When I began thinking up my next series for Harlequin Desire, I knew the stories would be about modern day cowboys and I knew that Worth Ranch would be set in Arizona. I’ve come to love the Arizona landscape from historic Phoenix to picturesque Sedona, from the green forests of Flagstaff to the glorious Grand Canyon. In this book, the setting plays a secondary role and I wanted my fictional town of Red Ridge to encompass the splendor of the majestic crimson mountain ranges. And when I think of beautiful landscape, I think of Arizona.
There’s something so compelling to me about forbidden love and I knew I wanted that for Tagg and Callie’s story. Think of West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Twilight and Romeo and Juliet. Those stories couldn’t be more different, but each one has an underlying theme of forbidden passion, tortured heroes and heroines, who try but never really succeed in denying their romantic feelings for each other. Now, put that together with an illicit encounter between a beautiful heroine and a loner cowboy trying to do the honorable thing, and you have the makings of a modern day forbidden love story.
In Carrying the Rancher’s Heir, Taggart Worth has his own reasons not to get involved with Callie Sullivan, though Callie had always secretly looked upon Tagg as her fantasy man. Tagg owned her teen-age dreams, even as her father forbade her to go near a Worth. She was forbidden to speak with any of the brothers. Their families were rivals in business, yes, but a secret from the past was what really kept them apart. When Callie comes back to town, all grown-up and accidentally meets Tagg in a honky-tonk one night, all of her father’s stern warnings fly out the window. Don’t you love it when that happens?
How the Worth Men Came to Be:
When my idea struck, I knew I wanted all three of the Worth brothers to have ties to the family ranch but with their own different and unique back story. Tagg was once an ex-rodeo champion, his older brother Clayton, a country superstar turned rancher, (his story, THE COWBOY’S PRIDE, will be released in December) and Jackson, the dashing, lady-killer is businessman extraordinaire, is still percolating in my head. But here’s the fun part – Worth Ranch has history that goes back more than one hundred years. So next spring, my Harlequin Historical, tentatively titled, A COWBOY WORTH CLAIMING, will take us back in time to see how Worth Ranch got its start with Chance and Lizzie’s story. Throw in a ruby necklace and a lake that claims the tradition of being the marriage proposal site of all the Worth men and we have my Red Ridge Series.
Before the book goes to print, my editor asks me to send him photos or pictures of what my hero and heroine look like. He also likes to have some scenes with the setting, to give the art department an idea of what the background of the cover should look like. I was lucky with Carrying the Rancher’s Heir, they put two horses on the front cover! They are seen better on the actual book cover than online, but it appears one is a pie-bald and one is a bay mare. I was thrilled!
It wasn’t a hard task for me to scan through some “hunky men” and “cowboy” sites to find my heroes in the story. I think I found my next hero/Clayton Worth in The Cowboy’s Pride in Chris Young and Chance Worth in my spring historical in Timothy Olyphant.
Fun Facts about Arizona:
Arizona also has more parks and national monuments than any other state, more mountains than Switzerland, and more golf courses than Scotland.
Arizona is the only state that has an official neckwear. The Bola Tie. (my hero wears one)
Known as The Grand Canyon State, Arizona has other nicknames as well:
The Valentine State (Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912)
The Copper State (Arizona produces most of the nation’s copper)
The Grand Canyon State (for obvious reasons)
The Baby State (Before Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union, that is)
What landscapes appeal to you most? Do you love the mountains? Do you love the desert or are you a water person who loves lakes, rivers and the ocean? What are your favorite places to travel and explore? Rural areas or the city?
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Charlene Sands is a USA Today Bestselling author of thirty romance novels, writing sexy contemporaries and stories set in Americana – Old West. Her stories have been honored with the National Readers Choice Award, the Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Award and she’s a double recipient of the Booksellers’ Best Award. Be sure to check out her contest for Three Grand Prizes WORTH Winning at www.charlenesands.com .
Thank you Fillies for inviting me today!!