Q: Where did you get the idea for STRINGS ATTACHED?
I wrote the original draft of Strings Attached back in 2000 or 2001, I think, so it's difficult to remember what all went into it. I do know that certain elements involving Katie's death were inspired by real life events in the news at the time, though not exactly. I was also passionate about animal rescue at the time, and still am, so a lot of the pets in the book were based on real fur babies I knew and loved. The general setting, though, was inspired by my own childhood growing up in a very rural, wooded area, growing food and raising animals. I didn't grow up in Manitoba, but I have a great respect for Canada's nature.
What inspired me to write it in the first place, though, was LaVyrle Spencer's last book before she retired – she spoke so warmly of her wonderful career, I started to think about writing romance. I had always written, and I had always loved romances, but I hadn't put two and two together – until that book, Then Came Heaven. Then I wrote Strings Attached. This is why Strings Attached so strongly reflects a classical contemporary romance tradition, I think, because I was inspired by her books. Theo, by the way, is nicknamed Teddy in the book in honour of one of LaVyrle Spencer's heroes.
Q: I loved the gorgeous descriptions of the ranches and the surrounding lands that were plentiful in the STRINGS ATTACHED. What type of research went into making those places come to life?
I had several friends who were from Canada's west and from Australia, or who had travelled extensively around these regions, so I picked their brains and made sure they test-read the manuscript for me. Back when the original draft was written, I was very new to the internet, but I managed to make contact with a few people involved with buffalo ranching. Where I lived as a child, there was a family who owned a few bison, so I have always been fascinated by such wild icons living on a farm. I read a lot about the business and then clarified with people I met around online. I did a lot of climate and nature research – out of books, mostly, way back then, if you can believe it! I had a friend who was a meteorologist, who helped a good deal making sure things were as correct as I could make them. And, of course, my whole childhood was research in taking care of a working family farm.
Q: Theo is not a typical hero, what was it about him that drove you to write him the way that he is?
I'm glad you think so! He's certainly big, and tough, and handsome, like most romance heroes, but he's seasoned. He's had set-backs, and you can see that in him, so it kind of makes him more tragic and romantic to me. I guess, I'm a sucker for creatures who need rescuing, so a wounded hunk is better, to me, than one who's never faced loss or had life throw him lemons. I've always admired people who come back from troubles. I've known a few people who came out of trial stronger than before, and I find it wonderful. Theo's story reflects my belief, though, that doing everything alone doesn't necessarily mean you're stronger. It takes a lot of courage to accept help.