Interview with Nicole Helm
We’re back with another All About Cowboys interview and this time we’re talking to romance author Nicole Helm. For those who don’t know, Nicole recently released two cowboy romance books, Cowboy SEAL Christmas from Sourcebooks Casablanca and Wyoming Cowboy Justice from Harlequin Intrigue.
In our interview with Nicole, we talk about the cowboy code, what it is and how it relates to the cowboy heroes we see on bookstore shelves today. We also got a few book and hero recommendations, so…let’s get started!
MEET NICOLE HELM
Nicole Helm is the bestselling author of down-to-earth contemporary romance and fast-paced romantic suspense. From farmers to cowboys, midwest to the west, she writes stories about people finding themselves and finding love in the process.
She lives with her husband and two young sons in Missouri enjoying Cardinals baseball and dreams about someday owning a barn.
ALL ABOUT COWBOYS
An exclusive interview with Nicole Helm
Author of Cowboy SEAL Christmas & Wyoming Cowboy Justice
We often hear about “the cowboy code,” what do you think it is and how do you think it pertains to romance heroes today?
Nicole: I think the cowboy code is all about doing the right thing in difficult circumstances. The legend of the cowboy is one of hard work and a quiet gruffness. The cowboy always protects what’s his—land or family—and will sacrifice himself for the good of those things. Whether he’s a quiet drifter, a noble lawman, or a reclusive rancher who doesn’t want any trouble—the cowboy code is one of good triumphing over evil.
What part of that code do you think appeals to romance readers and why do you think it resonates the way it does?
Nicole: Romance is all about happily ever after and that’s its own good triumphing over evil. Romance readers also want a hero who gets things done and rights some wrongs and helps the heroine save the day no matter the sacrifice. I think that’s the very essence of our image of the cowboy.
How do you think this code of ethics helps you in creating the emotional entanglements the heroes in your stories face?
Nicole: I’ve always loved writing characters with a deep core sense of right and wrong. How they act on that is so different, but having the built in code of cowboy protectiveness adds an extra layer of appeal. Then to have to struggle with that sense of right and wrong while falling in love—I think that’s what keeps romance readers coming back again and again.
Have you ever intentionally written a hero that went against “the cowboy code” and if so, why did you choose to take that route and what kind of impact did it have on your hero’s emotional journey?
Nicole: My heroes always have a strong sense of right and wrong, but sometimes their baggage gets in the way. Caleb Shaw in OUTLAW COWBOY has gotten his family ranch into trouble, has been a functioning alcoholic at best, and has burned a lot of bridges. In REBEL COWBOY (the first book in the series) my editor was actually worried I’d made Caleb too unlikable to be the hero in OUTLAW COWBOY, but I love a redemption story and bringing people from their lowest low to their highest high. It’s an emotional journey, a hard won journey, but when you see their sense of right and self worth finally win—it’s worth every bad step.
What do you think is the major appeal of the cowboy romance hero?
Nicole: I think the appeal stems from his willingness to do whatever it takes to protect, save, and love what’s his.
If you could choose one trait that defines a cowboy romance hero in your mind, what would it be and why?
Nicole: Grit. No matter what he’s done in his past, or mistakes he’s made, the cowboy romance hero is always ready to work hard and sacrifice for what he loves.
Who is your ultimate cowboy hero and why do you love him?
Nicole: Luke Hollister from Maisey Yates’s SMOOTH-TALKING COWBOY. He’s kind of wild and rough around the edges and certainly doesn’t consider himself noble. He’s even willing to do whatever it takes to get a piece of land he’s after. But when love comes knocking, Luke steps up and learns to be the noble guy he’s always been deep down. I love his romance with the prim and proper Olivia as well as his growth over the course of the novel.
Do you have a favorite cowboy book or cowboy quote to share? (We’ll take cowboy-themed recipes, too!)
Nicole: I love cowboy books! I’m a huge Maisey Yates fan—the Copper Ridge and Gold Valley series are the pinnacle of heroes doing everything they can to do the right thing—though of course occasionally the right thing is actually the worst thing for them ;). Nora Roberts has written some of my favorite cowboys in MONTANA SKY and COME SUNDOWN, plus the amazing Caitlin Crews has a fantastic cowboy series starting with A TRUE COWBOY CHRISTMAS coming out in the fall you won’t want to miss.
Have you read Nicole Helm’s latest releases?
Wyoming Cowboy Justice
Oct. 1, 2018
Welcome to Bent, Wyoming
Where the Wild West Never Died
Resident bad boy and saloon owner Grady Carson knows his brother is not a murderer, and he’ll do anything to prove it. But partnering with Laurel Delaney? Worst idea ever. The beautiful by-the-book cop challenges him like no other. Bad family blood—and a killer at large—makes their attraction unthinkable. Dangerous. Reckless. How can they solve a crime to prevent a family war and then let forbidden love ignite it anew?
WANT IT? FIND IT ON:
* * *
Cowboy SEAL Christmas
Sept. 4, 2018
Three former Navy SEALs
Injured in the line of duty
Desperate for a new beginning…
Searching for a place to call their own.
Single mom and Revival Ranch’s on-site therapist Monica Finley has dedicated her life to helping brave servicemen and women, but former Navy SEAL Gabe Cortez is the one man whose shell she just can’t crack. Yet with the holidays fast approaching, she may finally have a plan. In a bid to get Gabe to open up, she’ll ask for as much help as possible—cutting down the Christmas tree, stringing lights, the whole nine yards.
Who could possibly be a Grinch with so much holiday cheer in the air?
Gabe has always hated Christmas—the holiday never fails to remind him just how alone he truly is. But the more time he spends with Monica and her young son, the more he finds himself drawn to their cozy little family…and the more he begins to realize his long-suppressed Christmas dreams may finally be coming true.
“Nicole Helm writes my favorite cowboys.”
—New York Times Bestselling Author MAISEY YATES