For the Love of Banjo
by Sarah J. McNeal
Romancing The West welcomes Sarah J. McNeal, musician, animal-lover, and former registered nurse, now a full-time storyteller. Sarah is a multi-published author, and you won't want to miss Harmonica Joe's Reluctant Bride, where we first met Banjo, or the almost-true story, The Violin. Today, we're talking about her latest release, For the Love of Banjo.
RTW: Sarah, it's nice to have you here! Tell us about your new book, please.
SM: Deceit stands between Banjo Wilding’s love for Maggie O’Leary and his search for the father he never knew.
Here's the blurb:
Banjo Wilding wears a borrowed name and bears the scars and reputation of a lurid past. To earn the right to ask for Margaret O’Leary’s hand, he must find his father and make something of himself.
Margaret O’Leary has loved Banjo since she was ten years old but standing between her and Banjo is pride, Banjo’s mysterious father and the Great War.
Will either of them find happiness?
Details at the end of this post
RTW: What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into For the Love of Banjo?
SM: Although I never lived in Wyoming, I did live in Nebraska for a while and traveled extensively to all the neighboring states with my friends. Of all the places we traveled, the state that still lives in my memory as the most majestic and beautiful was Wyoming. The sheer magnificence of the open country and rolling hills of Wyoming not only stole my heart, but the character Banjo’s heart as well. During his stay in New York City and in the trenches of France during World War I, Banjo clings to his memories of his home in Wyoming.
RTW: If you lived in 1916-1919, what modern convenience would you miss the most?
SM: Between 1916 and 1919, most modern conveniences we know were available but not everyone had them in their homes. Many households longed for electricity and indoor plumbing but they were considered more of a luxury than a necessity. I can remember using an outhouse at my maternal and paternal grandparents’ houses and pumping water at the kitchen door of my paternal grandfather’s. I was a kid so I thought it was exciting but, if I had to go out to an outhouse in the bitter cold of winter or in the middle of a storm, I’m sure I wouldn’t think of it as exciting.
RTW: Are there any common errors in western historical romances that bug you?
|Sarah J. McNeal, author|
SM: The time period in which my westerns take place are from 1910 (Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride) to 1919 (For Love of Banjo). Industry took off in this ten-year period to the degree that people find amazing. It was tricky to write because of these innovations but I researched it thoroughly. Although many private homes did not have these modern conveniences, commercial establishments had radiator heat, electricity, indoor bathrooms, the streets of New York were lit with streetlights, and automobiles filled the streets including taxicabs. Still, the false beliefs persist that there were none of these modern conveniences.
RTW: Why is Banjo Wilding perfect for Maggie O’Leary?
SM: Maggie runs a ranch and knows her own mind. It takes a strong, street-wise man like Banjo to have the strength of character and self-esteem to handle such an independent woman. Maggie understands Banjo and his painful past better than anyone. Rather than being repulsed by his history or pitying his circumstances, she admires and respects him. Maggie is the love of Banjo’s life. He would lay down his life for her if need be.
RTW: Now for the part we've all been waiting for! Please set up your excerpt for us.
SM: Banjo is leaving for New York City in the hope of finding the father he has never known. In this scene, he is saying farewell to Maggie O’Leary who fears he will never return to Hazard, Wyoming and to her.
Excerpt of For the Love of Banjo by Sarah J. McNeal:
In one graceful movement, he dismounted the pinto then stepped to the porch where Maggie stood with unrestrained tears that flowed down her cheeks. Banjo swept her into his arms and kissed her. The kiss wasn’t his brotherly, friendly peck on the cheek. He kissed her with a slow burning need and ran his tongue along the groove of her lips then slipped inside.
He tasted of coffee and mint. Maggie reached up to weave her arms around his neck. She stepped on her tiptoes to better reach him and taste him. Her heart raced and heat rushed hungry waves of yearning into places in her body she never knew existed as she responded to his explorations with her own. If only she could slip into his pocket and follow him wherever he went. She wanted to become the marrow in his bones, to always be a part of him.
Just when she thought he would take her to her room and make love to her as she had asked, the kiss ended. Banjo bent his head his rough cheek rasped against hers. The fragrance of him, a combination of horse, pine and crisp snow, caressed her senses. He slipped his hand into her hair and gently rubbed the tender skin of her neck where her blood pulsed beneath his thumb.
His mouth so close to her ear she felt the warm moisture of his breath as he spoke his last words. She would never forget them, not as long as she lived. Breathless from the kiss, he said, “Don’t forget me. Write to me every day and I’ll write back. You are the star in my sky and my compass home. I’ll come back, if it’s the last thing I do, I will come back. I swear it.”
RTW: Whew! (fans self) Excellent excerpt. Where can we buy For the Love of Banjo?
RTW: So what do you have for us next?
SM: I am writing the next book in the Hazard series. This one takes place in the Great Depression with the English boy that Banjo brought home from New York, Robin Pierpont, all grown up and in love with one of the Wilding sisters.
RTW : Anything else you’d like to add?
SM: Besides the Hazard, Wyoming series, I have a time travel, 1927 historical, The Violin, that has recently released with new revisions and editing from Rebecca Vickery Publishing and Gifts From the Afterlife, a short story in the 2011 Christmas Collection from Rebecca Vickery Publishing.
I am presently submitting my paranormal book, The Light of Valmora, to publishers. It is the third book in the Legends of Valmora series. First two books once published by New Concepts Publishing are now out of contract. I have several other stories in the paranormal series that I’m working on for the future.
RTW: Thank you for visiting with us today, Sarah.
To find out more about Sarah J. McNeal, visit her website, her blog, or contact her on Facebook or Twitter.
Contest: Winner's Choice!
Sarah will give away a copy of Harmonica Joe’s Reluctant Bride or the revised edition of The Violin (winner’s choice) to one lucky commenter. Be sure to include your email address or we'll hae to choose another winner. For print books, USA mailing only.
Winner will be drawn Saturday, March 31, 2012, at 9pm Pacific Time and announced on Sunday's Chicken Dinner.