Romancing The West welcomes Carol A. Sprading, who has a new release I think you'll enjoy! Carol lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains and pens Western and Time Travel Romance novels.
RTW: To start out, please tell us about The Highwayman's Grace.
CS: Grace Blackstone never wanted to be a time traveler. She also didn't want to be abandoned within reach of a notorious highwayman. A chance meeting with the outlaw leaves her vulnerable to more than her new ability. Having seen behind the wanted man's mask, Grace is confused to find another man claiming to be her rescuer.
Highwayman Ethan Tanner has one goal in life, to destroy Bennett Brown. He has faced gunmen and braved the elements, but a young woman who seemingly appears out of nowhere terrifies him.
A rainy night brings Ethan and Grace together in more ways than one. She will have to trust him with her secret and he will have to trust her with his life, but are they willing to release their pasts in order to have a future together?
RTW: Why do you write Westerns? What aspect of life in the Old West intrigues you the most? Did you work that into The Highwayman's Grace?
CS: I love the pace of the time. No one is in a hurry. They take the time to get to know their neighbors, and show a real concern for everyone around them.
RTW: If you lived in 1752, what would you visit first? Is there something you’ve been curious about that you can’t find in your research sources?
CS: Boston! Hands down. Activity was building, heading into the Revolutionary War, and I would have a front row seat. I would love to be in on the "closed door" meetings that took place in secret. Wouldn't you love to know what was said? Maybe it's me, but I doubt the founding fathers were politically correct. Know what I mean?
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?
CS: Anything by Peggy L. Henderson. She creates settings that are very real, and her characters are people you want as your best friends.
|Carol A. Spradling|
RTW: Good choice! Why must Grace Blackstone take this particular story journey? What does she have to prove? How does Ethan Tanner affect her journey?
CS: For Grace, it's the "when life gives you lemons" story. Time travel is forced on her, a family trait she never wanted. Revenge is foremost in her mind, until she meets the man of her dreams, Ethan Tanner. Ethan is a man fighting his own ghosts. Together, they realize if it weren't for the loss and pain they'd endured, they would never have found each other.
The Highwayman's Grace
by Carol A. Sprading
"You are agreeable to this?" Ethan asked, wanting to know her honest opinion. He tried to keep his tone flat, giving her a chance to revise her decision.
She walked toward him, looking as uncertain as he felt. "I'm not sure I know a better option," she said.
"I hate to admit it," he offered, "but this might be the best way to keep you safe." He reached his hand to her, hoping she saw his action as an open gesture, without concealed intent. "As soon as I can find a way out of this," he tried to assure her, "I'll grant you your freedom. I promise."
"I hate to intrude, but I am in a rush," the pastor interrupted. The clergyman pointed to the lower section on the paper, and Ethan obediently signed the document. Strangely enough, his hand didn't shake as he affixed his name above Grace's.
"Fine. Fine." The pastor sanded the wet ink, and then opened his Bible.
"Ethan Tanner, do you solemnly promise to take this woman, Grace Blackstone, as your wife, providing for her and protecting her all of your days while in the sight of God?"
The words weighed heavy on Ethan's shoulders. All of your days. He had just promised Grace he'd find a way to free her, now the pastor asked him to affirm to the contrary. Deep red and purple abrasions encircled her throat next to the collar of the dress she wore. He hadn't seen them before, but Addie assured him, these marks were not isolated incidents. He'd swear an oath to both God and Grace, and hope that one pledge wasn't contingent on the other.
"I promise," he said.
The minister turned to Grace. "Grace Blackstone, do you promise to accept Ethan Tanner as your husband, abiding in his household and obeying his commands?"
Grace nodded slowly as though unsure. She lifted her eyes to Ethan and her chin rose assertively. "I promise."
Addie sniffled behind them, and Ethan cringed. This had been an impromptu ceremony. What would she have done with a year to prepare?
"You are husband and wife," Pastor Whitten proclaimed. "May your life be filled with many children. Now that this is done, I'll be on my way to the Clancy farm to discuss the details for tomorrow." He touched the signatures with his fingertip, folded the paper, and then placed it inside his Bible. Tucking everything under his arm, he waved to them in passing. "Good day," he said, and then disappeared through the opened doorway.
Ethan stared awkwardly after the minister, not completely certain what to do next. He supposed he should take his wife and sister home. His wife. When he started out this morning, he hadn't thought his day would end with a marriage ceremony. He glanced over at his bride. She was caught in Addie's tight embrace, being rocked from side to side.
Lavender oil should soothe her abrasions, but he doubted her internal scars would heal as easily. Other than give her time to forget what had happened to her, he didn't know how else to help her. He looked to the bruised skin at the cuffs of her sleeve, feeling as responsible for her pain as if he'd personally clamped the constraints against her delicate skin. He'd taken two vows tonight, and while he wasn't sure how, he planned to honor them both. Whether successful or not, one thing was certain, no one would lay a hand to her again while he lived. But more importantly, Bennett would pay for what he did to this woman…his wife.
♥ ♥ ♥
The Highwayman's Grace is available at Amazon.
RTW: What’s next? Is The Highwayman's Grace a part of a series?
CS: Yes. The Highwayman's Grace is the third book in The Forever Time Travel Romance Series. The first two are Faithfully Yours and Pursuing Honor. Beyond Hope will finish the series.
RTW: For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?
CS: My time travel books generally send the characters through time within their own lifespan. Not only do they deal with being misplaced in time, they have to confront friends and relatives that have aged while they haven't.
RTW: How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
CS: I have a very understanding and supportive husband. He doesn't say a word when I'm on the computer for hours at a time.
RTW: What you are most passionate about outside of writing?
CS: My family. Everyone of them is the most important thing in my life.
RTW: Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
CS: Grayson Gregory from Shades of Gray. He is a man's man, and loyal and self-sacrificing to a fault where his family is concerned.
Thanks to Carol for visiting RTW today! And don't forget the drawing for a free book--deets below.
Contest: For everyone who leaves a comment, your name will go in a drawing for a chance to win an audiobook of one of Carol's books. Five lucky winners will be chosen on Saturday, Jan. 4.