Thursday, February 13, 2020

Creating Ruby, Wyoming from The Twisted Oak by Sarah Hadley Brook

Do you ever wonder how authors come up with the fictional towns in their books? It's a little bit more involved than you think, though it is a lot of fun to do. Today, author Sarah Hadley Brook tells us how she came up with her setting of Ruby, Wyoming. And she has an important question for you to answer! Be sure to do so in the comments area and then follow the tour to hear even more from here. There's even an excerpt for you to enjoy before you download your copy. Best of luck entering the giveaway!


In The Twisted Oak, I wanted a small town readers could relate to. One filled with colorful characters—good and bad—and memorable places.

Once I came up with the details for Dwyer Ranch, I started researching Wyoming. I’m from Missouri, so I had a lot to learn about the state. And ranching!

I had a hard time coming up with the name of the fictional town until I was driving to my day job one morning and the name Ruby just popped into my head—I still don’t know where it came from! After confirming there wasn’t a real Ruby in Wyoming, I ran with it and began creating the various businesses and settings including the following:

  • The Sheriff’s Office
  • Ruby’s Diner: a classic-style diner that’s a staple on Main Street
  • Matthews & Renfrow, Attorneys at Law
  • Main Street in Downtown Ruby: filled with boutique shops and small businesses
  • Ruby Nights Bar: the local bar where Wade’s younger brother, Landon, performs with his band
  • Ruby’s Gems: the local jewelry store

So, hmmm, maybe I went a little overboard with Ruby, but after spending so much time working on this story and building up the town, I just couldn’t help myself! And if you enjoy The Twisted Oak, you can follow the characters—and new ones—in the sequel, which also takes place in Ruby.

I wanted the small town to be quaint, but modern, with a touch of nostalgia and I hope what I created reflects that to the readers. I am building on the town in the sequel.

If you were building a small town, what would you want to be present? A Starbucks? A McDonald’s? Maybe an Olive Garden? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Wade Dwyer's life is turned upside down when his father dies and he learns he must marry or he and his siblings will lose the ranch. One last jab of the knife from his father. On top of that, his father's only friend knows about the stipulation and is determined to own the property by any means necessary.

He's facing the very real possibility of being the reason his family loses their home when his brother's best friend, Lance Matthews, offers to walk down the aisle with him. A faux marriage to the man he's loved for years is a torture he isn't sure he can endure.

Can he keep the ranch ... and the man of his dreams, too?

Read an excerpt:
“This is nice,” Wade said as he moved closer to the pictures. Lots of family photos, some of his graduation. It was like a timeline of Lance’s life. When his eyes fell on one photo, he stopped, leaning in. It was a picture of Wade, Casey, and Lance on the sofa, playing video games. Probably one of the many nights Lance spent there as a teenager. But Lance wasn’t watching the game. He was staring at Wade.

“I remember that night,” Lance whispered, suddenly by Wade’s side.

“Brings back memories,” Wade admitted. “Who took the picture?”

Lance blushed. “Landon had been bugging us to let him join in on the video games, so I handed him my phone and let him play something on there so he’d leave us alone.”

“Ahh, the little brother bribe. I know it well,” Wade said, grinning.

Lance laughed. “Well, he must have been bored, because when I got the phone back, there were a lot of new pictures. He took some of his room, the barn, the horses, and this one of us playing video games.”

Wade’s chest tightened. “You kept this one…why?” There was nothing really remarkable about the picture. Other than Lance staring at him. But that could have been anything. He could have said something funny or they could have been talking.

Lance’s cheeks pinked. “I just liked the picture.”

He cocked his head and stood in front of Lance. “No reason?”

The man took a step back, and suddenly they were in the same position in which they’d found themselves this morning in the hallway. Lance looked into his eyes and Wade’s heart did a somersault. Lance’s eyes were dark with desire.

“Tell me,” Wade ordered. “Tell me why you kept the picture, Lance. Why were you looking at me instead of the game? Were we talking?”

Lance shook his head. “No,” he breathed out, his voice shaky. “God, I remember like it was yesterday, though. Casey and I were playing a game and you came in and joined us. When you sat next to me…I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t even breathe.” He looked to the side.

Wade cupped his chin and tilted his head to face him. “Why? Tell me, Lance.”

Lance licked his lips. “Because I was crazy about you, Wade. And I was scared of my feelings.”

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Sarah Hadley Brook lives smack-dab in the middle of the Heartland and is the mother of two wonderful young men, as well as two cats. During the day, she works in the non-profit world, but reserves evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures up in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, working on dollhouses, trying her hand at new recipes, or watching old movies and musicals. In her ideal world, Christmas would come at least twice a year, Rock Hudson and Doris Day would have co-starred in more than three movies, and chocolate would be a daily necessity to live. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.






Instagram: @sarah_hadley_brook_author

QueeRomance Ink:

Sarah Hadley Brook will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn host.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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