When asked what she thinks makes a great marriage, Ree Drummond, aka popular Oklahoma blogger and cookbook author The Pioneer Woman, was hesitant to answer.
“I don’t feel like I can give people advice on marriage,” she said.
But she does know why her own marriage works, and tells how it all began in her new memoir, “Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story.” Drummond will appear Saturday at Full Circle Bookstore for a Q-and-A with fans and to sign copies of her book.
“What I love about ‘Black Heels’ is that it strips away the stuff that couples get mired in,” she said. “It’s about why we fell in love in the first place. Most couples have that story. They got married for a reason. In my marriage, I have always focused on the positive and the ways that my husband is supporting me and helping me and completing me, instead of ways we are falling short. Everybody has things that bother them, a laundry list of problems.”
In “Black Heels,” readers get a big helping of old-fashioned love: Big-city girl falls for a country boy. It makes a prime fish-out-of-water rom-com, only it’s not a Hollywood script (yet), and Drummond really did get a John Deere riding mower for a wedding gift. Um, thanks, hon?
Her devout followers on thepioneerwoman.com, which gets about 14 million hits per month, already are familiar with her hunky rancher husband, Ladd — whom she affectionately calls “Marlboro Man” — because she posted their story in increments beginning one night when she was having blogger’s block. After her site won the Bloggie Award for Best-Kept Secret Weblog in 2007, she received calls from literary agents.
I wrote one chapter and I thought, “I don’t want to write this.”
“Writing a book hadn’t been in the plan. I started writing what I thought would be more essays, but the agent was thinking along the lines of narrative, but I was 38 years old at the time. I thought it wasn’t time for a memoir,” she said. “But one night, I wrote a post about the night I met my husband, romance-novel style — you know, hit with the lightning bolt. I wrote one chapter and I thought, ‘I don’t want to write this. At that point, I would rather write a cookbook,’ so I stuck it in a drawer.”
Several months later, however, she thought, “Maybe I’ll just post that chapter, as a blog post.”
It was such a hit with readers that she kept going with their serial romance. “Black Heels,” however, gives readers more by adding on the final third of the story: what happened after their nuptials, and the ranch became a glaring, day-to-day reality.
“When were were dating, it was more like, ‘Isn’t this lovely?’ and a wonderful kind of culture shock,” Drummond said. “But after we married, it was a different ball game. I moved all belongings to this world and isolation, distance from conveniences, everything takes a 5-mile drive — my adjustment came after we got married. I didn’t grasp for a long time that you wake up and you’re on your ranch. You don’t have a life in town and a life in the country.”