Why is the daughter of a ranch manager from Texas writing fiction set in France in 1740?

molly_frm.jpgFor the answer to this question and more, stay tuned.  

Hi, my name is Molly Noble Bull, and I am the author of five novels and am contracted to write five more. I was born in Kingsville, Texas. Kingsville is located in Kleberg County, known for the famous King Ranch.  

Kleberg and nearby Kenedy County are home to some of the largest ranches in South Texas, if not the United States. My late father and my maternal grandfather managed ranches in Kenedy County for half a century. I spent part of my growing up years on the Santa Rosa, a sixty-thousand-acre cattle ranch.  

Some of you might like for me to answer questions on “Cowboys in South Texas” as background material for future books, so let’s get started:  

Q: How can you tell a real cowboy from the drugstore kind?  

A: First of all, today’s real cowboy would never wear flashy cowboy clothes, even if he were entering a rodeo. Sparkly and shiny is out for a real cowboy. But it’s pretty normal for a cowgirl’s clothes to sparkle and shine whether she has ever visited a drugstore or not.  

Q: What would a real cowboy wear to work?  

sethcomeshomewithadeer.jpgA: For everyday, he would wear jeans that he probably bought at Wal-Mart, a long-sleeved work shirt, high-topped cowboy boots, and an old Stetson or a cap with a bill. His most expensive items would be the boots followed by the weathered Stetson. The jeans, the shirt and the cap with a bill would be the cheapest on the market. He might also wear snake-guards if he plans to walk around in the brush.  

Q: Why the long-sleeved shirt? And what might it look like?  

south-texas-ranger-in-brush-jacket.jpgA: The Texas sun is hot. A long-sleeved shirt keeps the arms and shoulders from sunburn attacks. It also protects the body from insect bites and helps keeps brush from scratching the arms and shoulders. The shirt might be an old dress shirt that he once wore to church. It would be white or blue or some other conservative-looking color. It might also be a western-cut shirt, but it wouldn’t be flashy.  

Q: What would a modern-day cowboy wear on a date or to church on Sunday?  

A: For the date, a cowboy would wear a nice pair of jeans that had been starched and ironed, his best long-sleeved shirt, also starched, his best boots and his best hat. To church on Sunday, he would wear a white dress shirt, suit and tie, his best boots and his best Stetson. Or he might dress just like he did when he went out on a date.  

Q: Tell us a little about how a real cowboy would talk.  

A: I cannot say how a cowboy talked a hundred years ago, or how they talk in other parts of the country, but a modern-day cowboy living in South Texas today would never say “howdy.” Sorry ladies. We just don’t talk that way in South Texas–never have as far as I know. My grandfather never said it. I also know a modern-day rodeo cowboy from North Dakota, and he doesn’t say “howdy” either.  

I could be wrong, but I think “howdy” is a myth dreamed up by Hollywood.  

Q: What would a real cowboy from South Texas say?  

A: He would probably say, “Hi.” Then he would offer his right hand in friendship. At one time he would have removed his hat when talking to a woman.  My sons still do that today. Most don’t. However, even today if he were talking to an older woman who was also a family friend or a relative, he would probably give her a big hug. We hug a lot in Texas.  

He would also say, “y’all.”

He would pronounce oil as “all.”  All well.

Foil as fall. Aluminum fall.  

Texans who are forty or older were taught in public and private schools to say “yes, ma’am” and “no ma’am”; “yes sir” and “no sir.” Then the government stopped allowing teachers to insist that children to do that, and I think it was a huge mistake. So today, most don’t say, “yes ma’am” or “no ma’am.”  

molly.jpgActually, real South Texas cowboys and cowgirls talk pretty much like people do throughout the country, except our accent is different.  Ranch managers today are educated. One of our sons is a ranch manager, and he has a degree in Animal Science. Over the past hundred years, South Texas ranch cowboys have mainly been Hispanic.  

Q: Tell us a little about everyday life on a cattle ranch in South Texas today.  

texas.jpgA:  A cowboy’s main job is to look after the ranch and the cattle. This can be anything from checking fences and fixing windmills to putting out feed and burning prickly pear. We’ve had more than average rains lately, but during a drought when there is no grass, the cowboy burns off the thorns on prickly pear cactus so the cattle will have something to eat.  

Most ranches in South Texas today also sell hunting leases, and hunters from big cities come to ranches to hunt deer and turkey. Some ranches also provide exotic game from Africa and other countries. Today, the ranch manager often serves as a hunting guide as well as a cowboy.  

Q: Do cowboys today still ride horses?  

A: Absolutely. However, they spend most of their time riding around the ranch in pickup trucks. In a truck, they can carry feed and medicine for the animals, as well a rifle should the cowboy come upon a rattlesnake.  

Q: Thanks for all the information. Now tell us a little about your books and why your latest novel, Sanctuary, is set in France in 1740.  

sanctuary_molly_noble_bull.jpgA: Sanctuary was published in trade paperback on September 15, 2007, and it is the first of three long historical novels in the Faith of Our Fathers series about the Huguenots. Though my family were/are Texas Cowboys, my ancestors came to Texas from other states and other countries. Sanctuary, the first book in the series, follows the route some of my ancestors took from France to England to Scotland. Book Two will begin in Scotland, but again, much of the story takes place in England, and it ends in South Carolina. In Book Three, they finally get to Texas and become cowboys. You can read Mary Connealy’s review of Sanctuary if you visit www.christianbook.com. Just write Molly Noble Bull in the search slot.  

winter_pearl.jpgThe Winter Pearl is the title of my long historical from Steeple Hill. Set in Colorado in 1888, it is very much a Petticoats and Pistols kind of book, complete with scenes of a shootout and a stagecoach robbery. The Winter Pearl was published in trade paperback in 2004 and came out from Steeple Hill again in mass-market paperback in 2007. It is still available, but like Sanctuary, it must be ordered from Amazon, christianbook.com, Target, Booksamillion or Barnes and Noble. 

Q: Besides Sanctuary and The Winter Pearl, what new books can we expect from Molly Noble Bull?  

A: My next two books will not be historical novels. Runaway Romance is two short contemporary novels under one cover. My book is titled Alyson and it takes place on a cattle ranch in South Texas today. I don’t have a firm publication date for Runaway yet, but I will let you know when I do. And I hope Alyson will make my readers laugh, or at least smile.  

After Runaway, I have a non-fiction book coming up titled The Overcomers: Christian Authors Who Conquered L.D. (Learning Disabilities) Yes, I am dyslexic, and I wrote The Overcomers with four other Love Inspired authors with Learning Disabilities: Margaret Daley, Ginny Aiken, Jane Myers Perrine and Ruth Scofield.  

I am also contracted to write two more long historical novels in the Faith of Our Fathers series, and Tsaba House in going to reprint The Rogue’s Daughter, a novel set on a South Texas ranch in 1890 and first published by Zondervan in 1986. To be honest, I write better than I did in 1986 when Rogue first came out; so prepare for that. The good news is that it’s an honest to goodness western romance novel.  

Q: Anything else you would like to say before you say good-bye?

A: Yes. Please visit my website. www.mollynoblebull.com If you scroll down my main page and click Molly’s Family you can see pictures of my three sons on horseback and a picture of me on the Santa Rosa Ranch when I was twelve years old. And if you scroll down and click on Molly’s Books, you can see all my covers and read excerpts for Sanctuary and The Winter Pearl.  Thanks, y’all, for inviting me to come today, and I hope I’ll be invited back real soon.

Molly will be sending an autographed copy of either Sanctuary of The Winter Pearl (winner’s choice) to one reader, so leave a comment!

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32 thoughts on “Why is the daughter of a ranch manager from Texas writing fiction set in France in 1740?”

  1. What a marvelous interview! Congratulations on all those published books. I love your take on the cowboys, especially the Wal-Mart clothes. I’m from SE Kansas, and my family farms. Our money is spent on Carhartt coats because they last forever and decent work boots. We’ve trained our girls to look at a man’s hands–they’d better be calloused–and his boots–they’d better be worn or scuffed–to see if he actually works, or is just a wanna-be. 🙂

    And I agree with you on the yes, ma’am, no, ma’am. Pity, isn’t it?

  2. Great interview! And it confirms what I long suspected, my hubby could be a cowboy :0) He wears a ball cap (billed cap for those not from WV), says y’all, and got married in jeans and boots. No wonder I am such a fan of Western Romances.

  3. Good mornin’, y’all. I’m up early, too, and glad you liked the interview. My husband will be going out this morning to help our son feed. (Put out store-bought feed for the cows from the back of a pickup.) Hope I can get a little writing done.
    The yellowed photo that went with the interview is a photo of my maternal grandfather on the Santa Rosa and was taken by my grandmother. So, it’s the real thing. I am one of the two little girls in the photo with the horses, and it was taken on the Santa Rosa when I was about twelve. I’m the girl on the right.
    I end all my messages with Love Molly. So here goes.
    Love,
    Molly
    http://www.mollynoblebull.com

  4. Molly,

    Welcome to Petticoats & Pistols today–so glad y’all are getting an early start. Loved the blog, too. You’re a genuine western lady, Molly.

    Thank you for giving us your Saturday!

  5. Hi Molly!
    I really enjoyed reading about real cowboys and what it’s really like on a ranch. A huge difference from the suburbs of the northeast, I’m thinking. Best of luck with your new books.

  6. Wonderful blog Molly! I grew up in Oklahoma, and hearing you talk about Texas has me homesick!
    I have worked with several “drugstore cowboys”. They seem to think if they have a belt buckle the size of a dinner plate and some new boots, it makes them a cowboy. LOL It takes a lot more than that to make a real cowboy! It takes sweat, calloused hands, scuffed up boots, a good work ethic, and more to be a real cowboy! 🙂
    My folks visited the King Ranch a couple of years ago, and was really impressed. I hope to visit it someday!
    Best of luck with your new books!
    Missy

  7. My husband farms and we have a cow/calf herd, mainly angus, so we could call that a ranch, right?
    He spends the big bucks on boots, Georgia Boots, Jusin Boots. He spends major time everyday walking (which is why he’s so skinny, the brat) and he has to have good shoes.

    And he’s what really makes me crazy, any of you ladies enjoy buying blue jeans??? Is there almost always CRYING involved as you pick a size bigger than you want (a size or TWO) and one has weird pockets, and one has a low cut waist and one has flared legs and on and on and on.

    My husband looks at the sales flyer from Pamida (a local discout store) and says, “Get me a pair of these. They’re eight dollars this week.”

    And I know his size and BAM he’s done shopping for the year FOR EIGHT DOLLARS. And No Trying Them ON!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Maddening.

  8. Wow, That is so amazing that you have written five novel and have dyslexia. My father worked with handicapped children and thought me alot of respect for people who have any disability. My son have a speech problem and to see how hard he works to over come it is amazing. I just had a meeting for his speech and with how many problems he has everyone is amazed at how much he has progressed. He couldn’t read at the beiing of the school year because he couldn’t form most of the letter sounds and now he is reading. I just what to give you a big congrats on working hard to try and overcome your dyslexia. I know you will always have it but you have five novels to show how hard you work.

  9. Good Morning, Sorry I am late I slept in this moring had a long work week. I work at a printer and we had handbooks to put together.

    Your books sound really good, I read a little of The Winter Pearl on your website. I am looking forward to reading it.

    How do you think cowboys became a symbol of romance? I don’t know but it sure does work!

  10. What a fascinating interview! Your books look intriguing and I am interested in the setting and the characters greatly. I checked your website out and it is fabulous.

  11. (Waving and hugging Terry Jo! We moms are always up early, right?)

    I totally agree with Rebekah. I’m a speech-language pathologist and I think my students are among the very best and brightest, because of how very hard they work to succeed. So kuddos to you, and to your son as well, Rebekah–and I can’t wait to read The Overcomers.

  12. Your books look so appealing. I enjoyed the interview which was filled with so much fun and information. Best of success on your books. Your photos are wonderful and give me a great idea of life on a ranch. Cowboys certainly are admired and revered where I live.

  13. Thanks for all your emails, so far. Y’all are all so great.
    Hey, Mary C. Great to hear from you again. And thanks for the great review of Sanctuary. Great to hear from all of you. But I said that, didn’t I?
    Sherry asked, “How do you think cowboys became a symbol of romance?”
    I can’t speak for everybody on this issue, but I had strong male role models. And my papa and maternal grandfather happened to be cowboys. Real cowboys are all that and more because they work so hard. I think women want men who are men — whether they will admit it or not.
    Now for my dyslexia. Thanks for asking about it. I did an interview on a blog site owned by Harlequin’s Love Inspired author, Margaret Daley, and she asked me about my dyslexia. Well, that interview was picked up by folks on the Internet, and somebody put me on a list called High Achieving Dyslexics.
    Once I couldn’t read — spell — do math. Now I write books that others read.
    I hope to encourage others to keep on keeping on. And if y’all also buy my books, that’s icing on the cake.
    Love,
    Molly
    http://www.mollynoblebull.com

  14. I enjoyed reading your interview and learning about the real ranch life. Your novels interest me since I enjoy historicals and yours are unique and compelling.

  15. Great interview. Being from Southeast Texas, I can swear to everything Molly pointed out. The real cowboys are practical workingmen.

    I loved Sanctuary and Winter Pearl, and am looking forward to Alyson.

  16. A great interview which gives me insight into the life of a cowboy and their ranch work. To me their is nothing as important as working the land. I enjoy reading historicals and yours look special.

  17. Hi,

    Super interesting article… what a cowboy wears, is that so important when the shirt is opened 🙂

    I will go vist your website!

  18. Welcome! I LOVED this! Very informative and I learned some things I didn’t know…you definitely made me think…LOL. I will have to check out your website and books because they sound wonderful!

  19. Molly, thank you for taking the time to give us this very interesting interview! I love how much knowledge and research goes into a book, and thank you also for sharing about your own experiences. You must be so proud of all you’ve accomplished! Congrats on all your successes, and I’ll definitely be looking for your books!

  20. Great interview and what wonderful pics. No one is polite as they used to be – I still want to think they all say ma’am and tip there hat and I much prefer the horse over a truck lol.

  21. Howdy Molly, great interview I really enjoyed it. I must be nice to be raised on a ranch. I was raised on a small farm. We had a couple of cows and some pigs, we raised for the meat. That was about it. Although I still talk with a country accent. I still say y’all and sometimes howdy. My son makes fun of me.

    I do enjoy historical romance and would love to read your book. Also I am going right now to check out your website.

  22. Hello Molly! What a wonderful and insightful blog about cowboys today! I just loved it and your books sound wonderful.

    I agree- the lack of polite manners nowadays bothers me. I try my best to get my kids to say yes/no ma’am and yes/no sir. Doesn’t always work, but I’m trying! LOL

  23. Molly, thank you so much for the fascinating information! It’s funny how we sometimes think things should be (i.e. “howdy”) and how they truly are.

    BTW, I love your book covers! The winter one is especially beautiful!

  24. Molly, I am so disappointed cowboys don’t say ‘howdy’. I’m also embarrassed to admit it has slipped from my lips in the past. I spoke it a few times while in the Army, and believe me, I paid for it.

    Great interview. I learned a lot. Keep us up to date on all your new releases.

  25. great interview, im a bit late popping by but enjoyed the interview.
    you shattered a few of my myths about texan cowboys too but thats ok.
    its like in australia kangaroos dont jump down the main street.

  26. Since I am your ancestral cousin I am very happy that you are writing about the Huguenots. I read Sanctuary and learned so much about these talented ancestors. France lost all its most talented and brightest citizens when the Huguenots escaped to other countries. Our Huguenots from Ireland to America have contributed greatly to both countries. I am looking forward to reading your future books. Thanks for the real story on Cowboys! Your life on a ranch is certainly conducive to being the excellent writer that you are. Fondly, Bette

  27. I am glad to know about cowboys because I have a friend from Illinois and he now lives in San Antonio and he dresses like a city cowboy. Thank you for the good pictures too. Bette

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