What inspired you to write Capturing Christmas?
A few years ago, I heard about a cowboy proposing to his sweetheart during a rodeo. Apparently, he had the announcer call her out to the middle of the arena between events. He gallantly dropped to his knee in the dirt and asked her to be his wife.
Of course, she said yes and I assume they are now living out their happy-ever-after.
Yet the idea of the proposal stuck in my head. I began mulling over the scenario of what would happen if a cowboy proposed at a rodeo and the girl told him no, in front of hundreds (if not thousands of spectators).
What would drive her to turn him down? She’d have to be strong and independent not to cave under the pressure to say yes.
I knew then that a proposal she wanted no part of had to be part of Celia McGraw’s story when I wrote Capturing Christmas.
Here’s an excerpt from her proposal:
“Are you insane?” Celia glared at the man kneeling before her in the loose dirt of the rodeo arena holding a ring box. A gaudy diamond glittered in the sunlight.
In all her wildest imaginings, seeing Wayne Warshaw down on one knee was the farthest thing from her mind.
He beamed at her and held up the ring box. “Marry me, Celia! Make me the happiest cowboy on the planet.”
Furious, she shook her head. “No! I won’t marry you, you lunkheaded idiot! If you’re operating under the delusion I’m even remotely interested in marrying you, you’ve got feathers and fudge for brains.”
Twitters of excitement fell to a stunned hush as hundreds of spectators caught their collective breath at her rejection.
“Celia, you don’t mean that!” The spurned prospective bridegroom lunged to his feet and grabbed her hand in his. “You’re such a tease. Give ol’ Wayne some sugar, honey.”
Rodeo Romance series!
Why the setting?
I’ve always loved rodeos. After my husband and I attended the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, I knew I had to write a series about the sport. Celia’s story is the third book in the series. Part of the story takes place on a fictional ranch near Twin Falls, Idaho. I choose that location because it seemed like a fitting place for a stock contractor to have a ranch, and it was also convenient to other locations in my story. Writing this series is so much fun for me. It’s a bonus I’m able to tie in something I enjoy so much into a wonderful cause like the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund.
What’s the message you want readers to take with them?
Hope. Redemption. Love. It’s about never giving up, building inner strength, and giving love a chance. Of course, there are hunky cowboy and feisty women, but it’s much more than that. Due to the wound from her past, Kenzie is afraid to trust anyone, particularly a cowboy, with her heart in the first book. Kaley’s never been the most important person to anyone, except her son. The process of opening her heart to love is new experience for her in the second book. Celia is incredibly stubborn and independent in Capturing Christmas. It’s hard for her to accept the idea of falling in love. Despite their flaws, they all hold hope close to their hearts as they learn about love.
Tell me about your main character.
Since I’ve already introduced Celia, I’ll tell you about the hero. (And thank you, Carmen, for the inspiration for Kash’s name!). Life is hectic on a good day for rodeo stock contractor Kash Kressley in Capturing Christmas. Between dodging flying hooves and babying cranky bulls, he barely has time to sleep. The last thing Kash needs is the entanglement of a sweet romance, especially with a woman as full of fire and sass as Celia McGraw. Despite his best efforts to keep her out of his head and heart, Kash is falling hard.
Why do you write romance?
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you I’m a hopeless romantic. It’s true! I’ve always been that way. Even as a young girl, I spent dreamy hours looking through home décor catalogs, admiring Victorian and shabby chic styles. There is no such thing as too many doilies or too much lace. I made it through my high school history class by reading a teen series of historical romances. Oh, and then there’s the fact that I married Captain Cavedweller. He fills my heart and world with more romance than I’d ever imagined possible. It’s just a natural fit for me to write sweet romances full of love and happy endings.
Thank you for hosting me today. I’m so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to connect with your readers. I hope those who enjoy historical fiction, sweet romances, or a good western, will consider reading my books.
“Someone like you should be smart enough to know better than to do something that stupid, Miss McGraw.” The man frowned at her as he held her across his lap, riding over to the fence, out of the way of the horses and the men on horseback behind them.
Too stunned to reply, Celia gulped and continued staring at him, gradually comprehending she hadn’t been killed.
At least she assumed she hadn’t died, unless angels wore dusty cowboy hats, dark blue chaps, and were breath-stealing handsome.
Those engaging eyes bore into hers, making her heart skitter in her chest while an entire bushel of butterflies burst into flight in her stomach.
She observed her rescuer. He sat tall in the saddle and had muscles to spare, or so she presumed from the way he easily hoisted her off the ground and onto his horse. A hint of light brown hair peeked out from beneath the brim of his hat. The pale blue shirt he wore almost matched the fascinating shade of his eyes.
Celia experienced the most unreasonable urge to run her fingers along the stubbly expanse of his cheeks, down his square jaw, and over his strong chin. Mesmerized by his full bottom lip, she inhaled a deep breath and nearly choked.
The very scent of him hinted at a lethal combination of freshly fallen snow, a warm winter fire, and sweet seduction rolled into one incredibly enticing package.
About to tumble headlong into a yearning unlike any she’d ever known, Huck ran up to the fence and yanked her back to reality.
Capturing Christmas is the third installment in the sweet holiday western Rodeo Romance series.
Life is hectic on a good day for rodeo stock contractor Kash Kressley. Between dodging flying hooves and babying cranky bulls, he barely has time to sleep. The last thing Kash needs is the entanglement of a sweet romance, especially with a woman as full of fire and sass as the redheaded photographer he rescues at a rodeo.
Determined to capture the best images possible, rodeo photographer Celia McGraw is fearless and feisty. Not one to back down from a challenge, her biggest risk isn’t in her work. Danger lurks in the way her heart responds to one incredibly handsome stock contractor. Will Kash and Celia capture the spirit of the season?
November 1 through Dec. 24, 10 percent of the net proceeds from all Shanna Hatfield book sales will be donated to the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund. The JCCF is a non-profit organization that assists rodeo athletes who’ve sustained catastrophic injuries and are unable to work for an extended period. Every book purchased during this promotional period adds to the donation total. Don’t forget to add books to your Christmas lists!
USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield writes character-driven romances with relatable heroes and heroines. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, this hopeless romantic is out to make it happen, one story at a time. When she isn’t writing or indulging in chocolate (dark and decadent, please), Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.
Shanna is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, Romance Writers of America, Sweet Romance Reads, Cowboy Kisses, and Pioneer Hearts.
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