How exciting to have Jared Mattson, the hero from Yuletide Reunion from A Western Christmas anthology, written by Louise M. Gouge, an October 2015 release from Love Inspired Historical Romance.
1. Jared Mattson, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
First of all, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to chat with you all today. Then I suppose you’ll be interested in knowing I’m the fourth of five sons of a cattle rancher in Riverton, New Mexico. We don’t have any women in our house because our mama couldn’t stand the harsh life and returned back east many years ago. Then my oldest brother’s wife did the same thing. Makes it kind of hard for my brothers and me to know how to treat women. Odd thing is that our youngest brother, Cal, has a way with women and plans to marry one of two sisters on a neighboring ranch. Maybe one day the rest of us Mattson men will have to take lessons from him.
2. What do you do for fun?
Life on a ranch involves an awful lot of work, and we don’t have any time to waste. Fun comes in the form of helping out neighbors because it gives us a change of pace. This December, we’re helping our neighbors rebuild their barn before Christmas Eve because they’re hosting the annual Las Posadas celebration, a Spanish Christmas tradition. The new barn will be the only place large enough to hold all the neighbors for a big party, which is meant to bring together the Americanos and Mexican folks who live around Riverton.
3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
This is hard to answer, and it will be hard to do. I owe a big apology to my sweet, pretty neighbor, Miss Emma Sharp. You see, I was courting her a few years ago, but I got cold feet and jilted her. Mind you, I had good reasons. What with my mama and sister-in-law deserting their husbands, I figure women were all alike. But that didn’t make my actions any easier on that sweet little gal.
4. What are you afraid of most in life?
I’m afraid that even if I summon up the courage to apologize, Emma won’t forgive me. Actually, I don’t blame her. Guilt sits on my shoulders like an oversized saddle on a little pony.
5. What do you want out of life?
I want a place of my own, a cattle ranch I can build up from scratch. Whether the Lord will grant that prayer, I don’t know. But I know He knows best.
6. What is the most important thing to you?
Doing God’s will. Only trouble is, sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what that is. I’m beginning to think I should have prayed more before I started courting Emma. And I sure should have prayed more before I jilted her.
7. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
You’re going to think this is pretty strange for a cowboy, but I have a pet cat. She’s one of our many barn cats, and we made friends a few years ago. You’ll have to read my whole story to find out how that happened.
8. Can you tell us a little interesting tidbit about the time period you live in?
As I mentioned above, our community will be celebrating Las Posadas. Here’s a little bit of history about that celebration: For hundreds of years, Mexicans had settled in the land we now call New Mexico, then known as New Mexico Territory. After the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, new boundaries were drawn, giving the territory to the United States. The Mexicans living there were given the opportunity to move to Mexico or remain on their land. Numerous families remained. At this time, many “Americanos” moved into the area, and animosities sprang up between the two groups. In the idealistic, fictional community of Riverton, the pastors of two different local denominations decide to set the example and bring their congregations together, concentrating on their common belief in Jesus Christ instead of their differences.