|Photo courtesy of Swiss via stockxchng|
What is it about Montana that makes it the perfect setting for so many romance novels? Is it the richness of its history, the adventurous and colorful nature of its people, or the pure physical beauty of its landscape?
For me, it’s all three. I’ve been fascinated with Montana for ages, ever since I was a small child living in North Dakota. North Dakota was flat and seemingly endless, but Montana was where the mountains were. There’s also a certain amount of mystique about Montana. I’ve always had the impression that it remained free and expansive, maybe even unruly, long after the west was won. The land is big and the people who settled there thought big.
In a lot of ways, Montana is everything that the west is all about. The state experienced gold and silver rushes, like the famous ones that brought people to California. It was a huge cattle state and navigated the transition between the open range and the ranch system (which I deal with in my book Fool for Love). It also experienced a little bit of the ranch war tension that was much more of a problem further south in Wyoming. And, of course, Montana was subject to the tragedies of the Indian wars and the resulting monumental change in lifestyle of the Native Americans. Montana really has it all.
There’s something about a place that provided to much opportunity for so long, and still does today. In my Montana Romance series I’ve tried to capture a lot of the wide variety of people who were able to pick up and move west to start a new life, and who were successful at it. In its early days, Montana, like a lot of the west, was quite liberal and open to all sorts. I love that about the place! And even though its history wasn’t always perfect, it was always colorful.
Believe it or not, I’ve never actually had the chance to visit Montana, although I’ve always wanted to. I have always sought out books and programming about it. I think the show that really solidified my love of the state was the PBS reality series Frontier House. Not only was the cinematography of that show amazing, being PBS it contained a lot of fascinating information, not only about frontier life, but the state itself too. After the show was over, I really dug into research about the people and locations involved. Good stuff!
I definitely hope to get to Montana someday soon. In the meantime, I’ll continue writing about it for a little bit longer and revisiting it in my heart and in my books.
Merry Farmer lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats, Butterfly and Torpedo. She has been writing since she was ten years old and realized one day that she didn't have to wait for the teacher to assign a creative writing project to write something. It was the best day of her life. She then went on to earn not one but two degrees in History so that she would always having something to write about. Today she walks along the cutting edge of Indie Publishing, writing Historical Romance and Women's Sci-Fi. She is also passionate about blogging, knitting, and cricket and is working towards becoming an internationally certified cricket scorer.
"[In Your Arms is] a book that intelligently tackles racial tensions of post-Civil War era...a highly engaging romance between two fiery-spirited individuals...I highly recommend this book to all fans of historical romance." --Mary Chen, Amazon reviewer
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Lily Singer has never belonged. Taken from her tribe as a child and raised in a white man’s school, she no longer has a place in either world. Teaching has become her life. When that life is threatened by rumors and prejudice after a string of robberies, she must turn for help to the one man who spells disaster for her carefully ordered existence. Will he save her or steal her heart?
Christian Avery, Justice of the Peace, is used to having things his way. Cold Springs is his responsibility, and when its citizens blame the local Indian population for the mysterious robberies, it’s up to him to restore order and maintain calm. The one person who refuses to follow his lead is the beautiful, native-born Lily. Her defiance turns his life upside down.
But when town gossip shifts from robberies to romance after a foolish indiscretion, Lily’s job and reputation are on the line. She must choose between the only life she has ever known and the only place she has ever felt at home, in Christian’s arms.