WOUNDED HEART released this week. Can you tell us what it’s about?
Clint and Coral Logan, whose story is featured in HER TRAITOR’S HEART, continue their saga in WOUNDED HEART. General Clint Logan has mustered out of the Union occupational army five years after the end of the Civil War. He’s staked his entire fortune on purchasing property in Colorado and providing remounts for the western army’s Indian war. Accompanying him and Coral is Della Hughes, his orphaned niece. Della resents the restricted life of a Boston socialite and longs for adventure and freedom. She envisions a new life in the West as an opportunity to leave behind the sheltered existence she’s known in Boston, despite the fact that nothing she’s experienced has prepared her for life in the West. And when she finds love in an unexpected place, she must fight to win her reluctant beau.
Tell us why we’ll love WOUNDED HEART.
When I develop ideas for my stories, I plan to deliver a story that isn’t just fluff. I research the social mores of the time, what shaped peoples’ lives, what events took place that could have a bearing on my story and characters. One thing that keeps coming up in my research is the fact that during my area of interest, the Victorian era, women lived in a male-dominated society. I find it fascinating to portray women whose lives were shaped and controlled by social rules, yet who managed to be strong, pushing back against those rules in ways that were consistent with their times. Della’s story is that of a young socialite whose whole life, up to this point, has been controlled by rules. Going West with her uncle, Clint Logan and his family, is the beginning of her search for freedom. Completely thrust into a life for which she hasn’t been prepared, she determines to learn what it takes to survive in the West and become her own person. Along the way her faith is strengthened as she faces life-threatening trials.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. Do what it takes to improve and refine your craft, and learn from your mistakes. Be careful who you let critique what you write. READ, READ, and READ!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
This probably isn’t unique to me as a writer, but when I’m working on a story, my characters come to life. They live inside my head in their world, and I’m a part of that world, too. On my way to work during the commute I my characters are enacting their scenes inside my head. I hear them speak and carry on conversations. At any given time during the day, I can suddenly drift from reality into the imaginary world of my story, which becomes more real to me than real life. When I finish a story I have trouble leaving the world I’ve created and coming back to modern times. I actually miss my characters and their lives.
What was the hardest scene to write?
I think the hardest scene for me to write was the fight scene between Shane Hunter and Wild Wind, Shane’s Cheyenne half brother. This is a pivotal scene in the book, so I had to make it compelling and realistic. Writing about a fight between two men reared in the Native American culture was definitely out of my comfort zone, and I had to do a lot of research to make it authentic.
What’s more important: characters or plot?
Characters and plot are both important to me, but characters take precedence just a bit over plot. When I’m reading a book, the characters have to grab me. I have to like them and identify them, or I can’t get into the story. When I write, my characters have to come alive and live for me, so I can make them live for my readers.
Finally, tell us what’s next. What else are you working on?
My next project chose me. When I was writing WOUNDED HEART, Wild Wind took on life and became a strong force in the story, stronger than I’d originally intended. After I finished WOUNDED HEART, Wild Wind wouldn’t let me go. He stayed in my mind and kept after me to tell his story. Now I’m 57,000 words into WARRIOR’S HEART, Wild WInd’s story.