I love writing fish out of water stories. I have a husband and three sons who’d tell you I love those stories because I get a perverse pleasure out turning the tables on confident men. It’s true, but okay gals, is there anything more fun that that? Really?
But it’s more than the fact that writing those stories is fun. I’ve always been a person who’s nervous in new situations. There have been times I haven’t gone to an event because I wasn’t sure I’d know anyone there. I’m not big on change, either. I actually prefer being in a rut. As Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory would say, “They call it comfort zone for a reason.” Because I loathe uncomfortable situations, it’s easy for me to step into my hero’s boots and really know what it’s like.
One of the things that sold my first novel to Harlequin was that my editor loved the fish out of water element. For those who haven’t read my first blog for Petticoats and Pistols about how I came up with the story idea for Big City Cowboy (click here to read the post), I met a cowboy in Colorado who people often asked to model. Cowboys are so confident, so much a part of the land they love, and yet often so private, that forcing one to go New York City to model sent my brain into story spinning mode. In Big City Cowboy, my hero, a dyed in the wool cowboy, is forced to go to New York City to model in order to get the money to pay for his mother’s experimental cancer treatment. When I wrote that book, the minute the hero’s brother, Griffin McAlister, strutted onto the page I knew he needed his own story.
On top of being a former bull rider, Griffinis a first class charmer, who’d gone back in the confidence line for seconds. As I thought about his story, I realized I had to turn the tables on him. One day while watching TV, a commercial for The Bachelor came on, and I had the idea for Bet On a Cowboy.
WhenGriffin’s model brother can’t become the bachelor because he’d engaged,Griffinagrees to go on the show. A friend told me someone she knew who was on the show as a bachelorette received $3000 an episode.Griffinthought he had it made—he’d get paid to date gorgeous women. So what if he doesn’t want to get married? Every woman has a deal breaker issue. All he has to do is find the finalists’ and use that to his advantage. His plan is that whoever he proposes to will turn him down.
The story is a fish out of water combined with a ‘be careful what you wish for’ story. Griffin discovers life isn’t all fun in games when, instead of doing the chasing, he’s now the prey. Those scenes where the bachelorettes took control of the situation were so much fun to write. And then I threw in a heroine, Maggie Sullivan, who instead of falling atGriffin’s feet, saw through his tactics and had the audacity to call him on it. Now that was fun to write!
For me, I’ll stay in my comfortable little rut and make my characters face the unexpected and awkward situations in life. It’s a lot more fun.
Julie’s new release, Bet On a Cowboy, is available now. Add it to your “to-be-read” pile today!