We recently returned from a two-week road trip through some of our western states: South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, and Nebraska. Being a Midwest (Michigan) born and bred girl, those rugged places have always held a special appeal for me. I was also always a big fan of cowboys (well, the TV kind anyway) and so traveling through towns with names like Medicine Bow, Cody, and Buffalo, takes me back to the many TV westerns I used to watch as a kid. While driving through the mountains and canyons, I can just imagine those characters, as well as the ones I like to read and write about, riding their horses along those trails. While the modern West is certainly different from those long-ago days, much of it remains the same. The people with their fierce independence, the land with its rushing rivers, and the mountains with their amazing peaks reaching to the vast sky.
I have also always loved animals, and most especially horses. I’ve never been without some sort of animal companion, and for ten years owned (or was owned by!) a beautiful little Arabian named Cato. For the past 17 years, I have written a monthly column where I advocate for homeless pets and pet rescue. When I started to write my recent release, it seemed only natural to include animals in the story. It wasn’t hard to come up with their characters, because most of them are based on animals I have known and loved. But I thought long and hard about how I could include my love of the West in the book when it was set in my home state. Then I realized, my hero, Shane McBride, was returning from years of living out West, to the small town in Michigan where he’d first fallen in love, and where Allison Delaney still lives. He is surprised at what he finds.
In spite of a broken heart, Allison Delaney carved out a life for herself and her young daughter on her grandparents’ farm. Her child and the horses she rescues are all that matter. Then a sudden threat to their safety puts her back in touch with Shane McBride, the man she never thought to see again.
Returning to the small town of Silver Creek brings back a lot of memories for Shane, ones he treasures haunted by the ones that made him leave, but this time he is determined to stay and make things right.
Trusting Shane may be her only choice, but now Allison fears not only the threat against her farm but the risk of losing her heart again.
I had such a fun time writing this story, where I could include animals and places I have known. But mostly, I loved writing about a man and a woman who were once deeply in love, but who must now deal with not only their past but with the problems the present brings to them. They soon discover that healing their broken hearts may not be the most difficult thing they face.
Here is an excerpt from Will o’ the Wisp:
“The man who stepped from inside the truck was definitely not Doc. Tall, with shoulders stretching the faded fabric of his denim shirt and shiny black hair that glistened in the sunlight, he would have towered over Doc’s stocky figure. As he started toward the barn, she couldn’t see his face, but the easy swagger to his walk, the way he rolled his booted feet from heel to toe, spoke to her of things she thought she had forgotten. Had worked very hard to forget. Feelings she’d buried ten years ago. Uncomfortable, she dropped her gaze to her daughter who had come to stand next to Gypsy.
“Is he Doc’s helper, you think?” Lizzie scrunched her nose. “I don’t think I know him.”
Sudden awareness clutched Allison’s heart, giving it an extra beat, as if to prove the man walking toward her was still easy on the eyes but hard on the heart. He’d certainly been hard on hers.
Is there any place special you like to travel to?
A setting you love to read about?
About the Author
I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember, starting with animal stories and graduating to an historical romance I wrote while in junior high school. In college, I took several creative writing classes, and when my children were small, I wrote and sold a number of short stories to Woman’s World magazine. Those stories are now included in the five anthologies on my Book Page.
I’ve been a member of Romance Writers of America and Mid-Michigan Romance Writers for over thirty years and have written articles for chapter newsletters. I’m also concerned with animal welfare issues, and I write a monthly column called “The Pet Corner”, where I advocate for homeless pets and local shelters and rescue groups. Some of those columns appear on my Zeke Chronicles blog.
My husband and I live in southwest Michigan, near the sunset coast of Lake Michigan, with our dogs; Ace, a silly Terrier mix, and Foo Foo, a crazy Pomeranian, and two kitties, Zombie and Sandwich.
We have two grown children and a number of granddogs. We love to travel, especially out West, where I’m always on the lookout for a new setting for my books.