When I envisioned the Wishing Texas Series I saw the heroes, their friendship their goals, their dreams, and their fears. I knew I wanted to start with Ty’s story because his land provided the anchor for these four friends. Then I turned to my heroine, and went blank.
For me, heroines are always more difficult to create. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a tomboy. Then when I had children I had three boys. Being around that much testosterone, especially during their teen years, has to fundamentally change a woman’s thinking. Right?
Whatever the reason, all I knew was my heroine needed to be opposite personality wise from Ty. While he was organized and developed a plan, my heroine flew by the seat of her pants, and based her decisions on emotions. She was creative, while he was right brained, and she’d push his buttons. Big time.
Thankfully, as so often happens, inspiration struck out of nowhere. This time while visiting my BFF in Chicago. (Sometimes I think the Lord has guardian angels specifically assigned to panicked authors!) One afternoon Lori suggested we visit her friend Maureen Claffy’s art studio. She thought seeing Maureen’s studio and artwork might inspire me to create a heroine.
Boy did it. Without Maureen, Cassie Reynolds might never have come alive for me.
I’d met Maureen over the years Lori lived in Chicago, but we’d never had much chance to talk. Over the years Maureen’s life had taken twists and turns, and she’d recently returned to her art. My writing career fairly new, Maureen and I immediately bonded over the challenges of pursuing a life long dream at this point in our lives.
Surrounded by Maureen’s incredible artwork filled with color, strength and hope, I couldn’t help but be inspired. Maureen told me about the research she was doing for an angel series she had in mind, and her enthusiasm was contagious. Instantly I saw Cassie’s determination to keep her career going despite the upheaval in her life caused by her sister’s death. Cassie’s determination, strength, and passion for her art came straight from Maureen. She also helped me see the business side of the art. Consignment work, building a clientele, art shows, and countless other details. She provided a touch stone and resource where Cassie was concerned.
Check out more of Maureen’s fabulous art at www.maureenclaffy.com. Maybe her artwork will inspire you the way it did me. It definitely will make you think, smile, and warm your heart.
Thanks for joining us on the Tule Blog, Julie!
Start reading Julie’s To Love a Texas Cowboy!
An avid daydreamer, Julie Benson doesn’t remember a time when she wasn’t creating stories. After graduating from the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in Sociology, she worked as case manager for a social services agency before having her children. Three boys, and many years later, she started actively pursuing a writing career to challenge her mind and save her sanity. Now she writes full time in Dallas, where she lives with her husband, their three sons, two lovable black dogs, a mischievous brown one and a turtle. Julie says, while her house is never quiet or predictable, it is full of heroes.