LEE: Hello, Helen. Welcome to Harlequin Heartwarming! I’m so excited that we get to be blogging partners. Tell us what kind of tea you’re drinking, and please share a little about your first Heartwarming.
HELEN: Earl Gray is my favorite tea both for its flavor and for its appearance. I have a glass teapot that lets me enjoy its color, a deep rich amber, while it steeps. I generally have a big salt-glazed stoneware mug beside me as I write.
|Helen's amber tea set|
LEE: Bull riding? Wow, Helen, that sounds like an exciting...and somewhat dangerous...sport. And oh my goodness, who doesn’t love a cowboy hero?
Right now I’m working on the first book in a trilogy about three sisters, set in a small fictional town called Riverton, Wisconsin. The first book, the middle sister’s story, is tentatively titled To Catch a Wife. The title is meant to be a play on the old film title, To Catch a Thief.
This afternoon I’m sipping an organic Chinese green tea. It brews a lovely jade color and it’s packed with antioxidants.
|Tea time in Lee's folly|
HELEN: I grew up on horseback in Kentucky and fell in love with the West and rodeo after spending time on a dude ranch in Colorado. I fell away from the sport after many years in New Hampshire but got hooked again by watching bull riding on television and then traveling to live events. Bull riding is totally insane, but there's a crazy magnificence about it going back as far as the Minoan bull leapers. And I love the care and concern with which the bulls are treated. There are dozens of stories in the PBR waiting to be told.
|Inspiration for Helen's next book: a statue honoring professional bull riders|
LEE: The hero in To Catch a Wife is Riverton’s new chief of police and a former Chicago PD homicide detective. He’s seen a lot of bad stuff in his career and he’s ready to settle down, although he’s having trouble getting the heroine to believe it. I’ve only written a cop hero once before and I have to say, they can have a lot of attitude. I love it!
|Inspiration for Lee's next book: a gazebo on the bank of the Mississippi|
HELEN: Yes, I've interviewed a lot of cops while researching an earlier book. Lots of attitude and a bizarre sense of humor to us "civilians"—insulation against the bad stuff, I reckon.
I've been calling my first Heartwarming novel Cameron's Pride, but my editors have decided to use that as the series title and chose Into The Storm for the first book. I love it; storms of various kinds figure prominently in the story. The hero is a rancher dealing with his wife's death and a rebellious teenage daughter. The heroine is a traveling horse trainer perpetually running from tragedy in her past and threats in the present. Setting and weather act almost as characters in the action, potentially matters of life and death in wide-open country as I've learned first-hand.
LEE: That’s a wonderful title, Helen, and we’re so excited to have you join the Heartwarming family!
HELEN & LEE: Readers, we hope you’ve enjoyed having tea with us today. To celebrate our first joint blog post, Helen and I are offering a little giveaway. Tell us about your favorite heroes in a comment on this post—rancher, cop, doctor, bad boy, Navy SEAL, the guy next door or...? And yes, you can have more than one! On Saturday we’ll have a random draw and post the winner’s name as a comment.
The prizes? From Helen, some New Hampshire maple sugar candy, and from Lee, a copy of one of her Heartwarming titles (winner’s choice) and a little tin of her favorite organic green tea.
Happy reading! Until next time,
Helen DePrima and Lee McKenzie