Tule author Megan Ryder sat down to discuss her second book in the Redemption Ranch series, Coming Home to the Cowboy.
Chase seems to have developed a defense mechanism with his personality. When did he start to hide behind humor?
Chase learned very young that humor made people like him more and hide his pain. He learned this as a very young child, particularly in school when the other kids liked him and making jokes allowed him to pretend that he didn’t care that he didn’t have what other kids had – birthday parties, people who cared, a family. Also, making jokes and being funny allowed him to build quick connections for a kid who changed schools often and had to go one of two ways – be strong and dominant or be funny and liked. Despite the humor making him likeable, he didn’t have a lot of close friends. He kept to himself, preferring not to create bonds knowing that he would probably be moving on soon and didn’t want to lose those friends. So he became an island until he came to Redemption Ranch and Douglas told him no matter what, he was there to stay. Adam was an easy-going guy and persistent, keeping at Chase until he let him in. They remained friends until Adam’s death, which put Hailey permanently out of reach for Chase, until she came back.
How does Hailey like to unwind?
Like many single mothers with young, active sons, it’s hard to find time to herself. But Hailey likes to read and do any activity that she can in quick, little bursts. As she settles in at Redemption Ranch and has more time, she’ll take up more hobbies and crafts to fill the creative well inside her, including quilting and knitting with Tara. But prior to coming home, she mainly read.
How does Chase initially interact with Hailey’s son?
Chase wasn’t quite sure how to interact with AJ, Hailey’s son. He had never saw himself as a father or a father-figure. He always thought there was something wrong with him, since no one ever adopted him or kept him around for long after he was abandoned. Now, there is this little, inquisitive six-year-old asking a lot of questions (as only little boys can do) and following him around, and he has no idea how to handle it. He makes mistakes, as everyone does, and Hailey is a bit overprotective, which is also natural, and he retreats. But then he finds parenting books and early-readers books for AJ at the local bookstore to help him connect with AJ, and AJ’s father’s old pony to help them bond and the connection is complete. Building that relationship between the two characters – a boy who never knew his father and was desperate for a father-figure, and a man who never expected to have children and had no clue how to handle him – was one of the hardest and best parts of this book for me.
What first drew Chase to bull riding?
Initially, Chase loved the adrenaline rush. He loved the action, the risk, and the reward. High risk, high reward. But he also loved the money that he could earn, once he proved that he had talent, and he was able to help the ranch out with his winnings. He felt like he could do more for the ranch by competing and sending money home, than by riding the range and herding cattle. Also, it allowed him to not get too close to the ranch in case it was ever taken away. His biggest fear was losing his home and ranching is risky business. By not getting too close, he wasn’t risking the bonds of home and family, the two things he desperately wanted. He said he wanted to travel and see the world, but the reality was, he was running away.
What is next for Redemption Ranch?
We have one more brother, Ty Evans, who needs his own happily ever after. Ty thinks he’s happy. He works the ranch, content to ride the range, play his guitar on Saturday nights at the local bar, and have a home, especially after his home and family was so cruelly ripped away from him. He has no need to go wandering or find anyone. He knows what it’s like to have it all and have it taken away. But he is missing something. So, when Tara and West are getting married, he is going to be confronted with his missing piece and the one ambition he had suppressed forever. Let’s see if he is man enough to go for it, or if he decides to stay on his butt on the ranch forever.
About the Author
Ever since Megan Ryder discovered Jude Deveraux and Judith McNaught while sneaking around the “forbidden” romance section of the library one day after school, she has been voraciously devouring romance novels of all types. Now a romance author in her own right, Megan pens sexy contemporary novels all about family and hot lovin’ with the boy next door. She lives in Connecticut, spending her days as a technical writer and her spare time divided between her addiction to knitting and reading.