Today, I thought it might be fun to share a few “behind the scenes” details about Capturing Christmas.
I knew from the moment I first created Celia McGraw’s character in The Christmas Cowboy that she had to have her own story. From that book, we knew Celia was pretty with red hair, she owned a feisty attitude, worked as a photographer, and wasn’t afraid to stand up to her big brother and his best friend.
How could you not want to write a story about a girl like that?
A few months before I finished writing The Christmas Cowboy, I heard about a young cowboy proposing to his girlfriend in the middle of the rodeo. He had the announcer her call her out to the arena and dropped down on one knee in the dirt, proposing to her right there in front of the spectators.
Of course, she said yes.
That idea stuck with me. So when I started thinking about Celia’s story, I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate that into the book.
But what if instead of saying yes, she said no? What if the person proposing wasn’t someone she wanted to marry? What if…
Would you like a little peek at that scene?
“Are you insane?” Celia glared at the man kneeling before her in the loose dirt of the rodeo arena holding a ring box. A gaudy diamond glittered in the sunlight.
In all her wildest imaginings, seeing Wayne Warshaw down on one knee was the farthest thing from her mind.
He beamed at her and held up the ring box. “Marry me, Celia! Make me the happiest cowboy on the planet.”
Furious, she shook her head. “No! I won’t marry you, you lunkheaded idiot! If you’re operating under the delusion I’m even remotely interested in marrying you, you’ve got feathers and fudge for brains.”
Twitters of excitement fell to a stunned hush as hundreds of spectators caught their collective breath at her rejection.
“Celia, you don’t mean that!” The spurned prospective bridegroom lunged to his feet and grabbed her hand in his. “You’re such a tease. Give ol’ Wayne some sugar, honey.”
It wasn’t easy coming up with a character who could keep up with Celia. He needed to be strong and every bit as stubborn as her, but also gentle and patient.
There was no doubt the guy would be a cowboy, but what type of work would he do? How would the two of them meet? That’s when I decided he’d be a rodeo stock contractor.
After doing research into that career choice… let’s just say they have my full admiration because, man, do they work hard. As a homebody, I can’t imagine being on the road so much and with trucks full of animals. From what I know and what I researched, many of the rodeo animals receive better care than many people’s beloved pets.
Anyway, from there, Kash Kressley was born (so to speak). One of my friends has a horse named Kash and I loved the name, so I stole it (thanks, Carmen!).
It stood to reason that Kash and Celia would have many opportunities to interact at rodeos if he was providing stock and she was photographing them.
Here’s another little teaser…
Determined to pull herself together, she released his hand and took a step back from the fence. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Kressley. How did you know my name? You said it earlier when you were taking me to task for my temporary loss of sanity.”
What could have been the beginnings of a grin lifted the corners of Kash’s mouth upward. “I’ve seen you around a few rodeos. In fact, you aged one of the bullfighters by a decade or two last month when you almost got run over by one of my bulls.”
Celia blushed. While photographing the bull riding at a rodeo, a cowboy behind the chutes caught her eye. Although she knew better, she turned her attention to him and lost track of the bull until she glanced up to see him heading straight for her. Just in time, she scrambled out of the way, aware that one of the bullfighters had been hustling to get to her side.
As the man gave her a curious once-over, she realized he looked a lot like the cowboy who’d unknowingly diverted her attention from the bull that day. “I guess I owe you a double thank you.”
If you have any questions about the story behind the story, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer them!