Chasing Bull Riders became essential for Anne McAllister’s THE EIGHT SECOND WEDDING

Hi Everyone,

I’m just delighted to be here on Tule’s blog today to tell you a bit about my latest release, The Eight Second WeddingI loved writing this book because of the characters, Chan Richardson and Madeleine Decker, who made showing up at the keyboard every morning pretty enjoyable most days, and also because doing research for the book was so much fun.

It was one of those “opposites attract” stories which allowed me to use a fair share of my husband’s academic years to provide Madeleine, a New York City based PhD candidate, with her world of higher education on the one hand, and made me find a bull rider who was happy to share his rough-and-tumble peripatetic life with Chan. 

It also gave me a chance to do a riff on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice providing the  reason that Chan and Madeleine’s lives crossed in the first place: 

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that, when it comes to their children’s happiness, mothers know best. And when the mothers come equipped with a PhD in genetics in one case, and a PhD and years of experience in anthropological fieldwork in the other, the truth has considerable clout.”

Madeleine’s mother Antonia, the anthropologist, and her best friend, Julia, the geneticist who married a Wyoming rancher, had determined back in graduate school that one of Madeleine’s children should marry one of Julia’s.  Thus – in their estimation at least – they would have perfect grandchildren. 

The trouble was Antonia had only one child, Madeleine,  while Julia had four boys: Channing, Gardner, Mark and Trevor.  It wasn’t a problem, Julia said. It just meant Madeleine could have her pick.

By the time Madeleine was old enough to pick, though, there was only one Richardson left unmarried: the oldest and least suitable, rodeo bull rider, Chan. 

So, I had my character and I had my set-up and I had my years of living in academia, courtesy of Professor McAllister.  I just needed a bull rider.  

So I found one.  It wasn’t difficult. I called him up. He answered the phone.  Sure, he said. He’d be glad to help.  We talked a bit in general, and I promised to have a series of questions ready the next time we talked.  We couldn’t do it then because he was on his way to a doctor’s appointment. 

No matter, I thought. I’ll get the questions ready and get to work on the part of the book that wasn’t specifically full of bull riding detail.  A couple of weeks later, I called back. Went to voice mail which was full. I tried the land line. He was in Texas, his wife said, working on a movie.  Right, I said. I’ll call back.

A few days later, I did. Voice mail again.  Still full.  I called the landline.  Grandpa answered the phone.  My bull rider consultant was somewhere in the Midwest teaching a bull riding school.  Thanks, I said, and went back to writing the book.

A week after that there were fewer things that I could write without knowing what I was doing.  I called again, talked to Grandma.  Would you believe he was in Argentina?  Time was getting short.  He would be home on Tuesday, Grandma said.

I called back on Wednesday. Let the man get his bags unpacked, I thought.  But he wasn’t there on Wednesday. He was in Hollywood, a younger man told me. “Can I help you?” he said.

And I said, “Do you ride bulls?”

Well, it turned out he did.  And he wasn’t in Argentina or Texas or Hollywood or anywhere else.  So that afternoon he and I and my list of questions spent a lot of time together. Chan and I breathed a sigh of relief.  My new best friend was a great source of information and inspiration.  He not only answered questions, he provided suggestions and details I hadn’t even known I needed.  

Best of all, when we finished, he said, “Call me if you need anything else.”  So a few days later, I did.  One of the things I needed was a schedule. Chan and Madeleine decided the only thing their mothers understood was data.  If they spent time together, went down the road from rodeo to rodeo together and, two months later, were still as incompatible as they were sure that they were, their mothers would have to stop interfering in their lives.

But, which rodeos? Where? When? Why those rodeos?  

“I’ll make you a list,” he said.   

So he did. And one night at midnight the phone rang.  He was stranded in an airport due to fog, but he’d figured out the schedule, so he’d give it to me then.  And yes, he could have — if I’d answered the phone.  Even so, it was an entertaining voice mail to listen to in the morning.

Later that day when fog had permitted him to get home, he not only gave me Chan and Madeleine’s schedule for the summer, he provided the idea for Antonia and Julia’s middle- of-the-night-for-one-or-the-other of them international calls as they tried to keep up with Chan and Madeleine.

Meeting people who do far different things than I do has always been one of the great joys of writing books.  I love visiting their worlds vicariously or in person.  This time was no different.  My bull rider resource for The Eight Second Wedding still makes me smile.  Best of all, he made Chan Richardson’s world real. 

I think he had a good time being an “expert resource,” too.  He was eager to do it again, and even invited me to bull riding school!     

I hope you’ll look out for The Eight Second Wedding and will join Chan and Madeleine going down the road!

About the Author.

Years ago someone told Anne McAllister that the recipe for happiness was a good man, a big old house, a bunch of kids and dogs, and a job you loved that allows you to read.  And write.  She totally agrees.

Now, one good man, one big old house (since traded for a slightly smaller house. Look, no attic!) a bunch of kids (and even more grandkids) and dogs (and one bionic cat) and seventy books, she’s still reading.  And writing.  And happier than ever.

Over thirty plus years Anne has written long and short contemporary romances, single titles and series, novellas and a time-travel for Harlequin Mills & Boon and for Tule Publishing. She’s had two RITA winning books and nine more RITA finalists as well as awards from Romantic Times and Midwest Fiction Writers. One of the joys of writing is that sometimes, when she can’t go back in person, she can go back in her mind and her heart and her books.

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