Thanks so much for agreeing to be with us today, Claire!
Thank you very much for inviting me! I am so excited about my new book and am thrilled that I get to visit you today.
What 5 things should readers know about you?
- My stories are all fueled by coffee and Keith Urban songs.
- I write really emotional stories and make my characters deal with big problems. They often have a very rocky road to finding love!
- If I can put a cute animal or two into a story, it makes me very happy.
- I have a degree in environmental studies, and sometimes those types of issues find their way into my stories.
- I started writing western romance because I missed riding horses. And I love men in cowboy hats!
You had me at “Keith Urban” 🙂
Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
Well, it all started with an image. I had this picture, in my mind, of a couple standing in the woods in the snow, arguing over cattle!
I started thinking more about these characters. And I had an idea that the man was from a very troubled family. That he carried this extra burden of having been raised by a cruel, criminal father. I decided that this hero was named Wade Hoffman, that he had two brothers and one sister, and that his older brothers were criminals, just like his father.
That was the start of the Sierra Legacy series. Each book was developed as another piece of the legacy left by the family’s criminal past. I know that sounds depressing, but it’s actually a very hopeful series! I loved telling Wade Hoffman’s story in my recent book, Return to Marker Ranch.
My new book, Home Free, is the third book in the series. It’s about one of the older brothers, Arch Hoffman, who actually followed in his father’s criminal footsteps for the first part of his life. In Home Free, Arch has changed his ways, paid his dues, and is trying to start his life again as a much different, and better, person. It was such a wonderful book to write because Arch has to go on this enormous journey of self-discovery.
I can attest to it being a hopeful series—I really enjoyed Return to Maker Ranch! I love finding out how it came to be 🙂
How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?
I started writing my first book in 2005, because I was uninspired by my life and wanted an escape. In the very first scene I attempted, I fell in love with writing romance and knew it was something I wanted to pursue. I wrote about three quarters of a book, but then my career got very busy, so I stopped writing for years. In 2012, when I quit my career to stay home with my young son, I finally had a little extra time and energy to finish that book. I was very blessed that Harlequin offered me a contract, and A Ranch to Keep was released in 2014.
What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?
I have a free online read for Harlequin coming out at the end of December. It’s a short story called Refuge in the Sierras, about two of the secondary characters in the Sierra Legacy series. I had so much fun writing it and I’m very excited to share it with everyone. And did I mention that it will be free?
Then, in May 2017, His Last Rodeo, the fourth and final book in the Sierra Legacy series, will come out. It’s a fun story, a little different than the rest of the series, and it ties up some loose ends of the legacy that I really wanted to tie!
And after that? Well, I’ll be proposing a new series to my editor in the next few months, as well as working on a contemporary western self-published series, so I hope to have lots of books coming out in the next couple of years.
Awesome—can’t wait to read them all!
What are you currently reading, and what are your thoughts about it so far?
I often read books by authors I want to learn from, and right now I want to learn more about writing dialogue. So I have been reading lots of books by Marina Adair, a wonderful, witty romance writer who crafts fabulous dialogue. And I’m also reading books by Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis and Jennifer Cruisie, because they are all absolute masters of engaging dialogue, in my opinion. Fortunately, all of these books are totally fun to read, so I’ve given myself a very happy homework assignment!
I agree—that’s definitely the kind of homework I can get behind 100%!
If you had to “sell” your book in a single Tweet, what would you say?
Tweeting is hard! I agonize over smooshing my thoughts into that 140-character cage! But here is my attempt.
A man leaving prison meets a woman imprisoned by her own fears. Is their love strong enough to set them both free?
Thank you again for inviting me to visit your lovely blog today!
My pleasure! Thank you again for coming!
Claire McEwen lives by the ocean in Northern California with her husband, son 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. She loves discovering flea-market treasures, walking on the beach,
dancing, traveling and reading, of course!
His first taste of freedom was only the beginning…
Arch Hoffman has paid for his crimes. All he wants is to come home to rural California and start over. He’s not looking to be a hero when he rescues a wedding cake from hitting the dirt at the ranch next door. But culinary artist Mandy Allen’s irresistible smile makes him glad to save the day–and thankful that they’re neighbors.
Mandy’s just the distraction Arch needs. Her sweet voice quiets the memories that threaten his chance to be a better man, and he’s determined to help her confront her fears. But the past is its own prison, and even love might not be
enough to set them free.