Today’s #TalkTuesday interview is also our #TeaserTuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, all of which feature A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas . A joint effort by Elise and I! Enjoy!
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A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas, the second book in the series, by Maisey Yates, is an emotional story that blends grief, hope, love, and wanting to belong. The hero and heroine connect through their feelings of losing a loved one.
McKenna Tate is homeless and decides to spend the night in an abandoned cabin on the
Dodge dude ranch. One of the owners, Grant, discovers her and realizes she is destitute. Bringing her to his brother Wyatt, who runs the ranch, and his sister-in-law, Lindy, they decide to offer her a job under the direct supervision of Grant. McKenna lost her family at a young age when her mother left her, and was sent to live in foster homes. Wandering from relationship to relationship, now at the age of twenty-six she finds her birth certificate that names her real father. Grant also has a sense of loss after his mother and wife succumb to a terminal illness. The hero and heroine find they are able to confide in each other and both long for a sense of belonging. They look to Wyatt and Lindy as role models and seek their advice.
Both Wyatt and Lindy were the main characters in the first book of the series, Good Time Cowboy. As the owner of a winery she makes a business dealing with the dude ranch owner to attract vacationers, even though she sees him as an arrogant womanizer. Yet, there is also a sexual tension that she cannot deny, which puts this story into the hot and sexy category.
But if readers overlook the intimate scenes they will also see a story of two people struggling to make a life for themselves. Lindy is recovering from being divorced after ten years of marriage, and Wyatt is struggling to overcome family problems. Lindy prefers order and structure, creating a persona of being cool, sophisticated, well-dressed, and in-control. She realizes that there is an attraction to Wyatt, an easy-going, sexy, charming, and a commitment-free cowboy. The intimacy starts out as casual, but eventually they fall head over heels in love.
Both of these novels will grab readers and will not let up until the final page. Yates’ plots delve into the character’s personality and how they compare/contrast with each other. Through the hero and heroine’s eyes people find a heart-wrenching story.
Elise Cooper: The Grant and McKenna story is emotional?
Maisey Yates: This story was years in the making. I gather a lot of ideas from the headlines that get under my skin. I live in Oregon and read three years ago about a woman who had terminal cancer. They moved here because this state has doctor assisted suicide laws, and she wanted to end her life on her terms. I also remembered the stories where high school students marry before one of them dies. Grant’s backstory came out of my thoughts of what happens to the guy after the dust settles.
EC: What about the heroine, McKenna?
MY: I had a whole protagonist planned, but just before I began to write the story, I trashed her because I thought her backstory was boring. She was well adjusted and owned an inn. I completely re-casted her since I could not get my head into her life.
EC: What do you think is the theme?
MY: Hope. We can all empathize with the core feelings of grief and loss. But those who get deep into their emotions can go through a process of healing. Many of my stories, including this one, have the characters search for belonging and to be loved for who they are. I guess I am a frustrated control freak that wants to fix the world, so I fix it in my fictional world instead.
EC: Did you know anyone based on Grant’s situation?
MY: He married his wife knowing she was dying and stayed with her. Then everyone in the town remembered him as a man to be pitied and that is his claim to fame. I based it on someone who lived here and told me her husband died of cancer. She could not walk through a store without someone asking her about widowhood. She thought how people are fascinated with grief. I wrote the Grant quote in the book, “But they also love a tragedy that isn’t theirs. Because they’re not the ones that watched someone they loved suffer and struggle for years.” My friend said she thought people really do not have the time to listen. They express compassion, but just wanted her to say fine so they could move on. I reflected, when we ask how people are, do we mean it and care? I thought, how do I treat people when they are having emotional pain or is it shallow pity? Do I actually act with compassion and actually listen to people when they talk? Writing stories like this is how I work things out.
EC: Did you personally experience grief?
MY: My mom had cancer and thankfully she has been in remission for five years. Everybody in our small town knew. It was a double edge sword. You want people to ask, but there are times you do not. I think this story involves the can’t win of situations.
EC: Gold Valley plays such an important role. Is it a real place?
MY: It is based on Jacksonville Oregon, a town with a gold rush feel. But overall it is made up so I can add my own dynamics. I guess you can say it is heavily borrowed from reality. Including when I saw a young girl sleeping under a tarp just before I started writing this story. I started to think what was the series of events that led her to this situation.
EC: Why Anne of Green Gables?
MY: It was a favorite of mine. I identified with Anne as a misfit who talked a lot and had a huge imagination. I enjoyed books with tough, resilient heroines. I relished being the heroine of my own story. I made sure McKenna thought that books are a window into another world and was a huge source of hope for her when things were really tough.
EC: Rodeos play an important role as do horses?
MY: I am a dog person. The horse stuff makes it into my books because my best friend is a horse person. It is all what she experienced. But I did grow up going to rodeos and still try to go every year. I know a couple of rodeo cowboys. All my inspiration came from watching and listening. What motivates me is how they see the world. They are brash young guys like Lindy’s brother Dane who think they are bulletproof and untouchable with an innate cockiness.
EC: How would you describe Grant?
MY: A good guy who has set himself in a tough position. He is faithful and a stayer. A knight in shining armor who is old-fashioned, serious, and honorable.
EC: How would you describe McKenna?
MY: Spiky, sarcastic, independent, and tough. Adaptable because she has had a lifetime of people letting her down.
EC: How would you describe Wyatt?
MY: Someone once said no two siblings have the same two parents because there is always a really different interaction. He is really different from Grant. I call him my man-whore who is a bit shameless. He thinks he is better than anyone, but is very protective toward women.
EC: How would you describe Lindy?
MY: She has a similar background to McKenna, but how she chose to escape is different. She has a support system of family and friends, a home, and her winery business. They both had a hard background and did what was needed to do to survive and make a better life for themselves. I would say she is strong, organized, determined, and an opportunist in a good way. McKenna and her are survivors.
EC: The first novel in this series is very hot and sexy with Wyatt a womanizer?
MY: As a reader myself, I find that we should not be responsible for men’s behavior and should be allowed to fantasize. I am a little upset that romance writers have to answer for putting in certain sexual scenes. When “Game of Thrones” had an actual rape depicted on the screen very few people asked the male writers how they dealt with the MeToo Movement. In a romance novel, writers are in the heroines’ head and I think it is fair to say that Lindy never feels victimized and enjoys the relationship with Wyatt. She is smart and knows her comfort level. Lindy likes the sexual place she is in with Wyatt. Also, people should realize this is fictional.
EC: Can you give a shout out about your next book?
MY: The hero is Dane, Lindy’s brother and the heroine is Beatrix, a good friend. They will have a slow burn romance. She has been in love with Dane for years but he was not attracted to her in that way. Because she is a vet tech and used to taking care of wounded animals she stays by him as he heals from his rodeo injuries, even if he is grumpy.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas
Grant Dodge didn’t expect to find a woman sleeping in an abandoned cabin on his family ranch. Or to find her so intriguing. Unlike every other woman in town, McKenna Tate doesn’t know Grant’s a widower. There’s no pity in the looks she gives him. McKenna wants him, and Grant has forgotten what it’s like to feel like a man. A no-strings fling for Christmas might be the kind of holiday cheer Grant needs…
With only a suitcase to her name, McKenna came to Gold Valley to confront her birth father. She didn’t plan to work at the Dodge ranch or fall for the gorgeous cowboy who keeps his heart roped off. But there’s no denying the way their broken pieces fit together. Hope brought her to Gold Valley—but will it be the gift that could finally heal Grant, and McKenna’s own wounded heart?
Also includes a bonus Gold Valley novella, Snowed in with the Cowboy!
Teaser Tuesday /
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
I’m also taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
Every Tuesday Vicki @ I’d Rather Be at the Beach now hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon.
A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas
Looking forward to visiting your blogs and seeing what your Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, are this week!
Luv Sassy x