Let me just grab a cup of coffee, Barb, before I start yammering away, but first let me thank you for having me here. The break from working on my latest is most welcome.
Good idea. I think I’ll have one, too. I’m so glad you're here. There’s something I’ve wanted to ask since I read your bio. You lived in England for years. I have to admit I'm a little envious. I'd love to live in England. What are some of your impressions of life there?
You know, without giving my age away, when I first went over to England I was extremely young. I had graduated from college two years younger than most and it was the time of the Beatles, Mary Quant, and 'anything goes.' I came from the melting pot of New York and went someplace where zucchini and eggplant (known as courgettes and aubergine) were hardly known. People might go to a Chinese or Indian restaurant and still expect to eat steak and chips (fries). I always used to get, "Oh, you're American, aren't you?" with some disdain. But I think television has brought everyone closer, made the world much smaller and, in actual fact, served as a sort of moderator of people's opinions of other countries.
We all have a much more universal outlook about other people's cultures and those cultures are, in turn, becoming more blended. Americans used to talk about the Brits' 'stiff upper lip' and have a picture of the man with the bowler hat and umbrella. Well, the umbrella is still around but the bowler hat and the stiff upper lip are long gone, I think. And it doesn't rain ALL the time either!
It sounds wonderful. Your experiences are so rich. Why did you choose to write historical Westerns? Do you or your family have roots there? Where do you go for research?
No family connections to the West that I know of but I'm totally convinced I had another life out there. OK, so that sounds rather 'off the wall' but I did have regression therapy and it seems to be true.
That’s fascinating! Can you tell us about it?
Oh, I'll have to save that story for another time. It was part of research for a book I'm writing.
You absolutely must come back when that story is finished. I can’t wait to hear your experiences. So, why historical western?
Well, I guess for whatever reason I'm drawn to the period after the Civil War when expansionism was at its height, the country was opening up and so much was going on. When my daughter was six we started having our family vacations out west combining dude ranches with traveling about the national parks and such. I just got completely drawn in to the landscape and the people, felt I belonged there so it was natural to me to gravitate to write about it. Research depends on what I'm writing--I always try to visit a place I write about, that's one thing. Memoirs and histories and old news articles then give me further back-up.
Old news articles and memoirs—great research sources. Speaking of which: the news of the ‘demise’ of the Western seems to have been premature. It’s seeing a resurgence in popularity. Why do you think people love Westerns?
Ah, heck, who doesn't love a cowboy?! You know, there's a code of the west, or the cowboy's code. We all know some of it, like you don't shoot a man in the back. Now what does that tell you? A man can be a 'bad boy' but have morals at the same time; it's appealing. I also think that part of the love for westerns is that we hanker for a simpler time, not necessarily that we want to be stepping out to the privy or leaving our victuals in the ice house, but that we could be more concerned with our own families and our neighbours and not what's happening over in Syria or North Korea. I think that's also part of the popularity of fantasy books & films, superheroes and so on. Same escape.
Andrea, I’d love to chat on and on, but we’d better get to the ‘other’ heart of your visit. Please tell us about your book.
Love to. LAWLESS LOVE. "Lacey Everhart has carved out a tough existence in the wilds of 1880s Wyoming, working hard to build a secure life for herself and her younger brother, Luke. She will stop at nothing to protect what’s hers and keep them safe. Even if it means keeping a secret that could destroy their lives.
Marshal Dylan J. Kane is a man who considers everything as black and white, right or wrong. He's never seen life any other way until he sets eyes on Lacey. Suddenly the straight and narrow that he's followed has a few twists and turns. Loving Lacey offers the home life for which he hankers...but can he really love a woman who seems to be plain lawless?
Here’s an excerpt.
Lacey thought of fluttering her eyelashes, but it was such a silly thing to do. How could women act like that? She just looked up at the marshal and waited, the possibilities turning over in her mind, flitting through her head but never settling.
“You wanna tell me what really happened now so we can try to sort this matter? All I can do is promise I’ll do everything in my power to sort it for you, but I cain’t help you less’n you tell the truth. You tell me lies and make me look a dang fool, there’s nothin’ I can do. You understand that?”
Along with the tiniest nod, she clasped her hands together. She looked up at Dylan Kane and saw kindness in that face, a face she could so easily have loved had things been different. She could sense the heat radiating from his body and knew if she touched his chest, a strength would exist where his heart beat. If she ran her hand down his arms, she would find that same strength in his muscle. How she wanted those arms around her! All her life, it seemed, she had looked after herself, cared for her brother, struggled to make a home for the two of them. What would it have been like if Morgan had not...
“Lacey?” Dylan’s soft voice brought her back from her reveries. “You ready to tell the truth?” With one gentle finger, he lifted her chin so their gazes met for a moment before they each stepped back from the brink of something neither could control. “Lacey?” he repeated.
“Yes, I’m ready.”
Can’t wait to read it, Andrea. It’s on my Kindle right now. Thanks so much for dropping by for a visit. Hope you’ll come back very soon.
Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK. She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit. Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC. She now divides her time between the city and the shore and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming. LOVELAND, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards. LAWLESS LOVE, a short story, released Sept. 4 as part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series. Three more books are in various stages
Visit Andrea here: WEBSITE AND BLOG: http://andreadowning.com
Twitter: @andidowning https://twitter.com/AndiDowning
LOVELAND: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Loveland-ebook/dp/B008VEXSB0Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/loveland-andrea-downing/1112486451?ean=2940014874021
LAWLESS LOVE: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lawless-Love-Lawmen-Outlaws-ebook/dp/B00D0TB0DO