did you get the idea?
Yates: I was talking to Nicole and
joked about book pitches. I was totally kidding,
but the next day I started thinking about the
possibility of writing a story centered around
four people staying at a farmhouse. I texted
the other authors, and got them on board. We
actually had an auction to see which publishing
house would get the story.
Nicole, Caitlin, Jackie: It came out
of the fact we were all friends. We shared everything
we wrote. It just seemed to flow together and
felt very organic.
Crews: Nicole wrote those wonderful
grandmother letters that started off each story.
Jackie wrote the first story so we knew where
we were all going.
Cooper: Since there was a crossover
of characters how did that work?
Ashenden: Since they were all in my
story, I wrote the other heroines and asked
each author if what I wrote was out of character,
but no one rewrote the lines. We all knew each
other’s character very well.
Cooper: How about the seasons, how
did that come about?
Maisey came up with the year of the cowboy.
I thought since it is a year let’s break
it into seasons. The original title was The
Year of the Cowboy.
Helm: I chose summer because my hero
has two children. I wanted them to be a large
part of the story and did not want them to be
I love the season of fall. It was October when
we pitched it and as I was driving by my daughter’s
school, I saw the sign, “Red Star Holiday
Bizarre.” I ripped off the name and used
it in the book.
They thought to give me winter because
it was freezing and sad. I had never written
about snow or Christmas so I found it challenging.
Thankfully, everything magically fell into place.
: How did the farmhouse come about?
Some of us were staying at a farmhouse
in Illinois. It was very similar to the one
Caitlin’s husband drew for us. In this
book, with the farmhouse, it felt a bit mystical.
It was funny, how we all had the same farmhouse
in our heads.
How would you describe Grandma June?
Even though she was a great grandmother,
her daughters were not great mothers. I knew
people who were not great parents, but learned
from their past mistakes. I also think that
sometimes we cannot control how people turn
out. I think June was outspoken, accessible,
salty, and brave. She could not go back in time
but did try to make changes for the future.
Like the four cousins, I miss my grandparents
so much. What a great thing it would be to have
a magic farmhouse. My grandmother had a paperweight
that I used in the story. I put in tidbits that
reminded me of my grandma.
Both my grandparents have passed. I
dedicated this story to them. I would love to
be able to communicate with them.
How would you describe the parents?
Most of the parents were selfish and
self-centered. They cared more about themselves
than their children.
How would you describe Bella, Noah, and their
BELLA is stubborn, determined, vulnerable,
kind, and guarded. She is like most of my heroes.
NOAH is grumpy, a man of few words, a loner,
THEIR RELATIONSHIP is based on a connection
both tried to deny. Bella doesn’t want
Noah around because she is ashamed of the terrible
crush she has on him.
How would you describe Keira, Remy, and their
KEIRA is elegant. She is a lost-soul and fragile
but would argue with that description. Because
she is the first one to live in the farmhouse
she is grieving a bit more than the others who
had more time to process. Being the oldest she
tended to have a slightly different relationship
with her grandmother. Some grandmothers favor
REMY is angry,
heart-broken, hard-headed, and basically a cowboy.
has two different parts, one they had and one
they will have. The previous one was destined
to fall apart because they could not communicate,
had secrets, and they were so young. The one
today looks back at the failures of the first
time, which enabled them to build a stronger
structure going forward. They became friends
How would you describe JJ, Cade, his daughters,
and their relationship?
JJ is serious, practical, and sometimes tries
to hide her emotional hurt. She is compulsive
and not a dreamer, with a focus on being helpful.
main focus is to be a good dad. He is responsible.
LORA and ELLIE are aware that their mom left
them. The older one is snarkier and grumpier.
The younger one is a dreamer.
WITH THE GIRLS was based on my family. JJ first
thought of herself as just a baby-sitter. But
she became emotionally involved because what
the girls went through was similar to her own
backstory. She is reliving her past through
them because she lost her relationship with
CADE and JJ’s
RELATIONSHIP was really good for each other.
At first, JJ and Cade were very guarded because
they were hurt in the past. They rely on each
other and then let the attraction take over.
They developed a friendship first.
How would you describe Lila, Everett, and their
LILA feels she has boundless options
and can always make things turn out OK. She
wanted to be an optimist instead of being like
her mother who was sad and bitter. Everett was
the first time that did not happen. She is determined,
cheerful, optimistic, creative, and impetus.
EVERETT has the
need to think that controlling the outcome will
make things turn out all right. He is responsible,
practical, and a realist.
had them both butting heads since they are control
freaks. They have a ten-year gap in their age
difference. Lila saw him as a fantasy at first,
but then realizes he has his own issues. Both
had to overcome barriers. Everett tried to protect
himself from the bad things but also the good
things. They realized that if there was to be
a long-term commitment there will be ups/downs
and give and take. I wrote this book quote,
“Love wasn’t just rainbows, and
fairy-tale endings. Love was acceptance. Love
was patient. Love was fifty-fifty. Love bore
burdens. Love hoped. Love believed.”
Do you have Christmas decorations like you wrote
When I was writing that scene, I thought
about the Christmas decorations I have.
There is a quote about cities. Are you a country
girl or a city gal?
You are referring to the book quote,
“Country roads, sooner or later they get
you where you need to go.” I have lived
in cities all my life until about four years
ago. We moved to rural Oregon. I am aware of
the difference in lifestyles and like to write
characters that represent small towns.
Do you garden?
I do not. My grandmother and my mom
were big gardeners. By putting those scenes
in the book, I was paying homage to them.
Iris Cob Horses?
I was flying to Atlanta in October
and next to me was a cowboy. He was telling
me how profitable these horses are and showed
me pictures. I told him I was totally going
to steal the idea and I did. Unfortunately,
I know nothing about horses.
Can you give a shout out about your next books?
There is a strong possibility there
will be a sequel to this book with new characters,
but we hope to bring in these characters as
well. Out in May will be Secrets From A Happy
Marriage. It is my first women’s fiction
book that focuses on family relationships with
some romance. It is about women who have a Lighthouse
Inn B & B.
I have a new book series that started
last week, called South Dakota Showdown. It
has six brothers who are police officers who
are trying to bring down their father, the head
of a motorcycle gang. It is romantic suspense.
Sexy Beast is the next book in the
billionaire series. It has a billionaire and
his neighbor, a best friend, who become involved.
In the summer will be book 4 in the
“Alaska Force series.” It is written
under the name Megan Crane and is titled Delta
Force and has the heroine escaping her criminal
family by changing her identity. She meets the
leader of the Alaska Force that helps her survive