Jeannie Watt stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the first book in the Return to Keller Ranch series, Christmas with the Cowboy!
Where did you get the inspiration for Christmas with the Cowboy?
My husband and I raised our family in a rural ranching community, and I was so inspired by the multi-generational ranching families there. My kids attended a three-room K-8 school, and the community was involved in everything from potlucks to brandings to cattle drives to basketball tournaments (basketball is big with ranch kids). I wanted to write a story that touched on the relationships between parents, kids and grandkids and neighbors along with the romance between the hero and heroine.
This is the first book in Return to the Keller Ranch series. What is the series about?
One thing I’m exploring with this series, in addition to some fun cowboy romance, is the effect of birth order on family members. In Christmas with the Cowboy, Reed is the first born and the most like his (reformed) wild child father in temperament. As you can imagine, their similarities led to headbutting while Reed was growing up. Now he is back on the ranch with his own child, and he needs to figure out how to forge a peaceful relationship with his father while at the same time negotiating a reunion with the woman he’s never stopped loving.
If you could spend the day with any of the characters from Christmas with the Cowboy, who would you choose and what would you do?
First, I would send my hero and heroine on a nice romantic horseback ride, then I would head to the kitchen with Lex, the hero’s fourteen-year-old daughter who loves baking, and Audrey, the hero’s mother, who is full of wisdom. I would sip hot apple cider, help make cookies, and listen to the two talk about life. I think it would be very entertaining.
Do you have any favorite Christmas or holiday traditions?
My favorite holiday tradition is having the kids come home. Another tradition since moving to Montana is to cut a Christmas tree on the mountain with my parents. I also enjoy baking and board game playing and generally getting into the feel-good vibe of the season. I make mulled wine and keep the carols playing.
What are you currently reading?
When I’m writing, I don’t read in the romance genre, so lately I’ve been reading some classics in other genres, primarily detective stores. I read all of Dashiell Hammett’s novels this year, and I just finished my first Raymond Chandler, The Lady in the Lake. I enjoy Chandler’s writing. The plot kept me guessing and I love the way the man writes descriptions. I truly felt the atmosphere of Los Angeles in the early 1940s as I read. I also read a lot of books to help me understand characters, and my latest there is The Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Dealing with Toxic People. I’m getting some great ideas for antagonists from my reading. As soon as I finish writing my latest story, I’ll dive back into the romance, and catch up on my Tule holiday reading.
About the Author
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.