Prior to writing romance, Melinda was a junior manager for a Fortune 500 company, which meant when she flew on the private jet she was relegated to the jump seat—otherwise known as the potty. After grabbing her pen (and a parachute) she made the jump to full-time writer. She recently came to grips with the fact that she’s an empty nester and a (very young) grandma, concepts easier to grasp than jet-setting on a potty.
Q: How did you come up with the concept for your story?
Melinda Curtis: I changed it to be a Christmas book. I watched on Apple TV, Spirited, played by Will Farrell. I love a Christmas Carol and played on it. I thought what is better than a grumpy cowboy who does not like Christmas. I gave him an emotional wound that happened at Christmas.
Q: Can you contrast the twin brothers in your story, Ryan and Tate, in terms of their personalities and how they interact with the world and each other?
Melinda Curtis: Ryan is more protective, while Tate goes through life letting things slide off his back. Ryan sees it as Tate not taking life seriously or applying himself. Ryan cares more about Tate. Ryan is trying to have he and his brother move forward and create a good life for both.
Q: When describing Ryan, how would you characterize his personality and his role in the story?
Melinda Curtis: He is guarded, standoffish, cold, an introvert, and a planner. He is also stubborn and grumpy. He is referred to as ‘the not nice Oakley.’
Q: How would you describe the character Jo? What are her defining traits, and how do they shape her interactions with others, especially Ryan?
Melinda Curtis: Rough and tumble. She is also direct, prickly, obstinate, and can be grumpy. She has a father who tries to break her spirit but remains confident. Unlike Ryan, she loves Christmas. She does not want to break the bonds of family even if it is at the expense of the livelihood of her ranch.
Q: Can you delve into the dynamics of the relationship between Jo and Ryan? How has their past influenced their current interactions?
Melinda Curtis: She and Ryan bond because both came from divorced parents. In high school he was seen as not being very nice and she was seen as being a stubborn tomboy. The high school pranks they played on each other got out of hand, which affected their relationship. She now thinks of him as pushy. She has a crush on his twin brother Tate.
Q: What role do the twin boys, Max and Dean, play in the narrative? How do they reflect or contrast with Ryan and Tate?
Melinda Curtis: Max and Dean are the twin boys of Jo. I wanted to write them as a mirror of Ryan and Tate. One is more introverted and one out to have fun. It shows how Ryan and Tate would have turned out had they had a loving household to grow up in. Max and Tate are the extroverts who the girls gravitate too, while Ryan and Dean are the introverts and responsible.
Q: Your story includes a horse named Tiger. What is his significance in the story, and how did you develop his character?
Melinda Curtis: Horses are like dogs in they have different personalities. They can be troublemakers. I wanted an unusual looking horse. I modeled him after my daughter’s dog. He just wants to be with people, plays rough, and is an escape artist. Tiger was considered the companion horse, the family horse, and the ‘heart horse.’ There is a phrase in the horse community; this is my heart horse. The one I will remember always after they are gone.
Q: What can readers expect next from you? Are there upcoming books or series that they should look forward to?
Melinda Curtis: The next book in this series will be Tate’s book, titled, A Cowboy for the Twins, coming out March of next year. Readers will learn a lot more why he does not have a care. More of the Harmony Valley books coming up. This year I had a lot of releases.
A Cowboy Christmas Carol by Melinda Curtis recalls the story of Scrooge, A Christmas Carol. In this case it is one of twin brothers, Ryan, wants nothing to do with the holiday. If readers want a story that will put a smile on their faces, they will want to read this because the banter between the characters is off the charts.
Ryan and Tate Oakley are twin brothers who are part of the rodeo circuit. They always come close to winning but never can achieve the big prize. Ryan feels it is because they need better horses. He decides to buy a pair of the best roping horses from the woman who was his nemesis in high school. Jo Pierce was expelled from school after an epic prank on Ryan and now she is a horse breeder and trainer while single parenting her twin sons. Because she has a huge pending balloon mortgage hanging over her head, she reluctantly names a price. As the two continue to negotiate and work to come up with a solution to both their problems, they learn the reasons for their animosity of the past.
Readers will enjoy taking a journey with the hero and heroine as their feelings begin to change, realizing that they both must let go of the past to find a future. This is a wonderful, sweet romance with delightful characters and a hilarious horse.