It’s so great to be blogging here. Thanks to the lovely founding ladies for inviting me. What a great website. I’m so happy to be here where others share my love of western historical romances and, in my case more specifically, Americana romance.
Webster’s Dictionary defines Americana as ‘of or to relating to America; its possessions or original territory, things typical of America. American culture.’
All the wonderful articles on this site about America’s west and all the western historicals I have read have transported me back to that time and place in America’s history where mail arrived by stagecoach, the family vehicle was drawn by a horse and the coasts were being connected by the newfangled railways. These bygone days are our past culture and treasured heritage.
I love writing Americana romances because it is the more personal side of the great, wild West. It is the home and hearth moments that Americans were living. I think of the Americana as the heart of western romance. It is without the exciting outward adventure of a cattle drive or the drama of hunting down an outlaw or the danger of a wagon train, but it is not without its own peril. Carving out a livelihood on the harsh western plains, building a life piece by piece, step by step and opening one’s self to the risks of love and the rewards is exciting and perilous in its own way. To me, the moments where love is first discovered and tested and found true is the real journey of the Americana romance.
As a writer, I like nothing more than closing my eyes while at my keyboard and seeing not just the past western landscape untouched by pollution and telephone lines and suburban sprawl, but hearing the tick of the Regulator clock above the mantle, seeing the colorful patchwork quilt hung over the back of the horsehair sofa and smelling the fresh-split kindling in the bin beside the stove.
This is where I write my stories from, the sun-splashed parlor of a small log house, the corner kitchen where a bowl of bread dough is rising near the window and family gathers at the round oak table after a hard day’s work. Forty-seven books later, I can still see the little log cabin of my first story, Last Chance Bride, tucked in the forests of Montana’s mountain country with its picture view of the Rockies and a hand braided rag rug on the puncheon floor in front of the gray stone hearth. I can still feel the memory of Libby’s and Jacob’s love. I like to write about home, not just the house where a family dwells, but the place where their hearts and their love reside.
In both my Bluebonnet County series and my Rocky Mountain series for Harlequin Historical, each story was an answer to this love. My Angel Falls stories for Love Inspired Historical are no different. These stories are the moments of these people’s lives, of their sadness and joys, their personal pain and quiet triumphs that when strung together make a good, decent and honorable life.
Last weekend I drove across the state to visit my parents, my brother, his wife and their new daughter. When I hit the freeway exit that wound around a hillside and ambled through tiny one-street towns and lush mountain valleys verdant with trees and fields, it was like stepping back in time. I could feel the years peel away with every mile as each familiar landmark brought back a memory. I recalled floating the river with my brother on a hot summer day, riding bikes down a certain narrow country road and being chased by a bull, and the year the river flooded our valley and most of the town and we went to the grocery store in a row boat.
When I pulled into my parent’s driveway, time peeled back farther still. Not just my years, but the century. Cattle dotted deep green pastures. Ducks honked as they rose from a still meadow lake. A horse lifted his head from grazing to see who was disturbing his quiet. Take away the paved roads, the power poles, the mail box and erase the trail of jet exhaust from the crystal blue sky, and there was the past where settlers cleared the hillside with an ax and planted their crops by hand.
Maybe that’s why I love writing stories set over a century ago about normal everyday people who did not change the world or even the community around them, but who rose to the challenges of their lives. Who struggled to make a living, to do the right thing and to open their hearts to the challenge of love. Times may have changed but people at heart have not. So much has changed from the American West we write and read about, but the important things in life has not. Love has not. It is still the greatest gift and the most precious.
Thanks to Petticoats & Pistols for having me and thanks to you for dropping by.
Happy trails and happy reading.
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