So, Kristine, where did you get the idea for this novel?
THE HUSBAND SHOW is the third book in the “Willing to Wed” series. I wanted to write Aurora’s story because she was such an unlikely heroine. In the previous books she’d clearly longed for female friendships, but her social skills were limited. I liked that she joined the quilting group and struggled to learn how to sew. I wanted her to have friends, to reach out to Meg and Lucia. It was time to give this secretive and prickly woman a love story of her own. I wanted her to feel that she belonged.
My ideas for the Willing stories come from the town itself. My husband and I love our road trips across the West every summer. I spend a lot of time taking pictures and wondering who lives on that ranch, who works in that cafe, what is going on in those small towns. I read bulletin boards and shamelessly eavesdrop everywhere we go.
In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption or captions, what would they say?
“Who can resist a man with a guitar?”
How long did it take you to write?
Approximately four months.
What is your favorite scene?
I love when Aurora finally gets up on stage and, standing in her fancy western boots, absolutely amazes the crowd with her fiddling skills. I was so envious (of both the designer boots and the musical talent); I started taking violin lessons when I was 55 and it is a very, very slow process. I had Aurora play “Orange Blossom Special”,because that’s the closest I’ll ever come to that song.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Winter, Jake’s daughter, really made me laugh. Kids are so adaptable, even when arriving in a small Montana town with a previously unknown father. Leave it to Winter to wonder if she’d landed in “Brigadoon”!
I love Sam Hove, who was the hero of THE HUSBAND PROJECT and Jake’s younger brother. He was based on Jeremy Wade, extreme angler of RIVER MONSTERS fame. I’m a huge fan of the show. I read Wade’s book five times while writing THE HUSBAND PROJECT and had a huge map of the Amazon on my desk. Season 6 of RIVER MONSTERS just began, which means Sunday nights have become very, very exciting. My family thinks I am insane.
Tell us one thing you learned during research.
I researched collectible guitars and priceless violins. And I learned my old Gibson isn’t worth much, darn it.
What music would match the mood of this novel?
Bluegrass and country. “Della Mae” is a terrific new band with that mix of old and new, as are the “Infamous Stringdusters”. I’m a huge Delbert McLinton fan; several years ago I had the great luck to spend an evening in Austin with Gary Nicholson, who had written many hit songs for Delbert and produced some of his albums. Mr. Nicholson shared a lot about the business of songwriting and I used some of that information in this novel.
This is your 43rd_ book. Exactly what does that mean to you?
After writing 40 books and novellas, I decided to take some time off. I hadn’t planned on staying away from writing for as long as I did, but after raising six children my husband and I decided to enjoy the finally-empty nest and do some traveling. I also spent 8 years writing an animal adoption column, fostering puppy mill dogs and fundraising for animal rescue organizations. When I began writing again, for Heartwarming, I wondered if I would remember how to do it! I’ve been thrilled with the response to the Willing books. It means a lot to me.
What do you plan to work on next?
I’m writing another novel set in Willing. It opens with a marriage proposal during the Fourth of July parade, but I’m not going to tell you who says yes!
What are you reading for pleasure right now?
I read constantly! I’ve recently finished Eloisa James’ Three Weeks with Lady X, Joshilyn Jackson’s Someone Else’s Love Story, Jussi Adler-Olsen’s The Purity of Vengeance. Next up: Jo Nesbo’s Cockroaches, Peter James’ Dead Man’s Time and Jennifer Weiner’s Best Friends Forever.