What I love about writing romance novels is what I also love about reading them: the chance to live more than one life. Just as, growing up, I thrilled to the experience of being a farm girl in Kansas who is swept up into fantastical adventures in the magic world of Oz, I now adore pouring myself into the lives of my protagonists and exploring their worlds and the breathtaking new romances they will discover there.

My passion is creating those worlds, constructing settings that I find utterly fascinating in the hopes that my readers will be equally intrigued. For my first novel, that setting was rodeo. It was such a delight to visit rodeos all around Texas where I live and interview the hot and hunky cowboys who ride and rope and then to try and capture their bold spirits in Hunt McIver, the equally hot and hunky hero of my novel “Handful of Sky.”

And who could resist the International Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta? It was a sheer joy to treat myself to that magnificent spectacle and then to let its dazzling vibrancy fill the soul of Meredith Tolliver,the heroine of my novel “Cloud Waltzer,” as she struggles free of a dark and dispiriting past and opens herself up to the vividness of love with Archer Hanson, the most masterful of the proud and passionate masters of the sky.

The next setting to capture my heart was the Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico where Kristin Jonsson, the heroine of “Where Aspens Quake,” retreats after a soul-crushing defeat that leave her in despair. It was a tremendous amount of fun for me to explore the piney sanctuary that shelters my heroine and learn, as she did, all about the serene delights of cross-country skiing. After literally skiing in Kristin’s footsteps, it was a marvelous challenge then to portray on paper the healing powers of both mountain solitude and love with a man whose raw physicality and unbounded spirit match his surroundings.

Next up was a dip into the glamorous world of movie-making and acting when I got to take Lissa Bauer, the actress/heroine of “A High Hard Land,” onto a set where she collides with Matthew Briggs, the rancher/novelist whose book is the basis of the film she’s staring in.  Trying to leave her lightweight ingénue past behind, I thrilled along with Lissa to the joy of discovering the deeply sensual woman that Matthew unlocks with hands and lips as lyrical as any of his novels.

And, finally, since I grew up imagining that I would be the next Jane Goodall, I took the opportunity to explore the world of primatology and set “Different Dreams” at a ranch that was home to a displaced colony of macaque monkeys from Japan. Here the dreams that clash are those of Malou for saving her beloved troop and those of hard-driving, deliriously handsome developer Cameron Landell. I loved spending a few months as a primatologist, especially one who is taught by the masterfully seductive Cameron Landell that in love, as in business, the best deals are those where everybody wins.

So, here’s a giant thanks to all the readers of romance novels who love to live more than one life and one love as much as I do!