Series author Leann Harris is known for writing shorter romances that pack a punch, and writing incredibly strong heroes who readers can't help but fall for. Her latest story, Redemption Ranch, features timid army soldier, Tyler. Today, we hear from the author about where she finds the inspiration to craft such wonderful and heartwarming characters. 

People often ask how do I get story ideas? They are everywhere. The idea for Redemption Ranch came from the Military Channel program entitled Dogs of War, about dogs the US Army used during WWII. Americans volunteered their dogs and they were trained and used in the Pacific. That show was followed by another entitled No Dog Left Behind about dogs American soldiers found in Iraq.  

Two stories touched my heart. One man found a pup and the little guy kept coming around their camp in Baghdad. The soldier adopted the dog and found a way to send it home. When the soldier’s tour ended, he joined the dog at home. That dog became a lifeline, listening, loving, and accepting him. The other story was about an Army psychologist who found a puppy that she kept in her tent. She invited the soldiers to come and pet the dog. If they wanted to talk, they could.  

My story is built a story around a soldier who found a dog while in Iraq and brought it home. After my hero, Tyler Lynch comes home he can’t talk to his fiancée about what happened during his tour. After an embarrassing incident, Tyler goes on the road with the dog and without the fiancée. Of course, he doesn’t stand a chance when he meets Beth McClure, a woman who has a tender heart and feels her job is to help fix bad situations. The character who plays cupid for these two is Tyler’s dog. The dog makes friends with Beth, forcing Tyler to talk to the woman who’s caught the dog’s interest.  

The driving force of this book came from another special I saw on the Military Chanel. A WWII vet who fought in the Battle of the Bulge (Dec 1944) talked about the foxhole he hid in while the Nazis kept him pinned down. He was in that frozen hole with pink stained snow for days and a dead comrade. He commented years later that every time it snows in his home town, he feels a sadness. No wonder. Those words were in my heart when I wrote Tyler’s story.  

Redemption Ranch was an emotional write for me. When I wrote the last few scenes (and I’m not going to give away the ending), I cried. My hero has been in such dark place, but he ended in the light. That scene nearly wiped me out.

What our soldiers face when they come home is challenging and they deserve our love, gratitude, and every opportunity to create a normal, peace-filled life. Talk to your dad or grandpa, give them a kiss and thank them for their service. Both programs, “Dogs of War” and “No Dog Left Behind”, will be rerun on the Military Channel if you want to see them. Check the listings.

Leann Harris

You can pick up a copy of Redemption Ranch, available now. For more swoon-worthy heroes, check out our Everything Romance Page, or head over to our Everything Inspirational Page to discover more faith-based reads.

Tags: Inspirational
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