about the author
Laurel Blount lives on a small farm in middle Georgia with her husband, their four children, and an assortment of very spoiled animals. She divides her time between farm chores, homeschooling, and writing. She’s busy, but she’s never bored!
Laurel writes inspirational contemporary romance, and A Rancher to Trust is her fourth title for Harlequin’s Love Inspired. She’s the recipient of the Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence and has been a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Carol Award, the Holt Medallion, and the New England Reader’s Choice Award. She’s represented by Jessica Alvarez of Bookends Literary Agency.
Whenever she’s not working, you can find Laurel with a cup of tea at her elbow, a cat in her lap, and a good book in her hand.
five favorite secondary characters
Who are five of your favorite secondary characters?
L: Oh, I’m so glad you asked! I love my secondary characters—sometimes maybe a little too much! I had tons of fun populating the little Georgia town of Pine Valley with a cast of quirky and interesting folks. I’m going to have a hard time picking only five favorites!
B: Pine Valley sounds like my kind of place!
L: In my first book, A Family for the Farmer, I loved Sadie Elliott, the heroine’s spunky grandmother. Although she’s already passed away at the beginning of the book, Emily’s memories of Sadie bring her to life in the pages.
Sadie was truly a force to be reckoned with—I especially love the story of her flattening her own tires so that the church-avoiding but good-hearted hero would be forced to drive her to services. Sadie was the kind of feisty, determined woman who always gets her way in the end. I’ve known many of these ladies in my life, and once they get an idea in their heads, you might as well step out of the way!
B: Spunky grandmas are the best! Sadie sounds like one in a million.
L: Another secondary character in my debut novel, Pastor Jacob Stone, wound up as the hero in my second book, A Baby for the Minister. I loved that overworked, true-hearted minister so much he just had to have a romance of his own! His cantankerous secretary Arlene Marvin was my favorite secondary character in his story.
Crusty and outspoken, but with a heart of pure gold, she bossed and offended Jacob’s congregation in equal measures. When somebody was really in trouble, though, she was the first person to offer a helping hand. Arlene was such fun to write that she popped back up in A Rancher to Trust.
B: I bet this cranky church secretary has a big heart beneath her rough exterior.
L: In my third Love Inspired, Hometown Hope, my favorite secondary character—hands down—was Jess Bradley, the hero’s daughter. Traumatized by her mother’s unexpected death, the little girl hasn’t spoken in three years. Jess’s story was fascinating to write—selective mutism is an intriguing issue, and Jess evolved as a sweet, spirited, and determined little personality.
She plays an essential role in healing the long-standing rift between her beloved, blue-collar dad Hoyt and scholarly bookstore owner Anna Bradley. The two cooperate to help the grieving child and find themselves stumbling into a romance neither of them expected. Jess added so much angst and humor and sparkle to that story! I loved her!
B: Oh my heart! Sweet little Jess!
L: While we’re talking about secondary characters, I can’t leave out a crew of special favorites—my animal characters! I live on a small hobby farm, and I love writing our own beloved pets into my stories!
Glory the goose nearly stole the show in A Family for the Farmer, Rufus the endearingly annoying escape artist of a billy goat kept the heroine on her toes in A Baby for the Minister, and Lucy Ball, a mischievous Jersey calf (who thinks she’s a puppy) keeps heroine Bailey Quinn hopping in A Rancher to Trust.
B: I love critter characters!
L: Speaking of Bailey, the heroine of my newest Love Inspired A Rancher to Trust, Bailey Quinn, started out as probably my favorite secondary character of all time! The organic grocery store owner came to life when my editor suggested during revisions that I give Emily Elliott a friend in Pine Valley.
From the second Bailey strolled into the barn at Goosefeather Farm, she owned the scene. I knew right then and there that this fiercely independent woman had to have her own happily ever after. Bailey’s story has been brewing ever since! In A Rancher to Trust, she finally gets her moment—just when her best-kept secret—Dan Whitlock—rolls unexpectedly back into town.
I love so much about Bailey—her grit, her kind heart, her dreams…even her faults! She’s played important roles in every single book I’ve set in Pine Valley, and it was so satisfying to craft a story around Bailey herself. I pulled out all the stops in A Rancher to Trust, and I hope I did her proud!
B: How wonderful! Yay for Bailey!
L: Thanks so much for letting me visit and chat about my favorite story people! This has been fun! I hope you and all your wonderful readers have a blessed holiday season!
B: Thank you for the candid introduction to some of your characters, Laurel! I’m looking forward to getting to know each of them better as I read their stories!
about the book
A Rancher to Trust by Laurel Blount
Publisher: Love Inspired
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 17, 2019
Searching for forgiveness…and a future.
Suddenly a husband…and a father?
This bachelor is ready to claim his instant family.
After learning his ex-wife isn’t so ex after all, rebel turned rancher Dan Whitlock is determined to prove he’s a changed man…but Bailey Quinn is just as set on finally ending their marriage.
When tragedy makes Dan the guardian of little orphaned twins, he and Bailey are drawn back together. But can she forgive the past and open her heart to the family she’s always wanted?
(1) winner will receive A Rancher to Trust “Merry Christmas from Georgia!” Prize Pack that includes: Paperback copy of A Rancher to Trust, signed by author, Georgia necklace, Swint’s Deep Fried Pecans, Southern Pecan Coffee, Dickey’s Peach Jam, and Turkey Creek Hot Sauce!
Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight December 16, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on December 23, 2019. Open internationally except where prohibited by law or logistics. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.
Let’s chat about these secondary characters with Laurel Blount in the comments!
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