How did you come up with the idea for your latest Christmas themed book? And Why a Christmas theme?
My publisher, Tule Publishing Group, loved the first three books in the McCall Brothers series so much that they approached me about writing another book in the series for Christmas. I'd been toying with that idea - a McCall cousin who was a country music star returning to Honor, Texas for the holidays and having a second chance romance with the cowboy she'd never forgotten - so it came together rather quickly.
Could you give me a short synopsis of the story for my readers?
Rising country music star Cassidy James McCall is living her own version of a bad country song. After undergoing vocal chord surgery, her future is uncertain. To escape the constant presence of tabloid reporters, she accepts an invitation to celebrate Christmas with her McCall cousins. But her idea of a quiet and peaceful holiday comes to a screeching halt the moment she crashes into her former boyfriend, the tough yet noble cowboy that she’s never gotten over.
Widowed, single father and ex-rodeo bull rider, Ryder Hadley, longs to raise his precious little girl in his safe, secure small hometown of Honor, Texas while bringing his ranch back to life. It’s a simple wish that goes haywire when the mega country sensation and the woman who stole his heart years ago gallops back into town, igniting a firestorm of emotions in her wake.
As Ryder tries to protect his heart from falling once again under Cassidy’s spell, he soon learns he’s not the only one who can’t resist her–his daughter wants Cassidy as a bride for her daddy. With the help of some Christmas magic, will Ryder and Cassidy get the second chance that they’ve always wanted?
What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?
There's so many favorites, but I'll try to narrow them down to a few. Holiday baking is on top of the list. I love to bake traditional, handed-down-through-the-family recipes and test new ones. I try them out on my hubby, friends, and family. Going to see the huge displays of Christmas lights in and around Austin and attending Christmas festivals and parades are always so much fun. And on Christmas Eve, hubby and I have our little snack party, I make a family recipe of Pork Pie and have other goodies, and we watch my favorite Christmas movie, It's A Wonderful Life.
Each book seems to have its own magic, as well as its own obstacles. Sometimes it's a character who comes to me and takes over and the book writes itself. Or it's a new plot twist that needs smoothing out, rearranging, or just tossed in the trash in order to start all over again. Dialogue comes easiest for me if I'm stuck. I can write page after page with just snappy dialogue with a few qualifiers on who is talking and rarely have to change it, just add layers with body language and setting to enhance it and create a full-bodied scene. Most times, I'm good at starting a book, except on my current WIP. It's taking me more time than I expected to come up with just the right way to open the story.
What does your editor remind you to do most often?
She's terrific! She reminds me to clarify motivation or add more backstory on the characters. Sometimes it's in my head and I forget the reader doesn't know what I know.
What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
I've had wonderful mentors over the years. My first, the late Wendy Haley, led by example. She was incredibly generous with her time and advice to many authors. She had a great way of pointing out the flaws in my story, how to easily fix them, and praising me for what did work.
What’s next? (future books, novellas, special appearances you want to mention)
I'm working on two back-to-back romantic comedies for my Once Upon A Romance Series, and then a novella - haven't decided if it will be part of an established series or a new one. It looks like 3 more books after those - to be determined. And a women's fiction book I'm working on over the next year in between other projects. After that, I have a brand new 5 book romantic comedy series coming out in 2019. Also, there's some super exciting things I'm working on that I hope to share soon.
What’s the best writing tip you’ve learned or been give that you’d like to share?
Write a crappy first draft. Write. Don't edit. Get the words down on the page. Once you're finished, then go back and edit, revise, and rewrite. It's been so freeing as a writer to adopt this attitude that you can fix it later.
The marketing side of the business. Plans, strategy, principles, oh my...
Any last words or tips?
This isn't rocket science. You don't have to be a genius. You don't need umpteen degrees. What you do need is a story in your head and heart that only you can write. You can do this. Ask yourself, if years from now I look back will I regret not doing this? If the answer is yes - and most times it is - start writing and learn everything you can about the craft along the way. Write. Fail. Learn. Write better. Rinse. Repeat.
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