Author Judy Duarte on Writing Wed by Fortune
By Judy Duarte, author of Wed by Fortune (The Fortunes of Texas: All Fortunes Children, Harlequin Special Edition)
I’m both thrilled and proud to be a part of The Fortunes of Texas: All Fortunes Children. After all, who doesn’t love reading about the trials and romantic escapades of the Fortune and Mendoza families? But there were a lot of reasons that made me jump at the chance to write the sixth book.
For one thing, the bible always has one surprising twist or another, so it’s a treat to get a sneak peek at what’s going to happen long before I can purchase the entire set and read them myself.
On top of that, I have the opportunity to work with the five talented authors involved in bringing you these amazing stories. This time, my cohorts were Allison Leigh, Stella Bagwell, Karen Rose Smith, Michelle Majors and Nancy Robards Thompson. I may not have attended school with any of these lovely ladies, but I’m sure their teachers gave them plenty of gold stars for playing well with others. And that made writing each story easy—and enjoyable.
I love my job as a romance novelist, but it can be a lonely at times, especially when I’m holed up in my office, determined to finish a manuscript by the deadline. So it’s fun to plot and develop characters with other people for a change. In fact, we talk about our heroes and heroines as if they actually exist, as if they’re as real as friends and family members.
Once, after writing a scene that included another author’s character, I sent her an excerpt to read and approve. She responded, “That’s how he’d feel, but it’s not the way he’d say it.” Then she provided me with better dialogue that would suit the rugged cowboy she’d created.
While working on this series, Karen Rose Smith and I emailed back and forth so we could get certain details, descriptions and characterizations right. Karen’s book, Fortune’s Secret Husband, introduced rancher Chase Parker, who runs a horse rescue organization. Graham Fortune Robinson, whose story I tell in Wed by Fortune, took some of those horses to Peter’s Place, a home for troubled teens. There, the boys learned how to work with the horses, how to gentle them and care for them. In the process, they began to change their own lives.
In Wed by Fortune, you’ll also meet Sasha-Marie Gibault Smith, a young woman who returns to her uncle’s ranch following her divorce. There she’s surprised to meet Graham, who’d been an older teen she’d once known—and crushed on!
Even though that spark of attraction still exists, Sasha knows there isn’t a chance of anything romantic happening between them. Because even though gorgeous Graham, who’s cowboy sexy, is still single and unattached, Sasha has returned with a four year old daughter—and a good size baby bump! But little does Sasha know, Graham is going to struggle with all kinds of warm, fuzzy feelings—and plenty of romantic thoughts.
After the manuscripts are finished, we hand them over to Susan Litman and Carly Silver, Harlequin editors extraordinaire, who help us remain true to the continuity threads and polish them to perfection. So you can see it’s really a team effort.
As you settle into your cozy reading spot and pick up the first book in The Fortunes of Texas: All Fortunes Children, remember that it was a team effort to bring these romances to you. And with each page you turn, I think you’ll agree we all hit it out of the park with this year’s series!
About Wed by Fortune:
Graham has always thought of Sasha as his “little sister.” Sasha has always considered the rugged rancher out of her league. Now that Sasha is all grown up, there is nothing keeping them apart… Except she has a daughter. An ex-husband. And a very noticeable baby bump. And the always proper Graham suddenly finds himself thinking very sexy thoughts about the sweet single mom!
Perhaps Fortune is finally smiling on Graham—in the form of the true love this rich, unencumbered cowboy has always longed for!