When you walk into a bookstore, you make a beeline for what section? I head for the Christian section and look for romance or suspense – historical romance, contemporary suspense.
Favorite place to write: In the summer I write from my office with a great window-view of birds at the feeder and deer out front. In the winter, I write from my laptop in front of the wood stove. Glass window there too, so I can see the flames. Guess I’m a visual kind of person!
Go-to writing snack or drink: Coffee
What does your writing nook look like? Half the room is writing, half is music. I play on my church’s worship team. I love maps, images of running horses, and hunky cowboys (Can you see my hunky cowboy board?). On the wall that faces my desk is the great window plus framed covers from all my books (10) and a small banner with a Winston Churchill quote: “Never, never, never, never, never give up.”
Something you must do or have to write: Coffee
Favorite (doesn’t that word just make you cringe) writer resource: There are truly too many to name. The top of my desk and two bookcase shelves are nothing but resources. However, in the writing of others I find gold nuggets of time-period vernacular or vivid descriptions that enable me to “see” a setting and put it into my own words. I write Western romance, therefore I read what I like to write: stories with laughter, danger, grace, and love.
What book is currently on your nightstand? An old book by deceased Western author and cartoonist, Stan Lynde. The book is Careless Creek. Lynde takes me away to another time and place – isn’t that why we read fiction? Lynde is not a romance writer, but he sure knows how to tell a tale.
Hard copy, e-reader, audio book: All three.
What was the inspiration behind The Miracle Tree? In the back of the book you’ll find an interesting tidbit that germinated this story, so I don’t want to give anything away. But I will say that this story simmered in my heart for five or six years, and I became wrapped up in the lives of Laura and Eli.
Favorite part of writing The Miracle Tree: By far, the favorite part of writing this book, or any other, is when a reader contacts me to tell me a particular phrase or scene resonated with them and encouraged them in their own life. The power of story is what drives me to write, and when I see that same power striking a match in someone’s life, I somehow come full circle.
Hardest part of writing The Miracle Tree: The hardest part was ending it. Not the ending, but saying good-bye to the story, to Laura and Eli. I know them better than I know most flesh-and-blood people!
If The Miracle Tree was turned into a movie, who would you cast as the leads? I have an image of Eli on my Miracle Tree Pinterest page. I know most people will think the guy is Chris Pratt, but I’m telling you, it’s Eli Hawthorne III. Seriously. As far as Laura Bell goes, this is going to sound crazy, but the girl on the book cover – whoever she is – is my vision for Laura.
What is next? I’m looking forward to the November release of my historical Christmas novella, Snow Angel.
Anything else you would like to share? I’m the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters. For years my husband hauled several comedy-animal acts when we rodeoed. One year during the bull riding at the Estes Park Night Rodeo (Colorado) he was gunned down by a bull that broke his ribs and tore off his ear. We were under contract for the rest of the week, so after my husband was patched up and released by the surgeon, I finished out the week doing the acts in his place, dressed in his clothes. I didn’t fight bulls, though. Another bullfighter took care of that. My mama didn’t raise no fool.
About the Story:
Laura Bell needs a second chance, not a new romance. Home to heal and start over, she finds the neighbor boy she once idolized is a sharp-edged former Marine with secret wounds of his own. Eli Hawthorne’s prayers are finally answered when Laura returns, but he’s half a man now, and his scars may be too much for her. Laura and Eli can fill the empty places in each other’s heart if pride doesn’t keep him from trusting God and fear doesn’t blind her to the miracle of the boy she left behind.
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