One of the things that Linda (the other half of Lynn Patrick) and I have in common is that we both grew up horse crazy, so we loved the idea of incorporating horses into our April Sparrow Lake romance, THE LONG ROAD HOME. Throughout our years of writing together, we’ve done some fun things to research horses for various stories. We’ve been to the Kentucky Derby and Lexington area horse farms. And we toured the National Stud in Ireland. Of course we spent many a summer weekend day at Arlington Park Racecourse and got familiar with all the top horses, riders and trainers.
My own romance with horses started when I was a kid, when my uncle took me on a ride through Prospect Park in Brooklyn. The next time I rode was a dozen years later in Mexico. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I went on one of the most thrilling rides in my life, up a mountainside and across a river. I was hooked. When I got home, I started lessons in the far suburbs. I rode for nine years—both Western and English—and learned to jump. I even tried Saddle Seat, though I always felt uncomfortable with the long stirrups.
In addition, I spent weekends and a couple of full weeks at a dude ranch in Michigan, where I got to ride twice every day. My favorite horse was Shoshone Squaw, pictured here.
I felt a special connection to her, the same way I did to my own cats and dog, and I would have loved to buy her. Unfortunately, I would have had to board her at a pricey suburban stable. And I lived in Chicago, so how much would I get to see/ride her? I did share board on another horse for a year and was the only rider two or three times a week, as close as I have ever come to owning my own horse.
A few of my Patricia Rosemoor romantic suspense books are horse-centered. Before writing TOUCH ME IN THE DARK, the third book in my The McKenna Legacy series, my late husband and I spent several days at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary in South Dakota, where we bunked down at night in a Dances with Wolves teepee and got to talk to Dayton Hyde, the man responsible for the sanctuary’s existence. Talk about a real life hero! To research ranching for the The Sons of Silver Springs series, we spent time on a New Mexican ranch and learned to move cows. In the snow. And learned about the sacrifices ranching families make to keep their way of life alive.Back to THE LONG ROAD HOME...
HOME TO SPARROW LAKE), Priscilla has been a bridesmaid several times—she has the dresses to prove it—but never even came close to being a bride. So who would be her perfect hero?
While the book is set in Wisconsin, we wanted to make our hero someone Priscilla cared for who left Sparrow Lake years ago, and has now come home, bringing horses and an idea for a new business—a dude ranch—with him. Having spent a dozen years riding the rodeo circuit, Sam Larson fit the bill in every way. With all the riding and horse research I have done, I fear I only had a minor brush with rodeo myself when I barrel raced horses at that Michigan dude ranch, but rodeo has always fascinated me. As do cowboys.
Maybe that’s where it all started. Movies with cowboy heroes. The romance of the Old West. I loved watching them as a kid and still do now. Though it’s not a romance, Hidalgo is one of my favorites, because I love the bond of the hero with his horse. Hmm, maybe I need to watch it again...