With my background in Wall Street, Laurel Greer’s story about a Wall Street hedge fund manager coming home to Montana had me curious about the romance take on the financial scene—what do Wall Street whistle-blowers do when they have to get out of town? I was pleased to find out that they go home and find romance!
What’s the theme behind your story?
Can we find redemption after past mistakes, and if so, what does it look like?
What’s the logline?
A humiliated hedge fund manager is trapped with her sheriff ex-boyfriend during a blizzard and must face the pain of the past to break down the protective walls holding her back from love and fulfillment.
What were you thinking about or what was happening when the idea occurred to you?
I really wanted to sell another trilogy to Harlequin Special Edition, and it was my first chance to sell three books in one arc and one contract. Starting with dogs seemed like a good plan, so I hung the trilogy on a family working together to start up a search-and-rescue dog training facility. Stella, the heroine of Snowbound with the Sheriff, is the angel investor. With her book coming third in the series, I was able to learn pieces of her history and dysfunctional relationship with her half-siblings while plotting the previous two books. One of the first things that came to me about her book was the title—I knew I wanted to call it Snowbound with the Sheriff. Forced proximity is a great tool for taking away a character’s ability to run from their problems, and a little cabin in the Montana woods seemed like a perfect place to make that happen to Stella and Ryan.
How did the original idea change as you went along?
I struggled with getting the beginning right for a long time. I originally had it start in New York with Stella deciding to come home. It just didn’t work. So I fast-forwarded to Stella arriving in Montana and getting pulled over for (marginally) speeding by Ryan on a snowy night. With the shorter word counts of series/category romance, it’s more effective to have the main romantic protagonists meet/interact in chapter one. My new beginning meant getting to the romantic conflict faster.
How did you conceive of your characters for this story and how did they change?
Ryan came to be as a tertiary character in Sutter Creek Book 3. Sheriffs make popular characters in series romance, and I knew I wanted him to be one of the heroes in my trilogy. With both Stella’s siblings being Sutter Creek homebodies, it made sense that she hadn’t lived in town in years, and that she had a past relationship with the now-sheriff that had ended in an ugly way. She needed a reason to have missed some big recent developments in her siblings’ lives and still be heroic—that’s where the whistleblowing came in. Another change for Stella was her having a different mom from her younger siblings. I had originally envisioned all three of them having the same parents.
Are you pleased with the results, or do you wish you had done anything differently in the story? Why or why not?
I’m pleased with the results of this story. When I wrote it, I was going through a period of depression and was really disappointed with it. But my critique partners assured me it was fine, so I submitted it to my editor in order to make my deadline. Five months later when it was time for revisions, I was better managing my depression and was surprised to find I loved what I had done with Snowbound. I do have stories where I’d love to change things, but not so much with this one.
Who would play your leads in the movie if (when!) you make a deal?
Oooh, fancasting—always fun. My cover characters look a little like Brad Paisley and Emily Blunt, so maybe them? LOL. Other choices would be Timothy Olyphant with slightly darker hair circa when he was in Catch and Release(time machine!) and Rachel McAdams with blond hair.
What else do you want readers to know?
Snowbound with the Sheriff is the third in a trilogy, but all my Special Edition books are written as standalones and can be read without reading any of the others in the series. If a reader started with this one, it would be obvious that Stella’s siblings had recently had their own love stories, but nothing is lost from Stella’s story. Also, I’m now writing a third Sutter Creek trilogy, and the first heroine is one of the side characters in Snowbound—Emma Halloran. It’s so much fun to get to pull secondary and tertiary characters from previous books and give them HEAs of their own. My other big project this year is an M/M second-chance romance (another one, I know—it’s often part of my core story) set in Sarina Bowen’s World of True North, about a Montreal businessman who returns home to Vermont to save his dad’s struggling artisan letterpress business and has to work with his hot, Scottish, college ex-boyfriend. What to expect: competence porn, interfering family, groveling, and a large helping of artisan stationery geekery.
Desperate for a hot hockey-player fix during an NHL lockout, Laurel picked up her laptop and started writing. She branched out from hockey romance while on a research trip to Montana. As she traveled along the Gallatin River, the town of Sutter Creek came to life and is now the setting of her six-book (soon to be nine!) miniseries with Harlequin Special Edition. She is also working on second-chance, M/M romance to be released in May 2021 in Sarina Bowen’s World of True North. She fills her creative well by staying up way too late reading romance novels, chugging vats of tea, and falling down Pinterest rabbit holes.