by Velda Brotherton
Romancing The West is happy to host multi-published author Velda Brotherton this week! A little about her:
It was purely an accident, that first western historical romance, and Velda credits best friend and long time buddy western writer Dusty Richards for its publication. Goldspun Promises began as a western, but an editor from Penguin asked her to turn this western with a female protagonist into a romance. She never looked back, nor did she worry that she had never read a romance. “When an editor’s interested in your work, you don’t tell him no,” she's fond of saying.
Since those first western romance publications, she’s also managed to write six nonfiction historical books and find publishers for each one. Recently she saw the acceptance of her seventh western historical romance, Stone Heart’s Woman with The Wild Rose Press. The book was published in February, 2012. Not about to stop there, she’s learned how to format, design covers and publish her back list to Kindle.
Changing gears, Velda wrote a contemporary paranormal mainstream novel, Wolf Song, and found a home for that one with SynergE Books. It is available for pre order.
Self publishing through her own Weedy Rough Press is in the near future for three contemporary women’s fiction novels. And who knows where Velda will go from there?
RTW: Why do you write Westerns? What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Stone Heart's Woman?
VB: I grew up on stories told by my dad. He was born in Texas, the eldest of four boys and their mother died when he was in his teens. His dad took the boys with him as he traveled around Texas and Oklahoma working in the oil fields. His dad was half Cherokee and his mother also had Cherokee blood. My dad always wore cowboy boots though never rode a horse. But he loved to tell stories of his growing up years in Texas. I went to western movies and read western books, and was a tomboy, playing cowboys and Indians with my brother. We were raised in Wichita, Kansas, which has a rich western heritage. So when I won first place in a contest with three chapters of a western featuring a female protagonist, that was the springboard to what finally became my published western historical romances.
I've always been intrigued by the cross cultural aspects of western life. Because of my background heritage, and stories Dad told about the whispering that went on about the Cherokee blood in the family, I'm curious about how people dealt with this in such an atmosphere. Most of my books include this situation in some form.
RTW: If you lived in 1879, what would you visit first?
VB: I'd like to see places like Yellowstone National Park before it became a park. If I were younger, I'd like to attend a Mountain Man Rendezvous on the Green River in Wyoming, and witness the gathering of Sioux and Cheyenne prior to Custer's final battle. It must have been a sight to see, thousands of men, women and children determined to hold on to a culture that was fast disappearing. As for going without modern conveniences, I'd rather not. Some situations were definitely not romantic and best left out of my books. Like the infestations of bugs, going without bathing or washing clothing for long stretches of time.
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?
|Velda Brotherton, Author|
VB: I never hesitate to recommend both the book and the series, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. While not classified as a romance, it contains a touching love story. If one could read that book and watch the series and not fall in love with the characters, laugh and cry, and swear allegiance to westerns from that moment on, then I'd be greatly surprised.
McMurtry is a genius at creating characters we can never forget. Because they have flaws, some more than are healthy for them. And they are also gentle, powerful, and realistic. We can identify with their strengths and weaknesses, feel compassion and anger and love for each of them.
When a writer succeeds in presenting those kinds of characters, then an exciting story evolves naturally around them, and we take them to our hearts. I could only hope I create characters and stories with one-half the depth that McMurtry does.
RTW: Why must Stone Heart and Aiden Conner take this particular story journey? What do they have to prove? How does the setting affect his journey?
VB: Since I write from two strong viewpoints, both the hero and heroine, there are two answers to these questions. Stone Heart's Woman is first a story of a journey of a people losing their battle to survive, and second the love story of two people from socially separated cultures, first learning to accept and love each other, then joining in this battle of my heroes people to live free in their homeland rather than being held captive on a reservation. In this case, The Indian Nation which is now Oklahoma.
My hero, Stone Heart, has rebelled against his white father, who happens to be George Armstrong Custer, and rejoined the Northern Cheyenne, who have traveled 1500 miles in six months, always pursued by the army. All they want is to go home, and many of them die in the trying. Stone Heart is determined to see they get home, if he has to die in the process.
My heroine has been abandoned in a small town in Nebraska by her fiance and run out of town by respectable people because she's been singing for her supper, so to speak. She wants to go home to Kansas City until she meets Stone Heart, falls in love while they are trapped alone by a blizzard, then gets involved in his desire to help his mother's people. So her presence which might have deterred his goal, instead helps him. In the end … well, I won't spoil it.
A bitter winter greatly affects their journeys, and makes for some scenes that are brutally realistic.
RTW: Great characters! You have an excerpt--please set it up for us.
VB: Aiden and Stone Heart have dug out of the soddy in which they've been trapped, into a snow covered world. While shut up together, they've grown to know each other and are falling in love, but realize the futility of such a thing. You can read the entire first chapter of Stone Heart's Woman on Amazon or at my website.
Stone Heart's Woman by Velda Brotherton
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Under her hands his heart thudded, and the heat from his body crept into her. A knot of incredible desire tightened deep inside her being. Without thinking, she reached up and brushed snow off his cheeks. “I wish . . . I wish we . . . .”
Going deathly still, like he did so easily, he pushed a strand of hair away from her face, and cupped a hand over her ear. His gray eyes smoldered like embers coming to life. She licked away the melting flakes and waited for him to lower his mouth to hers.
His tongue traced his own lips, as if in anticipation, and she closed her eyes, inched closer. Leaned into the hardness of him and wished they wore less clothing. He did not make another move, so she snaked an arm around his neck, stood on the tips of her toes and pulled him downward. She could do no more, it was up to him. His warm breath caressed her tingling skin. Tiny rivulets of melted snow dripped onto her cheeks. All fear left her and she waited with anticipation.
But he pulled brusquely away, leaving her with arms outstretched into the falling snow.
“This is not the time.” The harsh tone spoke much more than the few words.
Arms empty, body yearning, she stood deathly still, realized there never would be a time for them. He had but one purpose, and she was not a part of it. She must go back to her world, leave him to his, and forget the way he made her feel by just glancing at her with those smoldering eyes, touching her with those fingers at once strong and gentle. They were strangers, and they would pass beyond each other all too soon. Forget each other even sooner. This storm would not last forever, and when it ended, he would be gone. She could only hope he would take her as far as Fort Robinson where she might get transportation back east where she belonged.
He could go on to his destiny. Which she feared was death at the hands of the white man.
RTW: Thanks for the wonderful sneak peek! Where can we buy it?
RTW: What’s next? Is Stone Heart's Woman a part of a series?
VB: No, this one is stand alone. I am working on a series now, which I hope will be published by The Wild Rose Press. This one is set during the English settling of Victoria, Kansas in 1875. The three books will cover the lives of three young women, who leave England when one is promised in marriage to Lord Blair Prescott, a man she soon grows to despise. He has promised to be a guardian to the younger women, but this is dependent on the marriage. On the other hand, her sister quickly falls in love with him. Their cousin, the youngest of the three, presents plenty of problems as she embraces living western.
This English settlement is near Fort Hays, known as one of the wildest settlements in the west. Libby Custer once said of Hays, Kansas, that the goings on there would fill dozens of dime novels. So I can manage to fill three. These will be more light hearted than some of my previous books. All the research is finished and I'm working on edits on the first book, which has yet to receive its final title.
RTW: Sounds interesting--I'll be waiting to read them! Anything else you’d like to add?
VB: I'd like to urge writers to explore the unusual and write what they love, not what they think will sell. Passion is the key to outstanding writing. In today's market we can find a home for almost any genre. Explore the Ebook market and Indie Publishers and you'll find one that is just as passionate as you are.
To readers, if you like a book, take the time to review it on Amazon or B & N, as those reviews are critical to the success of your favorite writers' books. With so many books available to the discerning reader, your support of those writers who touch your heart is all important to their continued success.
I'm posting five questions about Stone Heart and Aiden Conner. Those who answer them in a comment and get them right will go into a drawing for a free copy of this book plus their choice of two of my western historical romances from Kindle Ebooks. The answers to the questions can be found in the first chapter, so they can read it on Amazon or my website.
Here are the questions:
1. What is the name of the Fort where the Northern Cheyenne are imprisoned?
2. Who carries the precious Chief's bundle?
3. What was engraved on the muskets to show they were for trading with Indians?
4. What is the name of Aiden's fiance?
5. What weapon does Aiden use on Lawson when he attacks her?
RTW Note: Comments must include an email address to be entered in the contest. Drawing will be held Saturday, May 12, at 9pm Pacific Time, but will not be announced on Sunday's Chicken Dinner post this time (I'll be without a computer).