Laura Haley-McNeil

Why Write Crystal Creek?

Crystal Creek is a montage of memories I’ve collected over the years. The people, the setting, the adventures. As a child, I spent many summers visiting a mountain ranch and carry those memories in my heart.

The Crystal Creek Series originally started as a single title novel written twenty years ago. The original story took place on a ranch, as does the current series. The names of many of the characters I have carried from the original story to the current series – Rose, Victoria, Garrett and Max. Their names are the same but their personalities have changed.

The original story, as well as the current series, features Rose, the fourth ex-wife of Maxwell Whitloch, Sr., who was deceased. Max Sr. was a wildcatter who made a fortune.

Another character who was in the original story, and also in the new series, is Max’s oldest son from his first marriage. This son is named Max Jr. In the original story, Max Jr. was determined to gain control of his father’s oil business and keep his father’s fortune away from his half-siblings. Also, in the original story, Rose was an indecisive character who depended on her daughter Victoria. If you’d like to read the original version, I’ve posted it on WattPad. The original title is A Long Way Home. Click on the title, and that will take you to my post on my WattPad page.

In the new series, Max Sr. isn’t a wildcatter but a financier, along the order of Bernie Madoff, but with one difference – Max Whitloch, Sr., has a heart. The puzzle is why did he become a serial marrier? I’ll explore that character flaw more closely in a future book.

Max Jr. also became a nicer character in the Crystal Creek series. He has never accepted his half siblings. The reason why will become the subject of a future book.

Rose and her two daughters, Victoria, and Emily, live on the Crystal Creek Ranch. The ranch consists of thousands of acres and is located south of Denver. They raise cattle and Arabian horses.

There is conflict between the Whitloch family and a neighboring family called the Reynolds. This conflict is similar to that of the Hatfields and the McCoys but without the violence.

Garrett, Victoria’s love interest, is a Reynolds. Garrett’s mother, Hillary, believes she should be the rightful owner of the Crystal Creek Ranch, but Rose holds strong. Rose loves the ranch and will protect it to her death. This conflict between the families has kept Victoria and Garrett apart. The first book in the Crystal Creek series will explore some of this conflict, but there will be a future book that delves into the history of this clash between the families.

As I write this post, Victoria (Guarding Her Heart), Jake (Crystal Creek Christmas), the son of Max Sr. and his second ex-wife, Giselle (A Ring Around Her Heart), Max Jr.’s daughter, and Anna (Steeling Her Heart), the daughter of Max Sr. and his third wife, have had their stories told. Right now, I’m writing Charisse’s story. She is Anna’s twin sister.

Besides ranches and horses, Russian history has always interested me, especially Tsar Nicholas Romanoff and his family. I’ve tried to weave a little bit of my interest in the third book of the series, A Ring Around Her Heart.

The Crystal Creek Series will never end. There are more relatives and ranch hands who demand their stories be told, and I intend to oblige them.

I will post a genealogy table that will include Max Whitloch’s family and that of the Reynolds family. These two families will clash several times during the series.

I hope you enjoy the Crystal Creek books. I love to hear from readers. Please feel free to post your questions and comments on this website.

And stay tuned for more adventures from the Whitlochs of the Crystal Creek Ranch.




Photograph Credit