Shanna Hatfield - Funny, Delightful Adventure in a Quirky Small Town
USA Today bestselling author Shanna Hatfield is a farm girl who loves to write. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances are filled with sarcasm, humor, hope, and hunky heroes. Shanna creates character-driven romances with realistic 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.” When Shanna isn’t dreaming up unforgettable characters, twisting plots, or covertly seeking dark, decadent chocolate, she hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Catching the Cowboy.
Please give us a short introduction to what Catching the Cowboy is about.
Catching the Cowboy is a story about second chances, redemption, growing and changing, forgiveness, and acceptance. It’s also about family, friends, and a wonderful small town full of unique, sometimes hilarious characters.
What inspired you to write this story?
My childhood was spent on a farm and trips to town were not a frequent occurrence. Perhaps that why, when we did venture into the nearest town (population 1,200) it was such an exciting adventure.
I think the small-town charm I experienced as a child translated into a certain magical wonder for sparsely populated towns and all the possibilities they hold, at least to my writer’s mind.
It’s so much fun to build a world full of quirky characters set in an equally off-the-wall community.
When I began thinking about a new series, set in what many would consider the middle of nowhere in the eastern Oregon desert region, I incorporated elements from my hometown into what would become Summer Creek, Oregon, population 497. Summer Creek also takes inspiration from a tiny little town near our current home. And I tossed in a liberal helping of my over-active imagination to round out the vision of how Summer Creek would look, feel, smell, and sound.
Why did you pick Summer Creek as the backdrop for your story?
Summer Creek is one of those small towns—the kind brimming with quirky inhabitants, pets with personalities (like a meandering goat named Ethel), meddling matchmakers, tumbling-down old buildings, and dreams. So many dreams. These sweet, uplifting romances explore the ties that bind a community together when they unite for a common purpose and open their hearts to unexpected possibilities. Heart, humor, and hope weave through each story, touching the lives of those who call Summer Creek home.
Readers who love Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove series and RaeAnne Thayne's Haven Point series will enjoy coming home to Summer Creek.
Tell us more about Emery Brighton.
Emery Brighton has spent her whole life pampered and spoiled. Her father, James Brighton, is a self-made billionaire. Her mother is a former southern belle. And her uncle is a powerful judge. Although she’s intelligent, witty, and has a great sense of humor, Emery has spent the time since she graduated with a master’s degree in business aimlessly hanging out with her so-called friends. She shops, takes trips and goes out to brunch, which is exactly what leads to the trouble that lands her in Summer Creek.
I won’t divulge any spoilers, but you get the idea. Not once, in Emery’s entire existence, has she ever had to use her common sense, wash a dish, or do anything she didn’t want to do.
Now, she’s in Summer Creek, a town so small the closest thing to Starbucks is a diner that hasn’t changed its decor since President Eisenhower was in office. Emery not only has to find her common sense but use it. She has to get her hands dirty, apply herself to tasks she doesn’t enjoy, and step outside of the indulged life she’s always known.
In the process, Emery learns a lot about herself, about the people she loves, the community, and about the man who captures her heart.
What makes Hudson Cole so special?
Hud is a cowboy, a rancher, a father, a grandson, a brother, and a good friend. Those who make their way past that serious exterior find a good, honest, hardworking, loyal person. He’s grown up in Summer Creek, knows everyone there, volunteers when he’s needed and often before he’s asked, and does his best to help others.
Summer Creek Ranch is his home. The ranch has been in his family for generations. He lives there with his grandmother, Nell, and his precocious daughter, Cricket, who Hud thinks is six going on thirty. While Hud can be a bit standoffish to strangers, he is a big softie when it comes to his little girl.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I don’t know if they’re a secret, but I love to bake and try new recipes. I released my first printed cookbook last October. It’s called A Cowboy Christmas. (And yes, I love the holidays, too). I took all the food photos in the book, which was a learning experience, but also a lot of fun because I enjoy playing around with my camera and snapping photos. Other than reading, I also like to garden. On occasion, I whip out my glue gun or Modge Podge and do something crafty.
In which way is this a story of personal growth?
Emery experiences so much growth in this story, changing from someone who was just coasting through life to someone who is embracing it and making a difference in the lives of others. Hud had his own grown journey as he learned to move beyond the pain of his past and embrace the possibilities in his future.
Was there a single defining moment or event where you suddenly thought, 'Now I'm an Author,' as in—this is now my career?"
I think that moment was when someone posted a review on my first book. That made it seem so suddenly real and by that point, I was in love with writing sweet romances and knew it’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It’s not just a career, it’s a passion, a hobby, and my happy place rolled into one.
When working on a new book, what’s the first thing you do?
I’m a very visual person, so when I’m working on a book, the first thing I do is start a board for the book on Pinterest. I start by thinking about the setting and characters, what they’ll look like, then I add all kinds of details that inspire me. It all rolls into the story.
Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer? Do you have a schedule that you stick to, or is it more in the moment?
I am a disciplined writer. Generally, I spend about ten hours a day, five to six days a week, in my office writing, editing, or working on marketing. I treat my writing career like a full-time job and keep to a regular schedule. It’s important to me to be productive and continue to grow as a writer, which requires time and effort.
What are you working on right now?
The third book in the Summer Creek series. Protecting the Princess is about Hud’s best friend Parker and a girl he finds in the mountains who is injured. I’m having a blast writing this story. It has cowboys and a hunky outdoorsy guy as well as a fairy tale castle and a princess. What’s not to like? It will release September 24. The second book in the series, Rescuing the Rancher, released July 30.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I love connecting with readers! They can find me online at my website: http://shannahatfield.com
Or on social media:
BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/authors/shanna-hatfield
And I’d love for readers to sign up for my newsletter. I include recipes and monthly giveaways!