A Guest Post by
Most of the time, I give my heroines a career I think would be fun. A florist, an apartment manager, advertising executive, a photographer, a horse-trainer if I wasn’t slightly afraid of horses, a publicist, a western clothing store owner, an interior decorator, a clothing designer, a veterinarian if I never had to put a pet to sleep.
Occasionally, my heroine ends up with a career that fits the story. A postmaster, a nurse. My latest heroine is a chef. But I hate cooking.
Landry’s best friend from college died several months ago and left her half of her grandparents’ dude ranch. The catch—her deceased friend’s brother owns the other half. And he’s pretty certain Landry is a scammer or gold-digger or both. I needed Landry to be an asset at the dude ranch, so I gave her the history of working there when she was in college and at a second dude ranch since then.
Sure she could clean rooms, book guests, and make beds. But she needed college level skills that would be useful at a dude ranch. So I came up with making her a chef. This way, she could be an asset in the ranch restaurant his parents’ own. But I kept her down to earth, not cordon bleu since it is a dude ranch and I’m not sure I could have pulled off a fancy meal preparation scene. The minor I gave Landry in marketing comes in handy when guests start canceling their reservations because a neighboring dude ranch cut their rates.
But that wasn’t enough to win over the cowboy. She needed to be completely unsqueamish and multi-talented in surprising ways. She likes to fish and since she’s a chef, she can clean her own catch. Since her grandparents own a ranch and thanks to her veterinarian cousin, she can help birth a farm animal. When Chase comes up short a lifeguard, he learns she’s certified. Every time Landry comes to his rescue, the chink in his armor grows bigger.
Landry is one of the most unlike-me heroines I’ve ever written. You couldn’t pay me enough to become a chef. The fanciest cooking I do is pan-seared talapia with stir fry vegetables. The only reason I cook is because I have a family and I get hungry, but I hate every minute of it. I’m afraid of fish hooks, worms are gross, and fish are slimy. So my talapia come from the frozen section in the grocery story. Even though I live in Arkansas, I try not to go anywhere near a farm animal, and when forced since my parents raise cattle, I never get on the same side of the fence with them.
The only characteristics Landry shares with me—I like to swim, I love bonfires, and I’m empathetic. Which made her a challenge, but it was also fun to create her many layers. And to watch Chase’s wall crumble a brick at a time as he developed a grudging respect for her.
What about you? What surprising talents do you have?
The Rancher Stakes His Claim
When she inherits half a dude ranch after losing her best friend, Landry Malone is determined to see Eden’s legacy flourish. That is if her friend’s broad-shouldered cowboy brother will give her the chance. Chase Donovan isn’t happy that his sister left their family business to an outsider—and he’s determined to test Landry’s mettle, hoping she’ll give up her claim. Soon Chase is impressed by Landry’s ability to rise to every challenge he puts in her way—and worried that his attraction to the perky spitfire seems to know no end. Finally working together to ensure the ranch’s future, will their business partnership be the foundation for something more?
Award winning, central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She once climbed a mountain wearing gold wedge-heeled sandals which became known as her hiking boots.
She has twelve published titles and is contracted for three more. Her books are available online. Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/ with weekly book giveaways.
Giveaway details: Comment to enter the drawing for a copy of Winning Over the Cowboy. Eleven copies will be split among names drawn during the blog tour from April 3 -20. One winner will receive a fishing themed memory board (pictured above) personally crafted by the author. This fabric is special because my son loves to fish as do the characters in the book. Great for displaying kids or grandkids or as a gift for the little fisherman in your life. Deadline April 27th. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on April 29th. Go to my website http://shannontaylorvannatter.com and sign up for my newsletter to enter more giveaways and get a free book download.