I wanted to give my story a sense of reality. I live in Iowa and because the book is contemporary and is set in Iowa, I wanted to give shout-outs to many local people and places. Tracey Garvis Graves is just one of many real people referenced who add interesting moments of 'reality' to a fictional story.
Even the music choices are shout-outs to some of my favorite artists and their music. The song references of Out of the Past were important to me and are not random. I wanted those song references to help set the scenes.
World famous cover model Jimmy Thomas (the model on the cover of both of my books) graciously agreed to be in the book.
Dreamcatchers Equine Rescue outside Colorado Springs also allowed the characters to inhabit their REAL ranch and mixing the real people with fictional characters was a blast. Mixing the real, with Torie and her fictional party of characters, will continue in the rest of the series.