I’d like to welcome our guest today, Caroline Fyffe. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us again at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.
I understand you have a new release out called MONTANA DAWN. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?
I’d love to, Kim…It takes place in the little town of Y Knot, Montana in the late 1800s. The McCutcheons, a cattle ranching family, have carved a dynasty from the wilderness by the sweat of their brow and their honorable values. Luke McCutcheon, the third brother and hero of this story, is the only one who was sired by an American Indian when his mother was taken captive. He’s the trail boss for the once-a-year cattle drive that the McCutcheons make. It’s during the drive that Luke stumbles upon a dilapidated wagon where he meets Faith Brown, in labor and needing his help. After the delivery, he offers to bring her along where one thing leads to another and soon all the trial hands are trying to catch the beautiful new mother’s attention, much to Luke’s dismay. I love stories about big families. I wanted to give Luke as much unconditional love as he needed to battle his own ghosts about his heritage
MONTANA DAWN is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?
Well, actually, it does have a specific tie in with the plot. I know it seems like it could just mean a pretty sunrise but Luke actually delivers a little babe and he gets to name her. I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.
What made you decide to write in this genre?
I’ve loved the West forever! Growing up all my sisters rode their horses English --- but not me. I was the youngest and I had a little mare named Sherry. I insisted on riding Western even when I could have had all the wonderful hand-me-downs if I’d complied. And to this day I’ll take a Western movie over anything else. 3:10 to Yuma is a favorite! Or, it could be too that when I was little my nic-name was Bowie, after Jim Bowie. I was such a tomboy and I loved his show.
Where did you get your idea for this particular book?
That’s tough. I can’t say. I just sit down and start writing. After I have a main character, Luke McCutcheon, I go from there. It just unwinds like a ball of string. Well, maybe not that easy. Er, definitely not that easy. LOL But that’s how I start.
What are your favorite historical research books and why?
I have several book I love and visit all the time. Wild and Woolly-An Encyclopedia of the Old West is one. I like it because each topic is short and sweet. Another is Savvy Sayin’s – Lean & Meaty One-Liners. This book is a gem. It’s like riding alongside a group of trail weary cowboys headed for the ranch. You learn a lot. The Writer’s Guide to Everyday Life in the 1899’s, Again, very brief descriptions on a lot of subjects. It usually has what I’m looking for.
Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?
I really enjoyed writing Luke. You’ll see why when you read it. But, in essence, he has a past that’s doggin’ his heals. You know--a tortured soul. It was nice to see him loosen up and laugh when things started going his way. I liked that.
Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?
I do a family tree chart. That way I get two generations back and give them all very brief pasts, characteristics, home towns, etc. That way I understand what makes my hero and heroine tick. And it gives me little bits of info to interject if I run into a wall.
What are some common speech terms, dress modes, transportation or housing facts that you found interesting for your time period?
I enjoy secondary characters that you can make say all kinds of funny things that your hero or heroine can’t. They would look to silly. It was Mrs. Hollyhock in WHERE THE WIND BLOWS that got all the good lines. You know, hillbilly talk.
Do you have any authors that inspired you?
There are so many wonderful authors doing the American West. Dorothy Garlock, Robin Lee Hatcher, Pamela Morsi, Catherine Anderson, Cheryl St.John…lots. I respect them all for the magnificent stories they’ve created.
What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?
That’s a hard one. I don’t really know. Although, I do think blogging is really important. It’s like a spotlight for that day but then it stays on the internet forever for others to see. Along with that I always have bookmarks with me. Book signings, Facebook. Sorry, I don’t know.
What do we have to look forward next?
I’m working on the sequel to MONTANA DAWN. It’s titled ONCE UPON A TEXAS TWILIGHT and will be out in May of 2011. It’s about Luke’s youngest brother who left the ranch to become a doctor. He’s the only McCutcheon thus far to go to university. He’s on his way to Rio Wells, Texas where he’s going to have his first practice. On the way the stage is attacked and….well, that’s another story. LOL
Thank you, Kim. It’s been so much fun visiting today. I wish everyone happy trails forever. After all that talking I’m ready for a chocolate éclair and sasparilla. What about you? (I'm always ready! KW)
To celebrate her book release, Caroline is offering a free book of MONTANA DAWN to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)
And, if you’re interested in winning more books and chocolate in celebration of the release of MONTANA DAWN, she’s having a launch giveaway. Just go to her website (www.carolinefyffe.com) and sign up for her News Letter on the contact page, you’ll be entered in the drawing for a basket filled with candies, chocolates, muffin mix, a handsome coffee mug (filled with even more chocolate!) and a jar of scrumptious jam, all made from the Big Sky State’s coveted huckleberry. Also included is an autographed copy of both MONTANA DAWN and WHERE THE WIND BLOWS. It’s as easy as pie. The winner will be drawn on December 10th, 2010--just in time for Christmas.
She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...