Today’s guest is author Shannon Taylor Vannatter who answers one of my favorite questions for novelists–and gives an unexpected answer:
What is something unexpected one of your characters did?
Tori Eaton, the heroine in my latest release, Rodeo Family isn’t very heroine-worthy at the beginning of the book. She’s a promiscuous, party girl. But a relationship with an abusive boyfriend soon drives her to her knees.
The first time she meets Brant McConnell, she’s recovering from her last beating which convinced her to leave her boyfriend. When Brant mistakenly arrives at the guest house where she’s staying, she threatens him with a fire poker.
The second time they run into each other, Tori’s ex-boyfriend shows up at the interior design store where she works. He threatens her and breaks some lamps before the owner calls 911 and then the business next door for help. Brant happened to be next door and arrives along with some other cowboys to help until the police arrive.
After her ex-boyfriend is arrested and Tori and Brant have both answered the police’s questions, she’s shaken. Her boss asks Brant to drive Tori home. Though assured by her boss that Brant is a longtime friend and great guy, Tori still has trust issues.
I needed something that Brant could do for her throughout the course of the story that would bond them and help Tori trust him. I came up with some kind of comfort food. So when Brant asked her if she wanted to eat before he took her home, her response surprised me—McDonald’s.
Every time Tori got rattled through the course of her story, Brant brought her a Filet-O-Fish, fries, and chocolate milk shake. Through his kind gesture, she learned to trust him and eventually revealed her very painful past and how she came to rely on McDonald’s for comfort.
I guess this came from loving McDonald’s as a kid. We lived five miles from one in an Atlanta suburb for five years during my childhood. The restaurant was right between our house and where my cousin lived. Whenever we went to my cousin’s, we ate at McDonald’s.
But when I was twelve, we moved to rural Arkansas where my parents were born and raised. Our community is tiny. A store, two churches, and a post office—that’s only open four hours a day—makes up our main street. The closest McDonald’s was thirty minutes away, and we didn’t go to that city often. I went from eating at McDonald’s once or twice a week to once every three months or so.
With the lack of McDonald’s, on top of not knowing anyone and being used to a larger city, I thought my life was over for about three years. But two awesome things happened when I was fifteen, the city ten minutes away got a McDonald’s. And I met my future husband. These changes helped rural life grow on me and now the city of 7,000 where our McDonald’s is would be too big for me to live in.
Comment or answer this question to enter the drawing for a print copy of Rodeo Family:
What is your favorite comfort food?
TORI EATON IS READY TO START OVER
She’s beginning a new chapter in Aubrey, Texas, away from her abusive ex-boyfriend. As she picks up the pieces of her broken life, Tori’s surprised at the helping hand the church’s new song director, Brant McConnell, offers her, and at the warm emotions he inspires. Brant is drawn to Tori. And as their friendship grows, so do his feelings for her. But Tori is still hounded by her past, and the walls she’s built around her heart are high. Can he convince the wounded beauty that he’s exactly the kind of man she needs—and deserves?
Central Arkansas author Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She lives in a town with a population of around 100, if you count a few cows and once climbed a mountain wearing gold wedge-heeled sandals which became known as her hiking boots. Vannatter won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category, The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards 3rd Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award.
She has ten published titles and is contracted for five more. Her books are available at christianbook.com, barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, harlequin.com, and barbourbooks.com. Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/.
Connect with Shannon
Please leave a comment before 11:59 p.m. (Central time) Sunday, February 8th to be included in the drawing for a print edition of Rodeo Family. Be sure to include your email address. The winner will be announced on Monday, February 9th.