Welcome Lena Nelson Dooley

It’s with a great deal of pleasure that we welcome back to the Junction, our week-end guest blogger. Lena Nelson Dooley, who will share with you the story behind the story and her research for A Heart’s Gift!

Love the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. My first trip to Colorado was in October of 2004, and that’s when I fell in love. I taught a retreat at Silverthorne in Summit County, not far from the Continental Divide. I was mesmerized by the beautiful mountains. The weather turned really cold, and a light snowfall dusted the higher slopes that I could see from the windows of the house where the retreat was held.

If the person I was talking to was between me and the wall of windows, I had a hard time keeping my eyes on that person. The mountains kept pulling my attention away. Breathtaking isn’t a strong enough word for what I saw when my eyes wandered. I decided that I wanted to set a book in Summit County. While I was in Summit County the first time, I bought a book about the history of the area.

A Heart’s Gift came out in December of 2016. When I write, I work hard to make the book authentic to the time period, which was 1893. Silverthorne wasn’t even a town at that time, but lots of both silver and gold mines were located in Summit County. Some small and owned by individual miners. Some had been bought by mining companies and were large enterprises. In addition to the book I bought when I was there, I also looked on Amazon for any historical books. There are at least two series of books that contain not only information, but also actual photographs taken in different time periods.

A treasure trove of details is available online and in books. I used a lot of them to recreate the area in 1893. I bought the Images of America book of photos in Summit County. These included photos of Breckenridge, which was a thriving town with mines and cattle ranches close by. I learned a lot about the area, and I was able to actually visualize the town and surrounding area.

Of course, the characters in my novel and the ranch are completely fictitious. Here are a few of the things that are authentic:

  • Capital Bank of Denver
  • Details about a cattle drive
  • Shipping cattle by rail to Swift slaughter house in Chicago
  • The baby furniture, the high chair and the cradle (I found these in a historical Sears catalogue I already had)
  • The Ladies’ Book Club in Breckenridge
  • The Arlington Hotel (but I fictionalized the owner and the special suite for mine owners)
  • The Breckenridge Bakery on Lincoln Street that actually did make cream puffs at that time
  • Vaudeville show – The Face on the Barroom Floor
  • Stamp mills, throbbing beat
  • Ladies spent a lot of money on hats

As a reader, I love when there are authentic details in books. I think most other readers do, too. That’s why I do so much research. I want readers like you to get a real picture of the history of the time when my books take place. I’ve written a lot of western historical novels.

I’d love for us to chat some, so I’m going to ask you some questions to get us started.

Do you as a reader like to know that the historical details are authentic? 

What time period do you prefer reading about? 

Who is your favorite western author?

A Heart’s Gift received the 2017 FHL Reader’s Choice Award for long historicals. I will be giving away one Kindle copy of the book. Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can download a Free copy of Kindle for Apple (computers), Kindle for PC, Kindle for tablets, or Kindle for Android phones where you can read the book.


Buy links:

Print – http://ow.ly/X7HK30fC0IV

Kindle – http://ow.ly/Qyth30fC0Ym


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29 thoughts on “Welcome Lena Nelson Dooley”

  1. I do like the book to be true to its time. If not it throws me out. I do not really have a favorite author. I like many, especially the ones here.

  2. I love and appreciate all the research the Author’s do for the books they right. I always say I learned more about history through the books I’ve read then in the classroom. I couldn’t pick a favorite Author because I read so many Western Authors. They are all my favs in a cway otherwise I wouldn’t be reading them. 🙂
    Carol Luciano

  3. I absolutely love the history in Historical Western Romance books. I have learned more history from them than I ever did in a history class. I love the 1800’s when the West was still wild and lawless. I also love western thar include a lot of Indian history. A favorite HWR writer is hard for me to choose. I just started reading for the first time in decades last October therefore I’ve read a handful of HWR books. In my 85 books I read in a year, my two favorite HWR authors are a toss between Linda Broday and Rosanne Bittner. I love them both. I’m still on my path to discovering more favorite authors!

  4. Good morning. I love authentic history. I understand that the story has to be fictional based and also the characters, but I love when the author uses true history of the area and even put in true individuals in their story as secondary characters.
    My favorite western Author is one of the pistol and Petticoat Phillies, Miss Linda Broday. She just moves me with her books and they are timeless. My favorite time period to read is 1800’s between 1840- 1895. Thank you for coming and your book sounds amazing.

  5. Good morning Lena. I love historical fiction and I find it disappointing that an author hasn’t researched the event or time period that their story is relating. A well-researched book always teaches me as it entertains me.
    Thank you and Blessings!

  6. Thank you so much for coming to the Junction, Lena. I love to know the stories behind the books I also love research and have written both Western Historical Romances and now I’m writing a contemporary romance series set in the town I wrote about in two of the western anthologies. I’m on the third book and it’s so much fun to write about the second and third generation of the founders of Kasota Springs in the Texas Panhandle. So, yes, I love authentic writing but with a lot of creativeness enveloping it. As far as favorite authors, I have so many that I truly can’t say who is my very favorite. I cut my teeth on Kathleen Woodiwiss and still love all of her books. My second favorite of the older authors is Johanna Lindsey. I also cut my teeth on her pirates and heroines in distress. Again, thanks for coming and visiting the Corral and look forward to reading your book, so you can be added to my favorite author list. Hugs from the Texas Panhandle

  7. Hi Lena……Welcome back to P&P. We always love having you. Adding bits of realism to a story deepens it tremendously. I’m always so excited when I run across something that fits seamlessly into a story.

    Wishing you much success with A Heart’s Gift! I love that cover.

    • Hi, Linda. I love visiting here. And I’m like you in that I only use authentic things that I can seamlessly fit into the story.

      By the way, Crystal Barnes designed it for me. I’ve used her for several of my books.

      And my agent told me yesterday that A Heart’s Gift is really selling well right now.

  8. Hi Lena,
    I love historical western romance! I too love for a book to have authenticity to it. I also love it when authors put in normal everyday life for the time period. Whether it’s cooking, sewing clothes, milking the cow or chopping wood all of those things add to the pleasure of reading for me. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!

  9. I like historical western romance! I am looking forward to reading A Heart’s Gift. Thank you for the opportunity to win.I enjoy reading your books.

  10. For me, having authenticity in the setting and for the time period is important. One reason I read and enjoy historical fiction is for the historical aid-bits I can pick up. It does sort of spoil a story when an author sticks something in the story that isn’t accurate. I kind of trip over it and it takes me out of the story.
    As for time periods I enjoy, I like just about anything. The 1800s are such active years, so full of change.

    Many of my favorite authors are right here at the Junction. I have a wide and varied taste in reading, so there are many authors scattered around the many sub-genre I read.

  11. I do love a book that has some true facts in it and as far as authors are there are a lot of western authors that I love. Linda Broday, Kaki Warner, Jodi Thomas just to name a few. I love about all western authors. Time period anywhere from the 1800’s on I think, not that picky. I just love westerns.

  12. I’ve always loved American history (fiction and non-fiction) and used to read about colonial days, and then the great westward movement like the Oregon Trail, which we ourselves followed one summer by car. It was so amazing to see all the landmarks I’d read about like Independence Rock with all its scratched-in signatures. (We traveled the reverse direction too following the Lewis and Clark Trail. Great summer!) These days, though, I lean toward post-Civil War western days. The novels I read don’t have to have factoids in them but I do like them to be true to the time period with no anachronisms included. My first favorite western writer was Maggie Osborne (oh how I wish she were still writing!), and now Jo Goodman and Linda Broday among many others I follow religiously.

    Please don’t include me in the drawing. My eyes prefer paper to backlit screens for all of the hours I spend reading. (Yes, I limit TV, PC and phone screen time too.) BUT thank you so much for the opportunity anyway! 🙂

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