October 4, 2010

Guest Blogger - Alison Henderson

Hi, Anna Kathryn and friends! Thanks so much for inviting me to share my excitement about the upcoming publication of my first book. Harvest of Dreams is a Western historical romance coming out October 22nd from The Wild Rose Press. The story is set in the small northwest Missouri river town of Weston just after the end of the Civil War and features a pregnant young widow and a security agent for the Overland Stage Company.

I grew up in Kansas City, just south of Weston, and my lifelong love of history made this setting a natural fit for me. Weston is a charming town with antebellum buildings still dotting the landscape, so I was able to soak up inspiration walking the streets my characters walked, past the houses they might have lived in. Local farmers still grow tobacco as they have since 1840 and operate apple orchards, like my heroine, Lisa McAllister.

The most prominent citizen of Weston in the mid-nineteenth century was Benjamin Holladay. Originally from Kentucky, he was a shrewd entrepreneur who opened a tavern and a hotel, as well as starting the McCormick Distilling Company, which still operates today. In 1861, he won a postal contract for mail service to Salt Lake City and established the Overland Stage Company. The following year, he acquired the Pony Express Company. Like many boom-and-bust businessmen, Holladay amassed great wealth only to lose it all in the Panic of 1873, but he left an indelible stamp on the small community of Weston.

The hero of Harvest of Dreams, Jared Tanner, rides shotgun for the Overland Stage line out of Atchison, Kansas, across the Missouri River from Weston. The stage line ran many routes to the west, including the St. Joseph to Sacramento route that Mark Twain rode in 1861, and later memorialized in his book, Roughing It. The coaches bounced along on heavy leather springs, making up to a hundred miles a day with stops every ten miles or so at stations to feed and change horses and allow the passengers a chance to stretch their legs. Before and during the war, Indian attacks were the main danger, but after the war, bands of increasingly brazen outlaws sprang up in the border country of Missouri and Kansas. A shotgun rider, like Jared, rode with the driver to protect the mail, the passengers, and their valuables from attackers who had little to lose and everything to gain.

I’ve really enjoyed sharing a little of the background of my story with you. Here’s a blurb for Harvest of Dreams:

Alone on her farm in the middle of a blizzard, young widow Lisa McAllister labors to give birth to her first child. Help arrives in the strong hands of a stranger wearing a six-gun. Lisa has no reason to trust this man who makes a living by violence, even if he is on the right side of the law. Men and their guns have already claimed the lives of her father, brother, and husband, and she’s determined to protect her son at any cost.

Jared Tanner, a security agent for the stagecoach, has been on his own since he was twelve. Against his better judgment, his feelings of protectiveness toward Lisa and her baby turn to something deeper, and he is tempted by the possibility of a family of his own. Can their tender new love survive when an act of ultimate violence threatens to tear them apart?

Please visit my website at http://www.alisonhenderson.com/ for more information about me and my books, and watch for Harvest of Dreams, coming October 22nd from The Wild Rose Press. Thanks again!

Alison Henderson


P.L. Parker said...

Good Morning Ladies - enjoyed the post and the book sounds great. Good luck with sales and congratulations.

Alison H. said...

Thanks so much. This story is close to my heart, and I'm so excited to be able to share it.

Mira Lyn Kelly said...

Alison, the book sounds wonderful, thanks so much for sharing about it!! Congrats on the release :-)

Stacy said...

Harvest of Dreams sounds like a fabulous book, Alison. Nice post - it makes me anxious for October 22nd. Good luck and happy sales!


amy kennedy said...

Oh Alison, the cover is soooo pretty. I love historical westerns, and your book sounds wonderful. What are you writing now?

Tamara Hughes said...

Congratulations on your release, Alison! Harvest of Dreams sounds awesome. I can't wait for your Joan so I can hear more.


Alison H. said...

Thanks for stopping by. I'm pretty excited about the release, too!

I'm excited for the 22nd, too, but I was really surprised to find out that the print book was available as of last Friday. You learn to expect delays in publishing, not fun surprsies like that!

Hi Amy!
I loved the cover, too. You never know what you're going to get, but I couldn't have asked for better. I have one more Western historical, but right now I'm working on plotting my second romantic suspense. Thanks for stopping by!

Michele Hauf said...

That cover is so freakin' gorgeous! Congrats, Allison!

Alison H. said...

Hi Tami,
Thanks! I'm excited for the JOAN, too. It's been a long time coming.

Hi Michelle,
Thanks for dropping by. You've had some really great covers, too, but I do love this one. I'm glad the first one turned out so well. My mom hung a framed copy in her dining room!

LizbethSelvig said...
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LizbethSelvig said...
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LizbethSelvig said...

Hi Alison,
I'm so eager to read your book. Your hero sounds like one I've had in my head for some time now-certainly not exactly the same but enough that I want very much to read you for inspiration. Congratulations on the release and the beautiful cover. I wish you fabulous sales and many, many fans! I'm already one!

PS - Ya-heck is giving me grief--so sorry for the deletes and multiple posts.

Jannine Gallant said...

I adore western history. It sounds like you did your homework on this one! Best of luck with sales.

Alison H. said...

Hi Liz!
Thanks so much for the kind words and good wishes. Maybe you'll want to be my Bood Buddy for this one(??)

The research for this one was pure pleasure. Thank you for stopping by!

Nan Dixon said...

Congratulations Alison on your first book. What a thrill it must be! And the cover is fantastic. Can't wait to read it.

Tanya Hanson said...

Cactus Rose is such a fabulous place to be, Alison. Congrats on your debut novel, and I know you'll have many more. I already love the setting, excerpt, and storyline! It's definitely TBR.

Leigh D'Ansey said...

Hi Alison and Anna! Alison, I so love the title and cover of your new release. The story sounds wonderful. Wishing you the very best of luck at this exciting time.

Alison H. said...

Nan, Tanya, and Leigh,
Thanks so much for all the encouragement and support!

Laura Breck said...

Alison - congrats on your book release - and on blogging! Harvest of dreams sounds like a fabulous book.


Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

A belated welcome to Alison to my blog. I enjoyed reading your post and to piggy back it, I've done a post on the Pony Express for anyone interested in reading it: http://seducedbyhistory.blogspot.com/2009/12/pony-express.html

Thanks so much for joining me today!

Alison H. said...

Hi Laura,
I couldn't have done this without all your helpful hints!
Thanks so much,

Alison H. said...

Hi Anna,
Thank you so much for having me as your guest today. It was my first experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Alsion,
Lovely excerpt and blog, I enjoyed reading about where you live, and I just love Westerns.

Best wishes


Kathy Otten said...

Hi Alison,
I've just started doing research on stage travel and routes for my newest WIP, and it sounds like you are also fasciated with research. I like the sound of a hero riding shotgun. I don't think I've ever read a story with that job before. Sounds fresh. Good luck with your sales.