Meet Carmen Peone and Lillian’s Legacy

I’m thrilled to have award-winning author and fellow Women Writing the West friend share about her books and writing process.

Carmen, Tell us what your recent book, Lillian’s Legacy, is about:

Lillian’s Legacy is about a young teen, Lillian Gardner, who in 1875 feels displaced by her family and like a shadow under her infamous horseracing older sister. Things get worse when her sister, Hannah, insists her wedding be on Lillian’s sixteenth birthday.

That day, a Welsh healer, who happens to be traveling north, stops at the Gardner ranch for a drink and rest. She discovers Lillian’s interest in healing and offers for her to tag along. Lillian accepts and heads out that night, in an attempt to prove she has value. Without confirming her plans with her folks.

The story goes on as Doctor Maddox mentors young Lillian, who is trying to discover if she has what it takes to experience tragedy, life, and death and find a way to help and heal. Along the way, Doctor Maddox shares what the legacy they should be leaving to their patients as female healers. 

The question is, will Lillian discover her true calling? Will she be respected as a female healer in training?

You’ll have to read to book to find out!

How did Lillian’s Legacy come about?

I had been pondering for a few years what the final book in the trilogy, and my young adult writing career, may look like and nothing came to mind. It felt like I had a blank canvas and no tools to work with.

Then one night at women’s Bible study, which I hosted last fall at my house, I was sharing my emptiness with the ladies, one of which was a local doctor, and a friend looked at Doctor Maria and said, “Why not make it about medicine?”

Doctor Maria Trevino went on to mentor me and read the book. She caught a few little things that made a big difference. One of which dealt with a few suture scenes. I needed to add something about stitching the wounds, especially deep ones, from the inside out.

Also, Lillian had to decide which injuries needed medical attention first. So, I had to re-arrange one scene to make that happen. I am so thankful and honored Doctor Maria agreed to work with me. She is a wonderful physician and woman.  

What is different about this book?

Most of my books are about girls and horses. I wanted this one to be different. This trilogy began with Delbert, Lillian’s brother who along with two friends go on a fishing expedition that turns bad, and Hannah was the horse racer I mentioned earlier.

It only made sense to have Lillian seek medicine as her mother is a healer who deals with local, natural plants and herbs. The tie fits so well as I married the knowledge Lillian had from her mother and Doctor Maddox’s western medicine of the times, which also included natural medicines. 

This trilogy, the Gardner Siblings, is a spin-off of my True to Heart Trilogy, which is the first series I wrote. The siblings were young in the True to Heart series and when they “turned sixteen,” I gave them their own story.

In reality, I wasn’t ready to let the characters go. But out of it all, I created a curriculum to go along with all of my young adult books.

What drives you to write your books?

I never intended to be a writer. I actually have an Abnormal Psychology degree, but when my Native husband and I moved onto the reservation in eastern Washington, I began to learn the culture.

My husband’s people, the traditions that surround me, and the land I live on are what inspires me the most. Not to mention riding in the woods on one of my horses.

Spupaleena, the main character in my True to Heart Trilogy would not leave me alone. So, I joined a writer’s course from Writer’s Digest, and off I went.

Do you have a message you’d like your readers to find?

The message I want my readers to know is we all have a dream inside of us. God has given me so many wonderful talents and gifts, they spill over into my characters. He’s given all of my readers talents and gifts as well, and I want each reader to discover theirs and live a life of purpose.

I especially want my young readers to know how incredibly valuable they are. And to know for every problem, there is a solution. We have a lot of suicides and drug and alcohol-related deaths on the reservation. I want youth to know there is always hope.

When did you first realize you were a writer?

I first realized I was a writer when my first book was published. That’s when I took myself seriously because I had a lot of doubt. Grammar and I were not yet friends. But along the way, I’ve learned how to write, including grammar and spelling, which were never my strong suit.

I’ve learned the more I write, the better I get. Daily writing time is a must. It has to be a priority.

How many books have you published?

This is tricky for me. The total books available for sale are eleven. I do count my first trilogy, making it 14, because I totally revamped them when my publisher went out of business. It was like starting over and writing the books from the get-go. Which was cool because I got to witness my progress as a writer.

Included in the eleven titles are four literary guides: two for my trilogies; one for my novel, Girl Warrior; and one workbook that teaches young writers how to write fiction.

I also have a novel in for consideration by a publisher. I’m excited about this one as it’s my romantic suspense debut. The official shift from YA to adult.

What was the hardest part of writing Lillian’s Legacy

The hardest part was figuring out the topic. Once I decided on medicine, it all came together. Then I threw in a twist which added an element of suspense.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 

I learned how incredibly hard the lives of doctors, especially for females, were in the 1800s. They had to treat patients in all sorts of weather, all hours of the day and night, and traveled miles at times on foot or by horse. 

Do you have any advice for other writers? (Any suggestions to help them be better writers?)

I suggest writers learn the craft in their genre as they write (if they don’t have a degree), attend conferences, and find a quality writer’s group and critique partners. Make writing a priority. Write every day, or at least six days a week, even if it’s a small amount of time.

Writers, know your skill and creativity are gifts. Take yourself seriously and others will too—believe your book or article or whatever your writing dream is will happen!

About Carmen Peone

Award-winning author Carmen Peone lives with her tribal husband, Joe, on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation in Northeast Washington. She gathered cultural knowledge from family and elders and studied the language and various cultural traditions and legends under the late Marguerite Ensminger. She is a horse and photography enthusiast. With a degree in abnormal psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. She came to love the people and their heritage and desires to create a legacy for her family.

Lillian’s Legacy and the Gardner Siblings include a Literary Guide.

This is great for summer fun, homeschool learning, and historical knowledge in the classroom.

Find Out More Here

Purchase Lillian’s Legacy today on


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Carmen loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:

Website and Blog | Facebook | TwitterInstagram | Pinterest

Published in: on July 21, 2020 at 2:30 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Carmen, Thanks for joining me today and letting us know about this exciting new book! I can’t wait to read it!

    • Heidi, thanks for having me! This was a fun interview!

  2. Nice interview Heidi and Carmen. I also had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Lillian’s Legacy.

    • Thank you, Mary! I love our writing community, how we help one another out with book launches and just plain friendships. Bless you both! Your review was a blessing.

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