We sat down with Jennifer Ryan more than two years ago at the 2014 RWA Conference in San Antonio, back when she was looking forward to her print debut, and this month, her latest novel, Her Renegade Rancher, is our Romance Top Pick. In this interview, we talk to Ryan about what's changed in the years since our first chat, why she prefers cowboys and more.
Describe your latest novel in one sentence.
A sexy Montana rancher rekindles a once-thought forbidden romance and puts his life on the line to be her renegade rancher.
When we met up with you in 2014, you were looking forward to your debut print novel. What’s changed in your romance world since then?
So many wonderful things have happened. Since my debut Saved by the Rancher came out, I’ve become a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and published The Hunted, McBride and Montana Men series for a total of 17 novels and novellas once His Cowboy Heart comes out in February 2017. I’ve met so many of my goals and written the books that excited and challenged me. I love what I do and wouldn’t want to do anything else. Which is why I’m always dreaming up new ideas for the next series. The success I’ve achieved has proven to me—and been a great example for my kids—that if you work hard, stick with it through the ups and downs and learn all you can about what you want to do, you will achieve what you set your mind to do.
A cowboy, a billionaire businessman and a pirate walk into a bar. Who do you choose?
Hands down, I’ll take the cowboy! Any guy who works hard, plays harder, loves their woman and thinks that home and family is everything is the one for me.
Your series is called Montana Men. Have you ever travelled to Montana?
No. Believe it or not, I live in Northern California where we have a lot of farming and ranching. As a young girl, I got to go to my friend’s small ranch and ride horses. I loved it. A lot of people who hear the word “cowboy” don’t think of California, so I set the series in the one place that I would love to visit. I love the great outdoors, and you can’t beat the Montana landscape. Big Sky country is an amazing backdrop for romance—and a little suspense.
What’s your favorite thing about your heroine, Luna Hill?
Her heart. She’s dedicated to her friends and preserving the legacy she unexpectedly inherits and loves with her whole heart. She’s got an inner strength that shines through and helps her cope when times are tough—two things Colt loves about her.
If you were to write a historical romance novel, what time period would it be set in and why?
I have a serious addiction to reading historical novels. I love getting lost in another time and place. Scottish laird books are my favorite, so if I ever wrote a historical, it would probably be a big, strapping laird—they’re kind of like Scottish cowboys, right?
What’s next for you?
After Her Renegade Rancher, I’ve got the last two Montana Men books. Luna’s sexy lawyer gets an unexpected surprise in Snowbound at Christmas, and Colt’s brother Ford gets a second chance at love when Jamie returns from the military to claim His Cowboy Heart.