The Lines Between Fact and Fiction


Welcome Tanya Michaels, author of the upcoming release,





Rodeo cowboy Grayson Cox had no intention of returning home to Cupid’s Bow, Texas. His troubled past was something best left behind. But when he suddenly finds himself serving as guardian to twin godsons, Grayson knows he’s in way too deep to stay away.

Thankfully, not everyone in Cupid’s Bow holds a grudge. Librarian Hadley Lanier remembers Grayson’s rebellious youth, but she also sees how good he is with the twins—and she definitely likes what she sees. It feels like a perfect match, until Hadley receives a career opportunity she’s long dreamed of, leaving her with a tough decision. But how can she choose between something she’s always wanted and the man she’s discovering she can’t live without?


The Lines Between Fact and Fiction

One of the fun parts of being a writer is taking inspiration from real life and blending it with pure fiction. I write a lot of hometown stories, which—for me personally—is the height of fiction because the first part of my life was spent moving around to Army bases. Eventually, though, I landed in Texas, where I went to high school and college. If you’ve read my Harlequin Western Romances, you probably know I set most of my stories in Texas (specifically, the fictional small town of Cupid’s Bow, Texas). What you may not know is that Cupid’s Bow is loosely based on a real town where my in-laws have a farm.

I love the farm. Well, okay, I love most of the farm.

It’s serene and beautiful and there’s nowhere on earth where I’ve ever seen so many stars. There are, however, a few drawbacks. For instance, my kids call the farm The Land Without Wifi. And, after twenty plus years of visiting, I’m still not quite used to the overpowering sulfuric smell/taste of the well water.

Writing my Cupid’s Bow stories allows me to share the best parts of a beloved rural setting…but readers don’t have to deal with the pungent smell of the pasture when the wind shifts or the itchiness of hay. (Am I the only one who can’t enjoy a festive hayride without a few Benadryl?)

As someone who lived in Texas from her teens into adulthood, I have some knowledge about the state but I can pick and choose how I want to use it in my stories. For instance, in the towns where I’ve lived, dance halls are very popular local establishments. This works well in my romances, so I’ve set some of my favorite scenes in dance halls reminiscent of the ones I’ve been to with friends. Ah, fond memories. Some of my less-fond memories of Texas life include fire-ants. So those suckers don’t exist in Tanya’s Texas. Ditto mosquitos roughly the size of condors.

That’s not to say, however, that when I write a book, I don’t include some of life’s difficulties and challenges. Quite the contrary. Although I try to be a nice person in my real life (“try” being the key word), I’m mean as heck to my poor characters. I like to throw obstacles at them that give them the opportunity for growth and improvement. I just don’t think they should have to deal with things like the copperhead snake (!) we once found in our yard (!!!) or the scorpion in the Kleenex box. Confession: Although I’ve loved horse-back riding since I was a kid, I’m not very outdoorsy. If it skitters or slithers, I’m probably afraid of it so let’s not discuss further.


From family to friends, a lot of my favorite people are either from Texas or live there now. I love these people. But fair warning—they can be unexpectedly intense about a few things. Like football. And barbecue. And being Texans. Most of my Cupid’s Bow characters have a lot of local pride, but I played with that idea in my February book THE COWBOY’S TEXAS TWINS The hero, Grayson, hates his hometown; he ran away from Cupid’s Bow the second he graduated high school and vowed never to return. But his life is upended when he gets custody of his twin godsons. He goes home to Cupid’s Bow to ask his favorite aunt’s help. Once there, he’s startled to find himself falling for the town sweetheart, librarian Hadley Lanier. Poor Grayson is going to have to come to grips with his past and make some amends if he wants a brighter future for himself and his adorable godsons.


So what about you guys—do you have a specific hometown? Is it a place you still live/like to visit or a place you were happy to leave in order to see more of the wide world? Post your experience of where you’re from for a chance to win 3 of my Cupid’s Bow books: The Christmas Triplets, The Cowboy Upstairs and the not-yet released The Cowboy’s Texas Twins.


Award-winning, bestselling author Tanya Michaels is living proof of how much you can accomplish if you’re willing to sacrifice a clean house and sleep. Married to a supportive, real-life romance hero, Tanya is the mother of two and the author of over forty books. She’s a six-time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s RITA award and a past nominee for RT BookReview’s Career Achievement Award. She is also a frequent workshop presenter and event speaker, because what’s more fun than talking to lots of other people who love books?

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29 thoughts on “The Lines Between Fact and Fiction”

  1. Good morning Tanya- I’m a Texas girl too, I now live in Kansas, due to my job, but as you’ve probably figured after living in Texas for so long. Once a Texan, ALWAYS a Texan. My hometown is Stephenville, Texas and I try to visit when I can. My entire family still lives down there and so it’s never a hardship to visit. Your book sounds great and happy release day to you in February.

  2. Hi Tanya, thank you for letting me know you a little. You are a new author for me. You asked for my specific hometown. Well that’s the little village where I met my husband in 1986. My parents and I spent our holidays in our boat in Vinkeveen (the Netherlands). For us that was about 35 miles from our home and for him it was 1,5 mile of his home and he spent the holidays with his parents on their boat too. We met, we fell in love, we got married after three years and bought a house in his hometown. We’ve got three children and spend every spring and fall and part of summer in Vinkeveen, the place where I met the love of my life.

    • That is an awesome story–thank you for sharing. I have always wanted to visit the Netherlands. The only places I’ve been in Europe are Germany and Italy and there are so many more I want to see someday.

  3. I live in a suburb of Dallas. Dallas is great for everything there is to do. But I was born and spent my first 10 years in a small town in New York. I would love to be able go go back and spend some more time there again.

  4. I am a native Oregonian. I was born in a college town and raised in the country. I now live about 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Would not want to live elsewhere.

  5. I live in Western New York. I have only moved once in my 50 yrs of life and that was only the next town over. I’m close to the home town of “Lucy” (Lucille Ball). Her grave here is just around the corner from my grandparents). I love small towns.

  6. The small country town I grew up in and still live in! I adore this place and all its quirky people. Country life is what we like and continue to raise our kids into.

  7. I grew up in a very small community in Kentucky and I miss it everyday. I only live about 50 miles away and I still visit whenever I can. My sister still lives there. At one time most of my family lived there. Nothing has been the same since I moved away, I guess you can take a girl from the country but you can’t take the country from the girl.

  8. the whole township we live in has only around 800 people, so small town is where I live and grew up – 6 miles from my Dad’s homestead and live in the house hubs grew up in!

  9. I grew up in a small town in Southwest Virginia. I couldn’t wait to leave when I graduated high school. When I go back to visit family and for holidays, I am usually glad to leave. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I’d never left, but I never regret leaving. I live about 2 hours away and can go home whenever I want. But when it’s time to leave, I’m ready. Tanya, your books sound great! Scorpion in the Kleenex box? I’d move lol.

    • I was a teenager when the Kleenex box incident happened. I seem to recall that I suggested burning the house down. My parents seemed to think that was overkill.

  10. I grew up in the small town of Sparta, Wisconsin. The biggest thing around here is our local army base called Fort McCoy which at one time in history was an internment camp. Lots of amazing history there.

  11. My hometown is Stephenville, Texas. And I am a cousin to Tonya Lucas who responded to you. I still live there, or close, I am between there and Dublin. Your cowboys sound like my kind of men. The stories are right in my happy reading zone. Hope I win. If not, no problem. I will get your books any way. Thanks for sharing your Texas with us.

  12. I have moved a few times, but always to be near family… I found out recently that the house I grew up in was demolished… it saddened me.

    • I’m sorry to hear that Colleen. My grandparents’ house was the closet thing I had to do a steady childhood home and I was sad to see it go! Hopefully you’re building great memories wherever you live now.

  13. I am a Texan through and through. I grew up in the small town of Ferris. Growing up in a town where everyone knows everyone and people are caring and loving is the best.

  14. I have a hometown, but no ties since my parents and brothers moved away. I do have a friend who lives there. It’s also my my college town. So, the town where I live in a neighboring state is my adopted hometown. And, I’ve always loved the mountains of East Tennessee where my grandparents lived and my parents retired to. It is also the land of no wifi–it’s a deadzone. My college son had to go to town and use the wifi at the library for homework in his summer course.

  15. The small town I grew up near became the place where new housing developments were built every year. It still is, so when I visit my sister it’s hard to find the fields where we used to play with our friends.

  16. I grew up in Mesa, AZ. We moved into the home I was raised in just before I turned four, and my parents are still there. I was away for a while, but 12 years ago my husband and I moved back to be close to family. I’ve never loved the heat, but it’s a great place and I love being near family.

  17. I’ve always lived in the same town in Northern NJ.
    Moved once when I married to a town 1 hour away. But we ended up moving back home a year. But sadly it’s changing in ways that make it hard to believe .Your book sounds wonderful.
    Carol Luciano

  18. I grew up in Northeast New York State. Our house was on a hill with the Adirondack mountains to our back and a view looking out over Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I love that part of the world. You have the Adirondack Park with miles of hiking trails, beautiful lakes and rivers to paddle, excellent rock climbing, maple syrup and apples. It is close to Quebec, Canada, so one can cross the border, go to Montreal, and get a taste of french culture. Cross the lake and you cruise into New England mountain area and can get to the coast in 5 or 6 hours if you want. About 6 or 7 hours south and you are in New York City.
    I haven’t lived there for many years. Yes, I couldn’t wait to get out. I joined the Peace Corps and went to southeast Asia. I married my Air Force hero and we moved around the US, retiring to the Blue Ridge Mountains. I have enjoyed everywhere we have lived and traveled. I still like to “go home” and we try to make it every year. We have been to Texas a few times and enjoyed those visits. It is a state we will be visiting again. There is so much more to see.
    This series sounds good. Your first hand knowledge of the setting will add an authenticity to the stories. You could always include some of the straw itchiness, stinky water & pastures, and creepy crawlies. They do add flavor to the stories.

  19. I was born in a small town in Kentucky and I have never lived anywhere that was more than 25 miles away. I can’t imagine living any other place. Thanks for your giveaway!

  20. My hometown is Riverside, California. I haven’t been back for close to 17 years. I don’t have family there anymore and most of my friends have moved out of the state, so it doesn’t really call to me anymore.

    Cindy W.
    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

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