Sunday, February 28, 2010
Black Hills Blessing has three books in one. The first one, Buffalo Gal was inspired by a buffalo ranch in western Nebraska owned by Ted Turner and some of the controversy surrounding it. I saw this article in the newspaper years ago and thought, great setting for a romance novel. Plus I've always loved buffalo. I'm not sure why. They just fascinate me.
Clueless Cowboy I just love. I wrote for years before I got a book published and this one, the second book I wrote, went a long way down the path toward getting published. It was a finalist in a contest. I got a request from Silhouette Romance for a full manuscript and I waited for a looooooong time to be rejected. This is sort of my story. I'm a farm/ranch girl through and through. I grew up in the country on a small working farm, lots of different animals, the way farms used to be. Milk cows, pigs, chickens, dogs and cats. It was a very traditional farm life, and it's a life I know right to the bone. Now I'm married to a rancher and though we just have beef cattle, I still really understand the rhythms of country life. How much the weather matters. How we work from sun up to sun down, the planting and harvesting seasons. Calving time. Battling winter weather to keep the animals healthy. So I feel like I could bring a lot of authenticity to the heroine of Clueless Cowboy.
The Bossy Bridegroom, well, I've know a few people in emotionally abusive relationships. And in … pretty much every case … I'm trying to think of an exception … those marriages ended and the woman ended up marrying another abuser and the man ended up finding a new woman to push around. So I've wondered what would it really take to make a marriage like that healthy. Because both sides of those marriages have a role in the abuse. So it's not enough for Michael to come back to Jeanie and say, "I'm a Christian now. I promise I'll be nice." Those old habits are hard to break. He wanted her to hold him accountable when he'd step over the line. She was usually so busy blaming herself for any problem that she could hardly consider he might be at fault.
So, of the three, I think The Bossy Bridegroom is the biggest fantasy. Sure a wealthy city slicker might move into a derelict house and fall in love with a single lady rancher like in Clueless Cowboy (hey, that happens everyday).
Sure a guy who owns a buffalo ranch could change his mind about this hobby and sell it cheap and a rancher who hates buffalo might cheer up and decide he likes having them next door…noooooo problem.
But a tyrant like Michael and a doormat like Jeanie growing up and getting emotionally healthy….wow, find an example of that for me anywhere. The Bossy Bridegroom is a pretty serious subject and, although there's humor in it, like when Jeanie starts acting out her hurt feelings with an inflatable baseball bat, the book has a much more serious tone than most of my books. So be warned.
If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
Lena, I'm not sure what you want here. A party, huh? In the fantasy can I have whatever party I want, and you're paying right? So me and six friends can go on a cruise? Or spend a week or Cancun, all on your dime, right? Great. More fantasy.
Ummm…I've been interviewed by you before so I'm trying to think of even MORE people I'd like to hang with. I'm trying my hand at a little more contemporary writing. I'm not sure where I'm going with it but I'd like to spend some time talking to Colleen Coble and Brandilynn Collins about how they do their thrillers. I'd love to meet Dee Henderson and Terri Blackstock. And how about Debby Giusti? She's doing great work with suspense, plus I love her and I think I could get her to talk to me while the others talked among themselves. Lena, tell them they need to be nice to me since it's my party. And I get one more. Let's invite Angela Hunt. She's such an amazing talent though. I fear I will forever feel bad about myself, but I still think she should come.
I'd like to throw several parties if it's okay.
Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?
Not one single problem in the world. I've got it made. (okay, I just had to type those words. Just to see if my fingers would tremble on the keyboard). Writing proposals. I'm getting better at it, but mostly in my past, I've had the book all finished before I had to write a synopsis. I'm not so great of a plotter. And knowing readers have expectations. Romantic comedy with cowboys. What if I have an idea that's NOT a cowboy? Huh? What then? Barbour has given me a chance to try a few different things and God bless them for it. This book, Black Hills Blessing is an example.
Tell us about the featured book?
Ride the range with Buffy Lange, a woman bent on seeing majestic buffalo reclaim their territory, no matter how hostile local cattleman Wyatt Shaw becomes. Meet rancher Emily Johannson who would leave her derelict neighbor Jake Hanson alone if she didn't feel duty bound to keep saving his hide. Take a stand with Jeanie Davidson, a single-again woman who's finally gotten her life together, only to have her ex-husband Michael walk right back in, determined to make amends. Can love redeem these hearts and lives?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Buffy Lange had been at her new job for fifteen minutes. It was going to take a miracle to last out the hour.
“Don’t let him through that gate!” She raced toward the fence.
The buffalo hit the metal panel with a clang of horns on steel. A dozen wranglers started shouting and rushing to support the slipping gate. The young bull stubbornly refused to pass through the alleyway of metal into his new home in the Nebraska Sandhills ranch. He swung his massive head again.
Buffy, who’d stationed herself inside the pen, grabbed the top of the fence, vaulted it, snatched the slipping, tubular steel, and shoved it into the gap.
Two thousand pounds of cranky bison rammed the panel. Buffy fell backward into the mud with the gate on top of her.
The buffalo ran across, its legs tangling in the open spaces of the slatted panel. The clatter of hooves on metal rang in Buffy’s ears. One sharp hoof scraped between Buffy’s arm and her stomach. It ripped her shirt and scraped off some of her hide.
The ground under her was sloppy mud. Instead of being crushed when the buffalo’s full weight landed on the gate, she sank. With the wind knocked out of her, she looked eye to eye with the frantic animal who snorted hot breath in her face and hooked his horns at her.
Adrenaline roared like an electric current as the bull swung his horns. The gate protected her from being gored. The beast plunged forward and was gone. She heard screaming.
As much as she loved the bad-tempered animals, Buffy would have screamed, too, if she could breathe. She prayed for a miracle. Needing direct intervention from God to keep her hired men alive and herself employed, looked bad on a resume.
The panel wrenched off and hands ran down her arms and legs. She opened her eyes and Wolf Running Shield, her foreman, crouched over her. His black braids, shot through with gray, slid over both his shoulders and dangled over her head. “Are you okay?” His bottomless black eyes flashed with worry. “Did he land a hoof on you?”
Her abused lungs started working. “I’m fine.”
“Mommy!” The blood curdling scream came from Sally, her three-year-old niece, supposedly confined to the house until the buffalo was safely penned. Everyone around Buffy vanished, running to the rescue. Buffy jerked her arms out of the mud and scrambled to her feet.
A man, rigged out like a cowboy straight from the old west, raced his horse between the buffalo and Sally. It was nip and tuck who would get there first.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Petticoats & Pistols
Thanks for having me on, Lena. It's always fun.
And I always love having you, Mary.
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Black Hills Blessing (Romancing America)
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