Inspiration for the Blue Moon Saloon series
What’s all this about a new series, you ask? Well, I found myself with a richer paranormal world than I ever imagined when I started writing my first series, The Wolves of Twin Moon Ranch. Because there aren’t just wolf shifters prowling the Southwest in search of their destined mates – there are many other shifter species, too. And there’s a lot of action beyond the tight-knit community of the ranch. So the Blue Moon Saloon series is a natural outgrowth of Twin Moon that was just begging to be told. And although there’s some overlap, Blue Moon Saloon is an independent series of standalone books that you can read and enjoy whether you’ve read the Twin Moon Ranch stories or not.
The Inspiration for the Series
I’ve wanted to write about bear shifters for a long time, because who can resist that sheer power combined with potential for cuddly sweetness? Just watch any wildlife footage that shows a ferocious grizzly go from life-or-death battle to rolling happily on its back in the sun. That’s exactly the kind of duality I love in my heroes.
But I love wolves, too, and I’m far from being finished with the wolves of Twin Moon Ranch. (I may never be finished, because that community is so near and dear to my heart.) At the same time, I felt it was time to zoom out and show the wolf pack in a broader context. Twin Moon is a growing force in the Southwest, but what other forces are out there? That was a theme I was ready to explore with a whole new series – a series that overlaps because I love revisiting characters and letting them evolve into new roles. So while you’ll get to know a whole new set of characters (and grrrr – just wait until you meet those Voss brothers and scrumptious Cole Harper!), you’ll get to see old friends making strides in their lives, too. For example, you’ll see Tina Hawthorne become a community leader on and off Twin Moon Ranch, and you’ll observe Ty as he settles in to his role as alpha of an ever-expanding pack. I couldn’t resist letting soulful shifter cop Kyle Williams play a recurring role in this new series, either!
The Inspiration for the Characters
My imagination quickly jumped from Tina Hawthorne, with her soft spot for wayward shifters, to who those shifters might be – and voila! In no time, I had bear shifter brothers Simon and Soren Voss, a couple of wounded souls looking for a second chance. They’re willing to run the saloon, but the last thing they’re expecting is to be paired up with a couple of she-wolves on the run.
At first, my mind was so deep in the world of wolf shifters that I originally conceived of Simon and Soren as wolves. At the same time, I was dying to write about bear shifters in a separate series. That’s the life of an author – so many ideas, so little time! But then, eureka! I realized I could put those ideas together for an even better story – wolves and bears, working together despite their differences and quirks (bears like to sleep in; wolves are early risers, for starters, and they each have their own ideas on how to run a business). Pretty soon I had an exciting new set of characters growling to have their stories told. That combination has made the series much richer than it would have otherwise been, thanks to the sometimes touchy dynamics between the bear brothers, the wolf sisters, and the powerful wolves of Twin Moon pack.
You can read about the inspiration for each hero and heroine in the individual “making of” posts for each title (Perfection, Damnation, Temptation, and Redemption. The character I’ll focus on here is the Blue Moon Saloon itself. From the swinging saloon doors to the carved oak bar, the creaky stairs, and the derelict apartment on the second floor, the saloon exudes its own character and a sense of possibility. Like the shifters who work the bar, the saloon is on the cusp of a new awakening, but it will take a hell of a lot of work to make vision become reality.
The saloon grew out of my appreciation for old buildings with character. I love renovation projects that dust away the spider webs and bring new life to slumbering beauties. The saloon is also the perfect group project for this nascent little wolf/bear pack – something they can all pitch in to and build bright futures from. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it! In that way, the saloon is a character as well as a platform for the shifters who work there to build better lives. (As the daughter of hard-working immigrants, I know a lot about making a fresh start.) Someday, I think these bear and wolf shifters will really make the saloon shine. Of course, they’ll have to get their personal lives settled first, because what’s a home without a life partner to share it with, right?
Truth and Fiction
If I had to name a single, real-life place that inspired the saloon and the Old West town these stories take place in, it would be Prescott, Arizona – a place I spent a lot of time exploring in time off from the job I once worked at a nearby ranch (the one that inspired Twin Moon Ranch). Of course, there’s a healthy dose of imagination at work, too, bringing you the best of truth and fiction, I think!
I hope you’ll join me in wishing the men and women of this new series luck – luck in finding work, a place to truly call home, and most of all, love!