Today on my blog, I have the incredible Andrea Downing. She will be discussing her new story, City Boy, Country Heart from the upcoming A Cowboy To Keep Anthology, but first we had a little fun. Andrea was a good sport and answered all kinds of goofy questions. Her sharp wit will make you laugh out loud.
Do you have another job outside of writing?
Yes, that of Mother.
Did you always want to be a writer?
It was interspersed with wanting to be an actress; my first great love is theatre. I did attend American Academy of Dramatic Arts for a summer but life took me in another direction.
What was your journey to become a writer like?
Bumpy with a lot of flat tires. I get very nervous about showing my work to others so it took me quite a while before I actually sent anything to a publisher.
What do you find to be the most difficult challenges in writing?
Getting my ass on the chair. I have a Blue Ribbon in Procrastination.
How do you come up with your ideas for a book? What comes first – the plot or the characters?
Generally, the plot and then the characters start talking to me, whispering little sweet somethings.
Most writers have certain quirks or rituals when they write – my must haves are endless cups of coffee, my dog by my feet and complete silence. What are some of yours?
I do like silence but I wrote my first published book, Loveland, while the kitchen was being remodeled so I can’t say it’s an absolute must. For someone who is basically a quirky person, I haven’t any writing quirks, though I do like a view to daydream by, and I don’t like anyone near me really—so I can’t write on planes or buses or whatever.
What does your writing den look like?
Here at the house, I use my dining table because it has a better view than the desk in the office/tv room. Then there’s the time I’m in Wyoming with a splendid view of the Tetons…if I stretch a bit!
What genre do you prefer? And have you written in any other genres?
I can’t seem to escape the West, though the first book I completed (now in my cupboard at over 600 pages!) was a Georgian romance of the Peninsula War. Still, since then, it’s been all western romance pretty much, although Dances of the Heart I actually consider Women’s Lit/Romance.
How many stories have you had published?
2 full length novels, 2 novellas, and now City Boy, Country Heart is the 3rd story in an anthology. I guess that makes 7!
What is one of your favorite stories you’ve written or had published? Please give a brief description of the work.
Oh, come on, that’s like asking which child you prefer! Loveland, my first published work, still makes me happy though I’d like to both re-write it and continue it as a family saga one day. But Dearest Darling is the story of which I’m most proud—it’s won a ton of awards (to boast!) and I really felt I’d ‘nailed it’ as a mail order bride story. That’s got quite a twist to it, and Loveland incorporated the British in America as ranchers—which was a bit of history I really had to research thoroughly.
What is your current work in progress about? Or do you have an idea for a future novel?
I’ve semi-started a non-romance book, and have a number of ideas for more western romances. Let me just get through my daughter’s wedding first please!!!!
Out of all the books you’ve written, published or not, who were your favorite characters and why?
I’m in love with all my cowboys. Who wouldn’t be—not a bad one in the lot!!
How do you come up with your titles?
By imagination! Loveland had another title I’ll use at some stage but the publisher’s editor rejected; the others just popped into my head, either very quickly like Dearest Darling, or after some consideration, like City Boy, Country Heart.
If one of your books were to be made into a movie who would you cast as your main characters? And why?
Now that is really tough!! I have a very clear idea of what Jesse in Loveland looks like and no one comes to mind, but I’ll accept Scott Eastwood for almost any of the men characters in my books!
Do you have any words of advice for a new writer?
Don’t be afraid to submit and keep at it—you’ll get there!
What would be something a reader would be surprised to learn about you?
That I lived most of my life in the U.K.?
Do you have any pets? And if so, do they help you write?
No pets, sorry. We had horses for a while but not now…. Dogs gratefully accepted folks….
Who are a few of your favorite authors? Or the title of the most cherished book you’ve read?
Too many to mention! A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving always come to mind because I think it’s one of the most perfectly rounded novels I’ve ever read.
What are some of the things you enjoy when not writing?
I love traveling, particularly road trips—the open road definitely calls to me—especially if the route takes me west!
When it comes to food or deserts, name at least one of your guilty pleasures.
Chocolate, what else?
Who is your favorite actor or actress?
I really don’t have any, but I’ll see most things with Morgan Freeman in them, as well as Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford. Yes, I am that old….
What is your most favorite movie?
I’m a sucker for The Blind Side—it just reaffirms my faith in mankind.
City Boy, Country Heart Blurb:
Rodeo star and rancher Chay Ridgway has left Wyoming to follow his girlfriend, K.C. Daniels, to New York. Leaving behind all he knows for a small bite of the Big Apple, Chay discovers the canyons of city streets may be too claustrophobic for this cowboy, especially when the trauma is compounded by the fact K.C.’s parents dislike him, their housemate is a harridan, friends are few, and the only job he can get is rounding up dinner plates.
As K.C. continues her two years of study for her Master’s degree, can she also continue to keep a rein on Chay’s heart? Will this cowboy become a city boy, or will the wide-open spaces of Wyoming call his country heart home?
City Boy, Country Heart Excerpt:
“Chay.” K.C. knew this late at night, the thought of starting a long discussion about anything was not on his cards.
He turned to head for the bathroom.
“Chay,” she repeated. “My parents want us to go for dinner Saturday night, the night you’re off.”
He turned in the bathroom doorway, shirt hanging open, belt undone, his arms up either side of the door frame as if he were supporting it. “Us or you?” he asked before twisting toward the sink. To the silence he repeated, “Us or you, K.C.?” He squeezed some paste on his toothbrush and raised it to his mouth before peering back at her over his shoulder.
She sat still, silent, the papers in her lap.
“They asked you, didn’t they, and you said you’d only go if they had me as well, didn’t you?”
“We’re a couple! They have no right. And it’s time you got used to being part of the family, and they got used to you being a part of me.”
“I don’t have to get used to ‘being a part of the family.’ I’m not going to be a part of your family; we’re not going to be living here. At least I’m not.”
“Chay. If…if we stay together, you…have to see them, have to put up with them, at least on some occasions.” She paused. “You know darn well they’ll visit us in Wyoming.”
Chay ignored her for a bit, the brush at his teeth. Spit hit the sink as if he were ridding his mouth of the taste of K.C.’s parents. He grabbed a towel and gave his face a peremptory wipe before throwing down the toothbrush, stripping off his shirt and confronting her. “We will stay together. I hope. But that doesn’t mean I have to like your parents, and it doesn’t mean you can’t go see them without me. There’s no point in shoving me in their face if they are so antagonistic to the thought of us being a couple. Go see them, K.C., give them my regards.”
She watched for a moment as he stepped out of his jeans and yanked his socks off. “Will you go for Thanksgiving and Christmas?”
He looked at her, a crooked smile just turning up his mouth, his eyes glinting. “Are you going to cook a turkey?”
“Then I’ll go. If I’m really, truly invited. I’ll go. Now will you go on your own, on Saturday?”
“I’ll go on my own, but not on Saturday when it’s your day off. I’ll phone her tomorrow and arrange another evening.”
Chay slipped into bed and slid the papers she was holding out of her hands. “That’s my girl,” he whispered as he moved in for a kiss. “That’s my girl.”
Andrea Downing Bio:
A native New Yorker who has spent most of her life drinking tea in the U.K., Andrea Downing now gets her coffee from Zabars in New York or drinks Jackson Hole Coffee in Wyoming. Her background in publishing and English Language teaching has transferred into fiction writing, and her love of horses, ranches, and rodeo is reflected in award-winning and best-selling historical and contemporary western romances.
WEBSITE AND BLOG: http://andreadowning.com
Twitter: @andidowning https://twitter.com/AndiDowning
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Downing/e/B008MQ0NXS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0