His first taste of freedom was only the beginning...
Arch Hoffman has paid for his crimes. All he wants is to come home to rural California and start over. He's not looking to be a hero when he rescues a wedding cake from hitting the dirt at the ranch next door. But culinary artist Mandy Allen's irresistible smile makes him glad to save the day--and thankful that they're neighbors.
Mandy's just the distraction Arch needs. Her sweet voice quiets the memories that threaten his chance to be a better man, and he's determined to help her confront her fears. But the past is its own prison, and even love might not be enough to set them free.
Thank you so much for inviting me to visit today!
1.When did you decide that writing was your passion?
Iâd always enjoyed journaling, and writing some poetry, but I fell in love with writing the first time I attempted to write fiction. I had an image in my head, of a woman working hard in her office, and looking up when a man walked in. And I knew that he was her boyfriend and her co-worker, and that he was going to lie to her about something. Well, about one paragraph in, I realized that I loved writing it! I could see the characters, I could hear their voices, I could feel their feelings, and I was completely hooked on writing from then on!
2. Who is your favorite character overall that you've written?
That is a tough question! Like trying to choose between family members! But if I had to choose one, it might be Arch Hoffman, the hero of my new release, Home Free. It was such a challenge to write him, because he was sort of a villain in the first two books in the series. So I had to figure out how I was going to take this man whoâd done terrible things, and reform him and make him lovable. I was surprised by the journey we went on together, and how much I liked him by the end of the book!
3. What or who inspired your current book?
Well, it all started with an image. I had this picture, in my mind, of a couple standing in the woods in the snow, arguing over cattle!
I started thinking more about these characters. And I had an idea that the man was from a very troubled family. That he carried this extra burden of having been raised by a cruel, criminal father. I decided that this hero was named Wade Hoffman, that he had two brothers and one sister, and that his older brothers were criminals, just like his father.
That was the start of the Sierra Legacy series. Each book was developed as another piece of the legacy left by the familyâs criminal past. I know that sounds depressing, but itâs actually a very hopeful series! I loved telling Wade Hoffmanâs story in my recent book, Return to Marker Ranch.
My new book, Home Free, is the third book in the series. Itâs about one of the older brothers, Arch Hoffman, who actually followed in his fatherâs criminal footsteps for the first part of his life. In Home Free, Arch has changed his ways, paid his dues, and is trying to start his life again as a much different, and better, person. It was such a wonderful book to write because Arch has to go on this enormous journey of self-discovery.
4. What does your research process look like?
One especially fun part of researching this book was spending time on Pinterest. I looked up gorgeous barn weddings, and unusual, western-themed wedding cakes. And I pinned lots of photos of miniature donkeys! And since Iâm learning to snowboard with my son, I got to use my own experiences falling down the bunny slope in Mandy and Archâs snowboarding scene.
But I also did a lot of reading for this book. I read articles on what happens to people when they get out of prison. I read about why some people end up back in prison and some people manage to turn their lives around. I also read about anxiety and past trauma, because my heroine is struggling with both. And I read an entire book about raising cattle!
5. If you could have a happily ever after with one of your hero's which one would it be?
I think Iâd have to choose Jack Baron, from my very first book, A Ranch to Keep. Though that feels a bit strange to say, because in my mind, Jack is happily married to Samantha and they have a family now. But if I had to choose, Iâd pick him because heâs very kind and handsome, has a ranch full of horses, a beautiful home in the mountains, and uses his vast wealth to protect the environment. I guess I must have a bit of a crush on him, because heâs had cameo appearances in many of my other Eastern Sierra books!
6. What advice do you give aspiring authors?
My advice is to get involved in your local Romance Writers of America chapter, or if you arenât near one, an online chapter. And then attend as many classes and workshops as you can. There are wonderful on-line classes available as well. I take writing workshops any chance I get, because I know I can always improve, and I want to be a better writer. Plus, I find joy in learning more about writing. I stay inspired that way and I think it keeps my writing fresh.
7. When you write do you have special music that plays depending upon the scene and do you picture a certain actor/actress in your mind for your main characters?
I imagine what my characters look like, and write their descriptions down, and thatâs who I see when I write. I do eventually go on Pinterest and try to find photos of real people who look similar to them, because it helps my publisher when they are making the cover. And I hope readers enjoy seeing the photos.
I make a playlist for each of my books, and I often listen to it either when Iâm writing, or before I write. I love my playlists because they transport me to the setting and mood of my story. When Iâm sleepy, it does help to put music on while writing, but other times I find the music too distracting. I usually post the playlist on my blog and on the bookâs Pinterest board, if youâre interested!
8, What can we expect to see from you in the coming year?
I have a free online read for Harlequin coming out at the end of December. Itâs a short story called Refuge in the Sierras, about two of the secondary characters in the Sierra Legacy series. I had so much fun writing it and Iâm very excited to share it with everyone. And did I mention that it will be free?
Then, in May 2017, His Last Rodeo, the fourth and final book in the Sierra Legacy series, will come out. Itâs a fun story, a little different than the rest of the series, and it ties up some loose ends of the legacy that I really wanted to tie!
And after that? Well, Iâll be proposing a new series to my editor in the next few months, as well as working on a contemporary western self-published series, so I hope to have lots of books coming out in the next couple of years.
Thank you so much for inviting me to Evermore Books!