You can learn about Velda and her writing at http://www.veldabrotherton.com
But then come on back, grab a cup of coffee and visit with us! Velda has graciously offered 2 Freebies - 1 e-book and 1 paperback to two lucky commentators. So don't forget to leave your email addy so we can contact you if you're name is chosen:)
Thank you for being here today, Velda!
1. Was your road to publication a delightful stroll in the park or a tiring job over hot coals?
While it was delightful because I met so many wonderful people, I wouldn't call it a stroll in the park. Perhaps a hop, leap and often flight over hot coals would better express the journey. Writing my first novel came about during several years when I wrote for local newspapers. And did it ever take years. Where I began and where I ended were such far-distant points. I began writing a women's fiction novel, you know that Great American Novel so many of us strive for? I ended in changing an award winning three chapters of a western into a western historical romance after an editor at Penguin suggested it. I've been in love with historicals ever since. And if you won't tell anyone, I wrote and had that book, and five more, published without ever reading a romance. Goes against all advice, huh? Lisa Wingate, a good friend, who was at that time published in romances, took me under her wing when the editor asked for the change, and she suggested what to do and where to change the book. She was not a critique partner, but rather a member of the first critique group I belonged to, and one that is still active today.
Dusty Richards, another group member, shoved me forward to pitch the book to the Penguin editor. Many others have been so kind and helpful over the years, to help me leap and fly over those coals. Like I said, I've met some wonderful people along the way.
2. Tell us about your real life romance.
I'm in love with, and married to, my high school sweetheart. In those days, and I won't say exactly when, if we gals didn't wear an engagement ring by the time we graduated from high school, we were failures. I met my husband-to-be when I was 14 and he was 16. We married when I was 17, much to my father's dismay. Hubby has carried my books ever since, and we've been married 58 years this past December. That's a long time to be with the same person and it's been bumpy, but he's always been romantic. He buys or picks me flowers often. When he goes shopping on his own, he often comes back with something for me, even if it's just a favorite treat from the fruit or veggie section. He sometimes brings me fresh mushrooms cause I enjoy them so, even though he can't stand them. Maybe that doesn't sound very romantic, but it suits me just fine. He also does much of my research and travels with me on my research trips. Best of all, he puts up with my writer ways.
3. How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book? Very likely, and I often wear a tee shirt that announces, "Be careful, or you'll end up in my novel." I'm careful, though, to disguise them pretty well. Most everyone I know has had their name appear, first only, of course. A funny story: I made a friend early on who writes mystery novels. Quite a few years ago, Radine Trees Nehring was surprised when she found I'd used her first name for a young "soiled dove" in one of my books. She was so proud she actually sold more of those books than I did when we'd have book signings together. She later used Velda as a name for one of her characters. I've used most all my close relatives' names, and often their personalities here and there. It's wise, however, to be careful not to slander anyone. Even relatives can take a notion to sue.
4. If you could switch places with one of your characters would you? Well, sometimes I think I might, but when I get to thinking about it, most of my books take place before modern conveniences and those I really wouldn't want to do without. But if I were much younger, I think it would be fascinating and exciting to travel west along the Santa Fe Trail, especially if one of those handsome heroes came along. One of my favorite characters comes from my book, Images in Scarlet. Allie carried a Navy Colt and was very self reliant. Many women went west on their own, bought land, took jobs dressed as men, etc. My editor at Topaz once told me that to keep the stories romantic we had to leave out the bedbugs, and she was perfectly right. We can romanticize the west all we want, but some things people put up with would be horrific.
5. Tell us a little about your WIP. I have two new books out, but I'll talk about Stone Heart's Woman, out from The Wild Rose Press, because it's a western historical romance and the story is close to my heart. Though I always set my books during a time and place that particularly intrigues me, the plight of the Northern Cheyenne as they tried one last time to go home is heartbreaking. Their courage and determination is even more so. For 1500 miles their small band of men, women and children battled soldiers and dreadful conditions to make their way home to the land of the yellowstone.
Stone Heart is the son of George Armstrong Custer and a Cheyenne woman. Raised white, he is torn between two worlds, but makes his choice and joins the Cheyenne during their "final outbreak" from Ft. Robinson in Nebraska. Badly wounded, he holes up in an abandoned shack to heal. There he encounters Aiden Connor, a woman on the run, a red-haired Irish lass abandoned in a small frontier settlement by her fiance. Left to her own devices, she sings onstage until the good women there band together and run her out of town.
From need rather than choice, the two join forces. She to nurse him back to health, and he to see they survive the brutal cold and return to Ft. Robinson where the lone remnants of his people are penned up and starving. He will see they are freed at any cost, and Aiden soon joins him in the battle. One that will finally only be won with the help of Libbie Custer.
Jennifer can draw one comment out for a print copy of Stone Heart's Woman.
Those who want to answer this question can compete for a Kindle copy of another of my historical romances, Dream Walker.
Question: Why do you read western historical romances?
Links: Website http://www.veldabrotherton.com
Purchase Stone Heart's Woman http://www.tinyurl.com/6q3fab5
Backlist on Kindle http://www.tinyurl.com/7dr9mbn