Writing Texas: Em Taylor, A Scottish author writing about Texans
When I started writing An American Cowboy in Scotland, it was supposed to be just a one off story. My plan had been to write a story about and American who inherited a castle and estate and title in Scotland and came to live and run the place. I’m a bit of a pantser to be honest so I made it up as I went along. This was my first attempt at a book in the first person and definitely my first attempt at a funny snarky book. But I grew up in a family where sarcasm is second nature and Brits are particularly good at it.
So I had to choose where to make my American from. I wanted to make him rich but I didn’t want him to be a suave sophisticated billionaire type. I’m fed up of those kinds of books. I know a lot of people love them and if you do, I have no issue with that. I like my guys a bit less sophisticated. I’d read a couple of my BFFs cowboy books. Em Petrova writes some stinkin’ hot cowboys and I thought “a cowboy, why not?”
You have to bear in mind that I’ve only been to the US twice and that was over twenty years ago. Both times mostly in Virginia and the first time we made a trip to see my cousins in Ohio. So my actual real life experience of America is pretty limited. And I met no cowboys in Virginia. My TV experience of America is HUGE. And I remember watching Dallas as a kid. So Texas it was. The family in my book are kind of like the Ewings, except the eldest brother is much nicer than JR. In fact, he’s a bit of a babe.
I did have to do a little bit of research. I wanted to work out what size of ranch they would have to make it really big in Texas. I wanted to find out what university Cole might have gone to. I had to learn about Cowboy boots and poor Em regularly got PMs about American words and American foods and a bunch of other cultural differences. Luckily I am a big Country Music fan so I did have some reference points.
I’ve now finished writing the second book A Cowboy Wedding in Scotland and it’s due for release on October 20th. I had great fun writing it and found out even more about Texas. When I write book three, about the sister Charlene (named after Charlene Tilton who played Lucy in Dallas), I may even set the first part on the ranch. You never know. That will take me right out of my comfort zone.