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A Conversation with Claire McEwen, Author of RETURN TO MARKER RANCH (with a New Release Review and Giveaway!)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Welcome, Claire! What 5 things should readers know about you?

First of all, thank you so much for having me on you blog today. I’m very happy to be here.  And here are five things about me:

1) I’m a reader too! I love reading contemporary and historical romance, women’s fiction, and some non-fiction.

2) I’m a mom, so if you ever email me and I don’t get back to you right away, I’m probably off making mudpies.

3) It’s possible that I post too many pictures of my dog and the ocean on social media.

4) I’m a bit obsessed with home décor and watch way too much HGTV.

5) love connecting with people on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, my blog… it’s amazing I ever get any writing done!

LOL! Great list 🙂

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

Romance Writers of America decided to produce an anthology and they put out a call for short stories with the theme Wrong Number.  Since I write western romance I decided to write about finding the wrong number of cattle on your ranch. The story was about a rancher, Lori Allen, who suspects her neighbor, Wade Hoffman, of stealing her cattle.

Well, the story didn’t make it into the anthology but Wade and Lori stayed with me.  And their story evolved into Return to Marker Ranch, and also became the first building block of the entire Sierra Legacy series. And the cattle rustling part of the story faded away. If you read carefully, you can find a sentence or two about it, but that’s all that’s left.

I like this version of Lori and Wade’s story much better—and can’t wait for more from the series!

 

 

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I started writing my first book way back in 2004. I was unhappy in my career and my personal life, and I was longing for a creative outlet. I decided to try writing a romance because I like happy endings, and I could see how a romantic plot gives you a bit of a framework to build a story around.  I wrote off and on for a couple years, but never very seriously.  Then my career got very busy and I had many life changes, so I put the book away.

Fast forward to 2012. I’d quit my job to stay home with my son, and my husband asked me about the book.  I had the pages stored in a box in the garage, so I pulled it out and he read it.  I’ll never forget the moment he looked up and said “You have to finish this. You’re a really great writer!”  So I finished writing it, and entered it into Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest. An editor noticed it and that book became A Ranch to Keep, published in 2014.

That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing.

 

 

What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

I just finished the edits for the third book in the Sierra Legacy series. It’s called Home Free and it comes out in November.  I love this story so much. Like Return to Marker Ranch, it’s a very emotional read and it made me cry while I was writing it. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, but it continues the story of the Hoffman and Allen families.  Now that Home Free is finished, I get to jump into the fourth book in the series, which doesn’t have a title yet, but I think it will come out in March of 2017.

Yay! Can’t wait—for both of them!

 

 

If you had to “sell” your book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

Tweets are hard for a wordy writer like me!  Okay, how about this:

A veteran battling PTSD. A heartbroken rancher struggling to prove her worth. And a love strong enough to heal them both, if they let it.

Great job! (I know, that 144 characters is such a challenge!)

Claire McEwen lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When not dreaming up new stories, she can be found digging in her garden with a lot of enthusiasm but, unfortunately, no green thumb.

Claire enjoys discovering flea-market treasures, walking on the beach, dancing, traveling, and reading, of course! She loves to write complex heroes and heroines, who grow and find themselves through their search for love.

Return to Marker Ranch (Sierra Legacy)

Return to Marker Ranch
(Sierra Legacy #2)
by Claire McEwen
Adult Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
July 1st 2016 by Harlequin Superromance

This is one reunion both of them could do without

This is the chance she’s been waiting for to prove she can run her family’s ranch. And despite her many doubters, Lori Allen knows she’s doing a good job. Until the man who once broke her heart—Wade Hoffman—runs her well dry! And it turns out he’s got as much to prove as she does. After serving his country, Wade’s back to rebuild his family’s reputation and win his battle with PTSD.

With so much to lose, neither can afford to give in to temptation. But to succeed they must let go of old heartache and face up to bringing out each other’s worst, along with the best. And what doesn’t kill them…

Review:

An emotional read, The Return to Marker Ranch was the perfect way to kick off the fourth of July weekend! I love second chance romances and ones featuring military/former military heroes and heroines, making this one practically a guaranteed winner for me–since Ms. McEwen is also a new-to-me author with a backlist, it was a win-win-win situation for sure 🙂

Two things got Wade Hoffman through the toughest times during his time as an Army Ranger–the hope of resurrecting his family ranch (thereby redeeming his family name) when he got out, and the memory of his one perfect night with the girl next door, Lori Allen. But when he arrives back to the town he left behind, things aren’t at all what he’d expected. His PTSD makes everything harder than he ever imagined it could be, and he just doesn’t feel up to facing the townfolk who held his n’er-do-well family in such contempt so many years ago. He can’t even bring himself to go up to Lori’s front door. Instead he spends his days on his ranch, overwhelmed and hiding from the world.

Until an enraged Lori–his new well has drained hers dry, and they’re in the middle of one of the worst droughts in recent memory, so she needs her water and won’t take no for an answer–shows up at his ranch instead.

And the rest is history–except it isn’t going to be that easy, because Lori and Wade have a past that Wade doesn’t even know the whole of. And he isn’t the only one suffering from a past trauma. When Lori comes clean to him about her secret, she takes a big risk. Will he only want her now to try and atone for their past mistakes, or does he truly want her for her, and for their future? And will Wade be able to seek the help he needs to deal with his PSTD before it’s too late? Or will a setback cause him to return to his default method of dealing with the fear of not getting what he wants–running?

Return to Marker Ranch was such a good book–I loved every minute of it! Lori and Wade are great characters, and it’s easy to root for them from the very first page. I loved that Lori was fighting so hard to run her family ranch, and that Wade found her just as sexy wearing her old jeans and cowboy hat as he did in her sister’s borrowed dresses. When she found out about Wade’s PTSD, Lori read all she could about the condition–and then set herself to helping him find a way to heal. They truly did bring out the best in each other. Return is second in the Sierra Legacy series (Wade is Nora’s little brother) and also features Jack from A Ranch to Keep but it worked just fine as a standalone. Though of course now I really want to read Nora and Todd’s story, and Jack’s sounds pretty darn good too…

Not to mention my fingers are firmly crossed (and yes, that does make typing this review rather tricky) hoping that Lori’s sister Mandy, AKA the “angel of food”, is getting her own story very, very soon. And that we’ll not only see Lori and Wade in future stories, but the fabled Coyote Snack (best dog name ever) as well–because he can ride horses, and that’s just awesome.

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

The first book in the series:

Wild Horses

Wild Horses
(Sierra Legacy #1)
by Claire McEwen
Adult Contemporary Romance
Mass Market Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
March 1st 2016 by Harlequin Superromance

This wild stallion can’t be tamed

Todd Williams is still the naive idealist he was in college. Only now he’s endangering lives—Nora Hoffman’s to be exact. Nora hasn’t seen Todd since he decided that saving the rain forest was more important than their relationship. Until the night she’s nearly crushed by the stampede he causes. Now Todd is determined to make amends, for everything.

She may not agree with his methods, but even Nora can’t deny the importance of his fight to save the wild horses. With the attraction between them still sizzling and the fate of the horses in the balance, Nora must decide just how much she’s willing to risk.

Tour Schedule

July 1st: Launch
July 3rd: Becky on Books & Nicole’s Book Musings
July 5th: Mythical Books
July 6th: Brooke Blogs
July 7th: EskieMama Reads
July 8th: Thoughts of a Blonde & 23 Review Street
July 10th: underneath the covers
July 11th: Colorimetry
July 12th: deal sharing aunt
July 13th: Wishful Endings
July 14th: Harlie’s Books
July 15th: Beck Valley Books
July 17th: Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon eGift Card
1 copy of the first book in the series, Wild Horses (print if US, ebook if outside the US)
Open internationally
Ends July 22nd

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