As an author, I’m often asked if I base my characters on real people, or if the things that take place in my books have happened to me or to people I know. Usually, my answer is no. However, such is not the case in my latest western romance.
This book is titled BIG SKY and it’s a contemporary romance set on a ranch in Montana, and it includes some paranormal elements (read Ghost). Although I don’t live on a ranch, or in Montana, I have had an experience with a poltergeist. But the similarities between my real life and this book don’t stop there. For this story, I’ve used several events from my life as inspiration for plot points, as well as featuring my pets as characters and naming several characters after friends and family. I thought it might be fun to share a few tid-bits in this regard.
*Stacey will give away an electronic copy to one visitor--don't forget to leave a comment!*
1. The fictional town of Prosperity is based on the town of Butte, Montana, where my author friend, Melissa Blue, lives. She often talks about how beautiful that area is, which is why I decided to set my story there.
2. A few of my animals are characters in this book. My husband’s paint horse, Bill, is the hero’s horse. However, one difference between the real Bill and the fictionalized Bill is that our horse is not sensitive to spurs. My former Haflinger mare, Dusty, also shows up as one of the horses the heroine, Taylor, rides. And when I decided to give Brett, the hero, a pet, my gray cat, Caesar, seemed perfect for the job.
3. The owner of the western store where Taylor and Brett shop is Mrs. Kruse, my aunt, who is very supportive of my writing.
4. The cowboy bar in my story called Maverick’s is based on an actual cowboy bar in Jacksonville, Florida that I went to with six of my friends during a girlfriend vacation.
5. The scene where Taylor rides a mechanical bull was inspired by my real-life experience in riding a mechanical bull for the first (and last) time. My adventure took place, incidentally, at the cowboy bar mentioned above when I was 51 years old.
6. The pony my heroine had as a child was called Tony, much like my husband’s pony when he was a boy.
7. The scene where Taylor gets thrown from her horse and knocked unconscious is based on a real-life incident that happened to me. However, the animals involved are not the same.
8. Two female characters, the hero’s ex-wife and the nurse for Taylor’s mother, were given the names of my daughters. When I began this story, my youngest daughter asked why I hadn’t put her and her sister in a book yet, so I did. Hopefully, they won’t be able to relate to the characters. (You’ll have to read the book to see what I mean).
9. A music professor who is a friend asked me if I was going to put him in a story someday, so I made him one of the wranglers at the Slash Y Ranch. When I recently told him he’s a cowboy now, he got very excited.
10. Models for the characters in this story are actors Timothy Olyphant, Jamie Anne Allman, Rachel McAdams, Adam Beach and A. Martinez. If you read my book, drop me an email and give me your guesses on who is who.
Here’s the blurb for BIG SKY:
Taylor never expected her reluctant homecoming to include a murder, a ghost…and a hunk of a ranch foreman.
Photographer Taylor Young fled to L.A. following her sister’s betrayal six years ago. Now Jamie’s dead, Mama has broken a hip in a drunken fall, and Taylor’s stepfather begs her to return to her family’s Montana ranch to make amends.After a bitter divorce, Brett Austin, foreman of the Slash Y Ranch, believes horses are more of a sure thing than women. But the boss's daughter changes all that when she sets his heart bucking like a wild bronc.
When Taylor’s mother insists Jamie’s death was not suicide—a theory confirmed by Jamie’s ghost—Taylor wonders who could have wanted her sister dead. With a list of suspects as long as her camera strap, Taylor needs an ally. Could that person be a tall drink of water in a cowboy hat?~*~*~*~
“Don’t you have some cattle to rustle up? Or fences to mend?” Taylor slammed her foot on the gas pedal and rubbed her throbbing temples.
And here’s a short excerpt for you:
“You’re not going to get that vehicle started,” Brett stated. “It needs to sit. Hop on back.” He patted the horse’s rump. There was a mischievous twinkle in the horse’s eye.
“Thanks. But I’m not going to ride on the back of that animal with you.”
“Because I don’t know you or that paint.”
Brett shrugged. “Will’s not going to like it if I leave you stranded.”
“I’m hardly stranded. The car will start soon. Or I’ll walk.”
He flicked the reins. “Giddy-up, Bill.” With a cluck of Brett’s tongue, the horse took up a slow trot.
Taylor peered through the windshield and watched the man’s body sway in rhythm with his gelding’s gait. He knew how to sit a horse. But what did he know about cars? He might understand as much about vehicles as her—which was next to nothing. She could be waiting here for an hour.
She glanced down at her heels wishing she had on more sensible shoes. Walking a mile down a hard-packed dirt road would destroy them—and her feet.
Darn. Perhaps she should reconsider the cowboy’s offer.
Taylor flung the car door open and jumped out. Planting her feet apart, she placed two fingers between her lips and whistled.
Brett told Bill to whoa and tossed his hand over the saddle horn. His and Taylor’s gazes locked. His intense stare burned a hole into her. Her head angled in question. Suddenly, she felt as if her slacks were made of see-through paper. When he lifted his hand and waved her forward, she narrowed her eyes at his cocksure grin.
Thanks for stopping by.
BIG SKY Available Now in Print, Ebook and Kindle