#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Why I Write the Books I Write

Working on the Country books, starting with Country Strong, I’ve found myself thinking about what’s important to me—and to so many of you, my dear readers, as you’ve kindly told me—and how these elements are reflected in my stories.  They appear in all my contemporary books and, in a different way, in my historical fiction.

I decided (for no reason other than that it makes me feel organized!) to do this in alphabetical order. Here’s what really matters to me:

Animals. This won’t surprise anyone who’s read my books. My family, my friends and I all consider ourselves—and call ourselves—“animal people.” I know how true this is for my readers, too. We love the animals in our lives, value them and take care of them, and they do so much for us. Our pets love us without reservation; they bring us joy.

And they’re fascinating! Endlessly. You’ll find that Cord, the hero/male protagonist of Country Strong, is utterly fascinated by his horses and an expert in working with them. Then there are Cord’s dogs, plus Holly the adorable rescue Beagle, and J.P.’s service dog, Trooper (a dog with a job!). All of these animals contribute to the comfort and happiness of their people’s lives.


Community. That’s something a town like Painted Pony Creek provides; that’s why you go to a town like this, why you stay there. The people here love their home. Many families here go back a number of generations. Others have returned—like Shallie, the female lead–and still others moved here because the place appeals to them.

Not that the town or all its residents are perfect! But you could say that’s one source of the conflict so necessary to any story… And you’ll see how seriously the characters in Country Strong take the protection of their town and its people.


Country. As the titles suggest, the land itself is crucial to these stories. Its beauty is a privilege. Being surrounded by all the different landscapes in Montana can bring a variety of emotions—from tranquility to tension (depending on the weather!), from ecstasy to excitement.

Farming and ranching are the kinds of work that depend on the land and sustain entire populations. Country confers strength (Country Strong), generates pride (Country Proud) and is about belonging (Country Born).


Family. For most of us, family is the foundation of our lives. It helps us make sense of the world around us—and the world inside us. Family is an important factor in this story, as it is in all my books. Shallie and especially the teenager Carly are seeking their families. And the men—Cord, Eli, and J.P.—are looking for, hoping for, families of their own…


Friendship. I believe friendship is the other critical connection in our lives, the other main source of important human relationships, and it’s key to this story (and all the Country books). Cord, Eli and J.P., continuing central characters in the series, are lifelong friends and remain close. They and people like Shallie, Brynne, Carly deeply value their friendships and make new ones. And as a friend (!) of mine put it, friends lead to friends…


Humor.  What would life be without laughter, shared jokes and shared witticisms? For one thing, humor is usually such a vital aspect of being friends. It connects us. It also allows us to enjoy the good things in our lives even more and to make the hard things more tolerable. Humor is always there among the three friends in Country Strong—and between them and their other friends.


Love. Ultimately the most important thing there is, the emotion that in many ways defines us. I celebrate love in all my books. Love for family, home and friends, of course—and the romantic love we find with the person who will be part of our lives.  That kind of love is also about becoming the best possible version of ourselves. In Country Strong (and this isn’t a spoiler!) it’s what Cord and Shallie experience.


Music. Another source of joy! It’s entertainment, yes, but it’s something else that brings us together. And music expresses so many truths, doesn’t it? In this book, and in the series, the music of choice is naturally country music.  Just about everyone in town is involved, attending The GateCrashers’ concerts; they’re the local band. They play classics you’ll recognize and their own music.


Mystery. I have to admit I love some mystery, a bit of suspense, both in the books I read and the ones I write. Of course, with Eli as the county sheriff, there are some real opportunities to create situations that need solving… And wait till you read Country Proud, Eli’s story!


Story is the perfect word to end with. We read story because we need story; it gives shape and logic to our world and our lives.

I invite you to send me your personal stories and comments on any and all of the points I’ve discussed. Write me at my website: www.lindalaelmiller.com

Thanks and see you in Painted Pony Creek!

15 comments to “Why I Write the Books I Write”

  1. Dawn Roberts
      · February 10th, 2020 at 4:08 pm · Link

    I live in all town about 1 hours north of Dallas, I actually live in the county area, and have 2 acres (not enough) and love it. I love that my dogs have room to run, my grand daughter can play outside and no one is around to be afraid of. I have several dogs, to big girl and three small house babies, and of course when my daughter is here we have her two boys also. so things get a bit funny around here as they each feel the need to own a lap, and crowding can become an issue. but we love them, I’ve actually down sized since I stopped breeding from 9 to 5 dogs, I am always itching for more but we are getting older and hoping to retire in about 10 years. I love that you write what you know, and I love that i can live thru your stories. I will say I was so in love with the Yankee wife that I wanted to know what became of her life after the war and the move. I’d be up for more of that story. thanks for all the stories, and please keep writing

  2. Diane Sallans
      · February 10th, 2020 at 4:24 pm · Link

    all those elements that you listed are why I love your series :-P

  3. Lois Rotella
      · February 10th, 2020 at 6:17 pm · Link

    All the elements of your writing is what draws me to your books. Family is a strong element of my life. Animals are important also. Love listening to country music because each song has different moods.
    Keep up with all good books you write. I really enjoyed Country Strong.

  4. Prairie
      · February 10th, 2020 at 6:24 pm · Link

    Thank you, Linda for sharing. I’ve never really analyzed your writing but have noticed your love of animals and building a community of family and friends. I think this is what draws people to your books. I love your series and how people’s lives are interconnected. Thank you so much for writing such wonderful characters to love and feel a part of their lives.

  5. Melaine Langi
      · February 10th, 2020 at 9:14 pm · Link

    I read Country Strong in two days. It probably would have been quicker, but I was also working. Now I will wait for the next book in the series, Country Pride. I’m so glad you are back to your writing and blogs. Missed you lots! God Bless!

  6. Ann Bartholomew
      · February 11th, 2020 at 10:17 am · Link

    Read Country Strong and passed it on to a friend. Now I’m looking forward to reading Eli’s mystery next! And even more anxious to get the next Civil War installment. I love how you interwove the issues of North and South into love that bridges the gap.

  7. Susan Lee
      · February 11th, 2020 at 10:40 am · Link

    All of those things you have mentioned are what make your stories so attractive. Those elements put together create an imaginary community which we visit through reading.

  8. DONNA
      · February 11th, 2020 at 10:43 am · Link

    Love your books! Glad that you base your stories on your life style

  9. Ona Griffiths
      · February 11th, 2020 at 11:20 am · Link

    Just finished Country Strong. I read it in one sitting and now will be anxiously awaiting for your next book. I enjoy your books so much.

  10. Donamae
      · February 11th, 2020 at 3:13 pm · Link

    Your style of writing is what I really enjoy the words draw me in. Animals family humor the beautiful country music all if it! You have a way with words! Horses are my favorite to have in a book. A mini horse in the house would be fun to read about. They are service animals too. So happy you write!

  11. Fran Fee
      · February 11th, 2020 at 8:52 pm · Link

    I just finished Country Strong and loved the story and the people I met. I could picture me walking down main street or out at Cord’s Ranch while he was working with the horses. Can’t wait for Country Proud and Eli’s story. Thanks for keeping us hanging in there for the next story.

  12. Debra Wright
      · February 12th, 2020 at 10:34 am · Link

    Really enjoyed reading Country Strong! As usual, can’t wait to read the next installment! Thank you Linda for always giving us great reading material! You never fail to lift me up with your stories ❤️

  13. midge watkins
      · February 12th, 2020 at 5:21 pm · Link

    And that is exactly why we love you, Linda. Enough said.

  14. Lorelei Sawtelle
      · February 24th, 2020 at 1:07 pm · Link

    We are moving to Arkansas in June. Hope to get chickens and goats. One of our first fur babies will be a dog from the local animal shelter. Perhaps an older black dog, since those seem to be the hardest to adopt out.

  15. Shadow Lee
      · March 28th, 2020 at 4:20 am · Link

    So glad to hear you are feeling better. The garden at my parents house gave me so happiness when I was going through my divorce. My young daughter was always glad to see Grandma & Grandpa. That year the sweet corn was the best we ever had. We froze most of it for the winter.
    Now I live in the valley between the Grand Mesa & the San Juan Mts. of Colorado. The sweet corn of Olathe, Colorado really is the best.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

:wink: :-| :-x :twisted: :) 8-O :( :roll: :-P :oops: :-o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :-D :evil: :cry: 8) :arrow: :-? :?: :!: