Trading my Jeans and Boots for Heels and Glamour! By Donna Alward
I was recently talking to my editor about what sorts of books I’m going to be writing next for Harlequin Romance. I think there are going to be some neat, fun stories coming up but when talking about my current release, Hired: The Italian’s Bride, I realized something.
As much as I love writing small town, western settings, I loved being able to trade in my jeans and boots for a pair of red sequined Manolos and the glamour of an opulent resort.
Hired: The Italian’s Bride is set in the gorgeous townsite of Banff, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. I lived in Calgary for several years, and made several trips a year to the mountains for hiking and sightseeing and even simply a fancy lunch. I remember the first time I stepped into the Banff Springs Hotel and got a look at the Mount Stephen Hall. I was awestruck. I had never been in such a place in my life. The whole place is like a mountain castle, majestic gray stone on the outside and the epitome of comfort and pampering on the inside – from the décor, to the food, and the shops quietly tucked into hallways.
It was like writing a fairy tale, letting my characters get dressed up in suits and gowns and eat fancy food. And oh, the food. I scoured menus of the local hotels – not just the Banff Springs. The hotel in the book – The Fiori Cascade – is certainly not based on the Banff Springs, but it does include some of my favourite parts combined with a vision all my own. When Luca takes Mari to the balcony and they overlook the river, there is a particular spot as you climb the hill towards the Hot Springs that I imagined. The same with the dining room – The Panorama. Complete fabrication, taking all my favourite parts and blending them with wishes to come up with a very Hollywood Golden Age feel. It was timeless – like Mari. It is one of the things Luca loves most about her.
I also loved the office romance element – the first one I’ve done. The ethics of getting involved with someone you work with was an added dimension. The proximity, the butting of heads, the earned respect.
Am I going to be writing more westerns? Of course. My next three (November, January and March) are western Romances. And I do love writing them dearly – in the same way that I like I love my job since I can work in comfy yoga pants most days. But every now and again I like to get dressed up – put on high heels – maybe some makeup – and go to the ball like I did with Hired: The Italian’s Bride.
Why don’t you come with me? The more the merrier….
Hired: The Italian’s Bride is available at eharlequin and at Amazon.