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Eye On Romance
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Ann Major

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Marriage at the Cowboy's Demand
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Victoria Bylin
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This may sound crazy, but I was driven to write romance by giant bugs and killer rabbits. I just couldn't take it anymore. My husband and two sons would be camped in front of the television watching a movie about spiders the size of bowling balls, and I'd be wondering when the handsome scientist would get around to kissing the spunky woman with the bug spray. When it didn't happen, I decided to write my own happy endings – without the giant bugs.

I made that decision in January 1999 after a cross-country move from southern California to northern Virginia. A job change for my husband made the relocation a necessity, but it wasn't easy. I grew up in Los Angeles, attended both UCLA and UC Berkeley, and lived for eight years in a mountain community just south of Bakersfield. I'm happiest at the beach and have ridden out earthquakes. I know Interstate 5 like the back of my hand. I'm addicted to sunshine and can tolerate smog.

Packing up and moving to the east coast was like yanking a palm tree out of the sand by its roots. Our new adventure started with a cross-country drive, and I'll never forget cruising down I-40 with my husband and sons in our old Dodge Ramcharger. A thunderstorm struck fast and hard. When it cleared, we saw a double-rainbow arching over the highway. Like Noah in the days of old, I took at as a sign of a promising future and new opportunities.

For me, that meant writing a novel. As soon as we settled into our new routine in Virginia, I sat in front of the computer, named the heroine Susan because it was the first word that popped into my head, and promised myself that I wouldn't edit a word until I'd written "The End." I had no idea who Susan was or how the story would unfold. I just stuck her in a barn with a dead body and a grief-stricken rancher.

The writing wasn't very good, but something wonderful happened. Ideas came. My characters developed quirks, and I wanted to know what would happen next. That effort is under the bed gathering dust, but my second manuscript turned into Of Men and Angels. I'm also working on a mainstream contemporary and have plans for more westerns and possibly an Americana set in 1899 Virginia.

Writing is a challenge and a joy, but the things in life that matter most are faith, friends and family. I'm bone-deep grateful for a wonderful husband and two terrific sons. My father passed away in 1997, but my mom is a constant presence in my life. I've got wonderful in-laws, a brother and sister-in-law in Colorado, and writing friends spread across the nation. The promise of that double-rainbow in Arizona has been more than fulfilled. Life is good, and best of all, there's more to come.

from author’s web site.

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Photo: Victoria Bylin
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