Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a
stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She lives in a town with a population of around
100, if you count a few cows. Vannatter won the Inspirational Readers Choice
Award in the short contemporary category, The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards 3rd
Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award.
She has nine titles with Heartsong Presents and is contracted for six more through June 2016. Her books are available at www.christianbook.com , www.barnesandnoble.com , www.amazon.com , www.harlequin.com , and www.barbourbooks.com .
Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There’s a little bit of me in each character – my beliefs, my habits, my outlook on life. I’m an optimist, so my characters tend to be optimistic even when things are going disastrously. My bad girl heroines are the least like me, but by the end of the book, they’re more like me. But my heroines are always model material.
I’ve always struggled with the clock. I want to be a punctual person, but I go through life getting places by the skin of my teeth or five minutes late. Working on that was my New Year’s resolution this year and I’ve gotten better. Recently, I realized I’ve never put that trait into a character. So one of my upcoming heroines will be a time struggler.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
In my early thirties, I realized two things: I couldn’t find any clean romances at the library and that story I’d had in my head since my teens could be a book.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Contempory Romance, Women’s Fiction, and an occasional foray into Romantic Suspense. I only read Inspirational, and I have to be in the mood for suspense. It keys me up, and I usually read to relax.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Prayer. That sounds trite, but it’s true. When I’ve got a jillion things to do and run in several different directions, I pray for God to give me the stamina to tackle one thing at a time.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I try to use uncommon names for heroes and heroines and more common names for side characters. I often use a baby name book and the phone book for ideas.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My son. He’s twelve, he’s a Christian, he’s obsessed with basketball, and so far he still loves going to church.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
My pet dog or cat. Because my pets are very well cared for and loved. They’ve got life by the tail and me by the heart.
What is your favorite food?
I love pasta dishes with shrimp. Yum. A local restaurant, The Pasta Grill serves pasta with Alfredo sauce, grilled shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichokes. It’s so good. They’re my favorite restaurant. They play Christian music and they’re closed on Sunday.
I would so love that dish. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I had a hard time writing the hero of Rodeo Song as a Country singer. When I originally had the idea for the book, he was a rock star with long hair. When I decided to include the book in my rodeo series, he had to transform, but I still wanted him to have long hair. In the past, there have been some long-haired Country stars. But not so much anymore. On top of that, I’m not a fan of Country music.
I was kind of stuck, so I went to a writer’s retreat with the ACFW AR writing group. By the end of the retreat, they’d helped me figure out a reason why his appearance didn’t fit today’s Country music. Also, one of the ladies told me to watch Country videos and try to find an artist whose music I like. I did and came to the conclusion that I like ballads, so my Country singer only sings love songs.
Tell us about the featured book.
It’s the only book I’ve ever written inspired by a dream. Years ago, after attending a Michael Bolton concert, I dreamed I was in the lobby when Michael did his famous lobby run. In the dream, he took my hand and pulled me onstage, then sang “
on My Mind.” I used to live in Georgia
and I thought the dream was funny, so I shared it with friends and family.
After I started writing, I realized it could be a book.
Here’s the blurb:
JENNA WENTWORTH FOUND THE MAN OF HER DREAMS
But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna—and his cowboy past—far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna's life. But, once burned by love, Jenna must guard her heart against the captivating singer.
Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he'd be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he's found what he was looking for all along…right here in his hometown.
Please give us the first page of the book.
(This is a bit more than the first page, but since I talked about the dream, I wanted to include that part)
Screaming fans surrounded Jenna Wentworth as Garrett Steele’s rich, seductive voice and acoustic guitar drove the enraptured women into a frenzy. And despite her painful past with him, his lush baritone melted her insides.
Thirtieth row, floor seating. Jenna peered through the chaos, but with everyone standing, she couldn’t see much onstage. Her first country music concert. Ever. Stale beer assaulted her senses and her ears would probably ring for a week. Why had she come?
Because her friend Tori had promised to attend church with her in return, but. . .that wasn’t the whole story.
Truth be told—she couldn’t resist getting a glimpse of Garrett again. Pathetic.
The music stopped. Applause, whistles, and screams shattered her eardrums.
“What an awesome crowd.” Garrett’s words boomed over the speakers. “We’re taking a short break but we’ll be back, so don’t go anywhere Dallas.”
The crowd roared and the lights brightened. She stood on her tiptoes long enough to peer around the tall man standing in front of her to get a fleeting glimpse of Garrett leaving the stage before it went dark.
“I can’t believe I’m here,” Tori shouted over the clamor. “He’s even better looking in person.”
Jenna’s mouth went dry as the arena lights brightened. “How can you tell what he looks like?”
Maybe his floozy, boozy lifestyle had taken its toll, but Jenna couldn’t tell from the few glimpses she’d gotten of him.
“He’s just the greatest.” Tori did a little bounce.
Sure. Jenna rolled her eyes. The greatest guy to ever walk out on her.
“Okay, Jenna, I know you don’t really like him, but can’t you humor me?”
Time for a distraction. “I’m thirsty. Let’s get something to drink.”
They inched slowly up the stands toward the lobby, along with half the crowd in the
She could happily not talk about Garrett—if only she could stop thinking about him too.
Tori would be beside herself if she knew Jenna had grown up with him. That she’d once had feelings for him much deeper than like. Had once been the girl he’d claimed to love.
Though the cold bite of New Year's Day lurked outside, the lobby was toasty warm. But the line at the concession stand was endless. At this rate, they’d never get anything to drink.
Amongst the crowd of adoring fans, dutiful husbands and shrewd boyfriends, Jenna blended in like a Queen Anne wingback in a farmhouse.
Several amorous couples surrounded them. Men obviously brought their dates to Garrett Steele concerts to perform the dance of seduction for them. And it was working. All too well. Jenna closed her eyes.
Past simply thirsty, her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth.
“Look! It’s Garrett Steele!” Excited voices echoed through the lobby.
In the distance, security guards cleared a path. Garrett ran toward the concession stand pursued by a trail of women.
Tori and a herd of females surged toward him. Men, deserted by their dates, stood as if rooted to the spot. Jenna moved closer to the counter to avoid the mob. Surreal. At least she’d get her tea faster now.
Though the women ran to meet Garrett head-on, they ended up in the throng behind him with the security guards keeping them at bay. Hands grabbed and clawed at Garrett as he and his entourage got closer to her. She could no longer see Tori. The rush forced abandoned men to move out of the way.
Please don’t see me. Please don’t see me. Please don’t see me. The pathetic one he’d turned his back on—at his concert with the rest of his minions.
Brilliant green eyes locked with hers. A flick of recognition followed by a familiar grin. Her heart went into overdrive. Surely she’d swoon. Mere feet away from her now, he held his hand out toward her. As if of their own volition, her fingers clasped his as he ran past, dragging her with him.
What a great hook. I’m sure my readers will want to get the book as soon as they can. How can readers find you on the Internet?Twitter: @stvauthor
Thank you, Shannon, for sharing this new book with us.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Rodeo Song - Christianbook.com
Rodeo Song (Heartsong Presents) - Amazon
Rodeo Song (Heartsong Presents) - Kindle
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