Thursday, May 5, 2016

Outlaw Cowboy by Nicole Helm {Guest Post & Giveaway}

Outlaw Cowboy (Big Sky Cowboys #2)
by Nicole Helm

Ever since his father's accident, Caleb Shaw vowed he'd mend his wild ways, and he means to keep his word. He’s a changed man. A better man. And he knows he should want absolutely nothing to do with his crazy old life...or the maddening temptation that is Delia Rogers.

Because Delia? Is nothing but trouble.

Delia’s been stealing her sisters away from their violent father ever since she was old enough to fight back. But now with the police on her trail and all her bridges burned, there’s nowhere left to run but back into the arms of the one cowboy she knows she shouldn’t need. Caleb has always been too good for her, no matter how bad he claimed to be. Yet when close quarters turn into something more, Delia and Caleb are forced to decide what really matters: mending their reputations or healing their wary hearts...

Do you do any research for your books? If so, what does it entail?

A million years ago (or so it seems), I was an English major with an American History minor. This meant I spent a lot of time reading, writing, and researching.

It was never my favorite. I love libraries, I even love learning, but looking for certain information always drove me nuts. It’s possible I once procrastinated a twenty-five page research paper until the day before it was due. (I turned it in! I got a B! It all worked out).

So, quite honestly, I don’t do a lot of research for my books. It’s part of the reason I chose contemporary, and I tend to gravitate toward things I already know enough about to be able to find what I don’t know easily. In fact, the books I wrote early in my career were almost all written without any research, because they were set in fictionalized versions of places I knew.

In fact, a few years ago I heard Nora Roberts speak at the RWA National Conference, and someone asked her about her research, and she mentioned she could find almost everything she needed on Google. If it’s good enough for Nora, it’s good enough for me! ;)

But mostly, I’m a character driven writer, so a lot of the story is simply driven by the experience or feelings of each character, and that’s not something that requires a lot of research. Sometimes I’ll come up with a scenario based on the characters and double check to make sure it’s plausible or possible.

Granted, as I’ve tried new things, and branched into cowboys and the West, I’ve certainly had to google a few things. I like to write people who are connected to the land, so it was imperative to look at the geography of Montana and find a good place for Blue Valley and the Shaw Ranch, to understand what the seasons would look like and how and when they would change. I love Pinterest for searching for visual representation of what I’m trying to describe, and I have a board for each book that I consult as I write.

For REBEL COWBOY, when I got the idea to include a Mystery llama, and then give Dan the idea of starting a llama ranch, I did research llamas in Montana, to make sure they could survive there, and a little bit about their care. What they might be raised for and the like. I read a little bit about llama ranches (which actually inspired the scene with Dan’s internet printouts), but I also knew that as funny as I found the story about Mystery the llama, it wasn’t the core of the book. Mel and Dan and love were, so I never overdue it on the research. It didn’t make sense to me to write paragraphs and paragraphs about llama care, when that wasn’t really the point of Mystery’s existence.

For the Big Sky series, I’ve done a lot of consulting my husband. He’s been a hockey fan forever, so I asked him about things that might have put Dan in the predicament I’d create for him. As you can imagine from the title, OUTLAW COWBOY, deals a little bit with being…well, outside the law. Since my husband works in law enforcement, and both Delia and Caleb have some trouble in the whole obeying all laws regard, I asked him if certain ideas I had were plausible or even possible, and he helped me with some of those specifics. (Although sometimes reality doesn’t fit what I need and I have to bend it a little bit. Shh, don’t tell my husband).

Research is all sort of secondary to everything else, and usually only happens on a sort of as needed, make sure this could happen basis. Of course, that could always change. I never know where the next story idea will take me.

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Nicole Helm writes down-to-earth contemporary romance specializing in people who don’t live close enough to neighbors for them to be a problem. When she’s not writing, she spends her time dreaming about someday owning a barn. She lives with her husband and two young sons in O’Fallon, Missouri.

Visit Nicole’s website for more down-to-earth contemporary romance!

Thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca, one lucky reader is going to win a print copy of Rebel Cowboy, the first in Nicole Helm’s Big Sky Cowboy series.

Open to residents of US & Canada, ages 18+. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Good Luck!

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