I’ve been so excited about Tule’s new series featuring the Men of Marietta and invited good friends and wonderfully talented authors, Heidi Rice and Kate Hardy, to share something with us about their new books. Please join me in welcoming both of these fabulous authors to JaneBlog!
Heidi Rice and Kate Hardy interviewed each other about Heidi‘s Tempting the Deputy and Kate‘s Flirting with Fire, the first two books in the Men of Marietta series. Keep reading to hear about Marietta man candy, darkroom crushes, puppies with shoe fetishes, and the importance of rigorous cover research!
Kate: Heidi, tell me a little about yourself.
Heidi: Hi Kate. Well, I’m married with two sons – which can give me way too much of an insight into the male psyche – and I’m a Londoner, born and bred. But I adore travelling, particularly to the US, where I’ve been on numerous road trips with my best mate (she’s got two sons too… we need our girl time!). Basically we’re Thelma and Louise but without the driving off a cliff bit. That said, we haven’t been to Montana (yet), but thanks to Tempting the Deputy I have at least spent several wonderful months in Marietta. So Kate, let’s here a bit about you now.
Kate: I’m a mum of two teenagers – the oldest is away in his first year at uni and the youngest is in the middle of exams – and I live with them, their dad and a springer spaniel puppy in Norwich, England. And I was so pleased to be working on the series with you, especially as we were able to brainstorm so much of our books together. Tell me a little about your book, Heidi.
Heidi: Okay, so my book is the first in the series and it’s about Sheriff’s deputy Logan Tate – who also owns a small cattle ranch outside Marietta with his brother Lyle – and British photographer Charlotte (aka Charlie) Foster who’s travelling around America taking shots for a book project. Logan’s one of the good guys. He’s tough, stoic, he always plays by the rules, he’s very protective and he’s also, ever so slightly, uptight. So the last thing he needs is for a bad girl like Charlie – who decided a long time ago that rules are for other people – turning up in his town and messing with him. I absolutely adored writing these two because they were so wrong for each other and yet so right. So why don’t you tell us a bit about your book, Flirting with Fire, Kate.
Kate: I had a lot of fun writing my hero Lyle, who’s Logan’s laid-back younger brother, and Em, who just happens to be the uptight elder twin of Charlie! My book starts a week after your book ends when Em comes to Marietta, wondering if her sister is about to make the biggest mistake of her life. But she soon discovers a lot more than she bargains for. She realises that there’s a lot more to Lyle than meets the eye; and Lyle realises that he doesn’t have to keep searching for love because it’s right before his eyes… Best of all, the book is set in Marietta. This is my third book set in the town and I’ve really fallen in love with it. Though I did find some challenges – what did you find the most challenging thing, Heidi?
Heidi: To be honest, when I’m writing a series of connected books with other authors I get a bit nervous about using other people’s characters in my story. I worry about letting people down. I want to do their characters justice. That said, I had a terrific time writing The Fairy Tales of New York series for Tule last year and this series was no different, once we’d started working on it. Brainstorming with you was a big part of that, but I was also really inspired after meeting authors Jeannie Moon, Patricia Walters-Fischer and Kaylie Newell for the first time at a swanky breakfast in San Diego with Jane and her team. Still sad you couldn’t make that Kate, not only was it a great way to kick off the brainstorming for the series, but the pancakes were delicious! In the end I really enjoyed writing the scene where all five of our Calendar hotties meet Charlie in Grey’s Saloon, a few months later. Seeing our guys all freak out (all except Lyle!) when she suggests that they pose for a nude calendar to raise money for Harry’s House was even more fun… So how about you Kate, what was your most challenging thing, while writing your Men of Marietta book?
Kate: For me it was getting the continuity elements right – and making sure I was using American terms instead of British ones. I’m very grateful to our editor for flagging up my Britishisms! Now, I’m an only child, so I’m quite fascinated by sibling relationships. How about you?
Heidi: I am too, but for the opposite reason I guess, because I have lots of siblings! Maybe that’s why a high point for me was exploring the relationship between Logan and his brother Lyle in my book and then reading about it in yours. I loved that these guys are super close, but also so different in a lot of ways. While Lyle’s a joker and a charmer, Logan’s serious and reserved. Or at least that’s what Charlie sees on the surface. Luckily Logan also has an undiscovered wild side that me (and Charlie) had a lot of fun uncovering (literally). Okay, now you’ve gotta tell us a bit more about Lyle because I know you used him in the series that went before Men of Marietta, the Bachelor Bake-Off. Can you tell us any more about that connection? Also there’s a great moment in Flirting with Fire which has something to do with your Bake-Off book, right?
Kate: Yes, there’s an interesting history to that moment. Lyle’s good friends with Tyler, my Bake-Off hero in A Spoonful of Sugar, and he teases him mercilessly. Tyler has the chance to get his own back with a bet – although he loses, he and Lyle agree terms, and the result is Lyle dressing up as Lady Gaga and singing ‘Born This Way’. I do have a bad habit of slipping music into my books, and I ended up writing the songs for Lyle in the book. Heidi, I know you’re a film buff, but are you a photography buff as well?
Heidi: I didn’t know you wrote the songs, that’s so cool… And yes, I’ve always been a huge film buff, in fact I was a film journalist before I was an author. My interest in photography also goes back a few years. When I was 19, I worked one summer in Houston, Texas, on a low-budget movie. While I was there, I had a ‘thing’ for the guy doing the cinematography (who was gorgeous!) and he taught me all about taking photos, and how to develop stuff in a darkroom. So now you know where the inspiration for a certain hot scene in a darkroom came from in my book! LOL! So now I need to know, is it true you gave your new puppy a walk-on part in Flirting with Fire?
Kate: I couldn’t resist! Brontë is heavily based on Archie, even down to being a springer spaniel. The only difference is that we met Archie when he was five weeks old, so he wasn’t a rescue dog. However, he is a TERRIBLE shoe thief. Unlike Em, the heroine of my book, I don’t possess Louboutins – I normally scuff around in flats or trainers – but Archie did chew my only pair of posh shoes a couple of weeks before I went to an awards do… Thankfully, I was able to get another pair in time to go to London! Now, I know you love doing picture research, so tell me about the research you did for your cover?
Heidi: Yes, it’s true. * Heidi puts on her serious author face. * Hours and hours of arduous research went into scouring photos of hot shirtless cowboys to find the perfect Logan lookalike for my cover. But I think it was totally worth it. Never let it be said I am not prepared to suffer for my art!
So I guess that’s it from Kate and me. We had so much fun writing these first two stories in the Men of Marietta series. I really hope readers have as much fun reading about our guys – and the other three First Responder dudes – who all discover while taking their clothes off for a good cause that sometimes the way to a woman’s heart is paved with a naked pec, or two! Who knew?
Heidi and Kate, the reviews on these stories are fantastic and this series is quickly becoming a reader favorite. I am so glad you took time to talk to us about the series and working together. I have a very special Montana Born prize for readers as well. This mug has been handmade for Tule and the little red star shows where Marietta is on the Montana Map! For a chance to win, just leave a comment below for Heidi and Kate and you’ll be entered to win this prize. Contest ends Saturday with winner announced Sunday.