Originally posted on the Harlequin Blog.
“I was barely halfway through this book when I was ready to pack my bags and move to Shelbyville.”
—Reader, Sacha Coutu about Personal Assets
I grew up in small-town Texas and took off when I was 18. Since, I’ve lived everywhere from the Middle East to Los Angeles. But when I sit down to write a contemporary romance, the setting is usually a small Texas town.
Why? Because I love the colorful, quirky people who live in them. My hometown had a deputy sheriff who hid behind a huge oak tree in the highway median, trying to catch high school kids speeding or TP-ing the tree. And an old dude who owned multiple convertible Cadillacs and always chauffeured Miss Hallsville in the parades (yes, I rode on the back of those cars ). And an English teacher who apparently loved my older brother but had it out for my younger sister and me. (Maybe because we weren’t Robert Frost fans?)
Shelbyville, Texas, isn’t an exact replica of my hometown. In fact, it’s quite different. Who knows—if my hometown had these five attributes, I might still live there!
1. Some of the small-town businesses will surprise and delight you. When’s the last time you happened upon a sex therapy practice or a lingerie boutique (with Promise Keeper vibrators) in a town of less than 5k people?
2. You’ll want to move into the newly renovated Kilgore house. In Running the Red Light, my heroine Roxanne adopts a run-down Victorian house and works her butt off to bring the tattered old lady back to life. Maybe we can talk Roxanne into giving us a tour!
3. The town square is surrounded on three side by streets named: Stewart, Petty, and Labonte. Perfect for NASCAR fans!
4. The townspeople are friendly and fun, even if they’re gossipy and judgmental on occasion. Know anywhere else you could play softball against Cameron Wright, renovate a house with Jamie Wright or buy penis-shaped cookies at the July Fourth picnic?
5. Shelbyville boasts more than its share of hot guys: garage owner Cameron Wright (Personal Assets), hot-shot attorney Jamie Wright (Running the Red Light), yummy sheriff’s chief deputy Beck Childress (Problems in Paradise), and contractor Mac McLaughlin who you’ll meet for the first time in Running the Red Light!