by Ciara Gold
Romancing The West welcomes Ciara Gold, a native Texan who's an artist and writer. Be sure to look at some of her wonderful art pieces! She writes historical westerns, time travels, futuristic romances and fantasies, and we're lucky to have her visit us this week. If you'd like to learn more about Ciara, you can visit her website bio.
RTW: Thanks for dropping in, Ciara! To get us started, please tell us a little about Once Jilted (great title, by the way).
CG: Once Jilted is a western historical romance. Here's the back cover blurb:
How many times will an orphan be cast aside before someone offers love?
Shauna Joyce has three weeks to find a husband or face watching a special little girl fall into the hands of loveless parents. An orphan herself, she knows the heartache of growing up without love. Armed with a need greater than her own, she finds a likely candidate in bridge-builder, Kane McKenna.
Kane McKenna has one goal; to finish the bridge he’s erecting so he can earn the capital needed to start a business of his own. A wife and child would drain his finances, so when Shauna Joyce proposes marriage, he balks at the idea. Will her determination be enough to build the bridge of trust needed to make him trade one dream for another?
See details at the bottom of this article
RTW: Why do you write Westerns? What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into Once Jilted?
CG: I first fell in love with historical western romances as a reader. They became my “comfort” read and I always thought maybe I was meant to live back then. The idea that these people triumphed over harsh conditions to make a living is hero/heroine material anyway you cut it. They had an inner drive that makes them larger than life. Plus, things were much simpler, less hectic. There’s nothing more soothing than sleeping under the stars with crickets fiddling their tune and the wind rustling the leaves and no traffic sounds at all. I hope that I incorporate this sense of “place” with all my historical westerns.
|Ciara Gold, author and artist|
CG: I think most readers fantasize about the cowboy in general but not all of our pioneers were cowboys. They had other professions, but it’s often hard to find detailed information regarding these professions. I tend to enjoy finding a profession for my hero that’s every bit as romantic as the cowboy and I hate to think that the single woman alone had only three options, schoolmarm, running the ranch or farm by herself, and calico queen. That’s one of the reasons why I chose to make my newest heroine a telegraph operator.
Anyway, back to the question, I think I’d like to visit a mid-sized town and follow in the footsteps of a working woman who took on responsibilities ordinarily handled by a man.
RTW: If a person who had never read a Western (any sub-genre) 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?
CG: Coulter’s Wife by Joan Johnston is one of my all time favorite books. It combines all the things you expect to find in a western; a hero that embodies the essence of a true cowboy, a strong heroine determined to fight for her family, and the inner workings of dealing with cattle. The book also weaves in secondary characters that really make the time and era come alive. A lot of western books don’t include children but I think children are an important part of life back then. They married young and had a lot of children to work the land.
As for recommending a movie, The Range comes to mind, but I think I watched more TV shows than movies. I grew up watching shows like The Rifleman, Wagon Train, Bonanza, The Big Valley, Lancer, and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
RTW: Why must Shauna Joyce take this particular story journey? What does she have to prove? How does Kane McKenna affect her journey?
CG: Shauna was an orphan train rider, and I based her character on my mother’s best friend’s mother. This woman had a sad experience as an orphan train rider so I let her story be Shauna’s backstory. Shauna finds herself working as a slave for the folks who raised her and she wants out but when she discovers they plan to adopt another child with which to do the same, Shauna does all in her power to ruin their plans. To adopt the girl herself, she needs a husband so she sets her sights on a man who’s the engineer for a bridge the town is erecting. Of course, he refuses her proposition but he misunderstands her need to get married and so the rumors begin. Shauna must now fight the town’s growing antagonism toward her while still trying to find a husband so she can save one child the same misery she’s experienced.
RTW: We'd love to read an excerpt. Please tell us a little about what brings us to this scene.
CG: Shauna has just propositioned Kane and of course, he misunderstands her urgent need.
Excerpt from Once Jilted
by Ciara Gold
“You plan to have the babe out of wedlock?” Kane scratched his head.
Shauna looked skyward and gritted her teeth. Was the man dense? “Can you stop walking? It’s hard to talk to you at this pace.”
He slowed but continued to walk. “Daylight’s a wasting and I’ve got a deadline.”
“Will you at least let me explain so you can stop the rumors?” Her foot caught a gopher hole, and she tripped, falling headlong onto the hard ground. She cried out when her elbow kissed the ground.
“Goodness, you’re a walking calamity. First pickles and now, a sprawl in the grass. You wouldn’t perchance be related to me Aunt Nell?”
She groaned and rolled to her knees. Every joint ached. Twigs and grass stuck to her dress, and she brushed them away with sore hands. She moaned at the pain and glared at her scraped skin.
“Are you hurt?”
Now he asked. She shook her head. “I’m not sure.”
He grabbed her elbow none too gently and helped her stand. She tested her foot and found herself uninjured. Praise be. An injury would have complicated matters more. “Thank you, Mr. McKenna.”
“You’re welcome. Now, if you doon’t mind, I’d like to be gettin’ back to me work.”
“But . . .”
“Miss Joyce, do you see that armature?” He pointed a finger at the structure. “That’s a mighty important bridge to folks around here. Can you tell me in all honesty that your quest for a hoosband be as important as the building of that bridge?”
She swallowed hard and frowned, thinking of Sarabeth. “For one person, it’s even more important.”
He frowned. “To be sure, and I can sympathize with your plight. Unwed and pregnant must weigh heavy on your mind, but alas, I can noot help you, nor can any of me men. Good day, Miss Joyce.”
She stomped her sore foot and grimaced. “For the last time, I am not expecting!”
Her shout brought the attentions of his workers. Seventeen sets of eyes peered down at her, and the heat rose to her cheeks.
“Now see what you’ve done. You’ve distracted them froom their work again. At this rate, it’ll take me five years to have this bridge completed.”
♥ ♥ ♥
RTW: Poor Shauna--she really has her work cut out for her! So what other news do you have for us?
CG: Texas Forged will be out in mid to late August and features a brawny blacksmith and a telegraph operator. I chose to set this story in Indianola because it’s now a ghost town but in researching the location, I discovered it to be the site of not one, but two devastating hurricanes. What better way to add additional tension than to place them in the middle of nature’s fury? Aubrey is searching for her missing husband who walked out on her ten years prior with their two-year-old son. A lead sends her to Indianola where she mistakes his half-brother, Galin Walker for her husband.
RTW: Will Texas Forged be part of a series?
CG: No, at this time I only have plans to make it a single title. However, I’m also working on a story that is part of a series. For those that have read Sarah’s Brass Token, Julia’s Golden Bear, Eliza’s Copper Penny and/or Kaitlin’s Silver Lining, I’m drafting Will’s story. He’s the eldest brother and the one left with his father’s legacy, a sprawling ranch, so he has no time for courting. The heroine is a rescued Cherokee captive with her own agenda. I think this relationship will prove a stormy one and a lot of fun to write. Of course, I write slow so I don’t expect to have it finished for another year, but...
RTW: Thanks so much for joining us today, Ciara, and we'll look forward to your article on Thursday. Now tell us about that contest you teased us with.
Enter to Win a Free Book!
For those that leave a comment on either of this week's posts, I’ll give away a signed print version of Once Jilted. I’ll announce the winner on my own blog on July 15 and you can then send me an email with your snail mail address. So – come visit my blog to find out who won. Winner will also be announced, as usual, at the RTW's Sunday Chicken Dinner.
Small print: USA mailing only. To enter the contest, email address must be included with your comment. Comments without contact information will not be entered. Drawing will be held at 9pm Pacific Time on July 14, 2012.