My kids will want credit for this idea, but it has been a team effort, it really has.
I had been wanting to write a series for a while, something longer with multi-generational characters, kids and dogs, plenty of relationships that needed massaging, but with a fabulous romance at the centre.
I had the name Rolf, a blisteringly arrogant hero, and Glory, a mousy heroine who didn’t feel she could live up to her ‘illustrious’ name. I wanted a setting or premise that would allow me to bring in jet setters like my Harlequin Presents characters, but also Regular Joes, like my Montana Born characters.
On a long car ride between our house and Calgary, where my daughter was going to school at the time, we brainstormed and she suggested a ski lodge. That immediately felt right, but it was two years before I started typing. I had a lot to think about, like how they wind up at the lodge and who all the rest of the books are about. I also yanked my brother-in-law into a convo about what would happen if there was an avalanche and what needs to be considered, soil-wise, for instance, to rebuild.
In that time, we updated our will. I was a published author now and had to designate someone to look after my literary estate. This got me thinking that my heroine might have a mom who wrote romance. Maybe my heroine looks after her mother’s posthumous publishing career. In fact, I soon decided, Glory also writes romance, but in secret. She was humiliated by a jock who read some of her writing aloud when she was in high school. She actually hates jocks like Rolf.
Then, because sometimes I don’t know when to quit, I decided she should write a book in real time while I was writing her story. It’s called Blessed Winter and it unfolds along with Rolf and Glory’s romance as they slowly–very slowly!–learn to trust one another. Fun fact: I have also been wanting to write a sequel to Cruel Summer and here was my chance.
Once I was knee-deep in this story, I ran into a few plotting hang-ups, as sometimes happens. I wound up brainstorming with my son on a plane to Winnipeg. We were visiting my sister and her husband. Their dog is the inspiration for Murphy so they get credit for that character and my son gets credit for the name ‘Dirk Basco.’ My brother-in-law gets credit for the line, “He sounds like a failed country singer.”
My husband helped me with some villainous motivation, was kind enough to read the first chapters of this book when we were looking for a title, and always gets credit for keeping me alive while I fall into books and forget to take care of the house, him, our kids, or myself.
Finally, I am forever in debt to the fabulous team at Tule for going along with my kookie book-in-a-book idea as well as the rest of the series.
Blessed Winter: If you belong to my newsletter, you’ll have been given a link to download Cruel Summer. In that short story, there’s a brother-of-the-groom character named Brock. Readers have asked if I was going to write Brock’s story and guess what? Glory did! That’s Blessed Winter.