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Welcome to our SPECIAL Author Spotlight, here on Alternative-Read.com – Today we are really pleased to welcome back bestselling author, Maisey Yates with her latest GOLD VALLEY Novel!
Cowboy Christmas Redemption by Maisey Yates is written in the same spirit as the old Jimmy Stewart movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life.” There are pieces of both that are not blushingly happy and celebratory. Yet, in the end there is a happy ending.
Caleb Dalton has loved Ellie Bell from the first minute he saw her but because she was going to be married to his best friend, Clint, he repressed his feelings as much as he possibly could. Four plus years ago, Clint died in a helicopter accident while fighting a fire. Knowing his friend would want him to step in, Caleb held Ellie when she was sad. While she grieved, he was there for the birth of her child Amelia, and has been a surrogate father for Amelia ever since. To Ellie, he is her best friend, her rock, and her salvation.
As the holidays approach, Ellie once again is dreading it as she has every year since her husband died. But for the sake of her daughter, she enlists the help of Caleb and his family who treats her like one of their own. But this year, something is different for Ellie, and she makes a decision to no longer want to be a widow. She makes a list of all the things she wants to do. She wants to dance and be kissed by someone who wants her, something fun and uncomplicated. Caleb isn’t having any of that, after she shows the list to him. If anyone is going to be kissing Ellie and sharing in her fun it is going to be him. After they decide to pursue the intimacy between them it becomes off the charts. Caleb and Ellie had amazing chemistry; yet, they also had to go through an emotional roller coaster ride. They must get beyond the festivities and traditions of the holiday season, realizing their relationship is going from friend to lover.
This is a heart-warming story of moving forward and taking chances. It is a tale filled with twists and turns that will drain readers emotions and will grip their heart.
Elise Cooper: First responders get a shout out in this novel?
Maisey Yates: Firefighters are so important, especially to those who live in woodsy areas. Where I live we are surrounded by trees and mountains and get a lot of wild fires. I knew someone in high school who became a fire fighter. In my twenties, I read how he died in a helicopter crash fighting a fire and was newly married. I thought a lot about his wife even though I did not know her. How do people come back from that?
EC: Did you ever know someone who lost a loved one when they were young?
MY: My grandma lost her first husband on D-day and became widowed at seventeen. He never met their son. She re-married. I wondered how do people fall in love again and thought how brave they must be?
EC: The theme is grief and guilt?
MY: It is the essence of the story. Anytime someone is left behind there is the struggle with guilt. People try to make sense of something and look for something concrete to attach a tragedy to make sense of it.
EC: Caleb, the hero, and Ellie, the heroine, also had guilt?
MY: He was in love with Ellie even before she lost her husband, Clint. Clint was also Caleb’s best friend. Because Caleb was in love with Ellie the first time he saw her he had guilt over those feelings even though he never acted on them. But he also had grief for losing his best friend. Ellie had guilt over realizing she loved Caleb in a different way than she loved Clint, that it was more intense with Caleb. She also for many years would not let go of her emotional grief she had over losing Clint.
EC: How would you describe Caleb?
MY: Complicated, serious, loyal, and intense. He sometimes filters his deep emotions by being angry with himself. He is a good guy who is always there for Ellie and her daughter. I also think he is part martyr.
EC: How would you describe Ellie?
MY: I wanted to make her functional with her grief because of her four-year-old daughter. She lost her sense of self and decided to be strong for her daughter. She lived her life as a wife and widow.
EC: It is a friend to lover’s story?
MY: My husband and I were friends. I enjoyed writing the scene where the hero and heroine realize something changed from friendship to lover. This is what happened to me. I knew my husband when I was a teenager and he was in his twenties. We were just friends then. But something happened as we both grew older.
With my characters, the friend relationship was really strong. Losing someone close to them became a fertile ground for guilt and grief. What neither realized was that Caleb was filling the husband role and was a supportive partner. Caleb realized the intensity between them and once Ellie realized it she became scared as they shifted from friendship to romance.
EC: How would you describe the relationship?
MY: Caleb was a safe space for Ellie. I flipped the romance on its head by having her running away. She is scared of being so much in love and then losing it again. I think Caleb and Ellie has a soul mate aspect. They have shared secrets, which contributes to the passion between them.
EC: How did the ghost of Clint play into the story?
MY: I wrote this book quote, “Don’t deny yourself happiness because you think you owe him some kind of emotional sadness. Some kind of eternal statue to his memory.” I wanted to explore through Ellie how she was afraid that letting go of her guilt and grief meant letting go of Clint. If she was not sad, did it mean Ellie was forgetting him? This is the journey she had to take. Clint had changed both Caleb and Ellie in really good ways, but there is no need to hold on to the sadness to remember him. Ellie realized that if she is not crying over Clint every day he will still be a part of her life. She recognized she is obviously no longer his wife and now wanted more than to be just his widow. It is a journey of putting grief, guilt, and loss in its proper perspective.
EC: The role of Christmas?
MY: I get a lot of flak, because my Christmas books have some sadness even though there is a happy ending. Ellie must continue doing Christmas and is forced to celebrate even when she does not want to because of her daughter, Amelia. I think this is the perfect backdrop for emotional and bittersweet romances. It is not a light book, but has the ultimate triumph of choosing to love and move forward.
EC: You referenced a lot of country music singers so who is your favorite?
MY: I am a huge Dierks Bentley fan and have seen him in concert a few times. He is my artist of the decade. I became a country music fan because my grandma was a huge one who always listened to that music. But when I became a teenager I did not think it cool to like country music so I did not listen to it. While writing a romance book, I heard a Tim McGraw song and realized how I loved that song. He brought me back to country music and I am now headlong into it.
EC: There is a particular dog in the book I never heard of?
MY: You are referring to the Bernedoodles. There is a funny story behind this. I told my publisher I do not want animals on my book covers, but they were insistent they wanted a puppy on this cover. I went to a meeting at their Toronto office and met the head of marketing who showed a picture of her new puppy. This Bernedoodle, Finnegan, was the cutest puppy I had ever seen. I agreed to a puppy on my cover as long as it was Finnegan because it felt personal and fun. I personally have a Labradoodle. A word of warning to my readers, these dogs are high maintenance and must be groomed all the time because their hair clumps.
EC: Your next book(s)?
MY: Out in February is an anthology with bestselling authors Caitlin Crews, Nicole Helm and Jackie Ashenden. The plot has June Gable leaving each of her four granddaughters a handwritten bequest, to spend a season at her beloved farmhouse in Jasper Creek, Oregon, before they sell it. These cousins were once as close as sisters, but now they must deal with betrayals. I write about the fall season. This project was a lot of fun because I was able to write with my three good friends. Then in May my first women’s fiction comes out and then after that will be another Gold Valley novel.
As snowflakes fall in Gold Valley, Oregon, will this rugged cowboy finally win the woman of his dreams?
Cowboy Caleb Dalton has loved single mom Ellie Bell, and her little daughter, Amelia, for years. But since Ellie is his best friend’s widow, Caleb’s head knows Ellie will always be strictly off-limits. If only his heart got the memo. So when Caleb discovers that Ellie has a Christmas wish list—and hopes for a kiss under the mistletoe—he’s throwing his cowboy hat into the ring. If anyone’s going to be kissing Ellie and sharing this magical time with her and her daughter, it’s him.
Ellie has dreaded the holidays since losing her husband. But this year, she’s finally ready to make some changes. She never expects the biggest change to be the heart-stopping kiss she shares with Caleb. For almost five years, Caleb has been her best friend, her rock, her salvation. This Christmas, can Caleb prove he’s also the missing puzzle piece of Ellie’s and Amelia’s hearts?
Cowboy Christmas Redemption (A Gold Valley Novel) by Maisey Yates
Book Beginnings / First Chapter First Paragraph / Tuesday Teaser!
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