People always ask, 'Where do you get your ideas for your books?' It's not always easy to come up with an answer for each book, but for Kiss A Cowboy, the answer is simple—I was actually stranded in Montana one summer for a week. Sound romantic? Not really, but it was an interesting experience.
My son and I were returning from the National Junior Bowling Tournament in Reno, NV where he'd been bowling with about a thousand other kids from across the country. Before coming home, we'd hopped up to Portland, OR to visit a friend, then headed home from there. If you drive long days, you can make it from Oregon to Minnesota in two days. Not this time.
About 50 miles on the western side of Missoula, our van's transmission went out and we were stranded. There was nothing around. We didn't have a cell phone then, but even if we had, there would have been no service anyway. And it was 7:00 pm, so we had to figure out what to do before it grew dark. We waited a few minutes to see if a Highway Patrol would drive by, but one didn't. So, we walked back down the highway about a mile to where we'd seen a restaurant/bar/gas station/casino in the middle of nowhere. You know those movies where the strangers walk into a saloon and all noise stops and everyone in the place turns and looks at them? Well, that was exactly what happened. It was a nice place, but it was a place where locals hung out and the minute we walked in, all heads turned. It was a very strange feeling.
I quickly called AAA and they said they'd send a tow truck from Missoula. So, there we waited, in the bar, with all eyes on us.
The tow truck driver was wonderful. He loaded up our van and we hopped into his big truck and he drove us into Missoula. First, he took us to a nice hotel about a mile from the place where our van was being towed, and unloaded our luggage for us. We ended up with a large room that had a view of the mountains, so there was no complaint there. And then we waited. We waited a week for our car to get fixed.
So, what do you do in Missoula when you have no car to drive and there are no rentals for some odd reason? You walk everywhere. Missoula is a big town. Much bigger than I had thought when we'd simply driven through it. My son and I went to several movies (there were $1.50 movies in several theaters which was great!). We walked to stores. We walked the mile every day to the garage to pester them to get our car fixed faster. And we sat in the hotel room and played a lot of Gin Rummy.
There is a lot more to this story—like the whole saga of my husband (he's at home) calling the dealership and yelling at them to fix our car because they wanted us to wait yet another entire weekend even though they had it almost done—but I won't bore you with the details. It was an interesting, unexpected extension to our already long vacation. And we laugh about it now.
That trip has always stayed in the back of my mind. I knew at some point, I wanted to write a story where the heroine is stranded and ends up on a ranch. Then she meets a guy that changes her life. That's when the fun begins.
I didn't meet any hot cowboys when I was stranded in Montana, but then again, I wasn't looking for any. Being married and with my son along at the time, hot cowboys were the last thing on my mind. That's not to say there aren't any in Montana – I'm sure the state is full of them. And if I ever get stranded there again, I'll be sure to look a little closer. Yes, I'm still married, but it never hurts to just look, right?
What I can say for certain is that the drive between Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and Missoula, Montana is beautiful, and if you ever get a chance to drive through there, do it. You won't be disappointed.
If you love a fun, flirty romance with hot cowboys, you'll love KISS A COWBOY.