Romance novelist Lori Wilde expresses her love for Granbury every time she writes another of her popular “Twilight, Texas” books.Twilight is the fictionalized version of the quaint Hood County community where she once lived.Now Granbury is showing that those feelings of affection are mutual. During the weekend after Valentine’s Day, fittingly enough, the historic town square will morph into its romance-novel counterpart.Mayor Nin Hulett will kick off “Twilight, Texas Weekend” at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Hood County Courthouse gazebo by officially declaring the city of Granbury as Twilight.Wilde will receive a key to the city at that time.Two days of events that Wilde readers are sure to appreciate — including book signings, a ghost tour, a photo scavenger hunt and a “Hunks in the Hood” revue — will follow.We chatted with Wilde, who now lives in Weatherford, about her writing life and about “Twilight, Texas Weekend.” How gratifying is it that Granbury is having this event?It’s sort of a Cinderella story for me. For Granbury to want to do this, I was just thrilled. I have always been enchanted with Granbury. It’s such a cute little town. When I was writing the first novel of the series [ The Sweethearts’ Knitting Club, 2009], I thought, “Well, that’s exactly where I want to put it.”Another thing I’m happy about is that my publisher is donating all the proceeds from the sales of my new “Twilight, Texas” novella [ The Valentine’s Day Disaster] to Ruth’s Place, a clinic in Granbury that helps low-income families with medical care. What compelled you to use Granbury as the model for Twilight to begin with?I lived just outside of Granbury. I lived on the river off Highway 51. The town has such personality. There are quirky people living there and the whole town is on the national historical registry.It’s got a colorful history, with the Jesse James legend and the John Wilkes Booth legend and Bonnie and Clyde. They had brothels there and Carrie Nation supposedly stumped to get rid of alcohol in Granbury. I love including legends and lore in my books, so it was a great fit.I just wanted to write about the town I had fallen in love with and to share it with people. Do Granbury residents read the books expecting to recognize thinly veiled versions of people they know? Do they play guessing games and tell you, “I know who this character is based on”?People do that. But here’s the truth: All the characters are fictionalized. There’s nobody that’s a real person. I might have taken somebody’s traits that were interesting. I might take bits and pieces. But that’s the extent of it. But yes, people do start trying to guess who the characters are.What’s funny, too, is that people sometimes think they recognize themselves in the books. But they only recognize themselves as the heroes. Nobody ever seems to think they’re the villains. You also write two other Texas-based book series, one set in “Cupid, Texas” and the other in “Jubilee, Texas.” Are those modeled after real towns as well?Jubilee is Weatherford, because it’s all about the cutting horse cowboys and Weatherford is the cutting horse capital of the world. Cupid is an amalgamation of Fort Davis, Marfa and Alpine, out in the Davis Mountains. I’ve mixed them together to make this little town that’s also kind of quaint and quirky.My next series, which launches in 2015, is going to be set in Terrell. That’s also an interesting little town. I’m fictionalizing that and it’s going to be called Stardust. Why did you choose to write romance novels?Because I get to think about love all day long. When I was a teenager, I was madly in love with Stephen King and I wanted to be a horror writer. But the older I got and the more I looked into it, I concluded that very few women in the horror writing genre make any money.Also, as I got older, I realized I didn’t want to think about horrible things all day long. Because that’s what you have to do: think about awful things to do to people. I’d rather think about nice things: How are these two people going to fall in love? What obstacles are they going to have to overcome?That’s much nicer than, “What monster is going to kill them?” Are any of the romantic adventures in your books based on experiences from your life?Let’s say that, romantically . . . I’m a one-man woman. I didn’t have any dates in high school. I was painfully shy and if a guy even looked like he was going to come over towards me, I would grab a book and start reading so I wouldn’t have to deal with it.But I have had a lot of adventures otherwise. There is one Twilight, Texas book where the heroine goes out in a paddle boat and doesn’t check the wind and gets stuck in the middle of the lake. Then the paddle boat’s got a hole in it and it’s going down. Of course, the hero, the game warden, rescues her.In real life, I went out in a paddle boat on the river when they had let the dam out and I got whisked away and couldn’t get back to shore. That really did happen. I didn’t get a cute game warden to come save me, unfortunately, but that’s what fiction’s about.
Twilight, Texas Weekend
• Saturday and Sunday
• For more information, visit http://twilighttexas.com