Where is December going? It's already the 10th! I have almost all my shopping done, but I don't have a single thing wrapped. I am terrible at wrapping gifts. I have a Pinterest-inspired idea in my head what my package will look like, but the reality winds up looking like I wrapped the package blindfolded, using just my elbows. Sad, sad, sad. Still, it's the thought that counts, right?
This week's Peek Behind the Scenes of the writing of 7 Brides for 7 Texans takes us to the 7 Heart Ranch.
Each of the sons was to receive a pre-determined parcel of land for his inheritance, and up until GW Hart made his startling announcement on New Year's Day, 1874, none of the boys questioned what part of the vast 7 Heart would come to them.
Before we started writing our stories though, we needed to know whose parcel was where. Gabrielle needed Hays' land to border the Sabinal River, and I wanted Bowie's on the river but a good ride away from the ranch house. Susan needed Crockett's land to have access to their neighbor's the Haymaker's land, and Vickie needed Austin to retain the main ranch complex including the house, El Regalo as his inheritance as the eldest Hart son.
So, I created a map to show where everybody's land was located.
I grabbed a satellite photo of the area we'd chosen for Hartville and the ranch and using a photo-editing program, added the boys' names over their plot of land. I've noted both the Sabinal River and Little Bianco Creek. (Did you know that the Sabinal runs underground when the weather gets very dry? I didn't either!)
The main ranch complex is smack in the center of the Harts' land, and the heart of that complex is El Regalo, the ranch house. El Regalo is The Gift in Spanish, and GW Hart named the house El Regalo because it was a gift from him to his wife, Victoria.
I chose El Castille, an actual Texas ranch house for a couple of reasons. 1) It looks amazing and impressive, and 2) there was a floor plan available.
Of particular interest is the dining room of the house. The Harts gather for Sunday dinner every week, so several of the stories in the collection include this room.
For the dining room, inspiration was drawn from the magnificent James J. Hill House dining room. Each of the chairs is uniquely carved, the ceiling is hammered gold leaf and coffered, and there is space over the wonderful fireplace to hang Victoria's portrait. In the story, each son has a chair carved with their initials, and when they marry, a similar chair is made for their bride, adding her initials as well.
Once we had these details in place, it was easy to create the Ranch House El Regalo. We got so involved with the stories, I feel as if I had walked the halls, stared up at Victoria's portrait, eaten Sunday dinner with the Harts, and gathered in the parlor after the meal. We hope that readers feel the same way after reading the story.
For the next several weeks the authors of 7 Brides for 7 Texans will be blogging here and elsewhere, and we'd love for you to be able to find us! This week, Susan Davis guest blogged, and she has a message for you:
I am giving away a copy of Seven Brides for Seven Texans on Peg Phifer's blog: http://bit.ly/2h3QGt1 The drawing will be held December 14th, so come on over and leave a comment.
Also, don't forget that next week Amanda Barratt is going to be our lead-blogger, and you won't want to miss her posts! She is the creator of the totally swoon-worthy Dr. Travis Hart, and she is a true romantic.
The Rafflecopter for a LOADED Kindle Fire is still going on, and we'd love it if you would be so kind as to share the news. If you're on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, have a blog, have family who love to read Christian fiction...or family you wish would read Christian Fiction...spread the word about this book and this giveaway.
Join us next week when we'll talk about how we divvied up the characters and their personalities and made each brother unique.