Sometimes writing a book takes an author by surprise. Take my upcoming book, Fire and Ice, the first book in my new Northwest Ice Christian hockey romance series. There I was, all happily writing about a female sports reporter and a gentlemanly rancher’s son who plays in the NHL, when suddenly research took me to a ranch just outside Calgary which has its own Western town and movie lot, where a bunch of Western-themed films and TV shows, including Lonesome Dove, Shanghai Noon, and even some episodes of When Calls The Heart have been filmed.
In Fire and Ice we get a glimpse of this Western town movie lot, which includes the ubiquitous white chapel, and a dirt ‘Main Street’ with a barber, telegraph office, etc. We also meet the three sisters I figure this series should be based on (who are the younger sisters of my hero, Franklin James, from Fire and Ice). But beyond knowing their names (Cassie, Jess and Poppy) and a tiny bit about their occupations (Cassie helps her dad run the ranch, Jess studies vet science, and Poppy used to help run a ballet studio) I’m a little stuck. I tend to write ‘by the seat of my pants’ and not plan a huge amount, and I’ve seen a bunch of stories come together pretty fast over the years. But I’ve brained pretty hard this year, and just come back from a trip to England, and while I have some vague story ideas, I’d love to know what you, the reader, really likes to read.
So reader help is needed!
* If you’re a fan of ranch stories (and I really hope you are, because Love Somebody Like You, my book in the Trinity Lakes series releases on June 20 and I hope you’ll check it out!), tell me why. What is it about this trope that fascinates you?
* If you’re not a fan of ranch books, why is that? I have to admit that as an Aussie I never really understood the appeal until more recently, when I could see how ranch stories tend to emphasise small towns and family, things I care about too.
* What kinds of tropes do you like / would you like to read about more? Friends to more? Forbidden love? Second chance romance? Fake relationship? Love triangle? Forced proximity?
* What kind of tropes are you over, or feel are cliched, or done to death? (ha – see what I did there?)
* What kinds of covers do you like to see? Photos of a ranch? Sunsets? A couple? A couple kissing? Hugging? Vivid colors or more muted tones?
* What kinds of titles do you like? Ones that hint at the plot? (Fire and Ice does this, with a strong, sassy female reporter and a cool-headed hockey player) Or do you prefer titles that tie a series together with a repeated word? (My Muskoka Romance series tries to blend both, with titles that link the series and hint at the subject matter: Muskoka Shores, Muskoka Christmas, Muskoka Hearts, Muskoka Spotlight, etc).
* What kinds of heroines do you like to see? Strong and sassy? Introverted? Somewhere in between?
* What makes an ideal hero for you? Does he have to be handsome? What other qualities do you like emphasised?
* And how far apart do you like to have three titles in the one series release? One month? Two? It doesn’t bother you?
I’d love to know what ingredients you think I should cook with to make some fun stories to include in the new Three Creek Ranch series.
Hannah Wade’s heart might’ve once been touched by a rancher’s son, but her real passion has always been sports. Years later, when her sports career is cut short by injury, she jumps at the chance to be one of Calgary’s first female sports reporters. Trouble is, some of the old dinosaurs she works with think she’s only there to look good, add ratings, and stir controversy among the fiercely loyal hockey fans. She longs to prove herself, so when an opportunity comes along to interview newly traded defenseman Franklin James, she meets him. Or, more accurately, re-meets him. With disastrous effect.
Growing up with three sisters means Franklin thought he knew something about women, but nothing had ever prepared him for the sparkling firecracker that is Hannah. And yet her vibrant personality holds a sweetness and soft side, something that draws his interest and protectiveness when an interview goes south. And there’s something about her that’s vaguely familiar…
Can these two overcome prejudice and find a way forward? And what has faith – or the lack of – got to do with anything?
Fire and Ice is a second-chance, forbidden romance and the first book in the new Northwest Ice hockey romance series, a sweet and swoony, slightly sporty, Christian contemporary romance series, perfect for fans of Becky Wade, Courtney Walsh, and Susan May Warren. Preorder your copy at Amazon, other retailers