Hi everyone, Winnie Griggs here.
I have a new book out this month and I thought that today I’d share with you a little bit on how it came to be. Sometimes the stories we write come to us easily and sometimes they take a very roundabout path. A Tailor-Made Husband is an example of the later. This is the ninth book set in the world of Turnabout, Texas (FYI they are all totally standalone) and my hero and heroine will be familiar to any readers who have been keeping up with the series.
Ward Gleason, the steadfast town sheriff, has made an appearance in just about every book since Handpicked Husband, the first book in the series. Hazel Andrews, the town’s seamstress, first popped up in book two, The Bride Next Door, and she really made a splash in book six, Second Chance Hero, where she was the heroine’s flamboyant best friend. It was originally my intent to have book seven be their story. In fact, I thought I set it up nicely when I mentioned Hazel’s long standing but unrequited crush on the town’s sheriff.
The problem was, because I’d dropped those hints in the earlier book without much forethought, I’d boxed myself in. I not only had to figure out just why Ward would ignore Hazel’s obvious interest, but I also had to find a way to add a little extra zip when I’m starting with a heroine who is already in love with the hero. I actually got pretty far along into my first version of the book before it became apparent it wasn’t going to work. I decided to put their story on hold and work on another of the stories I’d planned for the series while I gave it a bit more thought. Once I turned in book seven, The Holiday Courtship, I took another run at it. But again, after quite a bit of work, it became obvious this new story wouldn’t work either. So again I moved on to another book in the series, and Texas Cinderella was the outcome.
By this time, I was determined to give Ward and Hazel their turn in the spotlight. And, with the help of some friends who are not only willing to listen to me whine without judging me, but are excellent brainstorming buddies, I finally came up with a story that I felt was worthy of this couple. And I’m really excited about the way it turned out. I hope you’ll agree it was worth the wait.
So what about you – have you ever had a situation where things just weren’t coming together for you and you had to take a step back and regroup?
Leave a comment and you’ll get your name in the hat for a chance to win a copy of A Tailor-Made Husband, or any book of your choice from my backlist.
Below is an excerpt from A Tailor-Made Husband.
Ward frowned. Surely Hazel hadn’t meant that the way it sounded? “You mean you’re taking your annual trip back east early?” Her mother had come from New York and Hazel still had family there that she visited regularly.
“No.” She tucked a stray tendril behind her ear. “I mean I’m moving to New York permanently.”
Turnabout without Hazel’s vibrant presence? He couldn’t quite picture it. Trying to keep his demeanor matter of fact, he raised a brow. “This seems a bit sudden.”
She studied her hands on the table. “Not really. Aunt Ellen has asked me a number of times over the years to join her in her fashion design business. I’ve finally decided to accept her offer.”
“I see.” Except he didn’t. Why would she do such a thing? And why now? She’d always said when she returned from her trips that it felt really good to be home again. “Exactly how soon do you plan to make this move?”
“I haven’t set an exact date, but soon. I talked it over with Verity before she and her family headed out on their vacation and I promised her I wouldn’t leave until she returns.” Hazel shrugged. “They’re due back in about three weeks.”
So soon! And if she’d been planning this since before the Coopers left, why was he just now hearing of it? She usually told him everything. “I see,” he said again, not that he did.
Why had her decision unsettled him so much? After all he had no claim on her. “And you’ve definitely made up your mind?”
She nodded, looking down as she brushed at her skirt. “So you see, I can only help you with Meg for that long.”
This was so much bigger than not helping with Meg. How could she just leave like this? How long had she been contemplating this? Was she so unhappy with her life here, or was there something in New York drawing her there? Could she have met someone on her last trip? Was—
Hazel reached across the table and touched his wrist, bringing his thoughts back to the here and now.
“But for the next three weeks,” she said, “I’ll do whatever I can to help with Meg.”
He forced a smile. It was the second time today she’d touched him that way. He found he liked it.
Perhaps a little too much.
Tired of pining for handsome sheriff Ward Gleason, seamstress Hazel Andrews plans to head East for a fresh start—until Ward finds an abandoned child. Hazel can’t turn down his request that she watch the little girl while he investigates a spate of crimes. But spending time with Ward is sending local gossips—and Hazel’s heart—into turmoil.
Nothing in Ward’s world is the same since he took charge of orphaned Meg…and that includes his growing feelings for Hazel. A fake engagement will allow them to care for the child together until Hazel moves away and finds someone more worthy. But with little Meg convinced she’s already found her forever family, can Ward and Hazel dare to make her dreams come true, along with their own?