Do you have any favorite holiday traditions?
Yes. My extended family decided that instead of getting one another more stuff, that we would give in other ways. My mom and I pick envelopes from the community giving tree, in which a kid from a financially challenged family lists items they’d like to receive for Christmas. My mom likes to choose little kids, but I like high school kids. I pick a boy and a girl, then I shop for the girl and my husband shops for the boy, spending the money we would have spent on family gifts. We tend to go just a little overboard, but it’s so much fun to give these kids what they want and need. We still exchange gifts with our children, however, and that always feels special.
Did you have a certain celebrity in mind when you were writing Cody?
Let’s just say he looks a whole lot like Zac Efron.
Cody offers Murphy some refuge at Marvell Ranch — what do you think some unspoken rules of hospitality are in this situation?
Rule one – don’t do anything to make a guest feel uncomfortable. That means that even though Cody is attracted to Murphy, he can’t act on it unless he’s absolutely certain that the feeling is mutual and that he is not taking advantage.
Do you think Murphy was always in-tune with her mutual attraction to Cody or too young to be self-aware?
Murphy’s first crush on Cody was just that—a crush. Due to her age and immaturity, she saw him as the perfect guy and loaded him up with a lot of perfect-guy attributes. She eventually realized that the Cody in her head wasn’t the same as the flesh and blood man, so when they get together for Christmas, she is getting to know him for the first time.
Lastly, what are you reading or what do you have on your reading list coming up?
Right now I’m reading Montana history books. I live in an amazing area. Lewis and Clark came through here—I can see the rock that Sacajawea recognized and thus realized she was in her home territory, from my kitchen window—and the Montana gold rush which resulted in Montana becoming a state started in this area. It’s so cool to read about the past that went on in one’s backyard so to speak. That said, in my TBR pile are all the Tule Christmas books. My daughter is getting married later this month, and I plan to read them while traveling to and from California. Nothing like romance and Christmas!
A Marvell Country Christmas is out now!
Jeannie Watt is the author of over 20 contemporary romances and the recipient of the Holt Medallion Award of Merit. She lives in a small ranching community—a place where kids really do grow up to be cowboys—with her husband, dog, cat, horses and ponies. When she’s not writing, Jeannie enjoys sewing retro fashions, running, and buying lots and lots of hay.