First of all, a huge thank you to the writers on Petticoats and Pistols Blog for inviting me to share a bit of time with you and your readers in Wildflower Junction. I’ve known many of these fine writer friends for years through Romance Writers of America.
I’m now living in Hawaii, over 2,000 miles from the mainland and even farther from the Wild West. Living here is a dream I’ve had since we bought our home in 1978. Now it’s a reality. Though I live in a tropical paradise, a part of my heart will always be Romancing the West.
My latest book, HOMECOMING, from Steeple Hill, is set in Texas in the 1870’s. HOMECOMING is both a return and a departure for me. It’s a return to writing Westerns, my first love and where I started over twenty novels ago. It’s a departure because it’s my first Inspirational novel.
If you have never read an Inspirational romance, this might just be the one to try. Aside from adding the element of faith as part of the plotline, in HOMECOMING I’ve been true to the things that my previous books have been known for—memorable characters, page turning tension, emotion and historical detail. If you loved shows like DR. QUINN MEDICINE WOMAN, BONANZA, and LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRARIE, then you’ll enjoy HOMECOMING.
In fact, the story was inspired by a movie, THE SEARCHERS, which starred John Wayne. It was made in the early sixties (or the late fifties) I’m not certain. (Mental pause.) It’s the story of a Texas Ranger who spends years searching for his niece, who was taken captive by the Comanche when she was a child. He finds her years later and takes her home.
I’ve always wondered…and then what happened? Did she stay? Did she assimilate back into the white culture? Did she try to run back to the Comanche?
HOMECOMING is the story of a young woman who was taken by the Comanche as a child. She is raised by them, cherished and adopted by them. When she is “rescued’ twelve years later by the U.S. Army, she is handed over to a mother and son, the Ellenbergs, who are to care for her until her identity is established and her relations are located.
In the mean time, the young woman who only knows herself as Eyes-of-the-Sky has been thrust into a confusing, terrifying situation. Hattie Ellenberg is a woman who has suffered much at the hands of the Comanche herself, but her faith helps her forgive. Her son, Joe, (naturally, the devastatingly handsome hero) has no faith. He has no dream. He’s living his life one day at a time and working the family ranch. He’s virulently opposed to taking in a Comanche captive who thinks she’s “Comanch.”
I think the story that unfolds is one that will bring a tear to your eye. I’ve been told it’s truly a page turner. Please, do give it a try.
When it rains it pours, they say, and so it is with my publications this summer. In June, DESTINATION: MARRIAGE, an anthology of wedding stories from Harlequin, was released. Although it’s not set in the Wild West, my short story, “Trouble in Paradise” is set on Kauai (which is about as far west as you can get without leaving the states). If you’re looking for a quick, funny beach read, you might enjoy it. The other two stories are by Jo Leigh and Jackie Braun, both multi-published Harlequin authors.
Last but not least, I noticed in May, Elizabeth Lane sent in photos of herself belly dancing. What fun. I can truly relate to her passion. I dance hula and have been doing so for nearly twenty years. I dance with a great group of ladies of all ages (most fifty and over). We’re called the Hui Hula O’ Halelea. We love to perform for groups at luaus and parties, day care centers, long term care facilities, at pancake breakfast fundraisers and recently we danced at a bowling alley during a tournament buffet!
Dancing hula gives me a chance to get away from the computer and enjoy myself to the lovely sound of Hawaiian music.
I’d love to hear from you. I’ll be giving away one autographed copy of DESTINATION: MARRIAGE and two autographed copies of HOMECOMING, to three readers who leave comments today here at Petticoats and Pistols.
You can also read more about my previous titles at my website: www.jillmarielandis.com
Thanks for letting me “talk story”—as they say here in Hawaii—about my books, my hula, and what inspired me to write HOMECOMING.
Aloha hui hou, (aloha until we meet again)
Jill Marie Landis
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