My husband and I travel to Texas as often as possible, as I am a Texan-in-exile and return when I can to visit extended family. A secondary purpose of this particular trip was to visit the area of San Saba homework service County, in which I had set my new series for Love Inspired Historicals, “Brides of Simpson Creek.” The creek is located just east of the town of San Saba. It was just as I had pictured it, shaded by trees, deep enough to swim and fish in, and shallow enough for marauding Comanches to splash across.
Not far down the road from that, we found a roadside plaque indicating there really had been a community here called Simpson Creek, just as in my stories! That sent chills up my spine, as you can imagine. Unfortunately, the historical museum at San Saba was closed during the time we were there, so I wasn’t able to find out more about it—which taught me the value of prior planning…
I had done some advance scouting of the area on the San Saba Chamber of Commerce’s website, and it mentioned a famous old tree called “The Marriage Oak” or “Wedding Tree” nearby, where Indians and early settlers had come to get married. We went to see it, and it’s a magnificent tree, huge and gnarly with lots of overhanging boughs. I knew then a pair of my characters would marry under this tree—I just had to figure out why, when I’d written in a perfectly nice church in Simpson Creek. J On the cover of THE SHERIFF’S SWEETHEART, you can see a few branches of the tree, but the focus of the cover is on the hero and heroine, as it should be, and a small dog that is an important secondary character in the story. The real tree has many more overhanging, low boughs, and the trunk is much more twisted, so I’ve included a picture of it so you can imagine it when you read the book.
When I was writing the manuscript, the book I envisioned was titled THE WEDDING TREE. I thought the title was a good one because it provoked curiosity and was a tribute to the place, but alas, the title was changed. My publisher likes to give an indication of the hero’s profession, as they had with the previous books in the series, MAIL ORDER COWBOY and THE DOCTOR TAKES A WIFE, and my coming November book, THE RANCHER’S COURTSHIP. Perhaps they’re right in what titles hook readers—you be the judge.
I hope you enjoy Prissy Gilmore’s story. She was the next logical heroine of the series, since I had written the stories of Milly, the Spinsters’ Club’s foundress, and that of her sister Sarah. I just had to find Prissy a worthy hero, and I think I did that with Sam Bishop, a down-on-his-luck gambler who’s just out to find himself a rich, pretty wife and live a comfortable, happy life forever after. But love has a way of changing our plans, doesn’t it?
I hope you enjoy THE SHERIFF’S SWEETHEART, and will leave lots of comments so you can be entered in a drawing to win the book. You can also reach me at my website:
Thanks, Petticoats and Pistols fillies, for letting me visit again!
Blessings to my readers–Laurie