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After first making me a part of the blogtour for the latest novel Wide Open Spaces, Renee Stevens was also kind enough to answer some questions I really wanted to ask her. Thank you so much Renee, I really appreciate it.
How did you come up with the idea for this novel?
Wide Open Spaces honestly just kind of came to me when a friend was telling me that I should claim the state of Wyoming for the States of Love novella series. She was encouraging me, and I wasn’t going to do it, but then I got this idea of a guy who moved away and then came back and what it could be like for him. It smacked me upside the head until I sat down and started writing.
In what way are the States of Love novels connected?
I think the only way that they are really connected is that each book has to have elements of its state. For example, I chose Wyoming, so my story has things like Flaming Gorge Reservoir, wild horses, there’s mention of Yellowstone National Park, and other similar things that are fairly unique to Wyoming.
How many parts will there be in the series?
The plan is to have a single novella for every state. There are still some that haven’t been claimed, but I know that many have already been contracted and will be coming out in the near future.
What is so special about the cowboy live style that inspires people to write about it in this way?
Wide Open Spaces isn’t so much about the cowboy lifestyle (though I’m writing a book about ranchers too) it’s more about small town living. Yes, there are cowboy aspects to it, but that isn’t the main theme of it. But for a strictly cowboy story, I’d say that what’s special about it is getting to spend so much time out in the country, the fresh air.
I mean, what better way to spend the day than on horseback, riding across the range or riding up into the mountains. Sure, there are aspects of country/cowboy life that are less appealing, but just from what I’ve seen, many ranchers wouldn’t want to do anything else, and they pass the love of ranching down onto their children, who in turn pass it onto theirs.
Is this story total fantasy or somewhat based in reality?
Wide Open Spaces is somewhat based on my experiences. The relationship portion of the book is entirely from my own mind, but every setting in the book, actually exists. And the two characters personalities are based largely on what I’ve seen in Wyoming. The majority of people in Wyoming seem to fall into two categories: the ones who never want to live anywhere else (Levi) and the ones who can’t wait to escape small town life (Devon) and like I’ve seen happen many times, out of those that leave, many come back (like Devon).
You can find Renee’s personal page here.