It’s my pleasure to welcome New York Times best-selling author R.C. Ryan back as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress today as she makes a stop on her virtual book tour with the final installment in her Montana trilogy about the McCord cousins.
R.C.’s latest book is MONTANA GLORY. Thanks to her, Anna and the folks at the Hachette Book Group, I have 5 copies of her latest book to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for the guidelines. R.C. stopped by today to answer some questions for me about the final installment in her trilogy and about her writing.
Mason: In this story you made the heroine a single mom, why the change?
R.C.: First of all, my readers don't fit into tidy slots. Some are married, some single, some widowed, and some, like Riley, raising a child alone. As a writer, I try to put myself into the shoes of every one of my characters. I tried to imagine the burden of raising a child alone while pursuing college and career, and became aware of so many challenges such a young woman would face. For a writer, the more challenges, the better. This gives me a broader range of conflicts on which to draw.
In Book 1, Amy was the lost love - the opportunity missed. In Book 2, Marilee was the independent female who wanted nothing to do with commitment and happily-ever-after. I wanted Book 3 to be equally unique and challenging. Thus, Riley, the single mother.
Mason: When you began your series with these three cousins did you have an outline or plan for how each book would go or did you let your characters go where they wanted?
R.C.: When offering my proposal to an editor, she needs an idea of where I intend to take the story. I presented a brief synopsis of the characters, the challenges, and where I thought each story would go. Once I started the actual writing, I let my characters dictate just where we'll go and what route we'll take to get there. These people become very real to me, and sometimes I have to get out of the way and let them develop as they wish.
Mason: Who was the hardest/easiest character to write in MONTANA GLORY and why?
R.C.: Because I try to give all my characters, even the most minor ones, depth and voice and distinct personality, they are all equally challenging to write. But Summer, because she was only four, was easier for me. As the mother of five, I've been involved in so many funny, silly and poignant situations, and I drew on those to create this bright, sweet little girl. Though some critics may find her too sweet, and wish to see a temper tantrum or two, I deliberately chose to keep only her sweet nature here, to counter-balance the drama that surrounded her young life.
As for a difficult character, I'd say Cal, because I deliberately kept much of his background a secret, to be revealed only at the end of the book, when he had no choice but to reveal the pain of his past. I could see the attraction between Cal and Cora, but fought to keep it on the back-burner until the very end, where I found it much more effective and emotional.
Mason: Did you ever consider continuing the series featuring some of the secondary characters?
R.C.: I love all those secondary characters, but I don't see any of them carrying an entire book, let alone a series. I think my readers would rather move on to something new and yet equally fascinating. in a brand new series.
Mason: What would you like your readers to take away from reading this book and/or series?
R.C.: It's interesting that, until I'm asked this question, I'm not aware that almost every book I write is really all about family. Not only the dysfunction, the pain, the petty jealousy, but also the way a family, with enough love, can rise above all that and find the joy that only family can bring to our lives. So, I hope my reader learns to love this family, relate at least some of the McCord family's problem and solutions to her own, and feel a deeper sense of just how important family really is.
Mason: What can readers expect next from R.C. Ryan?
R.C.: From my mail my readers indicate that they want more Western romantic suspense, and I'm happy to oblige. I never get tired of pleasing my readers. So watch for yet another family saga set in the wild, rugged West, with plenty of action, suspense, and of course, hot romance.
R.C., thank you so much for returning here to guest blog. I’ve enjoyed learning about all three of these wonderful books in the Montana trilogy. The McCord cousins are definitely cowboys we can all appreciate.
Here’s a brief synopsis of MONTANA GLORY: The last thing in the world Zane McCord wants is a wife. But after returning home to the family ranch in Montana to help his cousins search for the lost treasure that is their legacy, Zane can't help notice that love and marriage seem to be contagious. Both his cousins have succumbed, but he refuses. Determined to stay a bachelor till he dies, Zane wants to devote his time to filming documentaries and taking care of the ranch...and then Riley Mason walks into his life.
The last thing on Riley Mason's mind is romance. Sent to the McCord ranch to save the family's accounting problems, she only wants to impress her firm in Helena and be on her way. Life as a single mother isn't easy and she needs to impress her bosses for a raise. But when Zane McCord opens the door, her breath catches in her throat and a desire she's never experienced before takes over her. When the McCords insist that she and her daughter, Summer stay at the ranch, she's forced to give in and before long, she's pulled into their search for the long lost treasure. But she absolutely draws the line at getting involved with Zane McCord, playboy and heartbreaker extraordinaire.
But as they all get closer to finding Coot's lost treasure, a dangerous series of accidents target Riley and her daughter Summer. Can Zane keep her safe while trying to win her heart?
Now for the book giveaway guidelines. To enter the giveaway, send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org). Your subject line should read, “Win Montana Glory.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. In addition, Hachette is advising winners that they will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if they win the same title in two or more contests, they will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail. (Winners here have always be great about letting me know if they have already won the book somewhere else so another winner can be selected. However, this announcement is something that has to be passed along from Hachette). And, just so you know, I don’t share the mailing information or use it for any other purpose. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a chance to win 1 of the 5 copies will be 8 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, Nov. 20.
Do you have a favorite among the McCord cousins?