Friday, March 13, 2015


How do writers come up with ideas? How do they build a world or a town for a series of books? My guest, Trish Milburn, who writes womens fiction, romance, and YA, discusses how she built Blue Falls, Texas. The town is the setting for eight of her romance books.

One of the questions that authors are often asked is where we get our ideas. The answer is everywhere. But to make a book really come alive in three dimensions, I like to visit the setting – walk through it, see it with my own eyes, smell it, hear it. I’m a visual and tactile person, so listening to the locals talk or walking through shops on Main Street really helps me get a feel for a place. This is true even if the locale is fictional, such as the town of Blue Falls, Texas, in my series of the same name for Harlequin American Romance.
Blue Falls is in the Texas Hill Country and has now been featured in eight of my books, including the Teagues of Texas trilogy that preceded the books being branded with the “Blue Falls, Texas” label. But Blue Falls isn’t totally made up. It was inspired by several small towns I’ve visited. I modeled the downtown area and a few of the businesses on Fredericksburg, a popular tourist destination. I kept the small-town feel and the German ancestry influence, but I made Blue Falls’ main draws their wildflower tours and the local rodeos held regularly to help various causes in the town.  The local music/dance hall is inspired by the oldest dance hall in Texas in the small town of Gruene. And Blue Falls Lake, around which the town is built, was inspired by Lake Marble Falls in Marble Falls, Texas.
My best friend lives in San Antonio, so every chance I get to go to Texas, I make another trip through the Hill Country for new inspiration. I come away with an idea for a character, a new business for Blue Falls, the design for a character’s home, something that can add to the world I’m creating with this series. I hope that readers can feel the realism when they read my stories.
Since the local rodeo plays a big part in my books, I’ve attended both a small-town rodeo here in Tennessee and a larger PRCA rodeo in Corpus Christi, Texas. I incorporate things I saw at both, along with additional research, into my rodeo scenes. Here’s part of a rodeo scene from this month’s The Doctor’s Cowboy:

Wyatt Kelley stood on the edge of the bucking chute, looking down at the monster bull. Beelzebub. From what  he’d  heard  of  the  bull’s  nasty  attitude,  the demonic name fit. Yeah, this had “easy ride” written all over it. The moment he mounted the two-ton bull, ol’ Beezy let him know exactly what he thought of having  a  rider  by  twitching,  fidgeting,  snorting. Basically saying, “Your butt is toast.”
“I don’t think he wants to be your best friend,” said one of the cowboys manning the chute. “What?” Wyatt patted the bull on the side of his neck. “This little guy is a sweetheart. We’re going out for drinks afterward.” As  if  to  disagree,  Beezy  stomped  the  dirt  and shuddered beneath him, causing the bell hanging from the lower part of Wyatt’s bull rope to clang. “Next up, we’ve got a cowboy out of the Cowboy State,” the rodeo announcer said as Wyatt readjusted the rope, getting his grip just right. “Wyatt Kelley will be riding Beelzebub."
Wyatt took a deep breath, let it out, then nodded. The moment the chute opened, Beelzebub shot out and began bucking as if Wyatt were a nest full of angry hornets. The arena around him became a dirt-brown blur as the bull spun and kicked so hard it nearly jarred the teeth out of Wyatt’s head. As if ticked off that he hadn’t gotten rid of Wyatt’s weight yet, Beezy switched directions  and  kicked  even harder. Wyatt held on for all he was worth, pretty sure this was the longest eight seconds of his career. And he’d ridden more bulls than he could count. In the next moment, his hat went flying. Sensing victory, the bull seemed to corral all of his intense power and did a belly roll, coming completely off the ground as he kicked all four feet out to the side. Wyatt felt himself slide but he tightened his hold on the rope and his legs pressed against the bull’s sides. By some miracle, he stayed on. But as soon as the bull landed on his feet, he went into a spin that spelled doom. In less than the blink of an eye, the bull bucked Wyatt off into the well, the center of the rank bastard’s spin. Wyatt’s heart rate accelerated when he realized his hand was caught in his rope, adrenaline fueling panic. He fought to free himself, but before he could Beezy caught him with a horn.
My questions for you all:
  •      Do you enjoy cowboy stories? Rodeo?
  • Who is your favorite TV/movie cowboy?
  • What actor should I use for inspiration for a future cowboy hero?



Dr. Chloe Brody cares about all her patients. Maybe more than she should. Because one day rodeo cowboy Wyatt Kelley shows up in her ER, busted up but still flirting. He's got no place to go, so she takes him home.

Soon, Wyatt is seeing stuff no one else in Chloe's life has noticed. The pretty doctor has a full life, but inside, she's alone, just like him. When the attraction between them heats up, Wyatt knows he should leave Blue Falls and Chloe behind—because what can a broken cowboy with an ugly past offer a woman like her? Chloe, though, is determined to show Wyatt that she doesn't care about his past. She just wants him to be a part of her future.


 Whether she's writing about cowboys, cops, vampires, witches or teenage angst, it’s always an interesting ride from Page 1 to The End. 

You can find Trish, Website, Facebook, and Romance Bandits