Sunday, January 09, 2011


Welcome back, Mary. How did this book come about?

Sharpshooter in Petticoats is the action-packed, mayhem-riddled, climatic ending to the Sophie's Daughters series. I've spend two books, Doctor in Petticoats and Wrangler in Petticoats getting Mandy McClellen into terrible trouble. Now it's time for me to fix that, and it ain't easy. I really had so much fun with this book. I hope people have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

I'm sure we will. Tell us about the book’s cover and what makes it unique.

I asked Barbour to give me covers that juxtaposed (great word, huh?) the male and the female. I wanted beautiful, utterly female heroines who'd been raised to believe in themselves, follow their dreams, take care of their own problems and be tough, tough, tough. So we came up with the mix of the female and male in the title—which played off Petticoat Ranch at the same time. Because the heroines in the Sophie's Daughters Series are the little girls from Petticoat Ranch, all grown up. With the titles in place I completely knew what I wanted in the covers. In fact, when Barbour sent me the cover background sheet, which they use to do the covers, I just erased almost all their questions and wrote in WOMAN IN A PETTICOAT HOLDING A DOCTOR'S BAG/SPURS(or something manly)/RIFLE. We'd developed a style with my covers that had no faces, and Barbour wanted to stick with that, so what's the point of spending hours describing how the hero/heroine looked? And Barbour was all for it. So these are the simplest-to-decide covers we've ever done.

And I love them. Please explain and differentiate between what’s fact and fiction in the book.

I spend a lot of time researching flora and fauna, figuring out what the land looks like. For Sharpshooter I spent a bit too much time (because I found it fascinating) researching guns. I had to search for Tom's horse and bulls. Were there Angus cattle in Montana at this time. Research is such a time sink, and that's mainly because I find it really engrossing and can lose two hours reading about the invention and progress of the Colt revolver, which then boils down to a line used about three times in a book.

I've also read a LOT about what exactly women were allowed to do in the west. Most women were certainly sheltered and treated with respect, even by cutthroats. But the woman who were out west were tough. Don't ever think they were sitting in their parlor drinking tea while their husbands tamed a wild land. Those women worked right alongside their husbands and, because things were so remote, I honestly believe a lot of those women were wearing pants and riding astride and roping and breaking horses with their husbands. Whatever was considered 'proper' was left behind when they primly rode their buckboard out of town. And there is enough history backing that up for me to believe women varied widely from the accepted behavior and dress of that time…in private at least.

How much research did you have to do for this book?

You know the most fun I had researching this book was hunting around for guns. I went to museums and found a Winchester 73. I found a woman whose husband owns a replica of it. I never got to touch it but she answered all my question. And we used a rifle my husband had at home to test the weight, try twirling it like I have Mandy do in the book, consider how to rig a strap to it to hang it over Mandy's shoulders and get it into action fast. Playing with that rifle with my husband was really interesting.

I'm glad there weren't any serious mistakes involved in the twirling, etc. What are some of the most interesting things you found about this subject that you weren’t able to use in the story?

I learned so much about different rifles, I could have gone on about that for a long time. I researched hidden and lost gold, so many myths and maybe-NOT-myths. I know a LOT about Angus cattle and when they came to America and why and their origins. And I learned about Herefords and longhorns, too. I could've made that book LONG. Boring, but long.

I did the cattle research for my novella, Charlsey's Accountant in Wild West Christnas. What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?

What really surprised me was a few things I read about the concept of being 'born again' as we understand it today. There were revival meetings back then, but people didn't really feel the need to make a public profession of faith by going forward at church. Faith was so profound, simple acceptance of Jesus' sacrifice and holiness. It's hard to write salvation scenes without falling into modern language. "I accepted Jesus as my personal savior." People didn't really talk like that then. They DID it. They BELIEVED it, but they didn't use the modern words. So I want to show people of faith without resorting to jargon and a mindset that is contemporary. I found doing that inspiring because it made me ask deeper questions about how people put into words accepting Jesus as their savior back then.

And I did that in Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico. What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?

I wanted to show Mandy demanding to be loved AS SHE WAS. Not as some man would have her be, some man's image of female. Mandy is just different. In her own way she's tougher than her husband and that's hard for a man to accept. But Tom is so centered. So sure of himself, it's not even a problem. Of course Mandy's quickness with that rifle was a huge problem for her first husband and he badgered her for her 'mannish' ways. But that's because her first husband, Sidney, was so twisted inside with his own image of himself. Because Sidney didn't believe in himself he couldn't accept his wife as she was. (wow, this is descending into psycho-babble, sorry) But Tom is so confident. His wife can be as strong as her spirit allows because Tom can handle it. There's a scene in the book, the first time Tom really sees Mandy in action with her rifle. I don't know if the reader will realize it but this scene is crucial. An absolute cornerstone of this book. Mandy's shooting saves them. She disables four men and neither she nor Tom are so much as scratched. And afterward, after their ice fades from her veins she's afraid Tom will hate what he saw. Hate that she did all the damage while he was shooting too, and he definitely helped but she saved them. The way Tom reacts to that scene defines that future they'll have together, though Mandy's too upset to realize it until later.

What is the next project you’re working on?

I've got a book releasing in May called Deep Trouble. It's a sequel to Cowboy Christmas. And…this is so cool…it's set in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I did so much research. I didn't get to GO to the Grand Canyon, though. But I loved learning the history of that place. Here's a little bit about Deep Trouble.

Gabe Lasley has left his ranch in Wyoming because of his strong feelings for a married woman. He finds Shannon Dysart stranded in a mountaintop cave and saves her. She is on a quest to prove her father’s research isn’t the work of a madman, that he really did find a treasure in the wild west.

With trouble on their back trail from the villains who still want Shannon’s map, the dream of gold coloring every decision Shannon makes, and Gabe’s surprising need to protect her, they sets out to find a city of gold. Along the way they find that true treasure is rooted in love. And that was within their reach all along.

What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?

I read. I spend waaaaaay too much time online, checking emails. I really don't get away from my stories much. Writing is my first choice for fun, it's life I need to get away from.

Please give us the first page of the book.

Sharpshooter in Petticoats

Tom Linscott slid backward five feet before he caught a slender rock ledge and clawed at it to stop himself from plunging a hundred feet more.

The rock was nearly sheer. He felt blood flowing from his fingertips. His grip was tenuous already and now it was slippery. He clung to that ledge like a scared house cat, afraid to move, fighting to slow his slamming heart and steady his breathing. He'd been climbing a long time and he had a long way to fall if his grip didn't hold.

Then he did what any thinking man did when something scared him.

He got mad.

So, he clung to the side of that stupid mountain, gathered his strength to go the last twenty-five or so feet, and fumed. He was a rancher not a mountain goat. He should not have had to climb up here.

No woman should be this hard to get.

His handhold felt solid, his foot holds were all of three inches wide. He needed a minute of rest before he went on to a more precarious spot. And while he hung there, dangling over a dead drop that ended in jagged granite, he looked up and saw her.

The woman he'd come for.

Lady Gray.

She lived in a fortress, cut off from all the people she considered beneath her.

The rumors about her were legion and harrowing.

Ruthlessly dangerous, some said. Witched, others had called her. She'd put a curse on the land she ruled over.

Tom hadn't told anyone of his plans until just before he left home. But he'd listened for any whisper of her name, any passing reference to the legendary Lady Gray.

She was the most dangerous woman in the west some said. As fast and deadly with her rifle and any woman alive.

That last part, Tom suspected was true. The first, well, he hoped she wasn't dangerous to him, but he was minutes away from testing the theory.

I love it!! How can readers find you on the Internet?

Petticoats & Pistols
My Blog
My Website

Thank you, Mary, for this visit. I always enjoy having you here.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Coolestmommy said...

I love Mary's books. The first page on this one already has me chomping at the bit to read the whole thing.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

holdenj said...

These books look great! I love the titles and found the cover art story very interesting. Thanks for the chance to win from sub-zero MN!

Unknown said...

I love her books. Thanks for offering it.
Buffalo, MN

Jo said...

Thanks for the offer. It sounds like a great book. Please enter me in the drawing.


Charlotte Kay said...

Please enter me in this giveaway!
I am grateful for the chance to win:)
Charlotte. Chakasa58 at gmail dot com

charlie said...

I love Mary Connealy's books and would love to have a copy of this book. I love this time of material especially all the history! I can picture in my mind you and your husband twearling (Sp) the gun! It must of been so much fun to learn to do it! This is a wonderful offer of a good author to read and enjoy!

charlie said...

Sorry forgot to leave my email addy

Mary Connealy said...

Good morning. I always enjoy doing Lena's blog. She asks great questions. They make me think, and of course that's a strike against them, but it makes the old brain shake off it's rust and function for a while.

Good luck in the drawing.

Molly said...

I'd love a chance at this book! LOVE Mary's work!

Molly from NC

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Mary, great interview. I can really relate to your research because my last trip to my North Dakota post office was to pick up a couple dozen books I'd ordered online. A bunch were about cowboys and trail drives. I even had one about guns in the old west. I worried about taking that one across the border but figured it'd be okay with the 19th century tag.

I'm so glad you spoke about the role of women. It's like when men are talking at coffee row and say dishes are women's work but then go home and help with the dishes because they like doing things with their wife or try to help if she's having a hard day. Back then and now, they do what they need to do, too.

Thank you for talking about Faith. I'll have to remember not to use modern terms.

Thanks for bringing Mary in, Lena. You asked great questions. :)

Anita Mae of the Canadian prairies, 2 hrs north of North Dakota.

Tammy G. said...

Would love to read this book! Great title!
Tammy in East Texas!

Michelle V said...

I'm a huge fan of Mary's books and this series!

Michelle V from Texas

Unknown said...

I am from Ohio and so far I have loved all of Mary's books. I am currently reading Wranglers In Petticoats, and love it, and this would be a great book to win.


Unknown said...

I am from Ohio and so far I have loved all of Mary's books. I am currently reading Wranglers In Petticoats, and love it, and this would be a great book to win.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book, Mary! Would love to have my name in the drawing.

Shari Barr

Linda Henderson said...

I've been wanting to read this one. Thanks for the giveaway.

I live in Missouri.

seriousreader at live dot com

Merry said...

Mary's amazing, I loved this sneak peek. Please toss my name in the hat! Thanks.
Merry in TX

Jan Marie said...

When I first joined the ACFW, it was recommended to me that I read Mary's books, both for content and style. I would like to have the chance to do this by winning "Sharpshooter in Petticoats."

Thanks for the opportunity - from central IN.


Karin said...

Love to watch westerns...this is my cup of tea!


Anonymous said...

I would love to win copy of this book. Please enter me.

angela from Kentucky

Unknown said...

please enter me! :)

grannyvon said...

Great interview, I always learn something else about Mary in each interview. Love her

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Thanks for posting Mary's interview and letting us get a glimpse inside Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

I skipped over some of it because I want to read it when I have the BOOK! ACK!

Just finished Lassoed in Texas so I'm up to speed now. (My husband is reading it as we speak!)

Thanks Mary for your discussion on research. No wonder your books are "authentic".

I totally agree about women in the west. Many of the men went out first I understand, then sent for their women and children. So, other than a few men on those wagon trains, the women and children must have been self-reliant or they'd never have made it past St. Louis. Hardy souls.

Like your characters!

And also the insight on your book covers. Do you have some sites on covers? I find them fascinating.

Yes please enter me: may at maythek9spy dot com

Thanks again for the opportunity! From KC in the hills of middle Tennessee

B.Schwind said...

I enjoy Mary's books and the thoughts she plants. Please enter me for this one.

Debby Lee said...

I've read many of the historicals by Barbour and that includes a lot of Mary's. Thanks Mary for writing such great stuff. I'd love to win a copy of this book, please enter me in the contest.
Sincerely, Debby Lee

scottsgal said...

this is a new author for me - sounds like a book I'd enjoy
I'm from Illinois
msboatgal at

Lourdes said...

I love love love all of Mary's books. Please enter me.

Huntington, NY

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, I'm being buried in snow even as I type.
Nasty old winter stinking weather.

We had a baby calf born this morning in the cold. He's a tough little guy though and it doing well.

I'm going to post some pictures of him on my blog but I got a new camera for Christmas and so far it's outsmarting me. I know the pictures are in there, but I can't seem to get them out!!!!!

Anyway, that's my afternoon. Snow and cold and a new baby.

Sort of like Christmas Day so long ago...only really...not like that at all.

Melissa Jagears said...


I don't find gun research that fascinating, thankfully my hubby does!

Jackie S. said...

Would love to win this book....I have Doctor in Petticoats and Wrangler in Petticoats and would love to have all 3 and read them all at once! Thanks...from GA.

windycindy said...

I adore books written by
Mary Connealy!
Many thanks...Cindi

JennD said...

LOVE all her books!! Super excited to finally read Mandy's story!!
West Bend, WI

Jodie Wolfe said...

Love your books Mary! I'm always anxious to get your newest release. This new one sounds exciting.

Jodie Wolfe

misskallie2000 said...

Wow, this story really grips you and you can't stop reading. I would love to win. Great review. So much research but that is what makes a book great.

Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

I live in Georgia

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Carman said...

Oh my gosh! Please enter me! I love Mary's books and can't wait to read this one! :)

Debbie Clark said...

I love the books of Mary Connealy that I have read so far. I would love to win "Sharpshooter in Petticoats". Thanks for the chance.

Katie Marie said...

Count me in for the giveaway- this book looks neat!

~ Katy
from Florida

Sylvia said...

I'm from NC and have enjoyed the other books by Mary Connealy very much. This one I'm sure will be great too!


apple blossom said...

Oh, yes please count me in on this giveaway. thanks
I live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] mail [dot] com

Lisa said...

Love your books Mary!! Cannot wait to read this one! Thanks for a chance to win from frozen Wisconsin!

amber said...

I'm always looking for a good read!!


Anne Payne said...

I want to read this one! The teaser is such a tease ;) Thank you for the giveaway.

Anne, NC

Patsy said...

I love Mary's writings.Know this book will be great. Thanks for the giveaway.
From Southern US

Unknown said...

Would love to win Sharpshooter in Petticoats. Thanks for the chance.

Julia M. Reffner said...

I think Mary's quite funny and would love to read this.

upstate NY

kristen said...

Love the first chapter!
Please enter me!
Kristen from Washington State

Mary Connealy said...

Hey, I looked away for a few hours and look at all these comments.

Hi everyone.

Good luck in the drawing.
The blizzard rages on.

Judy Cooper said...

Sharpshooter in Petticoats is my kind of book. I always enjoy anything Mary writes.

Patty Wysong said...

I loooove Mary's books. =]
This interview was great--very interesting and neat to read about all you did for the book! =] You should do a youtube of you and the rifle twirls! =] (please?) LoL

Michelle said...

Would love to read this one! Thank you for including me in the drawing!

Michelle in California

Patty Wysong said...

Yikes. I forgot to tell you where I'm from. Southern IL. =]

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Please enter me in the giveaway! Anna W. from GA

Ann Lee Miller said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!
Ann Lee Miller
Gilbert, Arizona

Ann Lee Miller said...

Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!
Ann Lee Miller
Gilbert, Arizona

Cindy W. said...

I hear such awesome things about Mary's books but haven't had the opportunity to read any of her books yet. Would love to win a copy of "Sharpshooter in Petticoats". Thanks for the chance.

I live in Auburn, Indiana

Cindy W.


Judylynn said...

Thanks for the chance to win this book!

Judylynn in East Tennessee

Barb said...

This book sounds great!

I am far from the wild west.. LOL! In the deep South.. Mississippi.

Barb C.
ChristianHomes (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Great post. I love your books. The characters are always so entertaining,witty and full of life.I have read all the others in this series and am waiting to get this one in my hands.Have a great day. I live in NC about 2 hrs from the Outer Banks.Blessings.

Emma said...

Great interview.Sharpshooter in Petticoats sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.PA

karenk said...

please count me in...thanks :)

karenk (from PA)
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Cherie J said...

Please enter me. I enjoyed the interview. Thank you! I live in Florida.


Sylvia said...

I have recently purchased this book so would like my name removed from the giveaway. Thank you!


Bakersdozen said...

I would love to read this. It will definitely be on my wishlist at I live in S. California

rbooth43 said...

Thanks Mary for writing such great books, such as Doctor in Petticoats and Wrangler in Petticoats. I'd love to win a copy of Sharpshooter in Petticoats, so please enter me in the contest.
Rebecca in NC

Nancye said...

Sounds like a great book. Please count me in!

Nancye in KY
nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net