November 17, 2008
How my life shaped my writing
First off, thank you Anna for having me here today!
I’ve dabbled in different venues of writing over the course of my lifetime. First as a child writing plays for stuffed animals, then at thirteen writing stories of love and lust that my friends and I passed back and forth adding scenes, to witnessing what words can do when an English teacher read one of my assigned fiction projects to the class- all the way through writing children’s stories for my kids, writing murder mystery when I wanted to kill someone (killed that person off in two manuscripts), writing for the local paper when it fit my lifestyle, and then to finally settle into historical western romance.
Each stage of my writing had to do with what was going on in and around me at the time so it only makes sense that I find myself writing about history- American History, specifically the 1800’s has always been my favorite subject. I love museums, historical sites, and finding bits of history that were so integral to life when this country was spreading and growing.
I think having grown up in a semi –isolated part of the state that was slow to get technology it brought out the pioneer spirit in me. Until I was twelve, my paternal grandparents lived with us. There were seven people in a three bedroom, one bath farmhouse. We had a woodshed where we chopped kindling and stored the wood for the cookstove. When we did get an electric range we still had a wood heating stove and used the wood cookstove when the power went out which was fairly often when I was young. When the power went out we used kerosene and oil lamps, the outhouse, and hauled buckets of water to the house from the ditch. And it was usually in the winter that the power went out. And on many occasions the pipes from the well to the house froze, and we had to haul water to the house.
My family had a small herd of dairy cows and used an old hand crank separator to separate the milk from the cream. We used the milk for ourselves and the hogs we raised. We made our own butter from the cream and sold the rest to the creamery. We raised 100 chickens every year, butchering all but thirty, which were laying hens. I hated the smell of the wet feathers after you dunked them in the boiling water to loosen the feathers. And disemboweling them and cutting them up- I’d always offer to fold clothes, clean the bathroom or whatever other chore I could think of then spend hours smelling the feathers and butchered chickens. My grandmother sold extra eggs to neighbors and the local grocery store.
These are all events in my life that easily happened in the era that I write about. I can feel the woodstove, hear the clank of the metal plates as grandma put more kindling in the fire. Smell the acrid smoke that slipped through the chimney that went through my bedroom. I more or less lived the life I write about.
Now, the outlaws and heroes. Those are the characters I dreamed about while riding my horse in the Wallowa Mountains bareback, reclining with my head on my horse’s rump, staring up through pine trees at the blue sky accented by fluffy, white clouds. My heroes and outlaws were shaped by my over active imagination! They all thought I was gorgeous ( in reality I was an overweight child) So in my dreams I was slender and beautiful and had both the hero and the outlaw fighting over me.
And if you read Outlaw in Petticoats my latest release from The Wild Rose Press, you’ll see that Maeve, the heroine, indeed, is fought over by both the hero and the outlaw. Which doesn’t set well with her independent nature.
Here is the blurb for Outlaw in Petticoats, which is in contention at the Love Western Romance website for 2008 Best Western Romance. If you have read or read the book and like it please go to http://www.lovewesternromances.com/index.html in the month of December and vote.
Maeve Loman has had her heart crushed before; she isn't about to have it happen again. When she takes Zeke Halsey up on his offer to help her discover the truth about her father, she's sure she can control her traitorous body and not fall for the man's considerable charms.
Zeke Halsey has wanted Maeve Loman since he first set eyes on the prickly schoolteacher. Even as she thwarts his advances, he sees the desire burning in her eyes. He knows she feels abandoned and uses bravado to keep people at arm’s length. Offering to help her find her father, he hopes to prove he’s not going anywhere.
If you are a writer, what shaped the genre you write? If you are a reader, what is your favorite genre to read and why? I’ll pick a name from the comments and send the winner an outlaw candy bar and book of your choice.