I’ve been writing in Grand, Montana for five years now, and it’s begun to take on a life of its own. With the release of The Cowboy’s Redemption, my eighth book in Grand, I thought I’d give readers a chance to get to know the town itself a little better.
“Grand hugged the banks of the Yellowstone River. The first McGregors to settle here had been Irish sutlers evicted from a British fort for selling whiskey to soldiers. The two enterprising brothers took the money they’d earned and invested it in cattle—although, according to family legend, they never quite managed to stay on the right side of the law. Whiskey barrels continued to overflow in the McGregor cellars well into the twentieth century.
“The town got its name from the plans those two brothers had dreamed up for the town. Unfortunately, Grand got upstaged by nearby Billings and its grip on the new railroad. For his part, Jake was happy with the way history played out. Grand’s population topped out at six thousand—a nice, even number. ” ~ The Rancher Takes a Family
The boardwalk on the waterfront, which borders the Yellowstone River, is another favorite place for characters to hang out:
“Glittering lights trussed the underbelly of a black, star-speckled sky. They draped from every tree, shrub, and railing. Every storefront—every business—they all shouted, let the season begin.
“He’d come downtown intent on buying the perfect gifts for his nephew and niece at the annual midnight craft fair. They’d shut down the waterfront from the town hall to the library. No cars allowed. People flowed freely down the main street, then up the river boardwalk, checking out handcrafted merchandise at the numerous vending stalls.” ~ The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby
Originally, Grand had two ranches—the Wagging Tongue, which belongs to the McGregor brothers and borders on the Tongue River, and the Running River Ranch, its next-door neighbor. Since then I’ve added the Endeavour Ranch, home to an indoor arena and a PRCA-sanctioned rodeo that takes place every February, a seasonal smoke jumping operation for the state of Montana, a free clinic, and a group home for troubled youth.
Grand now has a high school, a strip mall, a daycare, law firm, sheriff’s office… Hannah Brand, from Sweetheart Montana, set up her own brewery here, too. The Grand Master Brewery and Taproom first appears in The Montana Doctor and has become one of my favorite places. I’ve used it in several books now:
“The Grand Master Brewery and Taproom occupied a weathered brick building that had once been an old dairy. The building itself dated from the mid-1800s when Grand was established. Inside, pub tables with chess boards carved into them butted the walls on opposite sides of the room. Regular tables that seated four people—more, if the people were friendly—hogged the real estate under the street-facing front window. Long shelves held an assortment of board games. A metalwork cowboy riding a bucking bronco hung from the ceiling. Hannah’s brother, an artist, had made it for her.
“The bar, complete with a brass footrail, squared off against the front window from the back of the room. Right next to the bar hovered a door that led into the brewery itself. Between that magic door and the brewery lurked another, more private, entrance to an apartment above.” ~ The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby
And Grand continues to grow.
Another Tule author will be joining me very soon (and yes, I’m excited to welcome her! She brings her own unique voice and a brand-new, 4-book series). My question for readers becomes, how do you like stories written by different authors set in the same worlds?
About the author
USA Today Bestselling Author Paula Altenburg lives in rural Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two sons. A former aviation and aerospace professional, Paula now writes contemporary romance and fantasy with romantic elements. You can connect with her at www.paulaaltenburg.com.