Today, I’m featuring my wonderful Critique Partner, Naomi Rawlings’s newest release, The Wyoming Heir. A Western set in the East!
Given a choice, Luke Hayes wouldn’t ever leave his Wyoming ranch. Yet when his estranged grandfather dies, leaving him everything, he’ll travel to Valley Falls, New York—but only to collect his sister and his inheritance. He won’t be roped into saving a floundering girls’ school, no matter what mathematics teacher Elizabeth Wells says.
Elizabeth has defied social convention and her own family for the sake of her beloved Hayes Academy. Luke is pure rancher, from the tip of his Stetson to the scuff on his boots, yet he’s also becoming her unlikely ally. Only he can help save her job and school…but how much will she lose when the time comes for him to leave?
Questions about Naomi’s Book
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
It was fun to have such different characters with different outlooks on life. Luke eats, drinks, and breathes the American West. He loves his Ranch. He loves the Tetons Mountains. He loves the feel of the sun on his face and wind in his hair, the sight of dust on his boots, and the feel of sweat on his back after putting in a long day on the prairie. Elizabeth is quite the opposite, a brainiac bluestocking who’s familiar with propriety and appalled at the sight of dirt. Putting these two characters together was really fun, and on top of that, I got to invert the roles. Instead of having the bluestocking go west and get dirty, I have the rancher come east and get spiffed up. That made for a lot of smiles while I was writing this story.
What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?
That I’ve got a lot more bluestocking in me than rancher. I’m totally sympathetic to Elizabeth’s plight, as far as Luke and his ranch out west, well, good for him. But that doesn’t mean I’m reading to move to the Teton Valley.
Did any of your characters “fight” with you until you succumbed and changed their personality or the story choice you were forcing them into?
Yes. They always fight with you, don’t they? Maybe I’m doing something wrong as an author, because I can’t recall a single time I’ve written a book where my characters have behaved for me. Luke was the biggest trial. It was difficult to have him appear hard toward his sister and Elizabeth at first, but still likeable for reader. I ended up toning him down a good bit.
Which scene is your favorite, the one you never tired of working with? Give us a reason to look forward to it.
In Chapter 4, there’s a scene where Luke rides up on his younger sister and Elizabeth having a picnic. It’s one of my favorites because of the witty way Luke and Elizabeth banter back and forth and the way she accidently gets his hand dirty and insults him about being a cowboy instead of a rancher. It’s a fun all around scene. Interestingly enough, that’s also the scene that’s on the cover of The Wyoming Heir, plus my editor picked a part of it to use as the excerpt just inside the jacket cover. So it appears as though a lot of people like that scene, not just me. I’ve also got a longer excerpt of that scene up on my website, if some of you want to hop on over and read it now.
(Melissa says: I’d choose the first kiss scene. Naomi writes great kisses! And she always makes me write more in my stories, so you have her to thank for that. ;^) )
Where is your home on the web?
Questions about Naomi’s Reading
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take one Christian Historical Novel, which would you pick?
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Do you get that answer a lot? It just sticks out in my mind as one of the best.
(Melissa says: Yes, I think that book is often chosen for the “pick only one” kind of question. That’s why I hand sold it so often when I worked at bookstores!)
If your job was to sell one author’s historical fiction (besides your own) which author’s wares would you want to peddle?
Melissa Jagears’s, because her writing is fun and fresh. Plus she he keeps me guessing about how the hero and heroine will end up together until the very end. 😉
What Christian Historical Novel are you most excited to read that hasn’t yet come out?
A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears. Just because I love her writing so much (but I might happen to be a little biased). 😉
(Melissa says: Aw, shucks. . . .I feel very funny about letting you rave about myself on my own blog, but thanks. And for anyone wondering, A Bride in Store doesn’t come out until September 2, 2014.)
If you had to live with the characters in a Christian Historical Novel, which novel would you choose to live in and with which character would you want to be a friend or relative and why?
I’d choose to live in Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund, and I’d choose to be friends with Connell McCormick. Or actually, I wouldn’t mind completely stealing Connell away from Lily and marrying him myself. He’s tall, rich, burly, strong, a good worker, a lumberjack with a business sense, and rich. Plus he stands for right in the midst of tremendous opposition. What’s not to love about him? (Actually, he sounds a lot like the man I already married, minus the “business” and “rich” parts.) I already live in a Michigan logging community, so going back in time 130 years and living in a different Michigan logging town doesn’t seem too crazy. Though really, I might just pack Connell up and bring him up here with me. The southern shore of Lake Superior is a way cooler part of Michigan than the central inland portion (in my opinion, at least).
***Don’t forget to check out her Picnic basket giveaway on her book review site, Inspirational Romance Ratings!***
Naomi is giving away a copy of The Wyoming Heir to one visitor and I’m giving away another – Enter the Rafflecopter this week for a chance at her new book!
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