Wednesday, January 12, 2011
First, I’d like to thank you, Lena, for the generous spirit that inspires you to showcase your author friends’ books. It’s a privilege to be here, and an honor to call you friend. Thank you so much for sharing your blog with me today!
In answer to your question, I find that trust issues make their way into most of my novels, and in most cases, they are a blend of things (mistrust, misunderstanding, misguided information, etc.) that are the result of characters’ past hurts and disappointments. In some cases, they blame God. In others, they blame a loved one, which separates them from Him.
Faith—or the lack of it—is something we’ve all dealt with, whether personally or through the difficulties of a loved one. We humans are frail and weak without the Lord to hold us up, and I like to throw my “fallen-away” characters into situations that test their mettle, bring them to their knees, and force them to acknowledge God’s saving grace.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
In May, Love Inspired will re-release An Accidental Mom and An Accidental Hero to help announce the June release of An Accidental Family (#3 in the “Accidental Blessings” series). Also in June, Unbridled Love (#3 the “Lone Star Legends” series from Whitaker), and soon afterward, Summerside’s Love Finds You in Folly Beach, South Carolina. August will see From Ashes to Honor (#1 in my “First Responders” series from Abingdon) on the shelves, and this release is deliberately timed to coordinate with the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.
Wow! That's a wonderful lineup for this year. And we'll feature most of them on this blog. If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I’d love to sit and chat with Tracy Trost, the hard-working young producer-director who has dedicated himself to movies like A Christmas Snow. Tracy’s determination to put wholesome family entertainment out there is something to admire, especially in a age when the decision-makers in Hollyweird seem driven to shock the viewing public with anything that isn’t decent and spiritual.
James and I are so tired of having a hard time finding a decent movie to attend. We like to have movie dates, but many times, there's nothing we want to see. Kudos to Tracy. What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Thomas Jefferson, because he was a great orator, writer, and inventor. I think it’d be fascinating to hear him relay a non-distorted view about the Founding Fathers’ intentions when they drafted the Constitution.
I agree. I fear our country has wandered far from those intentions. How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
One thing I like to do is show them my own first novel. It’s positively riddled with every error a new writer can make! Once they’ve read a few paragraphs of that big mess, it’s a whole lot more believable when I say, “If I could improve on that and get published, so can you!”
Tell us about the featured book.
Maverick Heart, like Beautiful Bandit, transports readers to the year 1888 and Eagle Pass, Texas, where wild mavericks run free on the prairie and longhorns graze contentedly along the verdant banks of the Rio Grande. At least…they’re free and content until rustlers, bandits and Apache raiding parties slip into the peaceful valleys!
But thanks to pluck and backbone and dint of their own hard-working ethics, these courageous men and women endured—and survived. And because of their will to succeed despite all odds, they built a legacy that lives on today.
Their strength of character, mind, and body inspired this series that’s set on the untamed grasslands of Texas. But long before I plotted my first story, they inspired some of television’s earliest and most popular shows, and I was one of thousands of children whose weekends didn’t feel complete without a hefty dose of rootin’ tootin’ ridin’ shootin’ Saturday morning Westerns, starring heroic cowboys who rescued damsels in distress, and whose best friends had names like Trigger and Silver, Topper and Champion. I fell in love with plaid shirts and Stetsons, and loved their horses, too.
One reader wrote to tell me that while reading Maverick Heart, she could taste the grit of the dry Texas wind. Another admired the pluck that inspired Levee to drive the chuck wagon on the Neville’s last cattle drive. A few rooted for the rugged wrangler Dan Neville (and some enjoyed reading about outlaw Black Jack Ketchum who, out of gratitude to Levee for patching up one of his men, joined the Nevilles in their fight against a pack of thievin’ rustlers.
My kind of book. Bring it on. Please give us the first page of the book.
Somewhere along the San Antonio Road
“Shut up, fool!” bellowed the rifle-toting robber. “Now we’ll hafta kill ’em, so’s they won’t be able to tell the Texas Rangers they was robbed by the Frank Michaels Gang!”
The Frank Michaels Gang? Why did that sound so familiar? Levee’s question was quickly extinguished by a sickening admission: in her twenty-two years of life, she’d never given a thought to how she might leave this earth. Until now.
“No need to get your dander up,” Mack drawled. “Y’all just keep right on helpin’ yourselves to everything we’ve got. Think of us as the three wise monkeys. We didn’t see a thing or hear a thing, and we won’t speak a thing, either.”
“That’s right.” Liam quickly agreed with their fellow passenger.
Levee looked up at her husband, unable to decide which surprised her more: the fact that he’d opened his mouth or that he’d opened the medical bag that held his Derringer. But in one beat of her hammering heart, his hand disappeared inside it. In the next, his puny revolver dangled from his fingertips. “I think you boys should—”
One shot rang out, and even before its echo fell silent, Liam slumped to the ground. “No-o-o!” Levee wailed, dropping to her knees. She cradled his head in her lap and, for the first time since graduating from the New England Hospital for Women, regretted her nursing degree. Because one look at the bloody wound in the middle of his chest told her that although he wasn’t dead yet, he soon would be.
“I—I wanted to—give them—the gun,” he sputtered, “to p-prove we—c-could be trusted—”
“Hush, now,” she whispered, finger-combing dark curls from his forehead. “Shh.”
Mack threw his Stetson to the ground and kicked it. “Of all the….” Arms whirling like a windmill, he kicked it again. “Did you hear what the man said? He’s from Boston, for the luvva Pete. He meant you no harm. Why, I doubt he could’ve hit the broad side of a barn with that pea shooter of his, even if he’d tried!”
“Looked to me like he was aimin’ to shoot,” one of the bandits insisted, “an’ nobody takes aim at Frank Michaels whilst I’m around.”
The rifleman cursed under his breath. “Thought I tol’ you to shut up, Tom.”
“All of you shut up,” Frank snarled.
But Levee paid him no mind. “Fight, Liam,” she urged him. “Stay with me! You promised that as soon as we were settled, we’d—”
His eyelids fluttered open, and an enormous, silvery tear leaked from the corner of one eye. “Aw, Levee,” he rasped, grabbing her hand. “S-sorry….”
“There’s nothing to be sorry for, Liam. You’re going to be fine.” Oh, please, God, let it be true! “Just fine! Do you hear me?” No sooner had the words passed her lips than his body shuddered once, and the fingers that had been squeezing hers went limp. A dribble of blood trickled from the corner of his mouth to his chin. Then, one grating, ragged breath later, he was gone.
She watched the thugs help themselves to Liam’s hard-earned savings. Watched them poke through her small suitcase as Frank Michaels tucked Grandpa O’Reilly’s gold pocket watch into his vest. He looked up, caught her staring, and touched a finger to his hat brim. “My apologies, ma’am,” he said, aiming a steely smile her way. “And to prove my sincerity, we aren’t going to kill you. You have my word on that.” A chuckle passed through the red and black fabric of his bandanna. “At least, not today.”
I'm sure all of my readers are planning to rush out to a bookstore or go online to order a copy of this book. We can't wait to read more. How can readers find you on the Internet?
It will be an honor to see them visit my web site (http://www.loreelough.com/) or blog (http://www.theloughdown.blogspot.com/). They can also read my monthly column (Loree’s Lough Down) at Christian Fiction Online Magazine, and of course, I’m available at Twitter, Facebook, and Shoutlife, too.
Thank you, Loree. This has really been fun.
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