Sunday, February 26, 2012

Behind the Book Mania ~ Author Spotlight on Velda Brotherton

Posted by Mackenzie Crowne at 4:09 PM
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Hiya folks,

Thanks so much for stopping by. The lovely Velda Brotherton is caught up in the mania today, and sharing a bit about herself and two of her titles: Stone Heart's Woman and Wolf Song. What's more, she hasn't come empty handed. One lucky visitor will soon be adding a copy of Stone Heart's Woman to their collection. All you need do to be in the running is leave a comment. Be sure to include your email address so we can contact the winner. Now help me welcome our guest.

Hiya, Velda. Welcome to my mania.

Thanks for inviting me, Mac. Any mania is good enough for me.

A woman after my own heart! Okay, here we go. What was the germ of the idea behind your latest book, Stone Heart's Woman?

My husband does most of my research, and he spoke about a young boy by the name of Yellow Swallow, being the son of George Armstrong Custer and a Northern Cheyenne woman. That began my planning for this book about another son of this controversial man, raised white but torn between his two worlds. Put that together with the Cheyenne's final struggle to leave the Indian Nation and return to their home in the land of the yellow stone, and I had the beginnings of my western historical romance between Stone Heart and a red-haired Irish lass abandoned on the high plains of Nebraska. Both determined to help the Cheyenne in their quest.

A complicated relationship for that day and age. And your husband helps out with your research? Wow, a family affair. That's so cool. I wish I could get my husband to do a bit of research for my writing, but he's only interested in helping with certain scenes. Oh, did I say that out loud? *clears throat* So, what is the first book you remember loving? 

My mother taught me to read when I was barely five, and convinced the powers that were at that time to let me begin first grade because I could read. At the time there was no kindergarten.With the dire warning that I would fail by the eighth grade they let me begin school, mostly to be rid of my mother's daily visits, I'm sure. But to answer your question, I remember those novels that were little hard cover adventures whose names I can't recall. Stories by Burroughs about faraway lands. I ate them up from the age of seven or eight. The first book I truly learned to love and have never forgotten was The Robe. I guess I was in Junior High School by then.

Go Mom! Only a strong woman can go up against the school system, and win. The Robe, huh? Heavy duty! Where is the oddest place you’ve ever pulled out a book? 

In a tent somewhere in the Rocky Mountains and I read it with a flashlight after everyone else was asleep.



LOL. Been there, done that. We are in the presence of another manic reader, folks. Most authors begin writing because they love to read. Is this true with you and if so, did you write your first book because you were inspired, or because you thought, hell, I can do better than this?

Because I was inspired by unanswered questions. Once I began writing my story by hand in a notebook, I was hooked. The questions needed answers and after a few months of research, I went to work in earnest to write my first novel. It eventually garnered me an agent who came close to selling it several times, and even had it before some people at Paramount Pictures, but that fell through when Paramount sold out. I haven't stopped writing since, and that was almost 30 years ago. But I finally found a sort of success the hard way. Very few of us are discovered because of our first effort, and it's rarely that easy.
     
Amen to that, sister. Since first becoming published, what was the biggest ‘Woot’ moment you experienced? 

I was published for several years in newspapers and magazines, but the day that New York call came from an editor at Topaz/Penguin, I was almost too calm. Later I realized what had really happened and began calling everyone shouting and "wooting".  The editor who called me kept saying, "Do you know who this is?" because I was just discussing everything so unemotionally. I think I was in deep shock.

I can't imagine why...NOT! I would have peed my pants. Shy, extroverted, or somewhere in between?

Writing has done wonders for my personality. I was once so shy that I couldn't speak in front of a small roomful of people. I had to give up playing the piano because I fell apart when I had to perform a recital. Yet, after a few years of being published, I can stand in front of a crowd of hundreds and speak without a quaver. I have no idea why this is, it just happened without any effort on my part to learn speaking techniques. So, once shy, now extroverted, I suppose you could say.
           
That is so good to know. I don't have a shy bone in my body, but the idea of speaking to a crowd about my writing gives me the willies. What did you find most surprising when you were first published? 

How well I took to it as "what I do" surprised me. That is, for example, the other day I was talking to someone on the phone and he said, "Are you the writer?" The question struck me mute for a second or two. If he'd asked if I was "a" writer, I would have answered promptly. But "the" writer, like it was something special. That people actually treat me like a celebrity when I speak at conferences or attend a book signing is the most surprising thing imaginable. I write books like some people sell cars or work in a dentist's office or paint pictures. We do it cause it's what we do.
           
So right you are. Best writing advice you were given?

Never give up. Or further, if you can give up, then you aren't really a writer. My best writing buddy over some 28 years once said, and I've always believed this, "The road to success is littered with quitters." We don't fail because we can't do something but because we stop trying.

In my opinion that is the best advice a new writer can get. You won't improve if you don't continue, and you can't win if you don't play. If you wouldn't mind, tell us a little about Velda the writer, and Stone Heart's Woman and Wolf Song.

Here's a short bio:
Velda Brotherton writes of romance in the old west with an authenticity that makes her many historical characters ring true. A knowledge of the rich history of our country comes through in both her fiction and nonfiction books, as well as in her writing workshops and speaking engagements.  She just as easily steps out of the past into contemporary settings to create novels about women with the ability to conquer life’s difficult challenges. Tough heroines, strong and gentle heroes, villains to die for, all live in the pages of her novels and books.

Stone Heart's Woman - Stone Heart , son of George Armstrong Custer, is nearly killed when he chooses to fight for his mother's people, the Northern Cheyenne in their struggle to return to their home. Aiden Conner joins him in his battle after saving his life when the two are trapped in a soddie during a blizzard.

Wolf Song - Young Cheyenne shapshifter Wolf Shadow's first appearance at the Museum of the Mountain Man startles Olivia Dahl, but she soon grows accustomed to his presence in this paranormal set during the restoration of the gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park.

Awesome. Where can folks find you, Velda, and your books?

They can find me at
http://www.veldabrotherton.com/ 

And my books at 
http://www.tinyurl.com/7dr9mbn


Thanks, Velda. Okay, folks, don't forget to comment for your chance for a copy of Stone Heart's Woman, and be sure to leave your email addy. We'll be contacting the winner in a few days. Good luck, all.


Trouble commenting? Click on comments at the top of this post.



18 comments:

Vonnie Davis said...

Great interview, Mac and Velda. Are you telling us that George Custer, the man who hated Indians, also carried on a relationship with one or more of them? Is this a historical fact or a "what if he did" scenario? I'm intrigued.

vonnie.davis@ymail.com

Velda Brotherton said...

Hi Vonnie, Thanks for the question. He actually did. There were two confirmed children from these relationships with the Cheyenne women. A boy, Yellow Swallow and a girl whose name has never been printed that I could find. I did make up the third one that resulted in Stone Heart's birth, because I needed it to happen earlier than the previous two. It is said he also had several relationships with Sioux women.

Mackenzie Crowne said...

I was wondering the same thing, Vonnie. What a dog! LOL thanks for stopping in.

Joy Keeney said...

Adding this one to my must read list! Sounds like a great book from a great lady. Thank you

joymariee@att.net

Jerrie Alexander said...

Great post. Interesting facts about Custer, really makes book stronger when the research is done well.

Jan Romes said...

Very nice questions & answers, Mac and Velda! :-)

I love the western/indian stories! A dear friend of mine re-ignited my love for reading one day by delivering a peck sack filled with Indian romance novels to me.

Loved the bit, Velda, about reading in a tent with a flashlight! Made me grin. That says 'book-lover' for sure!

Best wishes for continued success with your career!

Velda Brotherton said...

Hi Jan, Jerrie and Joy, So good to hear from you. Isn't it fun discovering things we didn't know, either from our own research or from others? Reading is right next to writing as my favorite pastime.
Well, the other one might be classed separately. I do write romances, after all.

Jennifer Ann Coffeen said...

Great interview Mac! Velda- your story sounds so exciting, can't wait to read it. By the way, I do most of my early drafts by hand too!

Nancy Jardine said...

What a good post. It just shows you can read anywhere at all! (well maybe not waterskiing!)

Mackenzie Crowne said...

LOL Nancy. Unless you find yourself a waterproof IPOD for your audiobooks. ;-)

Lilly Gayle said...

Great post. And Velda, this sounds like a great read. I love Native American romances!

Can't believe your husband helps with the research. That's great. But maybe it wouldn't be so great for me. Even if hubby did research for me, I'd go behind him and double check. Not sure if that would be the control freak in me or because I actually love research. Hmmm.

Colleen Foshee said...

"The road to success is littered with quitters."

Now that, author Velda Brotherton, is a word of wisdom!

I'd love to read your book. Pick me!

Colleen Foshee said...

"The road to success is littered with quitters."

Now that, author Velda Brotherton, is a word of wisdom!

I'd love to read your book. Pick me!

Mary E. Trimble said...

What a fun interview! I can't wait to read Stone Heart's Woman.

Mackenzie Crowne said...

I'm with you, Colleen and Mary. Thanks for coming by.

Mackenzie Crowne said...

LOL Lilly. It can't be a case of control. I know how much you love research.

Velda Brotherton said...

Thanks to everyone for taking part in the blog post. I enjoyed all your responses so much. Some of you I know, others I've never met, until this blog. Now I feel like I know all of you. I'm going to let Mac pull a name out of the virtual hat for the winner of a copy of Stone Heart's Woman.

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Oh, boy. I love giving out prizes. Okay, here we go. Drum roll please ... and the winner is ... Colleen Foshee! Congrats, Colleen. Velda or I will be in touch.