Question: Archaeology was your inspiration for The Cowboy’s Texas Rose. But you’re not a veterinarian, so how did you find inspiration for book 2, The Cowboy’s Texas Sky?
E. Elizabeth Watson: Good question! I know you didn’t ask, specifically, but I do get asked this sometimes. The heroine in Book 3 (which you haven’t read yet) tells the hero she’d have a hundred different specialties if she could clone herself, and I supposed that describes me. I love so many different things, but especially anything to do with outdoors, nature, music, art, and animals, and I always have. As a kid, I loved horses and dogs. Was horse crazy! I begged for riding lessons (which I never got, by the way, ha!) and collected model horses. Every chance to trail ride, I took it. We lived in New Mexico when I was young, and I remember riding a horse called Crazy Tooth multiple times. But I also loved dogs. We raised a few Irish Setters, and I loved romping with them whenever possible. Books about animals? I was convinced they were written solely for me. Obviously these authors were speaking to my soul! I went through a phase where I wanted to be a veterinarian until I learned that sometimes, it’s impossible to save all pets and animals, so alas, no veterinarian for me. But I’m currently a Master Naturalist candidate, so the love for animals and nature never died.
What else inspired the book, you ask? Having worked in the medical field and enjoying it a lot, I drew inspiration from that, too. I used to work in orthopedics research as a clinical research coordinator, so making Travis an orthopedic surgeon was a lot of fun to write. None of my hospital characters represent anyone real that I knew, but the music in the O.R., the interactions between nurses and techs, joking around, much of it was drawn from dynamics I loved while collecting research data in the O.R.
However, I’d love to introduce you to Johnny the Hound, our rescue dog. Here he is pictured at a cabin we visited over Easter. He’s definitely a nugget of inspiration. He crawled out in front of a car, skin and bones, and was almost hit. He wasn’t in the Midwest animal sanctuary for even half a day before my sister, who volunteered there, sent me his picture and we had a pet transport arranged for the very next morning for him to come out east to my family. You might think this sounds familiar from the story…because it is! In the book, when Skylar’s veterinary skills are needed for an emergency to save an injured dog, it thrusts Travis into her sphere, pushes them to work together and overcome the first hurdle in their second chance HEA. Adopting Johnny—our other dog was named June, so…June and Johnny, think music—was a big deal, and inspiration for bringing Travis and Skylar together in the book took me quite by surprise because of this dog coming into our lives.
But I can’t give all the credit for inspiration to our adorable pup. The landscape, of course, was inspiring! All of my books incorporate the importance of landscape, both historicals and contemporaries. I have great respect for nature. People are tied to the landscape. I’ve gushed about how beautiful West Texas is before, and it holds true now: West Texas is an incredible, harsh, but gorgeous region with unparalleled landscapes. In every Texas book I write, I predict my love of nature will always be at the heart of it.
About the Author
Elizabeth is convinced life is better with good coffee, chocolate, and a pair of hiking boots. Ever since her elementary school librarian “published” her epic childhood tales—complete with laminated handmade covers—she’s enjoyed exploring the world through literature. She fell in love with the harsh Texas desert where she found inspiration for charismatic cowboys and the stubborn women who tame them while documenting prehistoric rock art as a student at the University of Texas at Austin.
A recovering archaeologist and biomed research coordinator, Elizabeth spends her days penning heroes ranging from Scottish and Medieval warriors to Texas cowboys crowned with Stetsons. Whether in kilts or pearl-snaps, her heroes wear plaid! Known for her Ladies of Scotland series written for Entangled Publishing, as well as her HEA at USA TODAY recommended Christmas Wore Plaid, she’s excited to join Tule Publishing and introduce her debut contemporary western romance, Texas Rose, in 2022. She currently lives on a mountainside in West Virginia with her husband, sons, and various pets. Always honored to hear from readers, make sure to follow her on Facebook, Bookbub, Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram.