Tell us your inspiration for Love, Montana?
I have to admit I was truly inspired by the fact that there weren’t enough strong, intelligent women portrayed in romance novels. Every day, there’s an abundance of romance novels flooding the fiction/romance market where the heroine falls instantly in love with her handsome suitor. As a mature female writer, I want my readers to know that epic romances do exist no matter how young or how old they are. That doesn’t mean every romance will be epic, but every romance has the possibility of becoming epic. In the case of the character Montana Joe, his pursuit of Rose started off rocky, but perseverance prevailed.
The western culture is a different way of life than most of us know. How did you get that across in your book?
I had an opportunity to work on a vacation cattle ranch. The idea of me herding cattle seemed as crazy as me wearing heels in a 25K marathon. The ranchers helped me to understand the rich cowboy culture that aided me in writing the book. Their colloquial expressions quickly captured my attention. I learned that “droppin’ my G’s” was a must if I wanted to write western-based novels. I’m just happy they didn’t insist I learn how to chew tobacco.
You relied a great deal on dialogue and unconventional punctuation to make these characters come to life. Were you worried about the risks of straying from traditional writing?
I tried to use conventional punctuation and grammar – it didn’t work. The charm and persona of Montana Joe was lost. Joe is completely oblivious to the conventional writing style. That is why his fans love him. He writes as he speaks. In the book Joe says, “Western writers lose all sense of time and frequently forget the basic rules of grammar.”
Can you share with us some of your experiences that went into this book?
Love, Montana is based on personal relationships and romances I’ve had throughout my adult life. The love of your life may be the person who (at first meeting) annoys you. Or perhaps it’s the person who makes it a point to smile at you while you’re buying morning coffee or they may be the good friend you seek out when your boyfriend/girlfriend is acting like an asshole. In some cases, it may be love at first sight. Epic romances DO exist and should be treasured. A reader commented, “The romance between Rose and Joe was improbable and fantasy-driven.” Perhaps they’re right or perhaps they’ve never experienced an epic romance. Be that as it may, that’s exactly what an epic romance is; a whirlwind of unbelievable emotions brought about by the wink of an eye, the touch of a hand or a shit-eating-grin.
Do you think a love story set in the west can find a home with city people who live in the east or with those who never encountered a western romance before?
Absolutely! People often fantasize about being romanced by pirates, princesses, princes, executives, vampires, werewolves, etc. For me, it’s not about the romantic setting, it’ about the person. Romance is romance. As a kid living in Philadelphia, I’d dream of riding the trails with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans; therefore, traveling to Montana or Wyoming or anyplace else in the pursuit of romance is completely plausible. It’s the prerogative of the fiction writer to make what may be seen as implausible believable. And to be completely honest, I believe everything is plausible if you truly want it.
What do you want readers to take from this book?
What I’d like the readers to take with them while reading the book and afterward is to believe no matter where you live or what you do for a living – love is love. It’s important not to pigeonhole your feelings or aspirations. Don’t let others tell you how to love. Have the courage to explore the different avenues of life then find out what and who makes you happy. What they are shouldn’t matter. It’s who they are that counts.
Without giving away the ending, do you think there is a chance your heroine might find herself in new adventures?
Amelia aka Rose is an educated, loving and strong-minded character. With the help and support of her friends and family, I can honestly say that we haven’t seen the last of her.