Sunday, January 22, 2012

Heidi M. Thomas: Follow the Dream

Follow the Dream

Romancing The West features Heidi M. Thomas whose book Follow the Dream is about one of my favorite topics, cowgirls and their roles in early rodeo and ranching. These ladies were tough! I urge you to check out Heidi's carefully researched novels and read a little about her background and then you'll see why these books are so highly recommended.

RTW: Welcome, Heidi! Let's start with a blurb for Follow the Dream, the second book in the series.

HMT: In this sequel to Cowgirl Dreams, Nettie marries, yet faces challenges to her lifelong rodeo dreams. She must cope with personal tragedy, survive drought, and help Jake keep their horse herd from disaster. Will these challenges break this strong woman? As with Cowgirl Dreams, this story is based on the life of the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl.

Find out how to enter at the bottom of this article.

RTW: What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Follow the Dream?

Heidi M. Thomas, author
HMT: The way people lived in those days with such hardship and difficulty and yet emerged strong, independent and happy. Yes, that is a strong theme in both my books.

RTW: If you lived in the 1930s, what modern convenience would you miss the most?

HMT: Probably the computer. I don’t know how I used to write without it!

RTW: Why must Nettie take this story journey? What does she have to prove? What about Nettie most intrigues you?

HMT: Nettie has to learn that dreams can change, but that no matter what, a person needs to have a dream to work toward. She needs to prove her own worth to herself. Nettie’s strength and perseverance have been inspirational to me personally.

RTW: Please tell us a little about the excerpt you are sharing with us today.

HMT: Montana has experienced several years of severe drought and Nettie and Jake are faced with trying to save their herd of horses.

Sunday, August 10, 1930

Dust still blowing. Will it ever stop? So long since we’ve had even a drop of rain. Worried about the horses. Not much grass left. Jake’s not himself….
Nettie stopped writing. What was that noise? A low clicking hum. The wind? No. She’d never heard it like that. The sound grew louder. She stood and went to the window.

At first she didn’t see anything. The air hung hot and still. Her mind filled with confusion. Then a movement down by the corral caught her eye. A dark river of motion, flowing, clicking, humming.


Nettie sprinted for the door. “Neil! Where are you?” Frantic, she ran toward the barn. “Neil!”

“Here I am, Ma.” His small voice came from the hayloft. He pointed to the mass off to one side. “What’s that?”

She climbed up the ladder inside the barn and sat beside him. “Grasshoppers, honey. They won’t hurt you.” The whirring, low-flying cloud clung to the ground, slowly moving through small patches of withered grass, leaving the ground as bare table-top, swarming over the corral fence. What was left of the posts stood like skeleton bones, stark and fragile.

Her son’s eyes were wide, pools of gray-green in the dim light. “What are they doing?”

“They’re eating.” Revulsion fought her calm words.

“Why did they eat the corral poles?”

“Because there aren’t any crops and not much grass left.” She tried to still the fluttering fear inside her stomach. Now there won’t be any grass left for our horses.

Nettie and Neil watched until darkness settled around the path of destruction left in the insects’ wake. Jake rode in from town and found them still sitting in the open door of the hayloft.

RTW: Thanks for the excerpt, Heidi! Where can we buy Follow the Dream?

HMT: I offer autographed copies at my website, or you can purchase the book at these online stores:

RTW: Will you have a sequel to Follow the Dream, a third book in the series?

HMT: Yes, I’m working on a third in the series, Nettie’s Cowgirls, which will take place during the 1940s and show the demise of women’s rodeo. But in this book, Nettie is a mentor to young aspiring cowgirls, trying to keep the dream alive.

RTW: Anything else you’d like to add?

HMT: The first two books in my series are based closely on my grandmother’s life and all will feature strong, independent women from Montana—my role models. They are also about having a dream and following it, even if it changes along the way.

RTW: Thanks so much for stopping by Romancing The West today, Heidi. I'm looking forward to your article on Thursday, Cowgirls Compete With Men. Early days of rodeo when both men and women competed is a fascinating and often overlooked topic.

Enter To Win
Your Choice Of
Heidi's Books!

Please leave a comment about a favorite western novel or a favorite strong character and you’ll be entered into a drawing for an autographed copy of your choice of Follow the Dream or Cowgirl Dreams.

Fine print: USA mailing only. Drawing will be held at 10pm Pacific Time, Saturday, January 28th.

Want to win a Kindle and Six Free Books?
Come to the Romancing The West Cupid Party Feb. 6-12!


  1. Jacquie, Thank you for hosting me today. This is fun!

    1. Great to have you here! I hope you want to come back and tell us about Nettie's Cowgirls. Slots are available in October and later so just let me know when you'd like to join us. :)

  2. Heidi, great interview and I really enjoyed the excerpt. Eating the fence posts. I'd never heard of that before. Your writing is so entrancing, you really know how to take the reader into the story. I smelled the dust and the heated air burned my skin.

  3. Your book looks very interesting, Heidi. Thanks for posting the link to this interview at Women Writing the West.

  4. Velda, thank you--that makes me feel good that I've succeeded in making the reader feel like you're there, in the story.

    Jacquie, Nettie's Cowgirls is still a work in progress, and I don't know when it'll be done and published, but I'm always happy to talk about the process.

    Meg, thanks for stopping by. I hope to be able to read your book in the near future!

  5. Here's another vote for the fence post segment. I had never heard of that either. So much to learn. Thanks for teaching. Nancy

  6. Enjoyed reading the comments. My favorite character in a Western novel was Gus McCrae in Lonesome Dove.
    I am always looking for new authors to read. i would welcome the chance to read your book. It sounds interesting.


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