Monday, July 29

Andrea Downing's Wrong Turn Works Out Well

Please join the Wranglers in welcoming fellow Wild Rose Press author to our corral today.

Andrea Downing likes to say that, when she decided to leave New York, the city of her birth, she made a wrong turn and went east instead of west.   She ended up spending most of her life in the UK where she received an M.A. from the University of Keele in Staffordshire.  She married and raised a beautiful daughter and  stayed on to teach and write, living in the Derbyshire Peak District, the English Lake District, Wales and the Chiltern Hills before finally moving into London. During this time, family vacations were often on guest ranches in the American West, where she and her daughter have clocked up some 17 ranches to date. In addition, she has traveled widely throughout Europe, South America, and Africa, living briefly in Nigeria. In 2008 she returned to the city of her birth, NYC, but frequently exchanges the canyons of city streets for the wide open spaces of the West.  Her love of horses, ranches, rodeo and just about anything else western is reflected in her writing.  Loveland, a western historical romance published by The Wild Rose Press, was her first book and is a finalist for the RONE Award of Best American Historical.  Lawless Love, a story, comes out as part of The Wild Rose Press Lawmen and Outlaws’ series on Sept. 4.  Andrea is a member of Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West.

Andrea, I read that “out west” was your favorite part of the USA, even though you live in New York after spending much of your life in the UK. Which part of the west owns your heart and why?

 First off, let me just say thanks so much for having me here today. It’s an honor to be wrangling with y’all! My heart really belongs to Wyoming around the Jackson Hole area. I’m a mountains girl, even though it doesn’t make for the best riding. But I always feel at peace in the mountains and the vistas are inspiring. When I go there there’s a sense of ‘coming home” and I feel I belong.

When did you know you were a writer? Or do you know it even now? (Sometimes I have doubts about myself.)

 No, I don’t suppose I have taken it in quite honestly although my daughter reminds me from time to time. And then you get forms you have to fill in and there’s a box perhaps that may say “arts and media” or it may actually say “writer” so that brings it home to mind. I’ve always written, as long as I can remember. My first story was in one of those mottled school books. In college I took every writing course on offer and then I was involved with a poetry magazine. Now, here I am with two western historical romances in 'print.’

Is there anything you wish you’d done but feel it’s too late for now? (I wish I’d learned to snow ski, but now I’m afraid to break bones.)

  A number of things! But I don’t think it’s wise to have regrets like that. Either go ahead and do it
or don’t, but don’t let shouldas and couldas nag at you. I heard on the news one night about a woman in her 90s sky-diving so I think you ought to go learn to ski! 

 Your fan-girl chance here—who’s the author you absolutely know would leave you speechless and quaking if you actually got to meet her? (Or him—I’m not sexist. Not really.)

  Let me tell you a little story if I may before I answer that one. Years ago when I was in my twenties and unmarried, there was a very well-known poet that I and all my writer friends idolized. Well, I happened to meet him at a poetry reading one night and I certainly was “speechless and quaking” to put it mildly. But to make a long story short, I ended up dating him for a couple of years. He was only human. So, to answer your question, I’d like to meet Maggie Osborne but I wouldn’t be speechless, that’s for sure. I’d like to know why she stopped writing because I enjoy her stories so much.

You’ve traveled all over the world—is there anywhere you’d like to go but haven’t yet?

  Everywhere I haven’t been! I’d love to travel through Australia and New Zealand, move on to China for a trip down the Yangtze River and a look at the terracotta army and then move on to Angkor Wat. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at ‘roughing it’ and my pockets aren’t deep enough for all that but maybe one day I’ll do a bit of it.

Do you have a writing process? My friend Kristi always asks this one, and I love the answers!

  Gosh, I think you and Kristi are going to be disappointed then. I usually have the beginning and the end of a story in mind and I let the characters do the writing. Yup, I’m a pantser all the way.

Tell us what’s coming next for you.

 Lawless Love officially comes out Sept. 4 although it is currently available on Amazon. I’m working on a novella for The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series and also have started—to a degree—another full length novel that isn’t western historical. Meantime, I have a contemporary women’s fiction being considered for publication at the moment.

 Quickies—share your favorite:

 Color: Black. Not actually a color I know, but I do like it. 
Day of the week: No particular one really but possibly a toss-up between Wednesday and Saturday. Wednesday there are fewer people around and Saturday I’m more likely to get a lie-in.
 Season: Autumn—I love cooler weather but I’m not good about driving and walking around in the snow, otherwise it would be winter. 
Hobby other than reading: Riding and travel 
Movie: Hidalgo
 TV show: Broken Trail and Hell on Wheels 
Dinner out: Hearth, NYC—their veal meatballs are to die for. 
Dinner in: Anything my daughter cooks when she visits! 
Ice cream flavor: Dark Chocolate S’more Gelato or Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food

 Thanks again for having me here. It’s been great fun!

Blurb: Lacey Everhart has carved out a tough existence in the wilds of 1880s Wyoming, working hard to build a secure life for herself and her younger brother, Luke. She will stop at nothing to protect what’s hers and keep them safe. Even if it means keeping a secret that could destroy their lives.
Marshal Dylan J. Kane is a man who considers everything as black and white, right or wrong. He's never seen life any other way until he sets eyes on Lacey. Suddenly the straight and narrow that he's followed has a few twists and turns. Loving Lacey offers the home life for which he hankers...but can he really love a woman who seems to be plain lawless? 

Excerpt:

Lacey thought of fluttering her eyelashes, but it
was such a silly thing to do. How could women act like
that? She just looked up at the marshal and waited, the
possibilities turning over in her mind, flitting through
her head but never settling.

“You wanna tell me what really happened now so
we can try to sort this matter? All I can do is promise
I’ll do everything in my power to sort it for you, but I
cain’t help you less’n you tell the truth. You tell me lies
and make me look a dang fool, there’s nothin’ I can do.
You understand that?”

Along with the tiniest nod, she clasped her hands
together. She looked up at Dylan Kane and saw
kindness in that face, a face she could so easily have
loved had things been different. She could sense the
heat radiating from his body and knew if she touched
his chest, a strength would exist where his heart beat. If
she ran her hand down his arms, she would find that
same strength in his muscle. How she wanted those
arms around her! All her life, it seemed, she had looked
after herself, cared for her brother, struggled to make a
home for the two of them. What would it have been like
if Morgan had not…

“Lacey?” Dylan’s soft voice brought her back from
her reveries. “You ready to tell the truth?” With one
gentle finger, he lifted her chin so their gazes met for a
moment before they each stepped back from the brink
of something neither could control. “Lacey?” he
repeated.

“Yes, I’m ready.”

13 comments:

  1. Welcome, Andi. We're so happy to have you here!

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  2. Thanks Liz. Good to be wrangling with you!

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  3. I have to ask "Phish Food"? Great interview, but that part left me wondering.

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  4. LOL Alison. Phish Food is a Ben and Jerry's ice cream--readily available so try it!--that is mostly chocolate with large chocloate bits in it as well as marshmallow etc. One day I got it home and it was just the right consistency, slightly soft from the journey, and I practically devoured a whole tub. Difficult to stop eating once started, so be warned!

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  5. Welcome to the Wranglers! I was raised on three guest ranches in AZ and CA. Come to Colorado, and I'll take you riding. You'll never forget it! Books sound great!

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  6. Thanks for the offer, D'Ann. I'm wondering which guest ranches you were raised on in AZ as that used to be our April destination. Happily, English schools get off a month at Xmas and Easter (although they go into July) so we headed to AZ. And of course I've been to CO many times but would be happy to go again :-)

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  7. Having had the chance to do so much traveling sounds incredible to me! Love the excerpt and love western romance novels.

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  8. I love the blurbs for your books, Andrea, they sound like great fun! Good luck - and welcome to the Wranglers!

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  9. Yes, Mary, I've been extremely lucky to be able to do a lot of traveling, but I think my more adventuresome days are probably finished now.

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  10. Thanks Kristina, for your kind words. And it's always good to know the blurbs are enticing!

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  11. The blurb is good, but the story even better. Loved it. Thanks for an insightful post.

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  12. That is SO kind! thank you so much.

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  13. My thanks to Word Wranglers for having me here, it's been great fun!

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