Jen: Today we welcome Maggie McGinnis to Romancing the Book as she celebrates the release of Accidental Cowgirl. Maggie, will you share a short bio with us?
Maggie: Maggie McGinnis is the author of Driving Without a License, which was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart award. A former high school English teacher, an accomplished musician, and a certified black belt, she lives in New England with her family.
Jen: Tell about the new release and where the idea came from
Maggie: Kyla’s best friends Jess and Hayley want only the best for her after a humiliating, painful, disastrous year, so they scoop her out of the city and off to a spot where she’ll be too busy to think about all that’s happened to her. Little do they know, the super-hot cowboys on the Whisper Creek brochure are the ones who really do run the ranch, and ooh, will there be sparks!
I’m pretty sure I was in a bit of an escapist mood when I started this book, since Montana is far, far from my reality. I really wanted to write a fish-out-of-water story, but also wanted to ground my heroine in Boston, which I love. I hoped to find a vacation spot that would be the polar opposite of anything she’d experienced before, and a Montana dude ranch seemed perfect. Where better to heal heart and mind than a place where you can have big skies, big horses, and big – um – cowboys?
In her Loveswept debut, Maggie McGinnis tells the tale of a city girl who’s running on fumes—and the cowboy who shows her all the good things she’s been missing.
After being betrayed by her con man ex-fiancé, Kyla Bennett nurses a broken heart. But Kyla’s friends have other ideas and when they whisk her off to Whisper Creek, a dude ranch staffed by cowboys so hot they dim the Montana sunset, all Kyla wants to do is hide under a quilt. Then in rides Decker Driscoll. He’s hauling about as much emotional baggage as Kyla, but when he stands close by, both of them want to stay close—and begin to succumb to an undeniable attraction.
After experiencing personal tragedy, Decker never thought he’d see Big Sky country again. But now that his family’s Whisper Creek property is in deep with a Vegas gambler, Decker’s back for the summer—and spending all his time running from “cowgirls” who come to the dude ranch to score some dudes. Then he meets Kyla, a kindred spirit who brings on a stampede of protective feelings . . . and a powerful hankering to sear her with a new brand of love.
Jen: Plotter or pantser?
Maggie: I am desperately trying to become a plotter, but am lately convinced I have some sort of delayed-onset ADD that prevents it. J As hard as I try to plan ahead, my stories always seem to veer off in directions I hadn’t planned, and characters I originally planned to keep in the background decide they want center-stage. As much as this sometimes drives me nutters, heading down that unplanned path is the magic of this writing thing, and I love it.
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Maggie: This is probably a good time to admit that while other people get excited about shoe sales, I eagerly look forward to the Staples flyer. When I need inspiration, I troll the Staples aisles, and if there’s a cute notebook made, I can almost guarantee I own it. Along with my slightly-embarrassing pen addiction, I’m almost never without a way to record ideas that strike me. That said, I still have the pretzel wrapper I was forced to write on when an idea struck me on a Ferris wheel this summer. J
Jen: How do you come up with character names?
Maggie: I honestly have to say that most of my characters’ names just kind of come to me, but I definitely have a couple of shout-outs in every book. In Accidental Cowgirl, I named the heroine after a super-sweet gal who helped care for our kiddos (and my sanity!) when they were tiny. Kyla’s friend Jess is named after one of my favorite former students (Yes, all teachers have them, despite our denials!), but the name Decker just appeared out of the vapor, and I fell in love with it. And him <sigh>!
Jen: Do you have a favorite character, or one you most identify with?
Maggie: I always love my heroine and hero (yum), but there are always one or two secondary characters who grab my heart. Because I’m such a pantser, this always surprises me a little … in a really good way. In this book, I just fell in love with Roscoe and Ma. Apparently I’m a sucker for the heart-of-gold-under-a-gruff-
Jen: What’s the highlight of your career thus far?
Maggie: One of the best things about this business is that the stream of highlights is endless. My first highlight was the first time I wrote THE END, of course. Being nominated for a Golden Heart Award was a super-huge highlight, as was the week I spent in NYC celebrating! Connecting with my fabulous agent, and eventually my wonderful editor and the Loveswept team, was even better. However, as I sit here reading my first reviews and hearing from my first stranger-readers, it’s a whole new kind of highlight. My baby’s out in the world, and it’s a scary, happy, strange, fabulous feeling!
Jen: What’s next for you?
Maggie: I just finished a new book that’ll be the first in a new series, and now I’m writing Jess’s story. I’m so excited to spend more time at Whisper Creek!
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