Sometimes a hero comes along, sweeps you off your
feet, and changes your life. That happened to me. But instead of living the happily
ever after, I started writing about happily ever after.
One New Year’s Eve, I was
celebrating with friends at a cowboy dance bar in Orange County, California. As
the old year drew to a close, I started dancing with a handsome young cowboy—a
real one. (Those are hard to find in "the OC".)
We shared a midnight kiss. He
asked me out, and still reeling from that kiss, I agreed.
The two of us began to date.
We had nothing in common, but he was sexy and fun, and we had a good time.
After a few weeks, I started thinking: What if we met in the Old West? Who
would he be? How would I be different, and would we have worked? And so the
idea came to me for my first romance novel, Wild Montana
I physically modeled the
hero, Nick Sanders, after my cowboy, and I made the heroine, Elizabeth, a
little like me.
I started to write some of
the scenes that popped into my mind, beginning with the one where Nick and
Elizabeth ride their horses by a stream—a beautiful Montana setting. After
that, I had to figure out who these two characters were and what their story
After a few months, my cowboy
and I drifted apart. His work at the racetrack came to an end, and he moved
north. I never saw him again.
But Wild Montana
Sky is dedicated to him—to the
cowboy who came into my life and changed it, setting me on a new trajectory.
Because of him, I became a writer. The book he inspired won a Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart
award and later hit the USA Today Bestseller list. For that, I’m forever grateful to my young cowboy.