Wildfire and Roses by Hope Malory Genre: Contemporary Romance
Sparks fly when tenacious mountain climber and hiker Beasley McLemore meets hot smokejumper Will Gregor on a search and rescue mission in Yosemite. Getting together, however, isn’t easy. Strong-willed Beasley is bent on building a thriving landscaping business back home in the foothills of the majestic Smoky Mountains. Busy working 24/7, she has no time or energy for a man in her life...she thinks.
Scorched by love in his past, Will is content to live near awe-inspiring Lake Tahoe where he saves lives and forests as a remote wildland firefighter. He doesn’t need a committed relationship complicating his dangerous lifestyle...he thinks.
Through life-changing events and a family mystery, each must question long held beliefs about work, love, and life. Looming over their blossoming love affair is the 2,400 miles separating their homes and livelihoods. Will love keep them together or distance tear them apart?
Where do I start? “Case, I like Will way more than I thought possible. When he kisses me, it is unlike anything I have ever experienced. The intensity of the passion is crazy. I can read in his eyes he feels the same. With him, everything is all so new and exciting.”
“Do I sense a ‘but’ coming?”
“Let’s be realistic. What are our chances of making this work? We might as well live on different continents. We can’t drive across town or hop on a plane for a weekend visit whenever we want. How often would we be with each other? I can’t think of any scenario where a relationship would succeed.”
“What can I say, other than you have been the happiest in the last couple of weeks than I have ever seen you? You light up when you talk about Will. The way he looks at you, I can tell has the hots for you.”
“All of this scares me. I can’t fall in love with him.”
“Earlier, you brushed me off when I mentioned you moving here, but would you ever consider it?”
“I understand you don’t want to hear this again, but I built Beasley’s Gardens into a profitable business, and I don’t want to give up on my dream. Also, my family is there. Azalea Valley is my home, and this is Will’s home. I guess I should face reality and abandon the idea of falling in love.”
The lack of a committed relationship wasn’t so bad. True, women in town had asked her when she planned to marry, but over time, she had become impervious to their interrogations. People assumed because of her single status, she was lonely and unhappy. Though she hated to admit it, at times she was lonesome. More often, she was content to live without a man in her life and answer to no one except herself.
So many of her married or engaged girlfriends complained about their men. Some confessed to envying Beasley’s freedom and her ability to provide her own financial support. Casey divorced after two years of marriage. Why, then, did she encourage a relationship with Will?
Casey sighed. “I should give up on you, but I love you too much. You deserve your happily ever after.”
“I quit believing in fairy tales a long time ago. There is no Prince Charming for me.”
Transported by books as a child, Hope Malory developed an interest in writing in second grade when she discovered poetry. Those early seeds, along with a penchant for happy endings, led her to fulfill her dream of becoming a romance novelist.
After thirty years in the education field, Hope traded in a commute, traffic, and early mornings for inventing strong-willed characters and putting them in unpredictable situations.
Now, whether relaxing on the beach, traveling with her husband, or spending time at home, she is busy writing her next novel.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I love soft things. When I’m in a store and see a soft fluffy blanket or towel, I have to touch it.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
Two years ago, I had three exciting things happening on the same day. My husband and I went on a dream trip to England, France, Switzerland, and Italy. During that week we celebrated our second anniversary. That same day while we were on the tour bus leaving Switzerland, I checked my email to find a publishing contract for my debut novel. We hosted a champagne celebration that evening with everyone on the tour bus. We are still in contact with several people from the tour.
What are some of your pet peeves?
You mean besides my husband’s driving habits? Learning about people being mistreated in some way.
Where were you born/grew up?
In a small town in the southern part of the state – Loretto, Tennessee
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
No question, I’d spend it with my husband, children, grandchildren, and close friends.
Who is your hero and why?
Nora Roberts. She is (according to Wikipedia) author of over 225 romance novels not to mention the books she writes under her other pseudonyms, and she has won countless awards.
What are you passionate about these days?
Writing, traveling with my husband, and the beach. Always the beach!
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Read, go to movies and music concerts, and get together with friends.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less
Independent, persistent, creative, empathetic, diplomatic
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Somewhere between my first book contract and publication of my debut novel. By the time Wildfire and Roses was published, I had already written three books and realized this wasn’t just a hobby. Writing is something I love and intend to pursue for as long as I can.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Gone With the Wind
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Wildfire and Roses
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A red bird. Long story, but I include red bird somewhere in every book.
What inspired you to write this book?
A trip to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite inspired the setting. My family was my inspiration for the many adventures in Wildfire and Roses. While none of them are rock climbers like my character Beasley, they have had some pretty incredible outdoor adventures. Me? I don’t climb a ladder if I don’t have to.
What can we expect from you in the future?
My second in the series will be out later this year. I’m editing the first draft on the third. About ten different ideas are in my head for future books.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Wildfire and Roses? Beasley is fiercely independent, maybe too much for her own good sometimes. She grew up with a younger sister and four older brothers in a small town in the foothills of the Smokies in Tennessee. Her parents died in a car crash when she was seventeen. After graduating college, she bought a landscaping business. She climbs mountains, has hiked the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails, participated in a search and rescue on the Colorado Trail, and is passable at skiing. Will is also proficient at outdoor sports. A former high school football star quarterback, he dropped out of college to become a fire fighter. He went through grueling training to become a smokejumper who jumps out of airplanes in remote, often mountainous areas, to fight wildland fires.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
After a trip to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite and seeing the beauty and uniqueness of the areas, I knew I wanted those areas as a setting. As I stood looking up at the 3,000 vertical feet of sheer granite of El Capitan, I imagined someone climbing it. In the airport, I saw a young lady in excellent physical condition who wore hiking and climbing gear. She appeared to be off to some big adventure. She became my inspiration for Beasley.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
I’m always on the lookout for character names. Honestly both Beasley and her last name, McLemore, came from street signs. When I am traveling and hear a name I like, I write it down. I often research popular baby names from the year the character was born. I’ve even used the phone book.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Having the characters come to life and telling their story.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Both are strong, independent, and have faced considerable adversity. Beasley is fiercely loyal to her family, her landscaping business, and her hometown. Will is competent as a wildland firefighter, and equally loves his hometown in northern California near Lake Tahoe over 2,000 miles from Beasley. Can you see a conflict there?
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
Titles are one of the hardest things for me. I discarded probably fifty or more before deciding on Wildfire and Roses. At a writer’s meeting, I read the back-cover blurb and asked the group to help me think of a title. Since the hero is a smoke jumper, the group leader suggested I use wildfire in the title. Before I went to bed that night, I wracked my brain trying to think of something to go with wildfire that represented Beasley and her landscape business. In the middle of the night I woke up thinking Wildfire and Roses. Of course, I got up and wrote it down!
Who designed your book covers?
The talented Anna Lena Spies at Soul Mate Publishing.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
As writers, we could edit forever. I’m a believer in learning all I can about my craft. After a lot of reading books on writing, attending workshops, online trainings, and writing two more books, I’m sure there are elements I could improve, but I believe in the story and wouldn’t change anything major.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Through extensive research, I learned a lot about firefighting and smokejumping, rock climbing, Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe area, landscaping, and a host of outdoor sports my characters participate in. In writing the characters, I recognized the value of reaching out to those close to us during adversity.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Jessica Biel. Like Beasley, she’s a climber except she scaled Kilimanjaro instead of El Capitan. It helps that she is in excellent shape not to mention an accomplished actress.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for choosing to read Wildfire and Roses. I hope you enjoyed it. Please feel free to connect with me on social media.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
Without introducing a spoiler, I’ll just say when Beasley uncovered a family mystery. My favorite genres are romance and mystery. I like to include something unexpected, an element of mystery, or a secret in each book.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would spend a day in Azalea Valley with Beasley. We would have lunch at the Yellow Butterfly Café. She would show me around town and take me to Beasley’s Gardens, and she would introduce me to her sister, Brenner, and brother, Blake.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
The story came from my imagination. My characters do, however, share some common outdoor experiences like hiking, skiing, and kayaking with a few people I know.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I often put myself inside the head of my characters and have them do and say what I imagine they would do or say. Occasionally they surprise me and take me in a different direction. I stop and say, “Really?” and follow their lead.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
Wildfire and Roses is full of surprises including a family secret that impacts Beasley’s beliefs about her job, love, and life. Her adventures include rock climbing, skiing, kayaking, hiking, and a search and rescue mission. Will is committed and trained to save lives and jump from an airplane and fight wildfires in remote areas. The novel takes the reader across country from majestic Yosemite National Park, to spectacular Lake Tahoe, to the magnificent Smoky Mountains.
Readers have said “Your wilderness and mountain climbing scenes were so authentic”, “Love the story line”, and “Fell in love with the characters”.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Three. The first book I wrote is an unpublished stand alone, and I’ve written books two and three in this series. Book two, Rhythm in Blue, will be out later this year.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Roses, of course.
What did you edit out of this book?
A scene in which Ranger Josh died. In the end, I didn’t have the heart to let him die.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
John Grisham, Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, Debbie Macomber, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Mary Higgins Clark, Sidney Sheldon, Jill Shalvis, Kristan Higgins, and Susan Mallery
What book do you think everyone should read?
Pride and Prejudice
How long have you been writing?
I started writing my first novel four years ago. My prior experience was mostly business writing and a few newspaper articles. Years ago, I wrote a short story that won second place in a contest—my first attempt at fiction.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Before I write, I get to know my main characters, some of their family members, and friends. Some of them come to me as I write.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I tend to do more geographic research, research about the character’s professions, and about their major activities before writing.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I’m retired from a thirty-year career in education and am now on my second career.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
It’s very competitive.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
Like most of the authors I know, I do read a lot. My favorites are romance, of course, and mystery.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
Silence. I’m easily distracted and tend to pay attention to whatever else is going on.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
One at a time.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
Pride and Prejudice
Pen or type writer or computer?
Computer although I do keep a pen and paper handy at all times to write down ideas.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
Scarlett O’Hara. Although she is vain and materialistic among a host of other descriptions, she is such a colorful and memorable character, I can ‘t help but like her.
What made you want to become an author, and do you feel it was the right decision?
It was something I had secretly dreamed of for years but never thought would happen. The idea that a reader can relate to my characters, or the story, or the settings makes the months long process worth it. It was the absolute right decision for me.
Advice they would give new authors?
Be patient with yourself, don’t quit when you run into problems, and don’t compare yourself or your career to anyone else.
What makes a good story?
Vivid well-developed characters, a strong plot that takes the reader along through the action, adventure, or conflict, For me, the unexpected surprises add to a story as do interesting settings.
What are they currently reading?
I just finished Hot Winter Nights by Jill Shalvis. Next on my to be read list is John Grisham’s Rooster Bar.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
I’m a pantser. The first couple of books I wrote “by the seat of the pants” writing the story as it came to me. I knew how I wanted a book to start and end, but until I wrote it, I had no idea how my characters would get to the end. I now spend a little time with minor plotting and a basic outline, but nothing elaborate. I still like to be surprised along the way.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
For me, it was thinking I was done when I typed “The End” on the first draft.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Distractions: emails, social media, phone calls, laundry . . . I can often find ways to procrastinate.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To start decades earlier.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I try to put myself into the heads of the characters as I write. For obvious reasons, it is easier for me to do that for the female characters. Fortunately, my husband reads my drafts and sometimes tells me, “A man wouldn’t say (or do) that. In my last book, he told me, “Sweetie, you might want to change this. A Harley engine roars, it doesn’t purr.”
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I can get through a first draft in about 3-4 months.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Absolutely. There are days I struggle to get a paragraph written and other days I can write up to eighteen hours when the words are flowing.
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