Melinda Curtis is one of those special authors than can write stories within different genres. She is known for her cowboy series, romantic comedy series, and mystery series. Although there are some similarities between the plot and characters the one major difference is how the mystery is presented. What they do have in common is the fabulous banter between the characters and family closeness.
“The Love in Harmony Valley series” also has a mystery surrounding its main characters. The latest, Forever Family in a Small Town features a heroine, Kathy Harris that is a recovering alcoholic. She is working at a veterinary clinic and meets, Dylan O’ Brien. He was hired to work with difficult horses but was also asked by Kathy’s brother to secretly help in her recovery. Unfortunately, she finds out and feels betrayed by both her brother and Dylan. What Dylan and Kathy have in common are that both have damaged childhoods and have gone through difficult times as adults. Kathy is fresh out of rehab for the second time and trying to regain the trust and love of her young son. After an accident with a horse, Dylan lost his “horse whisperer” reputation which led to him losing visitation rights with his son. Readers want to turn the pages to find out what is behind Kathy’s mysterious addiction, causing her to turn to alcohol and have such low self-esteem. This is a story of overcoming and fighting addiction, finding redemption and forgiveness, and moving on to the happily ever after for both Kathy and Dylan.
A Cowboy Worth Waiting For, book 1 of the Cowboy Academy series, has former rodeo queen Ronnie Pickett deciding to go into the matchmaker business. Her first client is her good friend Wade Keller. Wade is now a widower with a young daughter and Ronnie is trying to keep a promise that she made to her friend and Wade’s late wife, to find Wade a new wife. The problem is he doesn’t want anyone but Ronnie, and Ronnie is trying to set aside her secret crush to honor her promise. Both are good people and want to keep their life-time friendship, afraid to lose it by going into a romantic relationship. Wade adores his friend Ronnie, but she already told him years ago that they are too much alike to be a couple, willing to ignore the attraction between them.
Elise Cooper: Are there any similarities and differences between each series?
Melinda Curtis: “The Love in Harmony Valley series” is more of an emotional mystery series. The plot goes into how the characters are affected by their backstory. Readers might tear up, but hopefully by the end they have a good feeling since they went through the journey with the characters and saw that everyone was able to come out OK.
“The Cowboy Academy series” has heroes who are foster boys, growing up on a ranch. They all have troubled backstories. The emotional journey of the characters is not as deep as in the Harmony series. There is a little more of lighthearted humor.
The Romance Comedy series is less emotional, and more humor driven. The humor foil is Grandma Dotty who realizes she is losing touch with reality, creating a bucket list to visit her grandchildren. She is not matchmaking, but there is a backdrop of a romance going on. They are the easiest for me to write. They do not go deep into the emotions and are buffered.
EC: Lets discuss book 5 in the Harmony series, Forever Family in a Small Town. When does it come out?
MC: It comes out May 16th. Let me explain what happened with this series. Harlequin published fifteen books way back when in the early 2000s. Now that I have the rights back, I am in the process of re-editing them. I have eighteen scheduled to come out and will write three new ones. I am self-publishing and am in the process of redoing all the covers. These are all stand-alone books with a common setting of Harmony Valley. There is no common character thread. These books are “real issue books.”
EC: The mystery of Forever Family in a Small-Town centers on alcoholism, a serious subject?
MC: The heroine does have a trigger warning. I do have a very large family and many of them have gone through the issues in these books. The writing helped me process a lot of it.
EC: How would you describe Kathy, the main character in Forever Family in a Small Town?
MC: She has low self-esteem, honest, vulnerable, and prickly. She is deeply affected by her condition of alcoholism, being haunted by her past life. The alcoholism has affected her relationship with her eight-year-old son, Truman. She now works with horses who have had a bad experience and feels if they can be redeemed so can she. She wants a second chance and not to be a victim.
EC: How would you describe the hero, Dylan O’ Brien?
MC: He has regrets from his past. He has boxed his past away, so he did not work through it. He is on a journey. He is caring, patient, and a good listener. His job is to help horses and humans recover.
EC: What is the role of Truman, Kathy’s son?
MC: Angry and resentful toward his mom. He did not want to be hurt again by her. He is mistrusting of her. There is a need to rebuild the mother-son relationship. She tells him, “People make mistakes, and you try to forgive them. If you love them enough, forgiveness comes.” This quote is so true to life.
EC: What about the relationship between Dylan and Kathy?
MC: At first, she feels betrayed but then comes around. He has encouraged her to release her secrets to overcome her demons.
EC: In the Harlequin book, A Cowboy Worth Waiting For, how would you describe the heroine, Ronnie?
MC: She is loud, colorful, assertive, bossy, and brash. She feels she is a magnet for disaster. She is brave enough to put herself out there. But in the back of her mind, she feels she is a failure. Partly because her family cocooned her at an early age.
EC: How would you describe Wade, the hero?
MC: Recluse, stubborn, distant, determined, and a charmer.
EC: What about the relationship between them?
MC: They are teasers, friends first. She is trying to ignore her feelings. He realizes first that they should get together.
EC: Next books?
MC: I have a book in the “Cowboy Academy series” releasing the end of June, A Cowboy Fourth of July. There will be another Harmony Valley book and a Christmas romance comedy. I wrote an Alaskan book with two other authors that came out in February, Her Alaskan Matchmaker. The next Alaskan book comes out in October.