**** Winner of the FREE ecopy of Dances of the Heart is Teressa Mirault. Congratulations, Teressa!
I am pleased to welcome Andrea Downing and her latest, a Wild Rose Press romance. Looks like a great one! Take it away, Andrea…
Hi Alicia, thanks so much for having me here today and helping me share the release of my new book, Dances of the Heart.
Where did you get the idea for your story?
Strangely enough, the idea for Dances of the Heart came from the Texas Two-step; Texas Two-Step was its original title until I discovered there were numerous books with that title so opted to change it. It just made me think of writing a story about two couples, mother and daughter/father and son, which took place in Texas. Quite honestly, I have no idea how it evolved from that.
Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?
I’ve never written a contemporary book before; all my work has been historical, and this effort was really rather frightening. I have no idea why I’m so much more comfortable in the 1800s, but I was once told I was born in the wrong century! Obviously, in some ways, contemporary’s easier—you don’t have to think that much about language and the way they lived and how they would be dressed and so on, although I did have to have a Texan check my dialog to make sure it sounded right.
What was the most difficult thing about this book in particular?
As I just mentioned, getting the language correct, making the Texas characters sound ‘Texan.’ I’m from the northeast and have lived most of my life in Britain so, for instance, I never say “I’m fixin’” to do anything!
What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?
PROMOTION It is such a time-suck, it isn’t even funny any more. The book world is swamped now, and it’s difficult to know what to do, what works and so on, to sell books. I hate it. I would also like to get rid of waiting time in doctor’s offices. For some reason, doctors seem to think their time is more valuable than ours. To give you an example, I had a 3 pm appointment last week and was called to please come in for 1.30 pm because the doctor had a meeting in the afternoon. So, what happened? I still wasn’t seen until 3pm… I have a couple of medical issues at the moment and the amount of time I lose in doctor’s offices doesn’t bear thinking about, although it’s good reading time.
Would you rather have a bad review or no review?
If push comes to shove, I’d rather have a bad review than none at all although, having said that, I, myself, have opted out of reviewing a book I didn’t like rather than give it a bad review. For me, I’d like to know why people don’t like my work, what annoyed them—I want feedback from readers basically. If you don’t receive a review at all, you’re left wondering whether the reader just gave up or what the heck happened. But, for goodness sake, you want a sensible, intelligent review, good or bad.
If you could change something about one of your books that’s already released, what would it be?
Oh, I’d love to re-write Loveland and fill it out into a saga. There is a lot that happens ‘off stage’ in that book, particularly when Lady Alex and Jesse are separated and she is in England, I would love to fill out. And I would like to finish their story and tell a bit more of it.
What is your favorite quote?
It comes from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig, and readers can find more of his amazing made-up words online. Here’s my favorite: Sonder:
“Realize that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own – populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries, and inherited craziness – an epic story that continues invisibly around like an anthill, sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.” John Koenig
What is your most prized material possession? Why?
I’m really not attached to material possessions. I mean, I like having a computer to write and I like to look at photos in our old albums, but if you ask me what I’d grab in a blazing fire, I’m not sure. If pushed, I guess I’d have to say it’s a portrait I had done for my daughter’s 18th birthday; it’s the two of us sitting by the piano, which is a big part of my daughter’s life. When I had it done, the young artist, Alastair Adams, was virtually unknown; he has since gone on to become President of The Royal Society of Portrait Painters and paint such notables as Tony Blair, whose portrait by Alastair now hangs in The National Portrait Gallery. I doubt I could afford his work now! But anyway, the painting captures the two of us and our relationship so well. I hope it remains in the family for generations.
So I’d like to know from readers here what their most valued possession is, and why; I think I’m going to ask to discount photo albums because so many people say that. And I’ll choose one person to receive a free digital copy of Dances of the Heart. Thanks so much for having me, Alicia. It’s been great to discuss these things with you.
It’s been a pleasure having you, Andrea. I enjoyed the interview…congratulations on the new release!
Blurb: Successful, workaholic author Carrie Bennett lives through her writing, but can’t succeed at writing a man into her life. Furthermore, her equally successful but cynical daughter, Paige, proves inconsolable after the death of her fiancé.
Hard-drinking rancher Ray Ryder can find humor in just about anything—except the loss of his oldest son. His younger son, Jake, recently returned from Iraq, now keeps a secret that could shatter his deceased brother’s good name.
On one sultry night in Texas, relationships blossom when the four meet, starting a series of events that move from the dancehalls of Hill Country to the beach parties of East Hampton, and from the penthouses of New York to the backstreets of a Mexican border town. But the hurts of the past are hard to leave behind, especially when old adversaries threaten the fragile ties that bind family to family…and lover to lover.
Excerpt: Ray pointed to his pickup, smirking slightly with the knowledge of what her reaction would probably be.
“You must be joking.”
He could hardly hear the mumbled comment, but it was exactly what he’d been expecting.
She glowered, a brow definitively arched in query. “What year is this thing?”
He attempted to wipe the amusement away from his face with a hand that rubbed his stubble in a satisfying scrape. “Sorry, I left the Cadillac at home this time.” A raised brow questioned if she took him seriously. “It’s an ’89, and still runs as smooth as the day I got it.”
“Which was, what? Last year?”
Ray shook his head and proceeded to the passenger door. “You have the key, sweetheart,” he said, patiently standing and waiting.
“Listen!” Carrie put her hands out as if to stop any further conversation. “First off, I am not your sweetheart. And second, if by any chance you think you just may have gotten lucky tonight–”
“Whoa, whoa now.” Ray was truly mystified at the turn events were taking. “Not that I wouldn’t be honored and damn well pleased, but I sure as heck wasn’t thinkin’ along those lines…and truth be told, you know, I’m hardly up to it.” He considered this for a second, a fog clearing for a moment’s view of the road. “And I don’t mean I need Viagra either.” He noted her staring at the key as if it might turn into something else. “No, it doesn’t open automatically,” he informed her at last.
She shoved the key into the handle and got the door open, climbed up into the cab and reached across to unlock the door for him. Her gaze ran over the dashboard, uncertainty scrunching her face like a bitter fruit.
Ray folded himself into the passenger seat and slouched back, tipping his hat over his eyes. “Just let me know when you give up. I’ll be right here, darl…” Yeah, better not. He could almost feel her indignation, listening as she squirmed around and adjusted the seat.
“It’ll be a cold day in hell, mister, before I give up!” The key turned and the truck sputtered to life, then died again.
“You ever drive manual before?” he mumbled from under his Stetson, and sensed Carrie eyeing him. “That’s what I thought,” he answered to her lack of response. “Put your foot on the clutch, move her into first, release the brake, and get goin’, slowly releasing the clutch.”
“Who the hell drives stick shift anymore?” she muttered as she followed his terse instructions. The truck lurched forward as she spun it off the grass toward the road.
“Right,” Ray directed, feeling suddenly nauseous with the pitch of the car. Bile rising, he opened the door and spat before yanking it shut again. “Can you get the damn thing into second? Foot on the clutch, move the shift and let’s go if we’re going.”
“Fine! You don’t have to yell at me.”
Ray sat up, shoved his hat back from his eyes and glared at her, reining in his frustration and anger. “I was not yelling at you, but you know dang well we’d be far safer with me drivin’. As it is, I’m gonna need a new transmission.”
The truck staggered again. “I know no such thing.” She bent forward to swipe at the windscreen to clear it. “We haven’t got seatbelts on,” she murmured.
“We’re not going fast enough to need them.”
Carrie ignored his last remark and appeared to concentrate on keeping the truck moving. It sputtered again, and Ray let out a sigh of resignation just as flashing blue lights appeared in the side mirror. She pulled over, and the motor unceremoniously died.
“Damn!” she cursed, reaching down for her bag at Ray’s feet. “Let me get my license.”
Bio: 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, where she was born, 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. Family vacations are often out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to some 20 ranches throughout the west. Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards. Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards and placed in the 2014 International Digital Awards Historical Short contest. Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and came out Oct. 8th, 2014, and Dances of the Heart, her first contemporary novel, comes out in February, 2015.
Links to Social Media: WEBSITE AND BLOG: http://andreadowning.com
Twitter: @andidowning https://twitter.com/AndiDowning
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Downing/e/B008MQ0NXS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepub: http://www.amazon.com/Dances-Heart-Andrea-Downing-ebook/dp/B00S46BGY6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421510959&sr=8-2&keywords=Dances+of+the+Heartlishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=6060