Bringing the Cowboys of Eden Valley to Life
by Linda Ford, author of The Cowboy’s Surprise Bride (Love Inspired, January 2013)
There is a highway close to where we live that follows the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. It provides beautiful views of the mountains, rolling hills, blue, blue sky and farm buildings tucked into the hollows. This is the country where ranching first began in Alberta before the settlers arrived, even before the train tracks were laid that far west. The ranches were huge. The range open and unfenced. It was the era of big round-ups, chuckwagons for kitchens and bigger-than-life characters.
I never take that drive without my imagination kicking into gear. I love to think what kind of man and woman undertook these adventures. So I drive the backroads and in my mind I am see the women in log cabins, over hot stoves, tending big gardens and loving their men.
Or sometimes, the woman is the one riding the range, rounding up cows and roping the stragglers. They too, fall in love but with a different kind of man.
I see men with guts and courage who face impossible odds. They confront wild animals, and outlaw men. They tame their part of the country but oh, how I love to see them tamed by the love of a good woman.
I have a huge collection of books that have proven invaluable in researching that period. I take hundreds of pictures whenever I drive along that highway and it is as often as I can manage. I visit the museums, the historic ranches and I ask tons of questions. It’s amazing what a person can discover. People love to talk about their part of the country. I love to ferret out unusual bits of information—the story in a history book of a dandy Englishman turned cowboy, the tale of an outlaw who lived a reformed life working for a rancher, the lady rancher who competed in a man’s world overcoming obstacles that would make most women cringe.
I’ve finally been able to write a series, THE COWBOYS OF EDEN VALLEY, featuring the men and women of my imagination. They were even more fun to write about than to dream about. The series begins with a novella, MERRY CHRISTMAS, COWBOY in the November release, THE GIFT OF FAMILY. Three books follow in January, March, and May 2013–THE COWBOY’S SURPRISE BRIDE, THE COWBOY’S UNEXPECTED FAMILY and THE COWBOY’S CONVENIENT PROPOSAL. Three more stories are in the works. I hope these stories do justice to the men and women of the west.