A DIFFERENT KIND OF HERO
Everyone knows Victor Vicario—he's the scarred loner who's on his way to the National Finals Rodeo in Vegas. But no one knows about the guilt that drives him. And until he achieves his goal, there's no room in his life for attachments.
So when Vic is given temporary custody of his young nephew, he is torn. He can't turn his back on family, but how can he look after a kid when he's traveling the rodeo circuit? Then he runs into feisty barrel racer Tanya McGee and makes her an offer. She helps him with Alex, and he'll pay her rodeo expenses. The problem is their little "family" starts to feel all too real.
Q&A for Marin Thomas – A Cowboy’s Claim
1. How did you first get started writing romance?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. In high school I was co-sports editor of the student newspaper and in college I majored in broadcast journalism. It wasn’t until I took a creative writing class at the University of Arizona that I discovered how much I enjoyed fiction writing. After graduating college I married, had kids and became a stay-at-home mom who read romances to escape the stress of raising two toddlers. When my youngest began all-day kindergarten, I cleaned out the basement and discovered the short stories I’d written in college, which reminded me how much I enjoyed writing and I decided to try my hand at writing a romance story. My first manuscript was a cliché pirate plot that landed in the recycle bin. I switched to contemporary stories because historicals required too many trips to the library to do research. (Yes, I’m old enough to have written a book without the help of Google) It wasn’t until I joined Romance Writers of America in Denver, Colorado, that I became serious about pursuing publication. Eight years later I sold my first book, The Cowboy and the Bride, to Harlequin American Romance and since then I’ve contracted over thirty-five stories for the line.
2. If you could be any heroine from your favorite novel, who would you choose and why?
Ellen Tanner from Nelson in Command (July 2013). I grew up in a small town and remember taking Sunday drives with my grandfather through the back roads of Wisconsin. I’d stare at the passing dairy barns and imagine what it would be like to grow up on a farm and take care of cows. Then we’d stop at a tavern and “Gramps” would buy me a Shirley Temple and a bag of cheese popcorn and he’d drink a draft beer before we headed home.
3. Out of all the books you’ve read, which one would you turn into a book to film adaptation, (if it has not been done before)?
Any Curtiss Ann Matlock romance would make a great movie!
4. List five adjectives to describe yourself.
Dry sense of humor
7. What’s your favorite place for inspiration?
The passenger seat of a car staring out the window at the passing scenery. I also love junk hunting in salvage shops and dumpy places like the Texas Junk Company in Houston. What can I say—junk speaks to me. There’s a story behind every castoff and trinket no one wants anymore.
8. Do you have one thing that can completely distract you while writing?
9. What is your favorite quote by a writer who inspires you?
“You Must Do The Things You Think You Cannot Do” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
10. When it comes to book covers, what attracts you to buy a book?
Color scheme and how the overall scene speaks to me emotionally.
11. While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
No, but many times I was relieved I wasn’t one of them.
12. If you could ask any character in A Cowboy’s Claim a question, what would it be?
I’d ask Tanya McGee what took her so long to make her move on Victor Vicario.
13. What are you working on next?
A new cowboy series involving three brothers caught in the middle of a feud between their grandfather, mayor Emmett Hardell and the matriarch of Stampede, Texas, Amelia Rinehart. Despite Emmett’s objections Amelia is determined to give the dusty west Texas town a makeover and enlists the help of her female relatives. It isn’t long before the women realize the biggest obstacle in their path is a Hardell cowboy.
BON APPETIT AND A BOOK: A delicious recipe to enjoy alongside the book with an image
Carmael Apple Pie
Photo Credit: James Roper
Flour, for dusting
1 recipe Buttery Pie Dough
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tbsp. for sprinkling
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
15 soft caramel cubes
8 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp. water
On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 disk of dough into a 12" round. Fit into a 9" pie plate. Trim edges, leaving 1" dough overhanging edge of plate; chill 30 minutes.
Melt butter in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and caramels; cook, stirring occasionally, until sugars are dissolved and sauce is slightly thick, 5–7 minutes.
Heat oven to 400°. Arrange apples over dough. Pour sauce evenly over apples. Roll remaining disk of dough into a 12" round and place over top of pie. Pinch top and bottom edges together and fold under; crimp edges. Brush with egg mixture; sprinkle with 1 tbsp. sugar. Cut three 1"-long slits in top of pie. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool completely before serving.
SONG PLAYLIST: A prepared playlist of songs that embodies the book’s characters and their love story.
Rodeo by Garth Brooks
Rank Riders Anthem Luke Kaufman
Too Young to Feel This Damn Old- Garth Brooks
I Wanna Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart- Patsy Montana
Cowgirls Don’t Cry- Brooks & Dunn (featuring Reba McEntire)
Happy Trails- Roy Rogers & Dale Evans
Red Dirt Road-Brooks & Dunn
On The Road Again-Willie Nelson
Life Is A Highway-Chris Ledoux
If It's The Last Thing I Do-Montgomery Gentry
Amarillo by Morning-George Strait
Country Roads (Take Me Home)-John Denver
How 'Bout Them Cowgirls-George Strait
Always On My Mind-Willie Nelson
One Ride In Vegas Chris Ledoux
Cowboy Like Me Cody Johnson
How-to Tips for Aspiring Writers: Tips for those looking to get their work published/break into the industry.
#1 Be fearless
#2 Grow a thick skin. As Tom Hanks says, “There’s no crying in baseball! (A League of Their Own) Same goes for publishing.
#3 Be receptive to suggestions for improvement but take any advice with a grain of salt and always go with your gut.
#4 Check your ego at the door. No matter where you are in your writing career there’s always room for growth and improvement.
#5 Don’t throw in the towel. Each rejection should fuel your determination not to give up and to continue honing your craft.
#6 If you can do all of the above, then start studying. Read blogs about the publishing industry—find out what books are selling. Read the craft of writing blogs. Join a writing organization. Join a critique group. Learn from published authors, then put all that knowledge to work and write.
#7 Don’t beat a manuscript to death. If your work has received several rejections even after you’ve revised according to an editor or agent’s suggestions and the book is still being rejected then put it aside and begin a new one. You’ll be surprised by how much your writing improves with each new book.
I write in a spare bedroom of our little ranch house in Houston, Texas. My love of all things western and cowboys is incorporated in my decorating scheme. My desk was a gift to me by my husband after I sold my first book to Harlequin. It’s called a Texas Ranger desk and was custom made for me by a business in Dallas, Texas. I’m often asked why I love writing cowboys and here’s why:
“America needs the Cowboy both to remind us of how far we have come and to bring us back to the simplicity of the values he represents. He is also needed because he is a piece of who we are as a country. He represents a lifestyle and a time period that is a cherished part of our History. Little boys want to grow up to be him and the little girls want to grow up to marry him.” ~cowboycrew.com
LOVE LESSON LEARNED: real life romance lessons learned from the book
-Don’t be afraid to let yourself be vulnerable
-Forgive yourself for past mistakes and focus on the future
-Let yourself be loved
-Fight for the one you love
-Love requires patience and sacrifice; usually one person in a relationship will give more than the other
-Realize that sometimes you need to let yourself be vulnerable in order to find love.
MOVIE STAR CAST: the author picks movie stars to play the characters in a movie
Barrel Racer Tanya McGee--Emma Stone
Saddle-Bronc cowboy Victor Vicario—Ryan Paevey
SPRING TIME SPIRITS: A light and refreshing cocktail to pair with the book including an image
What You Need:
1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz rum
1/2 oz tequila
1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
2 oz sweet and sour mix
2 oz 7-Up® soda
What to Do:
Take a chilled glass filled with lots of ice cubes (rocks) and pour all ingredients into the glass- except the soda, then top it off with the 7-Up soda. Gently stir and enjoy!