A Kiss Before Dawn author, Laurie Salzler, tagged me as part of the “The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.” The blog hop project is designed to introduce readers to writers and their work. I will be answering questions about one of my books and the author I tag will answer about her work in progress (or published work) next Wednesday.
So, here we go...
-What is the working title of your book?
I’m in the very early stages of the next book in the Rainey Bell Thriller series, THE RAINEY SEASON. So early, that there isn’t much I could say about it. When writing these thrillers, sometimes even I’m surprised at how the plot weaves together in the end. I just released OUT ON THE PANHANDLE, published September 28, 2012, so I’ll discuss that one.
-Where did the idea come from for the book?
OUT ON THE PANHANDLE is the second in the Adventures of Decky and Charlie series, following their debut in OUT ON THE SOUND, published in 2010. These characters hold a very special place in my heart, as their story was the first novel I wrote. In OUT ON THE PANHANDLE, the two main characters travel to the Oklahoma Panhandle to attend Charlie’s family reunion. The idea came from genealogy research I had just completed on my wife’s family, where I discovered two of her relatives were captured by the Comanche and then rescued by a posse of family members. I read everything I could find on Comanche captives and decided to write that story, with a bit of a twist. In the novel, the reader is in the present day with Decky and Charlie, but also taken into the past (1870s) with the introduction of a secret manuscript, written by Charlie’s great-grandmother.
-What genre does your book fall under?
General Fiction with lesbian main characters. It’s part romance, part adventure, part historic fiction, with equal parts comedy and drama.
-Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is a tough question. I spent more time on this one than any of the others. I finally settled on Tea` Leoni for “Decky” and Diane Lane for “Charlie.”
-What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Take a North Carolina beach girl and drop her into her girlfriend’s family reunion on the Oklahoma Panhandle, adding a cow chip throwing contest, cow patty bingo, a fundamentalist sister-in-law, and a deeply held family secret.
-What is the longer synopsis of your book?
Decky and Charlie have been together for two years and are attending Charlie’s family reunion out in Beaver, Oklahoma, home of “The World Cow Chip Throwing Championship.” It’s Decky’s first trip to meet the thundering herd that is Charlie’s family. Charlie has six brothers and three sisters, along with numerous nieces and nephews. The sheer numbers are staggering to Decky, but the more pressing matter is Charlie’s refusal to discuss her sexuality with her family. At age 40, Charlie would rather go along as she has, just not talking about it. It doesn’t take long after their arrival at the ranch for Decky to realize Charlie’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” strategy has been declared over and the conversation Charlie has dreaded for years in imminent. It all seems to be going well, until the fundamentalist sister-in-law’s plan to run Charlie out of town becomes clear.
While the modern family drama unfolds, Decky is presented with a manuscript written by Charlie’s great-grandmother in 1905. Decky is an author of historic fiction and a professional genealogist. As a gift for Charlie’s family, Decky has been gathering research for a family history book. She hit a brick wall while investigating Charlie’s ancestor, Meredith Ethridge. Decky asks Charlie’s mother, Louise, about this man. Instead of an answer, Louise gives Decky the manuscript, telling her that she will find the key to the mystery within the aging pages.
While both stories unfold simultaneously, OUT ON THE PANHANDLE elicits tears one moment and sidesplitting laughter the next, on the way to discovering that true love never ends and some things were just meant to be.
-Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I started publishing my novels in August of 2010, as R. E. Bradshaw Books. (It turned out to be a very wise move. J)
-How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
With the time spent on research for this particular book, it took about 4 months to write.
-Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My inspiration is and always will be the amazing woman that said yes to me nearly twenty-six years ago. She is my muse, my best friend, my wife, and without her, I probably would have never written a single book. It just so happens that it was her family’s story that led to the historic fiction part of OUT ON THE PANHANDLE, and of course, she did introduce this NC beach girl to cow chip throwing and cow patty bingo.
-What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There is something for everyone in this book. (Except erotica. There are some sexual situations in the book, just not explicit. If you're looking for a play by play description, I'm not your type of writer. No offense to those that read and write erotica. It just isn't me.)
Take a trip back in time with Merdy and Grace, Horse Child and Thunder Child. I’m betting you won’t soon forget what happened out on the Plains. Witness the clash of two civilizations - the end of a way of life. Even as they were promised the land would remain theirs “as long as the grass grows and the water runs,” the Plains Indians were hunted down and herded onto reservations. A once proud people decimated by war and disease.
A lot of people don’t realize that Oklahoma has been a state for just a little over one hundred years. The musical “Oklahoma!” is centered on the celebration of the Oklahoma and Indian Territories merging to form the state of Oklahoma. Out on the Panhandle touches on the Native American removal to Indian Territory, the hardships they faced, and the treatment afforded them by the likes of General William Tecumseh Sherman, after his scourging of the South. The novel also explores the life faced by the adventurous men and women who pioneered the settlement of the Republic of Texas and the Oklahoma Territory.
See what the readers are saying about Out on the Panhandle: READER REVIEWS.
Next Wednesday check out TOUCH ME GENTLY author D. Jackson Leigh’s blog to find out about her Next Big Thing.
Get info on other novels from R. E. Bradshaw Books www.rebradshawbooks.com