How did you come up with the relationship between Molly and Chance?
I imagined two business rivals—a single mom/general contractor designer and a bull rancher/general contractor, both vying for the same job, who also have a history of really rubbing each other the wrong way. She thinks money buys happiness and he has grown up with wealth and knows that is not the case. Things really heat up when, a few days before Thanksgiving, her son decides he wants Santa to bring him a live baby bull for Christmas—just like the one Cowboy Chance has—and Chance does nothing to disabuse him of the notion.
What is your favorite part about writing holiday books?
It makes me think about what each holiday means, and or should mean—and gets me in the spirit of the season, too!
Do you have a signature Thanksgiving dish?
I make a great traditional dinner every year for the family--roast turkey and sage stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, fresh cranberry sauce, corn and zucchini saute, rolls, and then pumpkin, chocolate, pecan and chocolate chip pecan pies. Then I take a nap….:-)
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was 11 when I began crafting stories on paper. I think I always made up stories in my head before that, though. I was 21 when I started writing in earnest and 26 when my first novel was published. I wrote 7 full length novels before finally selling my first, and have sold steadily ever since—although not every idea gets picked up by my publisher.
How long does it take you to write a book?
3-4 months for a short contemporary, and 6 months for a long contemporary.
Where do you get your inspiration for Bullhaven Ranch?
I read an article on bucking bulls and the people who invest in them, and my research took it from there. I was amazed that for many families their bucking bulls are like pets to them—not the feared, angry snorting animals you see in the movies. They’re great in the ring, because they are trained to buck a rider off, but docile and sweet and loving otherwise.
How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
I’ve authored 120 published novels. My favorite book is usually the one I have just finished.
What book are you reading right now?
SOMEWHERE SAFE WITH SOMEBODY GOOD by Jan Karon. I love the adventures of Timothy and Cynthia. I also picked up the new Maria Semple book, TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT.
What are your current projects?
I am finishing up book #4 in the Texas Legacies: The Lockharts, a new Laramie, Texas series. It’s about Lucille Lockhart and her five adult offspring, who have all returned to her home county in rural Texas, to claim their inheritance, and find out what really matters most to them. (It’s not what they thought.)
What advice do you have for writers?
Read as much as possible. Newspapers, magazines, blogs, novels in and out of the genre you are writing in, biographies, memoirs. Really, anything that interests you. Then write every day. Finish what you write. It’s easy to begin a story, not so easy to see it through to the end, and seeing it through to the end is what teaches you the craft of writing. Then start the next project, while you try and sell the finished one.