RHI: Hi Roxanne, and welcome to RhiReading where today we’re celebrating the release of THREE RIVER RANCH, your sweet and sassy addition to the BLISS imprint from Entangled Publishing.
ROX: Hi Rhianna! I’m so excited to be here! Since you’re going with RHI, I’ll go with ROX. That’s what most people end up calling me anyway…
RHI: Since the story takes place at a Montana ranch and I happen to be a resident Montanan I couldn’t help but clamor into the line of bloggers eager to sample this romantic tale of critters and cowboys which begs me to ask my first question… why’d you pick the Big Sky country to be the setting for THREE RIVER RANCH versus somewhere more popular like Texas?
ROX: First off, I’m terrified to hear that you live in Montana… I’m geographically illiterate, so can we just pretend I got it right? I’ve actually been there a few times, but long, long ago. However, I remember thinking it was beautiful.
But as to why I chose Big Sky country for my romance? Well, I think Texas has had enough attention, don’t you? Also, I was born in Saskatchewan. (That’s not a swear word. It’s in Canada. Look it up.) It’s big sky country, too, and it’s where I learned to love horses and cowboys and fresh air… and it’s where I fell in love with my own happy-ever-after guy. Canada, however, doesn’t have the name recognition that marketing-types tell me is essential. So I went as close to Saskatchewan as I could. (And I even mention Alberta in my book! We. Are. CANADIAN!)
(Rhianna's note: Let's all start demanding romances set in Canada and change that marketing hooplah! If anyone ever actually came to Montana they'd know our state is nothing like you see in the movies... most movies set here are actually filmed in Canada, Legends of the Fall for example.)
RHI: The first thing that sold me on THREE RIVER RANCH was that the heroine, Rory, is pregnant and alone. It’s not a trope commonly seen outside of category romance and personally, I think it’s under-appreciated considering how common it actually is. What challenges did you have writing a romance where the heroine is having a baby that isn’t the hero’s, versus the pregnancy being the result of their own tryst?
ROX: Honestly, Rory’s pregnancy gave me fits. I’ve rewritten this book so many times… first she was pregnant. Then she’d been pregnant, but lost the baby. Then she arrived at the ranch with a newborn. Finally, I went back to my first instinct, and that time it felt right. As you mentioned, single moms are everywhere and I’m in awe of them. It’s hard enough being half of a parenting team; doing it alone would take more courage than I can imagine.
I loved the challenge it put in front of Carson, to become involved with a woman who was carrying another man’s child. It’s a very basic, primal need to get one’s own genes into the next generation. Of course, adoptive parents everywhere understand that love supersedes this drive, but it’s slightly different, I think when only one parent is biologically out-of-the-loop. However, having had a strained relationship with his own father, Carson knows first-hand that blood does not guarantee a father-child bond. He chose to love Rory, and he chose to love her baby. Unconditionally. He’s a great guy!
ROX: I’d say this: sexual tension can be white-hot without a lot of graphic details, and that’s what Rory and Carson have between them. And I’d also tell them that 3RR does have one love scene and readers tell me it’s a great one!
RHI: You’ve written about and worked with animals for years. In THREE RIVER RANCH both service dogs and wild mustangs are an important part of the ranch’s story. While the book is definitely a romance, what do you hope readers will take from the story regarding the importance of animals as both companions and within their wild habitat?
ROX: I always love books that give me a peek into a world that I know nothing about – but wish I did. I’ve written about various service dogs and it’s truly amazing the things they can be trained to do. The more people who know about this, the more people who might gain access to an animal that could change their lives. As far as horses go, the plight of wild mustangs breaks my heart. Wildlife organizations say, ‘can’t help, they’re domestic animals.’ Humane associations say, ‘can’t help, they’re wild animals.’ The truth is, they are a disappearing part of North American history, and they need more people to protect them from being destroyed.
RHI: Rumor has it that you’ll have more Bliss-ful releases in the future… can you confirm, deny, distract us? What other writing projects are you working on that you can tell us about?
ROX: Well, if you liked the supporting cast from 3RR, you’ll be happy to hear they’ll be returning! Rory’s friend Desiree is a fiery heroine who will meet her match with cool-cowboy Zach in my next book, coming early 2013. Imagine: tall, dark, handsome… holding an orphaned kitten! (I know, I know, I can’t help it with the animals… I just can’t resist a soft-hearted guy!)
RHI: And now for a few completely just-for-fun questions: At Carson and Rory’s wedding (assuming it doesn’t happen in the book since I won’t be starting it until later this week) what would be the song for their first dance?
ROX: They do get married in 3RR, but they don’t actually have a proper celebration until the next book. Des comes out to help with their Valentine’s Day celebration, only winter in Montana doesn’t cooperate… (OOPS! I guess the secret’s out now.)
The first dance is to Debbie Gibson’s “I Get Lost In Your Eyes”
I get lost in your eyes
And I feel my spirits rise
And soar like the wind..
Is it love that I am in?
I get weak in a glance
Isn't that what's called romance?
...And now I know
'Cause when I'm lost I can't let go
I don't mind not knowing what I'm headed for
You can take me to the skies...
It's like being lost in heaven
When I'm lost in your eyes
RHI: We all know the jokes about pregnant women craving pickles and ice-cream. If I went into the local dairy’s ice creamery and asked for the THREE RIVER RANCH Sundae, what would I get?
ROX: What a GREAT question! Since ranchers work hard, it’ll be a substantial treat. First, three scoops of home-churned ice cream. (My parents made home-made ice cream when I was a kid, it’s unbelievable.) Then, three toppings: one hot fudge (of course) one caramel (because I love caramel) and one wild Montana huckleberry syrup. Stick a couple of animal crackers (horses!) on the side and top with whipped cream and a cherry!
(Rhianna's note: Next time you make it to Montana Roxanne we're having a Sundae party at my house! lol)
RHI: Lastly, if you woke up tomorrow and found yourself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, and you could only choose 3 things featured in THREE RIVER RANCH which would you choose to help you survive?
ROX: Hm. The zombie apocalypse, you say. Well, first I’d have to take Mistral, the Labradoodle, because I bet she could work her magic so the zombies wouldn’t eat us. Then it would be a picnic lunch made at Blythe’s Bed and Breakfast. (One serving feeds four.) Last, I would bring the antique cradle Carson finds in the old house. It might not help us survive, exactly, but it’s a symbol of hope for the future, and when the zombies come, we’ll need that most of all!
Roxanne Willems Snopek is an award-winning freelance writer of everything from corporate newsletters to personal essays. Author of the Amazing Stories series of true life animal adventures, she now focuses on fiction. Snopek grew up in Saskatchewan and now lives in British Columbia.