1. What am I working on now?
I've just started a new book, a western historical romance about a young woman who has lost her father in a mining camp accident in Colorado Territory. She is forced to take in laundry to survive with the goal to save enough money to move to the new settlement, Denver, and open a boarding house. One of the men who hires her is different from the other miners and befriends her. He unexpectedly asks her to marry him to satisfy the wishes of his grandfather in order to inherit his extensive ranch in Dakota Territory - Wyoming. The heroine is forced to decide between her own goal and that of a loveless marriage and an uncertain future.
2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?
Most of my westerns are based on some actual incident I fictionalize in my stories. I'm from an early Wyoming ranching family, grew up on an historic Wyoming ranch, and believe my books are accurate historically. Of course, I can only imagine what life was like over a hundred years ago, but I do have journals that help. My sister reminds me she is well-versed in Wyoming history and is often turned-off by western writers who do not portray western history accurately. In fact, she refuses to read my books if I make mistakes. Oh boy! What I have to live up to in my writing.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Because of my background, I love western American history and read everything I can. I do have regrets. When I was growing up two of my great uncles who came to Wyoming in the l880's were still living. Unfortunately, I never bothered to question them about their lives as they established large ranches. One uncle was fourteen when he arrived in Wyoming with two dollars and a change of clothes. He went to work as a stable boy for one of the remission men who had a large cattle ranch. My uncle told me one time, "Do the best job you possibly can and you will succeed." He certainly did becoming one of the largest ranchers in the state. He helped start Cheyenne Frontier Days and is in the Wyoming Rodeo Hall of Fame along with members of my family. I could base a novel on him.
At one time, it was consider sacrilege to raise sheep. My father was a sheep rancher. We usually had some cattle to remain faithful to the culture. My book, SECRET TO HOLD, is a western historical romance located on a sheep ranch.
4. How does my writing process work?
I take ideas from interviews I did as a writer for a local newspaper, from newspapers, from comments someone might make about a person or event, and from people I've known. When I've decided on a topic, I pick a theme which leads to goals, motivation, and conflict for the characters. I write the first two or three chapters at my computer to introduce the characters and analyze the contents to decide if I have enough story to continue. Sometimes I discard the story and look for a different theme, location, time period, and characters. If I continue with the book, I do complete character sketches, a loose outline with highs and lows, and the ending.
My mornings are usually hectic, especially in the summer so my writing is from two or three in the afternoon until six. My dog reminds at six it's time for him to have supper. I do research months in advance of the actual writing. (My sister's comment stays with me, and I want to be as accurate as possible.)
In addition to writing western historical romance, I write contemporary romance also with a western location, and women adventure stories.