Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Contemporary #Fiction #SmallTown: CEDAR RIDGE, A Novel Book 1 by Maris Parker

KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench, where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site, so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!


A Novel Book 1


Jessica Hayes has only ever wanted to prove she could be an asset to her father and his company. She’s so determined to get his approval, she agreed to marry Warner, the man her father is grooming to take over the family business. But Warner doesn’t want a business partner, and leaving Jessica behind in Cedar Ridge is just the beginning of what he’ll do to get what he wants.

Jared McKendrick has time for one thing: keeping his family’s ranch running and out of the hands of the aggressive developer who’s buying up property around Cedar Ridge. Unfortunately, when his mother spots a little blonde fish out of water, looking lost in impractical high heels, she offers Jessica the use of their phone and a place to stay.

Warner is doing his damnedest to keep Jessica out of his way, but what really sends everything off the rails is the growing attraction between Jared and Jessica. Can she convince Jared to sell the ranch before he realizes who she really is? Can she do it without falling for him completely? Can Jared figure out a way to keep his ranch and convince her to stay?

Set in the fictitious town of Cedar Ridge, Wyoming, if you enjoy sweet and spicy small-town tales starring pampered but spunky city girls and hunky cowboy heroes, you’ll love Cedar Ridge.


A Novel Book 1


Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a full-time writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.

I’m from Southeast Idaho, in a corner of the state that puts me an hour or so drive from places like Jackson Hole and Alpine Wyoming, Park City, Utah, and Yellowstone National Park (just to name a few). The funny thing is, when people here where I’m from, they ask if I enjoy skiing and I don’t ski at all. I tried it once and ended up being carried off the mountain on a stretcher, so it wasn’t an activity I needed to try again. I do love having the wilderness areas so close by, though. I love nature walks and hiking, but I don’t have to go far for wildlife spotting. We regularly have deer, moose, and even wild turkeys come strolling through our yard.

1. How did you get started writing?

I am a full-time novelist and ghostwriter, and that doesn’t leave me a ton of free time, but my hobbies include reading (of course!), cooking, roasting coffee, and, when I get the chance (which isn’t often) I like crafty stuff like knitting and sewing.

I always excelled in English and writing classes in school, so that’s really how I got started. I recently reconnected with a childhood friend and when she found out what I do, she reminded me that in the 6th grade, I wrote a fictionalized love story about her and her boyfriend. I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten that! I did it in serial form, and gave her a new chapter in their story each week, so that was my first foray into writing fiction, specifically romance.

2. What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I write women’s fiction, and so far humorous romance has been the subgenre, but I have a file full of ideas in different subgenres including suspense/thriller, and supernatural. I’ve also ghostwritten memoirs and steamy romance. I can’t really say why I’ve been drawn to the romance genre. Maybe I feel like we all need a little more love in our lives. I do love reading thrillers and suspense, and books that have a magical/supernatural theme, so that’s where I’ve gotten some of the ideas I hope to write about in those genres—but I’m pretty sure they will all be subgenres of women’s fiction because that’s just how I write.

3. What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

Whatever project I’m working on. I usually can’t get my stories out of my head until they’re complete…and even then, sometimes I keep going over and over them.

4. What is your favorite part of writing?

I love the rewriting part, after I’ve gotten the first horrible draft out of my head and onto the computer. That’s when you finally have something to work with and it’s really gratifying to see it take shape and become the story you wanted to tell.

5. What is your least favorite part of writing?

The horrible first draft…and the marketing. I’m not great about being consistent on social media, and I’ve never been sure what convinces people to buy anything, let alone my books.

6. Pick two celebrities to be your parents. Who would they be and why?

My choices for celebrity parents are based on different things…I loved Martin Crane on Frasier, so John Mahoney was the first guy to pop into my head with this question. But see? I’ve chosen him based on his fictional character, an average-Joe guy who is compassionate and may not be Ivy-League educated but has a ton of common sense. But I also loved Madeline Kahn—in everything she did. She was super-talented and super-funny, and I think it having her as a mother would have been such an experience.

7. Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

Most of my story ideas come from seeing an actual headline or circumstance and then my brain takes over and says, “What if…”. Like for Cedar Ridge, we were driving through Swan Valley, a tiny town on the way to Jackson Hole, and I started thinking about what might happen to someone who got stranded there—specifically someone who was used to having a lot of luxuries, and who ended up there with no cell phone or money or credit cards. Also, if you’ve ever heard someone say, “Be careful how you act around me, you might end up in my next book,” believe them. Some of the events in my books really happened to some of my friends, lol. Sometimes they tell me things and it’s like, you just can’t make that stuff up!

8. Tell me about your ideal reader.

It’s hard to describe my ideal reader because I hope my stories appeal to a lot of people. My goal is to write stories that take people out of their reality and into my world(s). So, it might be broad, and maybe not a direct answer to the question, but my ideal reader is someone who needs an escape and enjoys a good story.

9. What is your “go to” routine that helps you get in the mood to write? Special beverage? Music? Etc.

My routine is my routine. I get up, work out, shower, feed the puppies, meditate, have coffee and read for about 15-20 minutes, then get dressed and turn on the computer. Even when the “mood” just isn’t there, if I’ve done all my morning stuff and then just start writing, it will flow at some point. Granted, some of it might be supreme crap, but just starting usually gets things going.

10. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?

I’ll be starting a new project with a ghostwriting client and I’ve had a couple of other authors ask me to co-write books with them, so I’m not 100% sure when I will be able to start on the next book, although there absolutely will be at least one more book in the Cedar Ridge series, and hopefully some books in those other subgenres I mentioned. Plus, I am learning to write screenplays, so there may be a movie in my near future, but you’ll have to wait for the official announcement for all the details. 😉


Links to Maris’ websites, blogs, books, #ad etc.:


and Apple Books (iTunes): https://apple.co/3H37P2S
Website: marisparker.com


Special Giveaway: Maris will give away two versions of CEDAR RIDGE: one audiobook to the first person who requests that version AND one ebook (choice of Apple or Kindle version) to the second lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog.

Happy Reading!


Thanks, Maris, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!


8 thoughts on “Karen’s Killer Book Bench #Contemporary #Fiction #SmallTown: CEDAR RIDGE, A Novel Book 1 by Maris Parker”

  1. Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench, Maris. I loved your interview. I think we have some similar habits when we’re writing. Although, I think we’d already established that in our personal conversations. LOL Like you, marketing is my bane. I love the creative process, building real people. Love humor in the books I read. The story sounds like a good read. Thanks for sharing it with us today!

  2. Hello Maris, very nice to meet you. Your book sounds like a great read and your cover is Stunning! Thank you for sharing about your book and for your interview. Have a great day and a great rest of the week.

  3. Good afternoon. I was at work all morning busy reading, but not fun stuff. Documents written by people who think that the longer the words and the longer the sentences, the smarter they sound. Yet, they don’t realize that we would prefer to understand the content. HA!
    The book is right up my alley of the 20 or more different types of books I like to read. I would be interested in the audio version if still available. Otherwise, I will “enter” the other and see how it goes – but definitely off to add you to the “book wishlist” I have. Thank you.

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