Today we are really pleased to welcome not one, but FOUR talented authors to Alternative-Read!
‘The Official Book Reviews and Tour Blog’ for WritingWarriorsUnited.com
A Cowboy For All Seasons written by the cowgirl quartet, Maisey Yates, Caitlin Crews, Nicole Helm, and Jackie Ashenden is billed as an anthology, but is actually a compilation since the four stories flow into one riveting plot. It will remind readers of the Dixie Chick song “Cowboy Take Me Away,” as they are swept up by the characters and plotline. The four heroines tangle with their hardheaded cowboys as they find love, healing, and the true meaning of family.
After her passing, June Gable sent to all four of her grandchildren 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 time and family betrayals have pushed them apart. Grandma June knew her grandchildren had eyes for only one man, so she orchestrated matchmaking scenarios to bring the couples together.
Spring has Keira Long returning to her small hometown after successfully making it in the big city of Seattle. Grandma June has asked her to work alongside Remy West to tend to the land and cattle. But in doing so she must come to grips with her first true love, a relationship she broke up to find her independent way. This is a story of second chances at romance with her true love. Coming in the way is the family parental issues that both must come to grips with and overcome.
Summer has childhood friends, JJ Frost and Cade Matthewson, coming together to help his two daughters, Lora and Ellie, have a fun summer vacation. Having experienced something similar to what the girls are going through JJ understands the feeling of abandonment by a mother. Both Cade and JJ must allow each other to share their feelings as they open up their hearts.
Fall has Lila Frost optimistically returning to plan the Red Star Holiday Bizarre. Grandma June asked her to take it over and to work with Everett McCall whose ranch is where it will be held. Lila had a crush on Everett as a child and wonders if he sees her as a woman. Will both be able to overlook their ten-year gap in age? Lila must help him take down the wall he has built to protect himself from being hurt by others. Besides trying to repair the relationship with Everett she also is trying to figure out how to reconnect with her sister JJ.
Winter has Bella Jackson returning. She is probably the most broken of all the cousins. Isolated by her mother from the rest of the family including Grandma June she has to learn how to ask for help. Willing to ignore her requests to do everything on her own, Noah Faraday steps in to repair the farmhouse and both his and her emotions.
The thread that ties all these stories together is reconnecting. Each of the heroines needs to reunite with one another and to forge a relationship with their lost loves. These stories blended together as one even though there were four different authors, allowing readers to take a journey with the characters as they try to reunite with each other.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea?
Maisey Yates: I was talking to Nicole and joked about book pitches. I was totally kidding, but the next day I started thinking about the possibility of writing a story centered around four people staying at a farmhouse. I texted the other authors, and got them on board. We actually had an auction to see which publishing house would get the story.
Maisey, Nicole, Caitlin, Jackie: It came out of the fact we were all friends. We shared everything we wrote. It just seemed to flow together and felt very organic.
Caitlin Crews: Nicole wrote those wonderful grandmother letters that started off each story. Jackie wrote the first story so we knew where we were all going.
EC: Since there was a crossover of characters how did that work?
Jackie Ashenden: Since they were all in my story, I wrote the other heroines and asked each author if what I wrote was out of character, but no one rewrote the lines. We all knew each other’s character very well.
EC: How about the seasons, how did that come about?
Caitlin: Maisey came up with the year of the cowboy. I thought since it is a year let’s break it into seasons. The original title was The Year of the Cowboy.
Nicole Helm: I chose summer because my hero has two children. I wanted them to be a large part of the story and did not want them to be in school.
Maisey: I love the season of fall. It was October when we pitched it and as I was driving by my daughter’s school, I saw the sign, “Red Star Holiday Bizarre.” I ripped off the name and used it in the book.
Jackie: They thought to give me winter because it was freezing and sad. I had never written about snow or Christmas so I found it challenging. Thankfully, everything magically fell into place.
EC: How did the farmhouse come about?
Maisey: Some of us were staying at a farmhouse in Illinois. It was very similar to the one Caitlin’s husband drew for us. In this book, with the farmhouse, it felt a bit mystical. It was funny, how we all had the same farmhouse in our heads.
EC: How would you describe Grandma June?
Nicole: Even though she was a great grandmother, her daughters were not great mothers. I knew people who were not great parents, but learned from their past mistakes. I also think that sometimes we cannot control how people turn out. I think June was outspoken, accessible, salty, and brave. She could not go back in time but did try to make changes for the future. Like the four cousins, I miss my grandparents so much. What a great thing it would be to have a magic farmhouse. My grandmother had a paperweight that I used in the story. I put in tidbits that reminded me of my grandma.
Caitlin: Both my grandparents have passed. I dedicated this story to them. I would love to be able to communicate with them.
EC: How would you describe the parents?
Caitlin: Most of the parents were selfish and self-centered. They cared more about themselves than their children.
EC: How would you describe Bella, Noah, and their relationship?
Jackie: BELLA is stubborn, determined, vulnerable, kind, and guarded. She is like most of my heroes.
NOAH is grumpy, a man of few words, a loner, and protective.
THEIR RELATIONSHIP is based on a connection both tried to deny. Bella doesn’t want Noah around because she is ashamed of the terrible crush she has on him.
EC: How would you describe Keira, Remy, and their relationship?
Caitlin: KEIRA is elegant. She is a lost-soul and fragile but would argue with that description. Because she is the first one to live in the farmhouse she is grieving a bit more than the others who had more time to process. Being the oldest she tended to have a slightly different relationship with her grandmother. Some grandmothers favor the oldest.
REMY is angry, heart-broken, hard-headed, and basically a cowboy.
THEIR RELATIONSHIP has two different parts, one they had and one they will have. The previous one was destined to fall apart because they could not communicate, had secrets, and they were so young. The one today looks back at the failures of the first time, which enabled them to build a stronger structure going forward. They became friends before lovers.
EC: How would you describe JJ, Cade, his daughters, and their relationship?
Nicole: JJ is serious, practical, and sometimes tries to hide her emotional hurt. She is compulsive and not a dreamer, with a focus on being helpful.
CADE’s main focus is to be a good dad. He is responsible.
LORA and ELLIE are aware that their mom left them. The older one is snarkier and grumpier. The younger one is a dreamer.
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE GIRLS was based on my family. JJ first thought of herself as just a baby-sitter. But she became emotionally involved because what the girls went through was similar to her own backstory. She is reliving her past through them because she lost her relationship with her sister.
CADE and JJ’s RELATIONSHIP was really good for each other. At first, JJ and Cade were very guarded because they were hurt in the past. They rely on each other and then let the attraction take over. They developed a friendship first.
EC: How would you describe Lila, Everett, and their relationship?
Maisey: LILA feels she has boundless options and can always make things turn out OK. She wanted to be an optimist instead of being like her mother who was sad and bitter. Everett was the first time that did not happen. She is determined, cheerful, optimistic, creative, and impetus.
EVERETT has the need to think that controlling the outcome will make things turn out all right. He is responsible, practical, and a realist.
THEIR RELATIONSHIP had them both butting heads since they are control freaks. They have a ten-year gap in their age difference. Lila saw him as a fantasy at first, but then realizes he has his own issues. Both had to overcome barriers. Everett tried to protect himself from the bad things but also the good things. They realized that if there was to be a long-term commitment there will be ups/downs and give and take. I wrote this book quote, “Love wasn’t just rainbows, and fairy-tale endings. Love was acceptance. Love was patient. Love was fifty-fifty. Love bore burdens. Love hoped. Love believed.”
EC: Do you have Christmas decorations like you wrote about?
Jackie: When I was writing that scene, I thought about the Christmas decorations I have.
EC: There is a quote about cities. Are you a country girl or a city gal?
Caitlin: You are referring to the book quote, “Country roads, sooner or later they get you where you need to go.” I have lived in cities all my life until about four years ago. We moved to rural Oregon. I am aware of the difference in lifestyles and like to write characters that represent small towns.
EC: Do you garden?
Nicole: I do not. My grandmother and my mom were big gardeners. By putting those scenes in the book, I was paying homage to them.
EC: Iris Cob Horses?
Maisey: I was flying to Atlanta in October and next to me was a cowboy. He was telling me how profitable these horses are and showed me pictures. I told him I was totally going to steal the idea and I did. Unfortunately, I know nothing about horses.
EC: Can you give a shout out about your next books?
Maisey: There is a strong possibility there will be a sequel to this book with new characters, but we hope to bring in these characters as well. Out in May will be Secrets From A Happy Marriage. It is my first women’s fiction book that focuses on family relationships with some romance. It is about women who have a Lighthouse Inn B & B.
Nicole: I have a new book series that started last week, called South Dakota Showdown. It has six brothers who are police officers who are trying to bring down their father, the head of a motorcycle gang. It is romantic suspense.
Jackie: Sexy Beast is the next book in the billionaire series. It has a billionaire and his neighbor, a best friend, who become involved.
Caitlin: In the summer will be book 4 in the “Alaska Force series.” It is written under the name Megan Crane and is titled Delta Force and has the heroine escaping her criminal family by changing her identity. She meets the leader of the Alaska Force that helps her survive her demons.
If you liked this interview
Discover the power of family in this uplifting quartet by New York Times bestselling author Maisey Yates, USA TODAY bestselling author Caitlin Crews, Nicole Helm and Jackie Ashenden.
June Gable left 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 time and family betrayals have pushed them apart.
In spring, polished city girl Keira must find her country roots—and reconnect with an old flame. In the summer, tough tomboy JJ needs to tap into her softer side while helping a single dad and his daughters. Cheerful dreamer Lila has to help coordinate the town craft fair in autumn, under the stern eye of the handsome cowboy she loved as a girl. And as winter falls, headstrong, independent Bella must learn to ask for help from the one man she believes she can never have.
The four cousins will have to confront secrets from the past, deal with old wounds they’d rather hide, and tangle with their hardheaded cowboys before they can find love, healing and the true meaning of family…
Book Beginnings / First Chapter First Paragraph / Tuesday Teaser!