Traveling the Big Sky Country

I recently returned to my home state of Montana for a book tour, to visit old friends and family, and to drink in the beauty that is “Big Sky country. My sister-in-law (Thelma, or Louise, depending on who’s addressing whom) traveled with me.

Big Sky

We even had a taste of SNOW as we traveled from Great Falls to Helena:

Snow day

 

A display of a one-room schoolhouse at Ft. Missoula brought back memories of my grade school days:

One-room school Ft. Missoula

Stopped in at the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls:

CM Russell Museum

Signed books in Helena, where the state’s governor bought a copy of Cowgirl Up! for his daughter.

Signing in Helena

Another signing at the Miles City Saddlery:

Miles City Saddlery sign

Visited the tiny (pop, 14, plus 2 seasonal) town of Ingomar, near where my grandparents ranched in the ’40s and ’50s. It’s main business is the Jersey Lilly Saloon and Cafe:

Jersey Lilly

And the “conveniences” are located out back:

Out back Jersey Lilly

All in all, a fun trip and a total of 5,000 miles of driving! I’ll be posting more on my travels later.

Published in: on October 31, 2014 at 6:10 am  Comments (2)  
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Cowgirl Up! A History of Rodeo Women is Here!

CowgirlUp Cover 3x5

It’s official: Cowgirl Up! has been released. I received my author copies last night, so I’m now in business! I’ll kick off my release with a panel discussion “Women Who Broke the Mold” Sept. 6 at 2 p.m. at the Peregrine Bookstore in Prescott AZ, along with WWW friends Amy Hale Auker and Carolyn Niethammer.

And my launch party will be at the Phippen Museum next Saturday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m. I’ll give a PowerPoint presentation on women’s rodeo history, we’ll have refreshments and fun! Then I’ll be on tour in Washington and Montana.

You can order books through my website, on Amazon, and from your local bookstores (please request that they carry it, if they don’t have it in stock!)

Hope to see you all soon!

Review: “Heidi Thomas’s story struck a resounding chord with me as I began chapter twelve. I loved the book up to that point, but on page 111 the stories of rodeo women intersected the story I tell, about the forgotten women pilots of World War II, the WASP. The seat hit the saddle and the rubber met the runway. From early in the twentieth century, women began ‘making it’ in the rodeo, in aviation — in life — but the Depression followed by the War changed everything. The years since are witness to a world where women have had to re-earn what they were on the verge of having in the early 1940s. Here, a descendant of a rodeo cowgirl spins a fascinating tale of hard-won accomplishment, and she tells it artfully, with love, honesty, and respect.”
—Sarah Byrn Rickman, author of five fiction and nonfiction books about the WASP of World War II

Rodeo ‘No Place for Women’?

I’m expecting my author copies of Cowgirl Up! A History of Rodeo Women any day now! You can order autographed copies through my website, and pre-order on Amazon. Here’s an excerpt:

Chapter One: Rodeo is No Place for Women

“Ruins the events for us men”

 Dust filled the air, giving the clear blue sky a brownish haze. Steers bawled in their pens, broncs kicked their stalls, and the rodeo announcer bellowed out the name of the next rider.

A baby let out a lusty yell. Margie Greenough Henson turned to the wooden apple box, where her son lay on a pillow, and picked him up, clucking and shushing.

Her sister, Alice, called from the chutes, “You’re up next, and I’m after you.”

The slender red-haired Margie waved her acknowledgement and turned to a lanky cowboy standing nearby. “Here, would you hold Chuck for me while I ride? It’s only for eight seconds.”

Alice Greenough riding broncThe Greenough sisters, who are listed in both the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, epitomized the Montana cowgirls of the early 1900s and bridged the final transition between the Old West and the modern era.

A woman bronc rider earned her living by beating competitors (often men), wearing men’s clothing, and living around cowboys. She had to be tough, otherwise she’d have been squeezed out. Home was on the plains and on the road, with little room for fluff. But this life didn’t necessarily make her “hard-boiled.”

Montana’s Greenough sisters, Fannie Sperry Steele, Marie Gibson, Bobby Brooks Kramer, Jane Burnett Smith, the Brander sisters, trick riders Birdie Askin and Trixi McCormick, and pick-up rider Ann Secrest Hanson proved that athleticism and femininity are not mutually exclusive.

The London Evening News validated these accomplishments in its report of the cowgirls in the Tex Austin Wild West Troupe in 1924:

“… It is amazing to see these slips of girls take fearful tosses while fighting outlaw horses, and then half an hour later it is still more amazing to see these same girls strolling out to tea in their Parisian frocks.”CowgirlUp Cover 3x5

The following quote about Lucille Mulhall of Oklahoma in a 1900 New York World article could also have described most of these Montana women: “…only ninety pounds, can break a bronc, lasso and brand a steer, and shoot a coyote at 500 yards. She can also play Chopin, quote Browning, and make mayonnaise.”

In the late 1800s and early 1900s the public image of rodeo cowgirls was as “loose women”, because they participated in a tough, dangerous men’s occupation, traveled around the country with men, and often wore men’s clothing. They were generally not thought of as wives and mothers, and rodeo riding was considered detrimental to women’s reproductive organs, but most of them did have children, like Margie Greenough Henson. In fact, she told the Arizona Daily Star in a 1994 interview, “In the fall of 1930, I was riding bucking broncs and he (her son, Chuck) was born in February of ’31.”

Published in: on August 18, 2014 at 5:57 pm  Comments (1)  
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Does Nettie Dare to Dream?

Dare Cover Final“Ready or not, rodeo world, I’m back. Nettie Moser inhaled the smell of rodeo—dust, animal sweat, manure—the scent of pure happiness. She strode to the arena fence near the chutes and climbed onto the top rail to watch the color guard parade the flag. A pretty teenaged cowgirl, long blonde curls bouncing under a white hat, led a group of equally lovely, brightly-clad ladies through their paces. The rodeo queen and her court.

Nettie shook her head. Some like the pomp and falderal, but I’ll take a rangy steer any day. She looked around at the crowd. Wonder where the other women riders are. She hopped down from her perch and headed for the registration booth where Jake already waited in line. “Here I am, ready to ride.”

It had been a long five years since her dear friend Marie Gibson was killed when her bronc collided with the pickup man’s horse. That accident had shattered Nettie’s rodeo dream but she finally overcame her fear with the help of her mentor’s unforgettable advice: Live your life, follow your dream.

“And I’m glad.” Jake pulled her into the circle of one arm. “But did you get a look at those steers, little gal? They look pretty big.” He winked at her.

Nettie took a couple of exaggerated, swaggering steps. “Never met a steer who could get the best of me.” She laughed out loud. It felt so good to be here in Cheyenne. The snorts and squeals and bawls of the rough stock in the pens, the shouts and cheers and curses of the cowboys were music to her ears. Anticipation skittering inside, she could almost feel the steer’s rough hide through her denims. She stuffed her leather gloves into her back pocket and leaned over to check pull the straps on her spurs tighter. She couldn’t wait to be on the back of a bucking, writhing animal, pitting her wiry102 pounds against its half-ton of muscle and bone.

Grandma on Horse

Montana cowgirl Nettie Brady Moser has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles on the journey toward her dream of being a professional rodeo rider. In the 1920s she struggled against her family’s expectations and social prejudice against rodeo cowgirls. During the Great Depression, marrying Jake Moser and then raising their son took priority over rodeos. And then she was devastated by the death of her friend and mentor in a rodeo accident.

In the spring of 1941, Nettie, now age 36, is regaining her heart and spirit, and she is determined to ride again at an event in Cheyenne, Wyoming. To her dismay, the male-dominated Rodeo Association of America enforces its rule barring women from riding rough stock and denies her the chance to ride. Her fury at the discrimination can’t change things for women—yet.

Based on the life of my grandmother, who rode rough stock in Montana in the 1920s, this  rodeo saga parallels the evolution of women’s rodeo from the golden years of the 1920s, producing many world champion riders, and shows its decline, beginning in the 1930s and ending with World War II in 1941.

Published in: on June 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dishwater Tree Grows From Seed of Conversation

dishwater treeSeveral months ago, I had the opportunity for a sneak preview of Angela Janacaro’s debut novel, The Dishwater Tree, and enjoyed the story so much. Now that it is out, I wanted to share her journey with my readers.

Welcome, Angela. Where did this story come from?

Thank you, Heidi. This story came to me by way of a ninety-two year old woman who happened to mention a trip she and her husband were taking back to the Miles City, MT area to view her childhood homestead. When she returned I asked what she had seen and her reply was, “The only thing left was my mother’s dishwater tree.” Although I had never heard such a description of a tree, I knew immediately what it meant and it struck a chord with me and ignited my imagination.

 Have you always wanted to write? How did you get started?

I have always written, but never considered myself a writer. For me writing has always been a way to express something I am unable to verbalize. When I started having children, my writing increased exponentially because I had so many emotions for my children and my life as a stay-at-home mother. I began writing after the children’s bedtime and during naptime as a creative and emotional outlet. I also enrolled in an adult education course for writing. It met every month and I was required to bring something to class which set the sideboards on what I could realistically accomplish during the month. The most difficult aspect of the class was sharing what I had written with others because it felt so deeply personal to me. After a few classes, I discovered people responded well to my words and stories and it gave me the confidence to believe there was a novel in the pages I had written.

 

What did you learn from writing The Dishwater Tree? And what would you like your readers to learn from it?

Writing this book was such a wonderful experience! I know it sounds cliché, but it amazes me a seed of an idea could be given to me by way of a conversation with a friend, and it could grow into the story of The Dishwater Tree. I learned the emotions, situations and characteristics I write about are universal and embraced by anyone who reads this book. First and foremost, I want the readers of The Dishwater Tree to be immersed and entertained. Secondly, if a reader takes anything from the story I hope it is the feeling that life is beautiful. If we all had the privilege to make it to the epilogue of our own lives I think we would find both the bad and the good meant something, and brought us, and those we loved full circle.    

 Who is your favorite character, and why?

Hmmm….tough question because I love them all! It’s almost like answering which of my four children I love the most. My favorite character is Josephine Rourke. She is everything we all aspire to be; beautiful, rich, kind and loving. Yet, she also endures terrible hardship and loss which is something we can all relate to in our own lives.     

Do you write in chronological order or do you bounce around within the manuscript?

I have been asked that question many times and I can understand why because it’s almost as if there are two novels under one cover. I wrote the story from prologue to epilogue. While I was writing a chapter with Josephine and Jimmy in 1922 I knew what would have to happen in the following chapter with Worthy and Marie in 2002. Because the characters are so intertwined, the thought process flowed easily for me. I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but because I am such a rookie writer, I did not even use an outline.

 What books or authors have most influenced your life most?

The book, Dancing at the Rascal Fair by Ivan Doig because of its sweeping descriptions of the Montana landscape and raw human emotions. The author, Mildred Walker because her characters are so relatable and her writing style is clean and concise.

 What is the wisest thing anyone has said to you?AngelaJanacaroMed

“You’ll never know until you try.”

 How did you find your publisher, Raven Press?

My sister knew that I had a manuscript hidden away in a desk drawer and that I had never done anything with it because I really didn’t know what to do. She shared a newspaper article about Janet Muirhead Hill and Raven Publishing. I sent in a query, and the rest is history.

 Do you have another writing project underway?

I do! I am working on a book about a lifelong best friend relationship which is tested because of poor decisions made earlier in life and truths left untold.

The Dishwater Tree is available through Raven Publishing and Amazon.com

Synopsis: It’s 2002, and Worthy Chambers’ days are as numbered as the leaves on the dishwater tree at the end of Confederate Lane. Her final wish is to know who left her on the orphanage’s steps nearly eighty years ago. With few clues to follow and the clock ticking, her daughter Marie agrees to help in the search. Life-long questions are answered, love is rekindled, and secrets are revealed.

Alternating chapters take the reader back to 1922 to share in the life of Josephine Rourke, a young woman pledged by her parents to marry a hot-tempered man she doesn’t love. Meanwhile, a young Irish activist for the copper miners of Butte, MT, flees to Wallace, Idaho, to escape the threat of death. When he and Josephine fall in love, trouble brews for both of them.
The weeping willow tree on a barren hill in Miles City, Montana, plays a part in the hopes and dreams of three generations.

 

Cover Reveal

Many of you have been waiting way too long for the third book in my “Dream” series. Well, you don’t have to wait much longer! Dare to Dream is scheduled for release May 6.

Dare Cover FinalSynopsis: Montana cowgirl Nettie Brady Moser has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles on the journey toward her dream of being a professional rodeo rider. In the 1920s she struggled against her family’s expectations and social prejudice against rodeo cowgirls. During the Great Depression, marrying Jake Moser and then raising their son took priority over rodeos. And then she was devastated by the death of her friend and mentor in a rodeo accident.

In the spring of 1941, Nettie, now age 36, is regaining her heart and spirit, and she is determined to ride again at an event in Cheyenne, Wyoming. To her dismay, the male-dominated Rodeo Association of America enforces its rule barring women from riding rough stock and denies her the chance to ride. Her fury at the discrimination can’t change things for women—yet.

Based on the life of the author’s grandmother, who rode rough stock in Montana in the 1920s, this sweeping rodeo saga parallels the evolution of women’s rodeo from the golden years of the 1920s, producing many world champion riders, and shows its decline, beginning in the 1930s and ending with World War II in 1941.

Advance reader comments: Finding our place and following our hearts is the moving theme of Dare to Dream, a finely-tuned finish to Heidi Thomas’s trilogy inspired by the life of her grandmother, an early rodeo-rider. With crisp dialogue and singular scenes we’re not only invited into the middle of a western experience of rough stock, riders and generations of ranch tradition, but we’re deftly taken into a family drama. This family story takes place beginning in 1941 but it could be happening to families anywhere – and is. Nettie, Jake and Neil struggle to find their place and discover what we all must: life is filled with sorrow and joy: faith, family and friends see us through and give meaning to it all. Nettie,  or as Jake calls her, “Little Gal” will stay in your heart and make you want to re-read the first books just to keep her close. A very satisfying read.—Jane Kirkpatrick, a New York Times Bestselling author and WILLA Literary Award winner of A Flickering Light

~~~~~

 “Heidi Thomas’s latest novel, Dare to Dream, rings of truth. Here is the real West, ranching in the 1940s, women and rodeoing, the heart-rending affect of World War Two on the Montana homefront, and great characters who bring it all alive. I loved it.”—Irene Bennett Brown, author of Women of Paragon Springs series and the Celia Landrey mystery series

~~~~~

 Nettie Moser is a strong woman who defies fear, bad luck, and male opposition to pursue her dream of being a champion steer rider. Set in the uncertain war-world of the early 1940s, Dare to Dream is a highly readable tale of a resourceful woman who faces life with courage and a daring heart.—Susan Wittig Albert, bestselling author of A Wilder Rose and the China Bayles mystery series

And more news!

CowgirlDreams Front CoverCowgirl Dreams and Follow the Dream will be re-released by my new publisher, Globe-Pequot/Twodot Press, at the same time, with a new look! You can pre-order Dare to Dream from my website, and you can still order original copies of Cowgirl Dreams and Follow the Dream at a discounted price.Dream Cover Final

Published in: on March 28, 2014 at 6:39 am  Comments (11)  
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Celebrating a Cowboy’s Birthday

Dad, Grandma & Grandpa

Dad, Grandma & Grandpa

My dad, Don Neil Gasser, was born November 9, 1924. He would’ve been 89 today.

He grew up in the Cut Bank/Sunburst area in Montana (often known nationally as the coldest spot in the nation in the winter). His mother, my grandmother, was the rodeo-riding cowgirl I’ve written about in my novels Cowgirl Dreams, Follow the Dream, and the newest, Dare to Dream, scheduled to be released May 6, 2014.

Dad was an only child and the little family moved many times over the years, following the grass for their Percheron crossbred herd. He was six years old when they trailed 100 head of horses from Cut Bank to Salmon Idaho in the early 1930s to find grass, after drought and grasshoppers left Montana tabletop bare. He remembered that adventure vividly and that became one of the pivotal events in Follow the Dream.

I remember my 6’4″ dad as a quiet, soft-spoken man, an avid reader and student, although he

Dad & I in his rebuilt Model T

Dad & I in his rebuilt Model T

never attended college. He taught himself to read at least three languages, memorized passages of the Bible while driving tractor, and passed on the love of books and music to me and my brother Mark. Dad was, out of necessity, an inventor, a mechanic, a veterinarian for his own and neighbors’ cows. Anything that needed done, my dad could do. And he was a real cowboy–when he was astride his horse, he rode so smoothly you could hardly tell where the man ended and the horse began.

Dad passed away in 2003,  much-loved and well-respected by all who knew him. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Meet WILLA Award Author Janet Fox

Janet Fox’s Young Adult novel, Forgiven, was a WILLA Literary Award Finalist in the Forgiven with awardWomen Writing the West’s 2012 competition, and it is a story well-deserving of this award. This is a companion novel to Faithful, which takes place in Yellowstone Park in Montana.

Synopsis: Flirting on the edge of danger, Montana girl Kula Baker finds herself on the streets of San Francisco, alone but for a letter of introduction. Though she has come to the city to save her father from a cruel fate, Kula soon finds herself swept up in a world of art and elegance – a world she hardly dared dream of back in Montana, where she was no more than the daughter of an outlaw. And then there is the handsome David Wong, whose smiling eyes and soft-spoken manner have an uncanny way of breaking through Kula’s carefully crafted reserve. Yet when disaster strikes and the wreckage threatens all she holds dear, Kula realizes that only by unlocking her heart can she begin to carve a new future for herself.

Welcome, Janet, and congratulations again on your award. Tell us how Forgiven evolved. Did you start with the idea of writing a story centered around the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake or with the character?

I began with the character – although I’ll confess that setting forms an integral part of my author photoearly process. Kula is a secondary character in my first novel, Faithful, and I fell in love with her. But she’s a tough character, and initially my editor was leery; she worried that readers wouldn’t be able to connect with her. When I submitted the draft, I’m happy to say Jen changed her mind – or maybe Kula changed Jen’s mind.

I do like to create events in my historical world/fictional world that would interest readers beyond the story arc, and in that sense, taking Kula to San Francisco at the time of the great earthquake seemed like a perfect fit. Kula’s world is shaken to its foundations metaphorically and literally.

What made you decide on the genre of young adult historical romance?

I’ve been writing most of my life but my early projects were all for adults. It wasn’t until my mother died, and I found among her papers a stack of unpublished children’s stories, that I realized that my voice is that of a young person. I guess you could say I suffer from arrested development. As for historical, I’ve always loved history, and it seemed to fit the character of Maggie in Faithful, who popped into my head one day as I was taking a walk, and then she just wouldn’t leave me alone. And the romance: aren’t all young women obsessed with romance? I know I was, so I just put myself back in those shoes and relived all the aches and pains and desires I had as a teen.

Faithful high resAnd why the setting of Montana?

That walk I was taking? That was here in Montana one summer day when we were in our cabin in the mountains. Maggie wormed her way into me through the magic of those mountains. And then I had to send her to Yellowstone, which is both beautiful and treacherous, because what she was living through had to push her way outside her comfort zone. Again the setting resonated with the underlying theme.

Kula began in Yellowstone because that’s where we meet her in Faithful, and her core values and ideas are formed as a result of her upbringing there and then in time spent in Bozeman.

What is the insight you, as an author, received from writing these books and what do you hope your readers will take away?

Interesting question. I don’t consciously look for my theme up front when I begin a new project; I always start with a character and a snip of a situation. I never know what will evolve from that. It’s only in the later stages of drafting that I begin to identify my “theme” – what my readers might take away, what Thomas McCormack calls the “master-effect” – so that I can tie imagery and symbolism together to make a resonant whole. Each of my novels does something different in that regard.

I suppose, though, that what I’m doing when I write is searching for meaning. I’m looking for answers. I guess if I ever really find those answers, I’ll stop writing; and for the moment I have no plans to stop writing.

Do you have a favorite author who has inspired you?

I have many. From Dickens, I’ve tried to learn the art of the cliff-hanger. From Austen, the beauty of the perfect sentence. Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games), crafts constant tension; M.T. Anderson (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing) does historical with rich resonance and veracity; Tolkien constructs evocative settings; Hemingway writes lean and spare; Joyce writes with poetry. I admire many, many contemporary kidlit authors: Maggie Steifvater, Rita Williams-Garcia, Laurie Halse Anderson, John Green, Laini Taylor, Gary Schmidt, Polly Horvath, Richard Peck, Judy Blundell….I could go on and on.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I was in third grade.

Seriously, my third grade teacher sent a poem I wrote to the town paper, and when I saw my name in print, that was it. I was hooked, and never stopped thinking about becoming a writer.

Have you mentored other writers?

Yes, I hope so! I’ve given critiques as donations for various charities, and I’ve spoken at many writers’ conferences. I taught high school for four years and I love encouraging young writers; a young woman here locally won a contest that included my mentorship, and she has great talent and promise. I like to encourage writers. But I do have to limit the amount of time I give away, because I have many projects waiting for me.

What advice do you have for kids who aspire to write?

Read. Read all the time. Search for support and don’t be discouraged – it takes time to build skills. When you’re ready, study the craft. Find a support network – I joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) early in my career, and the advice and information I gathered there was crucial. Keep writing, and try writing different things in different genres; you might find your voice in picture books or in poetry or in westerns. Don’t give up.

Your third YA novel, Sirens, is now available. Is this part of your series or is it a Sirens front cover.indddeparture?

Sirens is a definite departure. For one thing, it’s set in 1925 New York. For another, it’s slightly edgier than the first two, with gangsters and Prohibition, and a missing brother who may or may not be dead and who may or may not be a ghostly presence.

What project are you working on now?

I have three projects in various stages, and they are a real departure for me. Two of them are middle grade fantasies (although one does have historical elements) and the third is a young adult science fiction novel. I move back and forth between them as I finish drafts, or as my agent is reading. I don’t like to be idle.

You are traditionally published by Speak, an imprint of Penguin. How difficult was it to land that first contract? And do you have an agent?

I do have an agent, Alyssa Eisner Henkin, and I’ve been with her since before she sold Faithful. She is instrumental in focusing my career. She came from the editorial world, so she is hands-on with my projects, giving me lots of feedback and nurturing them until they are ready to sell. I had sold my very first book, Get Organized Without Losing It (Free Spirit Publishing, 2006), on my own, but I’m thrilled to have Alyssa on my team.

Learn more about Janet on her Website.

The other two important things I did for my career was join SCBWI, and I went back to school (Vermont College of Fine Arts) for my MFA in writing for children. Both of those steps took me from a wanna-be writer to a serious and committed author. I’ve been lucky, but I’ve also been determined to grow and learn, and that’s really what it takes.

A Montana Book and Research Tour

I recently returned to my native state of Montana for a mini book and research tour–another enjoyable “Thelma and Louise” trip with my sister-in-law. I always love traveling through Big Sky Country.Hittin’ the open road.

Flathead Lake at Lakeside, MT.

One day it was 73 degrees and the next… Only in Montana!

My research led me to a stop in Ovando, MT at Trixi’s Antler Saloon and at a museum dedicated to the 1940s world-renowned trick rider.

Not only did she do tricks on horseback…

But when the stage was too small, she twirled her ropes while riding a unicycle!

Another stop took me to a museum dedicated to World Champion Bronc Rider Fannie Sperry Steele.

Fannie’s “dress” chaps, made of calfskin and still in pristine condition.

Fannie Sperry Steele’s house on the ranch at Gates of the Mountains near Helena, MT

My tour ended in Missoula at the Montana Festival of the Book, where I helped work the Women Writing the West table with Beth Hodder and Pam Tartaglio.

What a fun trip. And now I’m off to Albuquerque, NM for the WWW conference!

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Thanks to Janet Oakley who tagged me for this Blog Hop historyweaver.wordpress.com

If you want to participate:
1. Answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog

2. Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

3. The questions with your answers

Here’s mine:

What is the working title of your book? Nettie’s Cowgirls

Where did the idea come from for the book? This is the third in my “Dare to Dream” series, based on my grandmother who was a real Montana cowgirl. The first book is Cowgirl Dreams (EPIC Award winner) and Follow the Dream (WILLA Literary Award winner).

What genre does your book fall under? Western Historical.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? That’s a difficult question. My grandfather looked like Charlton Heston, but of course that’s impossible. Maybe Jake Gyllenhall. Not sure who would play Nettie, a petite, feisty ranch woman with auburn hair.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Despite World War II and the demise of women’s rodeo where they competed on rough stock with the men, Nettie continues to follow her dream by mentoring young trick riders.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I have no agent. The publisher of my first two novels is Treble Heart Books http://www.trebleheartbooks.com

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Too long! Two years.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? It’s hard to say. My series has been compared to the Little House on the Prairie books in some ways, but it’s different. It’s not a romance, but has sweet romance in it, it’s not an old-time “shoot-’em-up” western but it takes place in the west and around the ranching and rodeo world. It’s basically a fictionalized story about my grandmother, who rode bucking stock in rodeos, and was an avid horsewoman. This book is more fiction than the first two, however, and delves into “what might have been.”

Who or What inspired you to write this book? My grandmother, who seemed ahead of her time, a woman who was the epitome of “Cowgirl Up”–do the hard thing without complaining.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? It takes place in Montana during the 1940s and Nettie is faced with letting her son go off to war.

Thanks for stopping by this Blog Hop and please check out our host Susan Taitel http://susantaitel.com/2012/09/ and the other bloggers participating in this event, including historyweaver.wordpress.com, http://thomasaknight.com/, http://sydneyssong.net/blog/ and http://www.sieders.com/blog/

Also please peruse my blogroll links and visit some of my friends there!

 

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