Get Lost in a Story Readers, it’s my privilege to welcome back Barbara White Daille. Barbara writes exceptional heartwarming stories for Harlequin American Romance. Each is so unique and compelling, her stories consistently surprise. She seems to grow with each tale.
RANCHER AT RISK Rancher at Risk, January 2014 - Barbara White Daille
After the loss of his family in a tragic accident, Ryan Malloy has been given one last chance to change his life. His boss sends him to Flagman's Folly, New Mexico, to run his ranch, but unfortunately, Ryan's troubled attitude lands him in hot water with the locals, especially the ranch's manager, Lianne Ward.
Deaf since birth, Lianne has never let her disability define who she is. But, she's yet to meet a man who treats her as an equal. Ryan seems different…that is, when they're not butting heads over the ranch's new school for disadvantaged boys.
Forced to work together, Lianne and Ryan discover an unexpected attraction beneath their quarreling. But will Ryan's painful past drive them apart…permanently?
"This is an entry-level staff position," Lianne informed him. "I can do the interviewing on my own."
Her fingers didn't curve into fists, this time, but Ryan could see them in his mind. "Regardless, I'll be here. Besides, you might want an independent observer in the room." He tried a smile again. "When you're talking to someone you may decide to hire, you want to make sure you stay professional."
She laughed. "We've had that conversation before, too. Don't you remember? I am a professional. And I know how to act while I'm interviewing."
"Think so? Well, here's a tip you might find helpful. Keep your hands away from your face. Especially when you're holding a pencil."
Her eyes narrowed, then widened in sudden understanding. She rubbed her cheek with her fingertips.
"Missed it." He reached up and lightly brushed aside her tendril of hair, then thumbed away the dark smudge on her temple.
Her eyes met his. Her pink lips softened, and his pulse gave one mighty hitch.
She stepped back, breaking contact, looking away. "I'd better go check in a mirror." She moved past him, leaving behind the faint scent of roses.
And one thoroughly shaken man.
Get Lost in a Story readers: Please welcome Barbara White Daille.
DONNELL: Barbara, Your stories always pull at my heart strings. And I see we’re back in Flagman’s Folly, NM again. Honestly, you make me believe this place is real. So I have to ask – you do know it’s a fictional place, don’t you?
BARBARA: I've spent so much time in this town, it's become very real to me! This is the fourth book set in Flagman's Folly. Each book stands alone, with the hero and heroine of that story finding their happy-ever-after. But because this is such a small, close-knit ranching community, it makes sense that folks would run into each other at the grocery store and the local café, at weddings and barbecues and county fairs. In this town, the residents have a hard time keeping secrets from anyone—especially the matchmakers!
I think it might be this aspect--all these connections, allowing the reader to view the town from so many different eyes—that makes Flagman's Folly real.
DONNELL: Lianne and Ryan are new characters to me. Explain how they tie into your series in this book.
BARBARA: Some of the townsfolk appear in all the Flagman's Folly stories. The heroes and heroines show up here and there, too. Lianne's sister, Kayla, is the heroine of the first book, A Rancher's Pride. Lianne doesn't live in town and communicates with Kayla through computer technology and text messaging. In that story, for the most part, she plays a small off-screen role. In other books, she visits Kayla and her family. And in Rancher at Risk, she comes to town in the role of project manager for a local rancher.
Ryan manages a ranch for that same man, who is the hero of the second book, The Rodeo Man's Daughter. Other than his boss's family, Ryan is unknown to all the folks of Flagman's Folly, although the reader gets a hint about trouble brewing with him before he makes his appearance in Rancher at Risk.
DONNELL: I imagine having a deaf character took some additional research. What did you love about writing Lianne? What was the most difficult?
BARBARA: The most difficult part about writing a scene with Lianne was remembering she couldn't hear! That was also exactly what I loved about her. What I hope the story shows is that she's very different—NOT because she's deaf, but because she's unique. As we all are.
DONNELL: Every book involves research, would you agree? What’s the most interesting/unusual thing you’ve learned while conducting research?
BARBARA: I'm a self-confessed chocoholic and, while researching on an unrelated topic one day, I wound up at the Guinness World Records website. There, I couldn't keep from checking the chocolate stats. They list the largest chocolate bar in the world as weighing...are you ready???...more than TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS. That would keep me supplied for a while!
DONNELL: (That might last me two weeks) What is the best thing about being an author? What’s the most difficult?
BARBARA: The best thing about being an author is being able to take all the stories running around in my head, put them down on paper, and share them with my readers.
The most difficult part about being a writer is letting go of the characters once their story is told. Luckily, we can always go back and visit with them again and again.
DONNELL: How often do you get lost in a story?
BARBARA: Every chance I have. Whether it's a book I'm reading or one I'm writing, there is absolutely nothing I love better than getting wrapped up in a story and its characters. When it comes to a good novel, even chocolate ranks second.
DONNELL: And I haven’t asked this question in forever; what’s in your refrigerator right now?
BARBARA: Eggs, milk, butter, fruits and veggies, a can of tuna, two bottles of juice, and several kinds of chocolate.
DONNELL -- Chocolate, but of course!Barbara, it’s your turn. Time to ask readers a question, and then mention if you’ll do a giveaway.
BARBARA: Donnell, thanks again for inviting me to visit!
Readers: If you could become the heroine or hero of a novel, what type of book would you star in and why?
To enter the drawing for an autographed copy of Rancher at Risk, share your answer in a comment by Friday, January 10th.
Note: U.S./Canada entries for contest.
Barbara would love to have you drop by her website: www.barbarawhitedaille.com
and to see you on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BarbaraWhiteDaille
and Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbaraWDaille
and Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbaraWDaille