I fell in love with the ranch when I was just a girl. My friend lived out in the country where you couldn’t see your neighbor’s house and the land stretched out for what seemed like miles. I loved visiting her and running wild across her property. Most of all, I loved the horses.
When I got older, I always looked back on those days at her ranch with such fondness. I still had my love of horses, but I’d grown up to also love a hard working cowboy, so it’s no wonder I took my love of the country life, the ranch, and those sexy cowboys and wrote about them in my books.
As someone who lives a busy life in the Bay Area, I love to fall into that world where life on the ranch isn’t quite so chaotic, cell service is spotty—if you even have coverage—and work isn’t sitting behind a desk eight hours a day. It’s a life that’s about a hell of a lot more than your next Instagram post, the promotion you’re chasing, or finding the perfect partner is a right swipe away.
I love getting lost in the slow pace, small-town, know your neighbors life I think people are nostalgic for and wish they lived sometimes. Because let’s face it, the ranch life and cowboys are inherently romantic.
The beautiful setting captivates people. Rolling hills and expansive pastures in a sea of green dotted with fat cows and gorgeous horses below a beautiful bright blue sky. It invites you in and makes you want to sit a spell and stay a while. And who wouldn’t want to slow down, walk amongst the trees across the soft grass, and just breathe for a little while in the peace and quiet many are missing in their lives.
It’s why I chose to write about the beautiful state of Montana. The iconic image of wide expanses of land, winding rivers, striking mountains, and the big Montana sky. And when I think of the rough, rugged land in Montana, I think of the even tougher men who live and work there.
There’s just something about a cowboy. Their strength of character. That rock solid guy, who knows who he is, what he wants, and doesn’t apologize for being himself. A handshake and their word means something. Under all that grit lies a man who’s got down-home charm and manners any mama would approve. Their loyalty runs bone deep, as deep as their love for home, family, and the land and animals that provides them with their livelihood. They put food on the table for their families and yours. It’s an up at the crack of dawn, work all day, worry about the land, weather, the animals, and the bills all night kind of life. But they get up and keep at it, despite rising water, feed, and land costs while meat prices drop and climate change brings colder winters and summer droughts.
Despite it all, cowboys have that drive to persevere and thrive. They don’t quit. They work harder.
They’re strong and tough and do everything with heart. But let’s not forget they work hard and play harder. Their wild streak takes them from the ranch to the rodeo circuit where there’s no fear or hesitation to get on a giant bull or ride a bucking bronco around an arena, chasing the thrill of the ride.
Who wouldn’t want to ride off into the sunset with a guy like that?
So let’s not forget, that strong, resilient, determined cowboy needs a woman equally tough and spirited with a heart of gold and love enough for him, their children, and the life they build together. Cowgirls have that amazing combination of beauty and grit.
After all that, is it any wonder I love writing western romance, especially when you’ve got a beautiful country backdrop, a cowboy who’s got a woman who’s his equal and looking for the same kind of life, centered on home and family, and of course, they live happily-ever-after.
About Jennifer Ryan
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Ryan writes suspenseful contemporary romances about everyday people who do extraordinary things. Her deeply emotional love stories are filled with high stakes and higher drama, family, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find.
Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children. When she isn’t writing a book, she’s reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home, and how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you’ll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.