Sunday, March 18, 2012

NYT Bestselling Author Margaret Brownley: More Love & Laughter

Dawn Comes Early
(Brides of Last Chance Ranch)
by Margaret Brownley

Romancing The West welcomes the fabulous and talented New York Times Bestselling Author, Margaret Brownley. The bio on her website cracked me up so I'm plunking the first paragraph right here:
Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this, except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction."
You can find Margaret all over the place, but after you read her article here, check this out:
Enter Margaret’s “Daily Reasons to Smile” Contest
“I’ve matched up twenty-three couples over the years and in all that time I only made one error. Although I still think the marriage would have worked had she not shot her husband.”
—Aunt Bessie in Dawn Comes Early (Brides of Last Chance Ranch)

Characters from Margaret’s new book will send you a reason to smile every day until April 11th. Join in the fun and you could win a book, potted cactus (the story takes place in Arizona Territory) or an iPod Nano and alarm clock docking station. To enter send an email to Be sure to put “Reason to Smile” in the subject line. That’s it!
Win Dawn Comes Early this week!
Details below

RTW: So let's get down to it. We saw that you wrote quite a wide variety of genres in the church newsletter, so for fiction, why do you write Westerns? What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most?

MB: I love writing about the old west because that’s when women came of age. The westward migration freed women in ways never before imagined. Women abandoned Victorian mores and rid themselves of confining clothes. Women brought churches, schools, newspapers to rustic towns and helped build community. These are the heroines for whom we like to cheer. It must have been a shock to the male ego to have to deal with such strong and unconventional women—and that’s at the very heart of my stories.

I also like writing serious themes with a touch of humor and the old west lends itself nicely to laughter, don’t you think? Since people lived so close to the land it’s also a perfect setting for an inspirational novel.

RTW: If you lived in 1895 what would you visit first? Is there something you’ve been curious about that you can’t find in your research sources?

Margaret Brownley, author

MB: The idea for Dawn Comes Early came to me after reading an old newspaper article in the New York Times dated 1891. A group of fifty ladies of the First Church of Milford formed a society of old maids in 1861. Each member vowed she would not marry. Each woman paid five dollars on admission with the principal going to the one who remained unmarried the longest.

Thirty years later all but fifteen of the original had married. I was never able to find out who won the prize so I would definitely want to attend one of the annual meetings to learn why woman joined the group and, finally, who won!

Having done that I would love to sit and listen to people talk. Most historical facts can be Googled, but I want to know what made people laugh and cry. What were their hopes, dreams and fears? The things that make us human is what I like to write about.

RTW: If a person who had never read a Western asked you for a recommendation, what novel or movie would you recommend and why? What did the author do to bring the story alive for you?

MB: You can’t go wrong with Lonesome Dove. I loved both the book and mini-series. There’s so much to love about this story but the friendship between Gus and Call is what really touched my heart.

RTW: Why must Kate Tenney take this particular story journey? What does she have to prove? How does Luke Adams affect her journey?

MB: The heroine is a disgraced novelist traveling to Arizona as” heiress” to a cattle ranch. She soon learns that the west is nothing like the one she wrote about in her books—and that goes double for the men. Deserted by every man she’d ever known including her pa, she longs for permanence. Believing that land will always be there for her she puts her hopes and dreams into the ranch. Little does she know that God has a different plan for her; she just has to learn to trust her own heart.

RTW: I can hardly wait to read your excerpt. Could you please set it up for us?

MB: Kate meets up with trouble the minute she steps into town thanks to the resident outlaw, Cactus Joe. Luke Adams comes to her rescue but it’s clear from the start that he and Kate are from two different worlds; she’s a college educated woman and he’s “just a blacksmith.” He doesn’t know what she’s talking about half the time as the following scene demonstrates:

“I always liked Longfellow’s ‘Windmill,’” she said. “I can’t remember the words exactly but he wrote that the windmill faced the wind as a bravely as a man meets his foe.”

Luke frowned. “Never heard of a Longfellow windmill. Most of the ones around here were made by the Wolcott Union Windmill Company.”

“Oh, but Longfellow’s not a . . . a very well-known company.”

“Probably why I never heard of it.”
♥ ♥ ♥
MB: This couple is about to find out that when all words fail, the heart has a language of its own. 

RTW: Hahaha! You're not just kidding. {stops to catch breath and compose myself--this is a dignified joint, you know} What’s next? Is Dawn Comes Early part of a series?

MB: Dawn Comes Early is the first book in my Brides of Last Chance Ranch series. The second book Waiting for Morning will be published in January.

RTW: It's been fun having you here today, Margaret. Thanks! Anything else you’d like to add?

MB: Thank you so much for having me.  Just for a little cultural enlightenment, here's some advice on stagecoach etiquette:
Comment to Win!
Margaret has graciously offered a free copy of
Dawn Comes Early
Winner's choice of print or ebook.

Just leave a comment and you're eligible to win!
Be sure to leave your email address so Margaret can get in touch with you!
Winner will be drawn Saturday, March 24th at 9pm Pacific Time
USA mailing only


  1. Margaret, I love your sense of humor. You have that in common with Jacquie, whose books have terrific humor in them. My favoite of hers is MUCH ADO ABOUT MARSHALS, but all of her writing is fun. I look forward to reading more of your work, Margaret. Your books are inspirational without being preachy.

    1. Caroline, thank you. It sounds like you have a great sense of humor. I'm with you; I don't like preachy.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  2. LOL about the church paper, Margaret! I'm also a Margaret, and while I don't write for the church, I also put in lots of mystery, suspense, thrills and romance in my work. I would have loved to know who won the Old Maids prize, too. ROTFL!

    1. Meg, you sound like my kind of writer. I'm still trying to find the Old Maid winner. It would be interesting to know why they started the club in the first place.

  3. mercedes christesenMarch 19, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    loved the instructional video at the end!

    1. And as you probably already guessed, those adorable actors are my grandchildren!

  4. Great internview! Now I have a new author I need to read!

  5. I enjoyed meeting you and doing the radio interview with you on KHTS in LA recently. And I'm getting a kick out of your "smile for the day" posts. Thank you!
    Heidi M. Thomas
    heidi at heidimthomas dot com

    1. Heidi, that was so much fun and it was great meeting you. Doing the interview at the station is so much more enjoyable than a phone-in interview. Hope to see you at the Cowboy Festival!

  6. Hi everyone, just had to stop in and say hi or howdy or something. Loved reading your posts. Hope you're all planning a fun-filled weekend!

  7. Dawn Comes Early looks just wonderful...would love a copy (It's currently on my very long wish list!)


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