USA Today best-selling author Roxanne Rustand has written more than three dozen novels. Her latest book is the romance High Country Homecoming (Love Inspired), from the Rocky Mountain Ranch series. Devin Langford left a soldier and returned a cowboy—can Rocky Mountain Ranch make him a husband? In this exclusive interview, Roxanne shares a bit about the story, about what makes her leading lady and leading man special, and about the spiritual theme running through the novel…
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about High Country Homecoming?
Chloe Kenner followed her alcoholic father from one ranch job to the next. She was only nine during her stay at the Langford Ranch, yet she sensed in teenage rebel Devlin Langford a similar wounded spirit. She became his persistent, pesky shadow, his staunchest defender against his cruel and demanding father—until abruptly moving away when her father was fired yet again.
Now she has become a writer, and after a calamitous career situation in Minneapolis, she just wants to escape to an isolated cabin on that ranch to finish her book and reinvent her life. She doesn’t expect Devlin will have returned to the family ranch from the Marines just before she does—with serious wounds of his own.
Tell us about your leading lady and leading man. What made you want to write their story?
Each of these characters has tried to simply bury their troubled past—though those wounds have continued to fester. For Chloe, the worst day was when her mother simply walked away, abandoning her to a father who loved alcohol more than he’d ever loved her. She grew up feeling unworthy and unloved—by parents who had never put her first.
For Devlin, it was the pain of his four-year-old sister’s accidental death, the loss of his mother soon after, and that his father falsely blamed him for his sister’s death. How does one ever get over such grief and guilt, and such a sense of loss? Their stories touched my heart, and writing this book gave me a chance to show how people can overcome terrible pain, find a path toward forgiveness and finally reach a full and abundant life.
What spiritual themes or ideas play out in High Country Homecoming?
Forgiveness is a strong spiritual theme for both Chloe and Devlin. At the beginning of the story, neither has been able to forgive the parents who caused them such pain, and Devlin feels as if God abandoned him long ago. Each must come to an epiphany regarding their faith, God’s forgiveness, and how they need to forgive as well, in order to finally find true happiness and love.
What’s your favorite thing about writing romances as a Christian author?
Writing romance for Love Inspired has been an incredible journey. I previously wrote for other Harlequin lines, and the move to Love Inspired filled me with such joy! I love the opportunity to write about characters who face struggle and heartbreak, and through the deepening of their faith can finally heal and become capable of giving and receiving love. The letters I receive from readers about these stories are heartwarming, for all of us face pain and heartbreaks in life. When I finish each story, I pray that it will touch the hearts of readers and help someone along their own journey to a stronger faith.
How does your faith impact the way you approach writing fiction?
Being able to incorporate an arc of faith has been so gratifying! I think it adds greater depth to a story, and writing Christian romance has had a powerful effect on the affirmation of my own, lifelong faith as well. Being part of the many Love Inspired authors who write these heartwarming novels feels like such an honor!
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