Interview of Vonnie Davis
Today I'm pleased to be doing a blog swap with author Vonnie Davis. She's appearing here and promoting her newest release, A Man For Annalee, a western historical set in 1871 southern Wyoming Territory, and I'm at her blog (http://www.vintagevonnie.blogspot.com) talking about my western historical, Dreams of Gold, which is set in 1871 northern Wyoming Territory.
1. Tell us a bit about your background.
First off, thank you for having me Linda. It’s blowing snow here in south-central Virginia. Next month at this time my white magnolia tree at the corner of our front porch will be covered in fragrant blooms. I’ll be walking around the yard checking for signs of spring on everything. While I love the vibrant colors of fall, there’s just something about springtime. Perhaps it’s the season’s optimistic nature that appeals.
I’m a retired technical writer who has traded her tailored clothes for the feathered boa of a romance writer. After dreaming of being a published author for fifty years, I’ve finally succeeded. Never deny your dreams, ladies. Just don’t wait as long as I did to pursue them. Self-doubt is a terrible thing, and I have it in abundance when it comes to my writing. I think learning to overcome that personality flaw was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done—and I still struggle with self-doubt, even with eight projects either published or under contract. Oh, I can encourage other writers easily enough—and do—but voicing the same affirmations to myself seems harder.
2. What’s the logline that describes your writing?
3. Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?
Sometimes it’s a combination, Linda. I might have a snippet of an idea from something I’ve read in the paper or heard on the radio. Quite often a publisher will open a new series, and I’ll wonder if I can write something to fit the parameters the publisher requires. I’ll allow the idea to germinate until my heroes come to me at night and ask me to tell their stories. Men come to me. Never women. (winks) Aren’t I the lucky one?
4. Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?
I have a romantic suspense trilogy set mainly in Paris, a city my husband and I both love. He lived there for a year decades before we met, writing at sidewalk cafés and absorbing French culture. He took me to the City of Light a few years ago for our fifth anniversary to show me his old haunts. I fell under her spell, too. The first book in the series is out, Mona Lisa’s Room. Book two comes out June 14th. Book three and I are at a stalemate. My heroine did something I hadn’t planned on, leaving me to research another country and figure out how to amass an extraction team to go into Syria and rescue her. I’m a grandma, what do I know of such things? If the CIA ever researches my online search history, I’m going to have some explaining to do.
5. Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?
I write most sub-genres of romance, except for futuristics and regencies, much to the dismay of my agent. She wants me to chose two and stick to them to build my brand. I hate to tell her I have a women’s fiction slowly brewing. She’ll gnash her teeth and scowl. But I read a small snippet in a newspaper a couple years ago and cut it out. Children born of French women and German soldiers in WWII were originally denied citizenship in either country. Imagine. Having no country through no fault of your own. Perhaps because I love my country so much, this situation tugged at my soul—I don’t know. But the tiny article was about a recent law passed that gave these illegitimate children, now adults and formally referred to as Children of the Huns, dual citizenship. Frankly I don’t know how I’d approach such a serious subject since I prefer writing with humor and hope. I’m not sure I could write it engaging enough to please my agent or attract a publisher (did I mention my problem with self-doubt?). Maybe this will be a story written just for me, for my history loving soul. Who knows?
6. What’s your dream vacation destination?
I love walking the streets of Paris. My stepson lives in Berlin and he’s the best tour guide. So, for me, a few weeks walking the streets in the City of Light and Berlin, studying architecture, sipping espressos at sidewalk cafés and touring museums would be ideal.
7. What’s the story behind the release you’re promoting?
I’d written scenes for A Man for Annalee to share with my writers’ group. This historical is set in a fictitious town in Wyoming, full of delightful, often quirky characters—and I fell in love with them all. I’d thought of making this a full-length novel, but the story lent itself more to novella length. I have a sequel planned called A Lady for Levi.
8. What do you hope readers gain from your stories?
That women have great inner strength. We have this awesome power within us to turn adversities into advantages. Truly.
A MAN FOR ANNALEE released yesterday from Still Moments Publishing. Here’s the blurb:
Annalee Gallagher loses her parents, home and business in the Great Fire of Chicago. When she travels to Cicero Creek in the Wyoming Territory to start a new life, more heartache awaits her, so do the attentions of several men—for good and for evil. Why was her stagecoach attacked and was the shot that zinged over her head one night, a wild bullet or a bad aim?
Boone Hartwell, the marshal of Cicero Creek, suspects someone is out to kill the new spitfire in town. She amuses him and touches a lonely part of his soul, but can he keep her safe? More importantly, can a white man raised as Cheyenne win her heart? Can he rise above all her other suitors? For one thing is for certain in his determined mind: He’s the man for Annalee.
Gunfire jarred Annalee Gallagher. She straightened in her seat, her heart pounding. Another bullet zinged past the stagecoach, and the older couple sitting across from her gasped in unison. Heaven help her, she’d escaped one nightmare only to find herself in the middle of another.
The broad-shouldered man who’d been drowsing against her jerked upright and drew a pistol from his holster in a blur so fast Annalee wondered if he hadn’t been holding it all along.
He fired six shots out of the window before leaning back to reload. “Think I winged one.”
She didn’t know if he spoke to himself in affirmation or bragged to the occupants of the stagecoach.
One thing for sure, though, she wanted a look at the gunmen. Did they resemble the criminals in her dime novels? Surely one peek wouldn’t hurt. She leaned toward the open window next to her. Thus far her journey from Chicago to Cicero Creek, Wyoming, had been blessedly uneventful. She’d met none of the miscreants and bloodthirsty Indians written about in her books, so the thrill of living through a stagecoach robbery, like those in stories she’d read, warred with her sense of self-preservation.
If she’d had her wits about her, she’d be afraid, or so she told herself as she glanced out of the window, hoping to see the highwaymen. With her mind and heart so absorbed with grief this past week, this incident, no matter how perilous, was a welcome respite.
The gunmen were out of her line of vision, the pounding of their horses’ hooves growing closer. More shots rang out. The stagecoach driver cracked his whip and bellowed an order to the team of horses. “Hi-ya! Go! Go!” The stage swayed precariously as it accelerated over the bumpy road. Gritty dust blew into the coach with such force the air seemed alive with it.
She flinched as the coach’s jarring motion caused her burns to throb. Having just survived the devastation of the great fire in Chicago—a tragedy that snuffed out three-hundred lives and destroyed nearly one-third of the city—she didn’t think anything would ever frighten her again.
She was wrong.
Still, wanting to get one good look at the shooters, Annalee stuck her head out of the stagecoach window. A rider came into view. Before she could duck back inside, he raised his rifle and fired, shooting off her new traveling bonnet.
Heart racing, Annalee plopped back onto her seat. “He shot off my hat!” Her voice rippled with astonishment and fury. Her trembling hands touched her scalp, and she prayed she’d feel hair. She breathed a sigh of relief when her gloved hands showed no blood.
“What did you expect after sticking your head out like that?” The man beside her fired off another shot. “You made a target of yourself.” He quickly reloaded his revolver, muttering under his breath before redirecting his attention to the shooters. “Just my luck to be sharing a seat with a lunatic.”