Friday, February 17, 2012

Author's Corner: "Cowgirl Dreams" Series by Heidi M. Thomas

If you like frontier novels, then saddle up for these. Heidi M. Thomas writes from her family experience about cowgirls during a time when most girls were doing other things. Here's an interview with Heidi.

How did Cowgirl Dreams and Follow the Dream come about?
They’re based on my grandmother, who rode steers in Montana rodeos during the 1920s. That tidbit of information about her stuck with me through the years as fascinating and courageous, and I knew I had to write a book about her. I’m now working on the third book in the series, so far titled Nettie’s Cowgirls.

Tell us about Cowgirl Dreams, an EPIC Award winner (EPIC = Electronic Publishing Internet Connection).

Nettie Brady bucks 1920s convention with her dream of becoming a rodeo star, and defies her family and social mores. That means competing with men, and cowgirls who ride the rodeo circuit are considered “loose women.”

Addicted to the thrill of pitting her strength and wits against a half-ton steer, Nettie exchanges skirts for pants, rides with her brothers on their Montana ranch, and competes in neighborhood rodeos.
But broken bones, influenza, floods, and family hardship keep Nettie from her dreams. Then she meets a young neighbor cowboy who rides broncs and raises rodeo stock…

Follow The Dream won a national WILLA Literary Award (Women Writing the West). It started in the Young Adult category, but it’s a good read for adults, too. How does Nettie’s story continue?

This book starts out with Nettie’s cowgirl dream come true—married to her rodeo cowboy, planning to ride the rodeo circuit. But she soon discovers that she will now have family responsibilities.

Then, drought and the Depression force them into years of continuous moves to find grass to feed their horse herd. Nettie experiences tragedy, loss and fear. She must learn that sometimes dreams need to be changed, but to never give up.

With the backdrop of Follow the Dream being prohibition, the Great Depression and terrible environmental conditions that challenged ranchers in Montana, what research did you draw on to show life during this time and place?

As a kid, I read Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck, of course, but Montana had its own set of problems and ways of dealing with that era. My dad told me many anecdotes about growing up in 1930s Montana, which I drew on for my book.

What makes you write?

I love the creative process, building a character from nothing or creating one that is based on a real person and making her seem real. I like telling a story and making people laugh or cry. 

Heidi’s books are available, autographed, from her website, or from the publisher, Treble Heart Books.
Cowgirl Dreams is also available for Nook readers, and Follow the Dream is available on Kindle.

Heidi also blogs at Come along for the ride, and pick up a copy of one or both of Heidi's books.

(The writer of this blog, Sheryl Young, writes books too! See right hand column.)


Heidiwriter February 17, 2012 at 1:09 PM  

Sheryl, thank you for hosting me! This is terrific.

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