Monday, February 08, 2016


Bio: Anita Mae Draper's stories are written under the western skies where she lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan with her hubby of 30 plus years and the youngest of their four kids. When she's not writing, Anita enjoys photography, research, travel, and is especially happy when she can combine the three in one trip. Anita's current release is Romantic Refinements, a novella in Austen in Austin Volume 1, WhiteFire Publishing, January 2016.  Anita is represented by Mary Keeley of Books & Such Literary Management. You can find Anita Mae at

Welcome, Anita. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
My characters don’t reflect who I am, as much as who I strive to be.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
This brings to mind a silly incident when I was a young corporal working as a teletype operator in a military message center. Everyone had gone for coffee and I was all alone—or so I thought. With nothing to do but babysit the equipment, I sat on my favorite swivel chair and spun myself around, legs off the ground, as if I were on a children’s park merry-go-round. When I opened my eyes, I saw my sergeant leaning against his open office door giving me with a quizzical look. Whoops. I said the first thing I thought of… “Would you believe I’m lowering my chair?” He disappeared back into his office while shaking his head and muttering. Let’s just say that from then on I kept my chair spinning antics to my midnight shifts.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I wrote my first poem when I was six, but it wasn’t until I was fourteen that I felt compelled to write a story which seemed novel-length, but in hindsight was only short story length.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love reading westerns in any time period, and historicals are a favorite, but I also read contemporary. Sometimes it’s not so much the genre, but the author, or a cover,  that draws me to a book. Whatever I read, it has to have a happily ever after.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
That’s easy … I don’t. Seriously, though, every once in a while I’ll get overwhelmed by all the demands and so I’ll go off social media and hide out in my writing cave. After a few days of solitude, I’m ready to face the world.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Usually, a name will come to me as I think of a storyline. Then, I’ll check it on a baby name app which shows what names were popular in the time period of my story. And if I haven’t found one by then, I’ll look at old census records of the period and choose one that way. I also have a baby name origin book for when my character comes from a specific country and I want to add flavor to the story.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished thus far in my writing career, but the one that made me giddy was when Guideposts Books chose my Christmas short story, “Here We Come A-Wassailing,” to be featured in a marketing campaign where thousands of subscribers were able to read the first eight pages of my story, one of eight short stories in A Cup of Christmas Cheer Volume 4. It was a definite honor to be blessed in that way.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Call me a party-pooper, but I really don’t want to be an animal. The way I see it, they all have their limitations when it comes to predators and the food chain. At least as a human I feel love, I can think, and I have faith in a God who loves me.

Good answer. What is your favorite food?
Kraft Dinner with wieners or smokies as a meal. Chocolate at any other time.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
The lack of confidence has always been my biggest roadblock. When I need reassurance, I first pray about it, then I email my Inkwell Inspirations blog mates. And if I still need a pick me up, I’ll email my agent, Mary Keeley. I’m truly blessed with a wonderful support team.

Tell us about the featured book.
Austen in Austin Volume 1 is a 4 novella collection set in the late 1900’s in Austin, Texas, using Jane Austen’s characters. For example, my novella’s heroine, Marion, in Romantic Refinements, is loosely based on the younger sister, Marianne, in Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. The novellas can be purchased and read as a stand-alone, but since the stories are all interwoven, characters from any story in Volume 1 and 2 (available later this year) may appear in any other novella(s)—some as a foreshadow and some as an epilogue. It’s a richer experience if they’re read in order.

Please give us the first page of the book.
“Marianne's abilities were, in many respects, quite equal to Elinor's. She was sensible and clever; but eager in everything: her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. She was generous, amiable, interesting: she was everything but prudent.”
― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility   

September 1882, Texas Hill Country
Even the jerking and jostling of wooden wagon wheels travelling on uneven ground didn’t drop Marion McDermott’s gaze from the herd of rangy cowhands watching the action in the corral. Why, the thought that her future husband might be in the batch of hardened, heavy-working, hat-wearing men set her heart a-thumping—something the dandies back in Austin hadn’t been able to achieve. Poppa’s smile would surely shine when he heard how seriously she’d taken his warning about marrying a man for his good looks, alone.

Yet as Aunt Mattie steered their outfit toward the white pickets which surrounded the familiar verandah-decked house, Marion nervously smoothed the lap of her periwinkle day dress. With its layers of ruffles and lace it hadn’t been the most practical choice for the hour trip from Austin, but as headmistress Mrs. Collins had repeatedly said, Marion should continue to work on virtues such as practicality even now that she’d graduated from the Jeanette C. Austen Academy for Young Ladies.

Over by the corral the cowhands gazed in Marion’s direction even though the object of their recent attention still bucked with abandon in the corral behind them.

Spotting a familiar handsome face sent a hundred butterflies flittering in her stomach.  Mr. Jeffrey Whelp could very well be the man to leave this ranch with a proprietary hand on her back.

As he left the rail and sauntered her way with the rest of the men, Marion faced the front, her gloved hands closing the silk parasol that matched her fancy travelling dress.

Aunt Mattie reined in the team beside the fence where Marion’s favorite yellow roses rambled along the white pickets.

Marion leaned down from her seat for a satisfying whiff of their heavenly scent. “Everything’s always the same.”

Aunt Mattie tied off the lines. “Not much changes on a ranch, except for the men. You’ll recognize most of them, especially the ones your poppa sent over. My brother is as stubborn as they come, but he believes in family and I value the support he has shown over the years since your Uncle Raith died. All his blustering at the beginning was only because that is what he thought a big brother was supposed to do. But he came around.”

She nodded toward the outbuildings. “I don’t think you’ve met my foreman, yet.”

A tall cowboy in a black hat stood on the stoop of the foreman’s quarters. His off-white shirt and denims were much like the clothes of the other cowhands, but when he stepped down and headed her way, he lacked the rolling saunter of someone who spent hours in the saddle. Instead, his limping stride appeared jerky and torturous. Beneath a wide brim, his sun-creased face lacked signs of youth and Marion guessed him to be about thirty or so. With his strong, clean-shaven jawline and wide shoulders his overall appearance was that of a striking man any woman would have a hard time forgetting.

Their gazes locked, his directness questioning hers.

She looked away, annoyed that she’d been caught staring. 

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thanks for asking! You can find me at these online places:
Pinterest (includes story boards)

Thank you, Anita, for sharing this new book with us. I know lots of my readers are Austen fans and will love the Texas twist to the stories.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Austen in Austin, Volume 1 - Paperback
Austen in Austin, Volume 1: Four Texas-Set Novellas Based on Jane Austen's Novels - Kindle
Romantic Refinements (Austen in Austin) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. 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 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Debra E. Marvin said...

Thanks for giving us a peek into Anita's mind. I love the chair story! oh my.
I hope you all get a chance to read Austen in Austin! Thanks to Anita, I think we were able to get the western details right. (We had a long discussion on side saddle/ riding astride!)

Susanne Dietze said...

Hello, Lena and Anita Mae! So excited for Anita's release of Romantic Refinements. And I sure enjoyed the interview!

Anita Mae Draper said...

Deb, I don't tell that story to just anyone lest they think my whole military career was spent that way. ha!

About that side saddle... I picked one up at that museum auction last summer. It's busted up pretty good but there's not that many around. I might just write a post about it. Thanks for the reminder.

And thanks for popping in, Deb. Loved working on this project with you.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Susie, Lena had some questions that no one ever asked me before, hence it took me awhile to complete the interview.

Thanks for stopping. I'm so very happy that you used your Genesis win of One Word From You in this project. It makes it extra special. :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Lena. I'm glad to be here.

Melanie Backus said...

Thank you for a great interview Anita and Lena.

Melanie Backus, TX

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Hi Lena and Anita Mae! Happy to hear of Anita's release of Romantic Refinements. Thanks for an enjoyable interview!
Connie from KY

ASC Book Reviews said...

I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to read and review this! :D ALL of these Austen titles are ones I've enjoyed and I can't WAIT to see what these authors have done with these characters!!!

Many Blessings, Amada (pronounced:, NM

Anonymous said...

I love anything Jane Austen! Can't wait to read these. Sounds amazing!
J.C. -Indiana-

Anonymous said...

would love to win. angela in ky

Mary Preston said...

The Volume and the Novella looks amazing.

Mary P


Terrill R. said...

Although I haven't ever visited Texas, I always love a good re-telling. A re-telling involving any Jane Austen story is even better. I started reading J.A. when I was in high school. Pride and Prejudice started my love for romantic comedies. :)

Terrill - WA

Angela - Bookaunt said...

This book sounds like a fun book using Austen's characters to write a book set in Austen what could be better.

St. Cloud, FL

Anita Mae Draper said...

Thanks, Melanie. Nice to see you here. :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Thanks, Connie. I appreciate your support. :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

I love your enthusiasm, Amada, and I really hope you enjoy our novellas whenever you get a chance to read them. :)

Sandy Quandt said...

Anita, your book sounds like fun. Love the way you took elements from Jane Austen and made them your own.
Sandy Q.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hello, JC, thanks for stopping by.

I never realized how much Jane Austen would become part of my life until I started writing Romantic Refinements. Like a passing acquaintance before, she's like a friend where I see and hear her quoted no matter where I look. She had such a grasp of life's realities, it's no wonder her stories live on.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Angela, thanks for stopping by.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey, Mary-down-in-Queensland, thanks for reminding me that the cover work was done by Roseanna White of WhiteFire Publishing. Her work really is wonderful.

Volume 2 will have a similar, but slightly different cover.

Nice to see you here. :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hi, Terrill. I hope you enjoy our version.

One thing that might seem strange with Romantic Refinements compared with Jane Austen's Sense ad Sensibility is that although my heroine is based on the younger Dashwood sister, Marianne, my Marion doesn't have a sister, as we needed to stretch out the heroines to fill 8 novellas.

Our version of the older Dashwood sister is found in Sense and Nonsense by Lisa Karon Richardson, which is found in Volume 2.

btw Volume 2 of Austen in Austin is up for Pre-Order now on Amazon. :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Angela in St Cloud... it was very fun to write. Of course, I wavered over which way to change the original to suit the western setting, and how to change the story line so that it was new, but that's all part of the creative process which I really enjoy doing.

Thanks for dropping in. :)

Melissa Henderson said...

Looks like great stories. :-) I enjoyed the interview. Always interesting finding out about the authors and their personalities.
Melissa in VA

Wendy Newcomb said...

I've been hearing about this book, thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Wendy in FL

wfnren at aol dot com

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hello, Sandy in Texas. Being a western rider and writer, I have always wanted to set a story in Texas, and thanks to my Inkwell Inspirations blogmates who hooked me onto Jane Austen and proposed this project, that has now become a reality.

So very glad you stopped by. :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Thanks, Melissa. Yep, I had to dig deep for some of those questions. :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Wendy, thanks for dropping in. Glad to hear there's some 'chatter' about the book. :)

Beth Gillihan said...

Sounds like a great collection of stories! I love westerns! Thanks for the chance to win!

Beth in Montana

justcommonly said...

Wow! Great interview! So looking forward to this! I can't wait. I've already won Anita's giveaway on her blog, so won't be entering this giveaway. I just love the interview and getting to know Anita better and about Austen in Austin. Just dropping a line. Thanks!

Anita Mae Draper said...

Beth, I sure hope you enjoy the western theme of our Austen heroines, then. :)

Thanks for popping in.

Karen Sue Hadley said...

Hi, I'm Karen from Oklahoma.
This book sounds great, I don't think
I've read any by these authors.

kim hansen said...

New authors for me love it. north platte nebraska

Anita Mae Draper said...

Annie, thank you so very much for your support. Kind of makes it good that all the interviewers ask different questions, eh. .)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Karen, I'm glad you found us then. Gina is also from Oklahoma and has historicals out several publishers. :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hi, Kim. Sure hope you add us to your author list then. :)

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your great contest!!
Conway, SC.

Abigail Mitchell said...

Enter me.
Blanch NC

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hello Sharon from South Carolina.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hello Abigail from North Carolina.

Anonymous said...

I know! I love that all the books have main characters with totally different outlooks on life, and yet you find yourself agreeing completely with each different one! Like, for example, Emma thinks it's fine for a low-class person to shoot for a high-class marriage, but by the end of the book she realizes she's wrong. Yet in Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy thinks it's NOT fine for low-class and high-class to intermarry, but by the end of the book, he realizes HE'S wrong. Or, in Sense and Sensibility, Elinor believes they should abide by society's rules because it's the right thing to do, and you realize that she's absolutely correct. But, in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth MAKES FUN of society's rules, and you realize that SHE'S absolutely correct! Contradictions? And yet, for each book, the result feels completely right. And it's like that in all the books! Each one sees things differently, and yet it always feels like the conclusions the characters come to at the end is exactly on que. I LOVE IT!
J.C. -Indiana-

Caryl Kane said...

Great interview with Anita! This collection is at the TOP of my wish list!

Caryl in TEXAS

Anita Mae Draper said...

Excellent, JC. You're a wiz at Austen! :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Thanks, Caryl. Hope you have a chance to read it soon. :)

Brenda Arrington said...

This book sounds like one I will definitely enjoy. I would love to win a copy. I enjoyed the interview.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Thanks, Brenda. I hope you get a chance to read it soon. :)

Marji Laine - Faith Driven Fiction said...

I LOVE Jane Austen and most stories based on her books! (Well, except zombies) Thanks for the chance to win a copy of yours!

Patty said...

Sounds like a great collection, love how all of the stories are connected in some way!

Patty in SC

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hi, Marji. I couldn't decide if I was going to watch Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but I guess hubby knows that I get nightmares from watching 'dark' stuff, so one day the TV commercials were advertising it, and the next, I saw people discussing it on Facebook and blogs. I'd missed it and do you know ... I'm fine with that.

Thanks for sharing. :)

Anita Mae Draper said...

Thanks, Patty. I hope you enjoy reading them.

rubynreba said...

I wouldn't want to be an animal either! Looking forward to this book!
Beth from IA

Anita Mae Draper said...

Thank you, Beth! I had second thoughts about the way I answered that question, yet it was the only honest answer I have.

I hope you enjoy Austen in Austin whenever you get a chance to read it. Thanks for stopping by.

Merry said...

I love Jane Austen and Austin, TX where my grandchildren are... count me in!
Merry in MN

Anita Mae Draper said...

Great to hear, Merry! Thanks for popping in. :)