GENRE: Historical Romance

Spring, 1868.  Dakota Territory.

All she ever wanted was a family.

Illegitimate, orphaned at birth and raised by a kind doctor and his wife, Mattie Robinson yearns for something more than New York City’s poor, overcrowded and violent east side.  Her marriage prospects are limited and her future seems uncertain so when the opportunity for an arranged marriage arises, she happily agrees. Mattie travels west to the tiny prairie town of Boxwood, in the Dakota Territory to meet and marry John Stark, a man nearly thirty years her senior.  Her dream of having a family of her own is finally going to come true.

He just wants to be left alone.

Thomas Langley has seen enough brutality during the Civil War to know that he wants no part of society.  Both emotionally and physically scarred by battle and his time in a prison camp, he left South Carolina to start over in the wild and sparsely populated Dakota Territory.  But like so many of his plans, this one too is going astray. Unable to care for his sick infant daughter since his wife’s death and struggling to establish his cattle ranch, the last thing Thomas has time for is meeting his dead friend’s mail-order bride at the train station. 

They need each other.

After receiving the news of John’s death, Mattie isn’t sure what to do. She knows she doesn’t want to return to New York City, no matter how many times Thomas tells her she should.  When Thomas suddenly finds himself without a woman to care for his daughter, he and Mattie realize that they might be the answer to each other’s problems. Thomas has never met a woman like Mattie.  She’s capable, unafraid of hard work, bossy and can’t be cowed by his nasty temperament. Mattie is drawn to Thomas too, even if he can’t stop rolling his piercing steel-grey eyes at her... 

This first book in the Brides of Boxwood Series is a sweet historical romance featuring two main characters who prove that opposites really do attract.

A sweet, clean historical romance with a HEA celebrating the strength and resilience of men and women.

JDBOOKS has the privilege of an interview with author C.C. Coldwell

Where do you live and is that the setting for your book?

I live just north of Toronto, Canada. That is not the setting for my book. The

setting in my book is North Dakota. However, my husband’s family is from

the Saskatchewan / North Dakota border.

How did you come up with the premise of Wife Not Required? Was it something that you experienced?

Parts of the novel were definitely inspired by my own life. In Wife Not

Required, the main character Mattie is hired to care for a baby

who cries incessantly, throws up her food and won’t sleep.

When my youngest daughter was born she cried 18 hours a

day, 7 days a week. If she was awake she was crying. And it

was horrible, screaming type of crying as if she were being

tortured. She rarely slept more than a few hours at a time and

every time I fed her she threw up. My husband and I still

cannot believe we survived. The doctor said she had colic but

later in life we found out she had terrible acid reflex and is

lactose intolerant.

How did you come up with an amazing title?

I’m terrible with titles so it took A LONG TIME. Originally, the story was called A Bride’s Arrival but I never really liked the title. “Wife Not Required” was the headline of the newspaper ad that my main character, Thomas, placed in a Chicago newspaper and I thought that was a much better title.

Your book is a Historical Romance. What drew you to the genre?

I am interested in history in general but I think what

draws me to this genre is partially the fact that we live in very

complicated times. I think there is a strong desire for people

to revisit times when everything was less complicated.

Communication was face to face and more genuine instead of

by text or email. People weren’t so preoccupied with the

acquisition and management of material possessions. Life

was simple and revolved around your community, your little

town or your part of the city.

Do you think writers need to feel strong emotions in order to write a Historical Romance?

I think writers need to feel strong emotions in order to write

anything and I would suggest that it is those strong emotions

that turn us into writers.

In one of my blog pieces, I discuss how to approach writing a novel, but it is mainly targeted towards those who want to write fantasy novels. What advice would you give someone on how to approach writing a Historical Romance?

Research is important to get the flavor and the details of the

time period correct but I think it’s important to not go

overboard on research. You can research for years!

Eventually you have to cut yourself off and start writing. I

think it’s also important to avoid creating a female character

who is either a) a simpering, weak damsel in distress or b) a

superwoman kind of character who can win a bar fight and be

home in time to put a wonderful dinner on the table. None of

those characters ring true for readers. Despite what some

parts of the women’s movement would have us believe, not all

women were enslaved and abused by men. Normal, every

day women had relationships were their husbands saw their

work in the household and especially on the farm as equally

important to their own. Men and women had to work together

to survive tough conditions.

Have any of the part of story in Wife Not Required? Been influenced by TV or movie figures? If so, which one(s)?

I don’t think so but my readers may see glimpses.

If you could give your younger self some advice about the writing process, what would it be?

It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around. Just write

the first draft, get the story down and then pretty it up


What time do you usually start writing and what do you find the hardest part of the writing process?

I try to write every evening after 8 pm for about an hour. The hardest part is

always those first few lines or the first paragraph. Once I get

into it then I can usually keep going.

How has writing changed you?

I think it’s made me a happier person overall. Once I decided

to set aside time for writing and to take it seriously, seriously

devote the time to it, I became a happier, more positive

person. I was more fulfilled, I really believed I was living my

purpose and it changed my overall outlook on life.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I have two young children so I am usually busy taking them places. I really enjoy British and some Canadian television shows. I love to read and to go camping.