Country Music and Romance?

I’ve introduced authors in the past from the group I’m in, Seasoned Romance. This week I have another SR friend, Morgan Malone, joining us and sharing her love of music and how it influenced her book, Unanswered Prayers.  Enjoy her post and don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Unanswered Prayers.  Welcome, Morgan.


I love Country Music! I grew up in Northern New York State, farms were everywhere. The only music acts that performed at the County Fair every August were Country and Western stars: Porter Wagoner, Hank Williams, Jr. and Crystal Gayle. I was not a fan. But years later, driving my daughter back and forth to school events in the evening, I found our local Country station playing music with catchy melodies and lyrics that read like a romance novella. One night, I heard “That Summer” by Garth Brooks about a “lonely widow woman, hell bent to make it on her own” and I was hooked! I fell in love with Garth Brooks.

That’s where the idea was born for Unanswered Prayers, my newest release. I started writing the story in 1997. It took me over ten years to finish. I was caught up in a full-time job as Counsel to a small NYS agency. My daughter was heading to college and my son was finishing middle school. It was not until 2008, when I retired, that I finally was able to really work on my half-finished manuscript. I delved into the story that had been on my mind for almost a decade: Sam Rhodes, a weary Country singer, back on the road again after suffering a personal tragedy, playing the songs that had gotten him through the loss of his wife and baby girl, joined by rock and country stars, each showing up unannounced to the fans, to join him on stage, creating the summer’s biggest sensation. Naomi Stein, longing for a few weeks on Cape Cod while her son was at summer camp, tired of the demands of her ex-husband and her boss, weary from carrying too much emotional baggage, receives a can’t refuse assignment from Rolling Stone to follow Sam’s tour for exclusive access to the star and the promise of the magazine’s cover.  A great concept, right? Sam looked like Tim McGraw at his sexiest and Naomi was a ringer for Kyra Sedgewick in Phenomenon, all that curly blonde hair flying. A conservative Country boy from Oklahoma meets a feisty reporter from New York. All the elements for a hot romance, right?

Except my writing was terrible! My manuscript sounded like a legal brief. So, I followed the advice of some author friends and took creative writing classes to lose my legal voice. I wrote essays each week about my adventures in Internet dating as a widow in my fifties. I soon had enough essays to create a book. Cocktales: An After-50 Dating Memoir was my first sale. The publisher asked for an erotic romance next that was a play on 50 Shades of Grey. So Unanswered Prayers languished while I wrote Katarina: Out of Control.

Finally, I was able to concentrate on the book of my heart. With the help of my fabulous editor, Deelylah Mullin, Unanswered Prayers became my best book. I wanted to write a romance with a Jewish character. I’m Jewish and I love romance novels; many of my Jewish friends love them too. But there aren’t many romances featuring any Jewish characters, so I was determined that Naomi would be Jewish and allow me to explore that rich cultural and religious heritage. I love the scenes where she is explaining Yiddish to Sam.

Both Sam and Naomi are in their mid-thirties. The largest single group of romance readers is woman 40-60. But there are not many romance novels featuring characters in their forties or fifties or older and usually, they are secondary characters. So, I write romance novels with “older” characters. Naomi is 36, Katarina is 40, and Rick, the hero in the sequel to Katarina, is 50! I’ve even joined a group on Facebook, Seasoned Romance, dedicated to authors and readers who appreciate “mature love.” That means romance involving characters who are at least 30.

My next release will be part of Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay Kindle World. The working title is Barefoot Bay: A Shoulder to Lean On and it features a 50-year old orthopedic surgeon known as Dr. Hottie Rock Star and best-selling murder mystery author who really wants to write romance.

I hope your readers will comment on seasoned romances: do they want a book boyfriend who is over 25? A heroine who could be their sister but not their daughter? Remember, love, like wine, gets better with age!

And, back to Country music, because I’ve been listening to Garth as I wrote this post. Please share your favorite line from your favorite Country song. Though I love Garth, who I finally saw in concert last year, my favorite song right now is Kenny Chesney’s You and Tequila Make Me Crazy. “One is one too many, One more is never enough.” I’ll draw from the comments for an autographed copy of Unanswered Prayers.

Thank you so much, Patti, for inviting me today.

Unanswered Prayers Blurb:

Summer 2001. Naomi Stein is just praying for a little peace from her son, her ex-husband and her boss. Instead, she is following surly Country singer Sam Rhodes across the USA, covering his breakout tour for Rolling Stone. Sam has had bad luck with women and for him Naomi is trouble from the start. Sam tries to keep the feisty, sexy blonde at arm’s length…until Naomi pushes him over the edge. The hottest tour of the summer has just caught on fire. The music gets better and the romance steamier as they crisscross the country.

Will their passion burn out as autumn approaches? Stubborn pride forces them apart until the tragedy of 9/11 compels them to face each other one more time.

Follow Morgan:


Twitter: @MMaloneAuthor


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32 thoughts on “Country Music and Romance?”

  1. Morgan MaloneMorgan Malone

    Good Morning! I’m happy to be here. Let the fun begin. I’m cleaning my office after a summer of author promo, website rebuilding and some legal work (I’m a retired judge and lawyer who hears public sector employment contract arbitrations). So, I’m listening to Garth Brooks Greatest hits…rocking a little bit to “Cheyenne.” Any other Garth fans out there?

    September 6, 2016
  2. Terri MerkelTerri Merkel

    Nice to meet you. Loved reading about you. Unanswered prayers sounds amazing. Also love Garth.

    September 7, 2016
    • Morgan MaloneMorgan Malone

      Garth writes the most amazing songs and I love his voice, especially in duets with Trisha. Do you have a favorite Garth song? Thanks for stopping by, Terri!

      September 7, 2016
      • Terri MerkelTerri Merkel

        I fell in love with Garth the first day lol, I have to say thunder rolls is one of my favorites. His voice actually makes each one a favorite lol

        September 8, 2016
        • Morgan MaloneMorgan Malone

          I love the last verse he only sings in concert!

          September 8, 2016
  3. Trisy ArceoTrisy Arceo

    I can’t pick just one from just one song! Garth and Tim are two of my favorite singers because they often tell a whole story in one 4 minute song!! “Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
    That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care”

    September 8, 2016
    • Morgan MaloneMorgan Malone

      Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers!

      September 8, 2016
  4. Christina SparksChristina Sparks

    And we danced out there on that empty hardwood floor

    September 8, 2016
  5. Sandie ParsonsSandie Parsons

    country is about all I listen to so there are so many but the one that gets every time is Gary Allen No Regret…….She was Mine …. it’s a song he wrote about his wife that took her own life.

    September 8, 2016
    • Morgan MaloneMorgan Malone

      So sad and so lovely. What a tribute. The saddest tribute song for me is Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” he wrote when his little boy died. Makes me cry every time.

      September 8, 2016
      • Sandie ParsonsSandie Parsons

        yes i love that one too i don’t watch tv but listen to music all day while i read

        September 8, 2016
        • Morgan MaloneMorgan Malone

          I always have music playing when I write and often when I read.

          September 10, 2016
  6. Kate Thomas SchoenherrKate Thomas Schoenherr

    Looks like a great read. I would love to read it.

    September 8, 2016
    • Morgan MaloneMorgan Malone

      Thank you! It is the book of my heart. It was a story I could not let go of even though it took me a few years to come up with the right ending…HEA, of course!

      September 9, 2016
  7. BJ JamesBJ James

    If I die young, bury me in satin… My daughter died a few years ago and that always runs through my mind when I think of her.

    September 8, 2016
    • Morgan MaloneMorgan Malone

      I’m so sorry. My husband died 28 years ago. Garth’s song, The Dance, makes me think of him.

      September 9, 2016
  8. Lois I.Lois I.

    This book, Unanswered Prayers; sounds like a excellent book to put on my TBR list.
    Thank You for a chance to win a copy. I enjoy all country music & Garth is right up there on top.
    So many lyrics from a lot of great songs…… is never ending take me there.

    September 8, 2016
    • Morgan MaloneMorgan Malone

      “She was a lonely widow woman, Hell-bent to make it on her own….” thanks for stopping by!

      September 9, 2016
  9. Ruth Uhrmann LimeburnerRuth Uhrmann Limeburner

    Garth is one of my favorite country singers. There are too many lines to chose just one…Thanks for the giveaway!

    September 11, 2016

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