Michelle McLean is the  Author – Hitched to the Gunslinger. This is her interview

I could not stop laughing at this non-stop, swoon-worthy, romantic comedy!”– Reading Rebel Reviews

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always loved books and wanted to be involved with them in some way. My mom has a folder full of stories I wrote when I was a kid. So, I think I always wanted to be a writer, but being a doing it “for real” seemed like one of those unattainable dream jobs that I’d never really get to do. Like being an actor or musician. But I still wanted to work with books in some way, so my goals mostly revolved around being a librarian or archivist. Then, soon after my son was born, I was sitting there with all these stories I’d written to tell him at bedtime and had all these novel ideas crowding my head and finally decided to just sit down and actually write one of them down. That was in 2004. And that first book wasn’t completed until 2007. But once I realized I really could write an entire novel, I dove into researching what it would take to get it published. And kept writing, of course! Finishing that first novel is what really hooked me. I don’t think I could stop now if I wanted to! 

*What is your book about?

A man who wants nothing more than to retire and fade into obscurity who meets a woman, and a town, who refuse to let him.

Gray “Quick Shot” Woodson is a notorious—and notoriously cranky—gunfighter who wants nothing more than to find a quiet place to retire. Instead, he stumbles into a town vendetta and a marriage of inconvenience with a relentless spitfire named Mercy—a woman he can’t help but find alluring despite her unfortunate proclivity for life-threatening altercations. He’s pulled into the town’s surprisingly accepting arms and has to defeat the villain while coming to terms with his growing love for his wife and friendship with the townspeople. 

Why did you want to write this book?

It’s always about the characters for me. I’m also a huge rom com fan. I write them as Kira Archer and all of my books have an element of humor in them. So when my editor told me she was looking for a rom com story about a retiring gunslinger this Harrison Ford type curmudgeon character immediately popped into my head and I just had to write him. I’ve written over two dozen books now and physically, at least, the heroes are fairly similar. Writing a hero who was older, blurring around the edges a bit, not charming, was very appealing. Putting this man who just wants to be left alone with all these people who just want to be near him sounded like so much fun.

*What do you hope other people will take away from reading your book?

If I can give my readers a few hours of happiness and leave them with a smile on their face, then I’ve done my job. And if there’s one message to take away from the book, maybe it’s the age-old adage not to judge a book by its cover…at least when it comes to people. My hero is a rumpled-up, grouchy mess with a checkered past and a neon sign saying GO AWAY stapled to his forehead. But deep down, he was a desperately lonely man with justified trust issues and a bit of a self-esteem problem. Who had a really good heart and an amazing capacity to love. Sometimes you just have to look a little deeper.

How long did it take to write your book?

The first draft took about two months. That is always the longest part of the process for me. First drafts are my nemesis!

Who are your favorite authors (and why)?

Ohhhh that’s a tough one. I have so many! Katee Robert is a current favorite. Her books are deliciously steamy and have a lot of heart to them and the most amazing world building! Naima Simone is also a fave. Her characters just make me fall in love with them, every time. Jennifer Armentrout is wonderful. Her worlds suck me right in. Avery Flynn and Tawna Fenske are favorites when I want a good rom com. I tend to read a lot of paranormals, so I love Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, J.R. Ward, and Tracy Wolff is a new favorite. Again, it’s all about the worlds and characters for me and those women are masters. Ruby Dixon with her Ice Planet Barbarians and Dragons is a lot of fun. When I want to get lost in epically long and beautifully written sagas, I re-read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series or (a really old one) Celeste de Blasis’s Wild Swan series. And my first romance love was Victoria Holt. Her gothic romances with their windswept moors and broody heroes just speak to my soul. 

What do you do when you are not writing?

I have two busy teenagers, so my days are mostly taken up with what they need from me. Lots of sports games! Creatively, I mostly read and watch movies. In between books, I’ll binge a show that I’ve been wanting to see. I also love to decorate cakes (though I really only do this on my kids’ birthdays) and I’ve been doing a lot of diamond paintings the last couple of years. In fact, one of my favorite ways to relax is to put on a good show or movie after everyone is in bed and work on a diamond painting while watching.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on book 2 in the Gunslinger series. I also have a series of Victorian dukes releasing later this year and two new rom com series coming soon from my contemporary side, Kira Archer.

*How can our readers get a copy of your book?

It should be available in paperback and ebook (and coming soon in audio!) at their favorite retailer. Links to most of the main retailers are on my website. https://michellemcleanbooks.com/hitched-to-the-gunslinger/

*What is the best way for our readers to connect with you? 

My website is the easiest way to find me! I have a social media tab there that has links to all the sites I’m on. www.michellemcleanbooks.com