After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction." So that’s what Margaret did. She’s now a New York Times bestselling author and a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist with more than 25 novels to her credit—not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.
Welcome, Margaret. Your new book Dawn Comes Early releases this month. Give us a blurb about it.
Looking for hard-working, professional woman of good character and pleasant disposition willing to learn the ranching business in Arizona Territory. Must be single and prepared to remain so now and forever more.
Her latest dime novel banned, twenty-nine-year old KATE TENNEY finds herself without a publisher or other means of support. An advertisement for a woman willing to learn the ranching business seems like the perfect solution for a displaced western writer who has no intention of getting married—ever.
Trouble begins the moment she steps foot in Arizona Territory. The west is nothing like she wrote about in her books. Not only does she have to deal with a hard-nosed ranch owner, and nefarious outlaw, but a traitorous heart. Deserted as a child by her father, grandfather and others—even God— Kate does not trust men and has no intention of falling for LUKE ADAM’S charm. She’s determined to learn the ranching business and prove to the doubting ranch owner that she’s up to the task—if it kills her. Her faith tested by the harsh realities of the desert, Kate battles to hold on to the one thing that promises permanence—land.
If only she could stay away from a certain handsome blacksmith and his two matchmaking aunts.
Kate Tenney is a very interesting character. Tell us more about this dime novelist who thinks she can learn to run a cattle ranch.
Kate led a hardscrabble life. As a child she liked to sit on the roof listening to a group of hoboes talk about the west and this fired her imagination. Her writing career, however, comes to an abrupt end when her book is banned for “immoral content.” (She should never have used two pages to describe that kiss!)
Disgraced, she flees Boston to experience the west that she loved to write about. She soon learns that the romantic tales she wrote are nothing like what awaits her on the Last Chance Ranch—and that’s when the fun begins.
Of course it wouldn’t be romance if there wasn’t a handsome hero. Luke Adams sounds like the perfect match for Kate. What makes him so appealing to her?
Kate and Luke make an interesting couple. She’s an educated woman and he’s “just a blacksmith.” He doesn’t even know what’s she’s talking about half the time. But he does something that no one else has ever done; he learns to read her heart.
Dawn Comes Early is the first book in The Brides of Last Chance Ranch. What stories will the other books tell?
I’ve never had so much fun writing a series. The next book in the series is Waiting for Morning. I owe this story to a reader who fell in love with Lucy’s sixteen year old brother Caleb in A Vision of Lucy and insisted I put him in another book.
In Waiting for Morning Caleb Fairbanks is now all grown up and still winning hearts. The third book in the series features a mystery on the ranch. This brings a Pinkerton detective to town—and you’ll never guess who it is.
What do you want readers to take away from Dawn Comes Early?
Kate searches for permanence. It’s the one thing she’s never known. Deserted by her parents she mistakenly thinks that the ranch is the one thing that will always be there for her. She has to learn that only God is permanent. Not land, not money, not fame, only God. We all know this, of course, but sometimes we could use a little reminder now and again.
At ACFW Conference last September we were all so excited when it was announced you had made the New York Times Bestseller list. How did you react when you heard the news?
I think my first reaction was disbelief. I happened to be in the hotel lounge at the time waiting to meet with the Thomas Nelson publicists. The news came through on my phone. I told my agent Natasha Kern and she started jumping up and down and everyone else joined in. The Snoopy dance never looked so grand.
What are you working on now and when will it release?
Waiting for Morning will be released January 2013. I’m currently working on book three in the series. I’m also excited to announce that my first non-fiction book Grieving God’s Way: the Path to Hope and Healing will be published in July.
Many of our readers are trying to achieve publication. What advice would you give to them?
Take a big breath and enjoy the journey. Being published comes with its own challenges, so you really have to enjoy each step of the way or you won’t survive. Surround yourself with a support group and celebrate every success. Celebrate when you finish a chapter; enter a contest; pop a query in the mail; or sign up for a writing workshop. This is what kept me going the five years it took me to sell my first book and it will keep you going, too.
Thank you for being a guest on The Borrowed Book today, Margaret. We hope to have you back when the next book in your series releases. Margaret invites all her followers to visit her at her website www.margaretbrownley.com and look for her on Facebook and Twitter