In fact, in all my pre-published manuscripts, not a single one starred a cowboy or rancher. Which, when I look back now, is a little surprising. I mean I grew up on a farm – though not livestock. I grew up on an apple farm in
In 1996 my husband and I moved to
And still…no books set here at all.
I wrote a story called The Reluctant Husband and submitted it to the Mills and Boon/Harlequin Romance line, and it was rejected. I couldn’t seem to get it out of my mind though. I thought it was a fine premise, and it came to me that my hero and setting were wrong.
So, I started from scratch, and set it on a ranch about an hour and a half northwest of
In fact they liked it so much they gave me the go ahead to write a follow up – called Marriage at Circle M, this time starring an ex-rodeo rider Mike and the town sweetheart, Grace.
I deviated for a book – my current one (The Soldier’s Homecoming) set in
I have to admit this has surprised me a bit, though I suppose the popularity of westerns along with my farm roots might have something to do with it. I can relate to the lure of the land and the open space, the connection to the earth and the sense of place and family. The other thing that strikes me is that the Canadian west is a little different from anywhere else. Trying to define it is a little like trying to define voice…you can’t always break it up into elements but it just IS. Maybe my voice and the voice of the Canadian West just work well together!
Right now my family is getting ready to relocate again, and I know I’m going to miss the Prairie and the sight of the mountains capped with snow, pink in the morning light. But will I stop writing westerns? No way! It’s going to be a great way to stay connected to a place I’ve lived over a decade!