarely had a chance to do. It’s exciting, it’s exhilarating. It makes the journey even more enjoyable than the destination.
Watch for all the Montana Born Brides. There will be new books coming out from Katherine Garbera, Joanne Walsh, Megan Crane and me.
Keep an eye out, down the road a ways, for my very own Last Year’s Bride.