Thursday, November 05, 2009
I've read Cowboy Christmas, and I loved it. A review will be posted in my December newsletter: http://lenanelsondooleynewsletter.blogspot.com/
What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I don’t really set out to do it, but I tend to tackle really serious themes. I’ve got no idea if that is some deep personal psychosis or they just lend themselves to drama. But in Montana Rose I tackled wife beating and child abuse. In Gingham Mountain the hardest theme there is ‘why does God allow suffering’. In Petticoat Ranch the underlying them is ‘how do Christians deal with very justifiable hate’.
In Cowboy Christmas, the theme my heroine wrestles with is when to stop being a ‘good girl’ and stand up for her faith against authority. Being willing to risk pain and even death rather than compromise her faith. She keeps failing but she keeps coming back to try again.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
The Husband Tree is next. It releases in January. Book #2 of the Montana Marriages series. I think it’s the funniest book yet. My hero and heroine are so determined to never risk their hearts again that they fight love with everything they’ve got.
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 meet Sarah Palin. I hate the ugly way she gets attacked. I think she’d a pretty normal ambitious, hardworking person, only unusually gifted with expressing herself. I just wonder how shocking she finds all the nastiness that’s been aimed at her.
I'm with you there. How long have you known that you wanted to be novelist?
I’ve always expressed myself in words. I wrote my first book when I was twelve but I don’t remember much about it. How long it was or nuthin’. It might have been two pages long. I wonder whatever happened to it? My children’s baby books are covered in writing. Most people put pictures and locks of hair and birth announcements in there. I just wrote all over those things. I’ve just always felt like I could do justice to whatever was going on with words. . .and plenty of 'em.
What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Well, I’d tell them, it means you’re in there pitching, and I’m proud of you. I means you’re growing that rhino hide that you need to survive as a writer. You should be entering contests to get the critiques. It will help you strengthen your work. You should join ACFW and spend serious time reading through all the online class archives. Those are a gold mine and worth the entire price of the ACFW dues. These are all inexpensive things. If you can afford it, attend conference. It has an impact on editors. I think they immediate put you in a different category or writers who are serious about getting published. Not that they’ll immediate buy and not that people don’t sell who’ve never been to a conference, but it does help.
Tell us about the featured book?
Elijah Walker's lost his father at the hands of a deceitful woman. The one thing he can’t abide is lies.
Citified Annette Talbot is on the run from something, and Eli knows a liar when he sees one.
After a lifetime of being a good girl who does what she’s told, Annette’s obedient nature has led her straight into danger. She’s determined to live more bravely and she prays for God to give her crosses to bear. Too bad every time she gets one, she ends up dropping her crosses on poor Elijah’s head.
Elijah can’t ignore a damsel in distress, especially since God pretty much dropped Annette straight into his unwilling arms.
But helping her isn’t the same as trusting her, and that he will never do.
As Annette and Walker fight their attraction, danger draws near and Christmas approaches. They’ll get one special chance to follow their star to True Love.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“You’ll wear that dress, Songbird.” Claude Leveque grabbed Annette Talbot’s arm, lifted her to her toes, then he shoved her backward.
Annie tripped over a chair and cried out as it toppled. The chair scraped her legs and back. Her head hit the wall of the tiny, windowless shack and stars exploded in her eyes.
Stunned by the pain, she hit the floor and an animal instinct sent her scrambling away from Claude. But there was nowhere to go in the twelve by twelve foot cabin.
Her head cleared enough to tell her there was no escape, so she fought with will and faith.
“Never.” Propping herself up on her elbows, she faced him and shouted her defiance. “I will never go out in public in that dress.”
“You’ll sing what I tell you to sing.” Claude, in his polished suit and tidily trimmed hair, looked every inch civilized, or he had until tonight. Now he strode toward her, eyes shooting furious fire, his face twisted into soul deep rot and sin.
“I sing as a mission.” Annie tried to press her back through the unyielding log wall. “I sing hymns. That’s the only thing—”
A huge fist closed over the front of her blouse and Claude lifted her like a rag doll to eye level, but he didn’t strike.
He would. He’d proved that several times over since he’d come here with his disgusting demands.
She braced herself. She’d die first. Claude might not believe that, but he’d know before long.
“So, you’re willing to die for your beliefs, heh?” Claude’s fist tightened on her blouse, cutting off Annie’s air.
“Yes!” She could barely speak, but he heard. He knew.
“Are you willing to watch someone else die, Songbird? Maybe your precious friend Elva?” He shook her and her head snapped back. “I can always find another piano player.”
“No!” Annie had to save Elva. Somehow. Of course Elva would be threatened. Annie hadn’t had time to think that far.
Elva would never stand for this. Elva would die for her belief’s, too.
A wicked laugh escaped from Claude’s twisted mouth. “She’s easily replaced.”
“But I’ll never,” he shook her viciously, “find another singer like you.”
How had it come to this? God help me. Protect Elva and me.
“My answer is no! Elva wouldn’t play the piano for me if I wore that.” Her eyes went to the slattern’s dress hanging, vivid red, near the door. “She would refuse to play the piano for those vulgar songs."
“We’ll see, Songbird.” Claude laughed again. Annie saw the evil in him, the hunger to hurt. He wasn’t just hurting Annie to get his way, he was enjoying it.
Her vision dimmed and blurred as she clawed at his strangling fist.
“I’ll go have a talk with your frail old friend and then we’ll see.” He shoved Annie backward, slamming her against the wall. She hit so hard her knees buckled. What little air she still had was knocked away. Claude charged out, shutting the door behind him.
Annie heard the sound of a padlock snicking shut as she slumped sideways.
That should grab a lot of interest. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I just got a facelift (on my website, shut up!) and I love it. Go have a look.
Thank you, Mary, for spending this time with us.
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