Cassandra Dean: Congratulations on the release of A MIDWEST SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM! Would you tell us a little about it?
Thanks so much Cassandra! I’m excited that Book Strand released it last April. It’s a Western historical with a nod to one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
CD: What inspired you to write A MIDWEST SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM?
Westerns were some of my favorite shows while growing up – Bonanza, The Rifleman, The Virginian and The Lone Ranger. A few years ago, I read about Jim Bridger, a mountain man who explored the Wild West before much of it was settled. Though illiterate, he loved Shakespeare and recited passages in mining camps and to Native American tribes. Many stories have already been written about Jim Bridger, but the notion of a mountain man loving Shakespeare stayed with me. So I created Jebediah Greene, who’s also a tribute to one of my ancestors, Peter LeVert, who was a fur trapper in the 1800s. Greene is the Anglicized version of his last name, and was my grandmother’s maiden name.
CD: Oh wow, that’s so cool! What do you find easiest/most difficult about writing Westerns historicals?
The answer to both is – the research. I’m a bit of a research addict, and can get carried away with it. I absolutely love it, and I love bringing history to life with vibrant characters and unusual settings. But writing historicals in general is a bit more difficult than other genres because the details must be accurate and authentic to give the right atmosphere. Oh yeah, and a hot cowboy is fun to write, lol.
CD: Yes, Hot Cowboys are fun to write! You write lots of different genres. How do you juggle them all?
Hm, maybe it also goes back to my childhood. In addition to Westerns, I also was a huge fan of shows like The Monkees and Dark Shadows, so it seems natural for me to write contemporaries and paranormal/fantasies.
Any story idea that hits me hard enough to make me excited, I simply follow it to see where it goes. Sometimes it crosses genres, sometimes mashes them. I don’t think of stories as any particular genre while writing. I just aim to make the story as good as I can!
CD: Do you have plans to write a book in any genre you haven’t written in before?
I’d love to write a steampunk story! I have a vague idea in mind for one but it’s way down on the currently overcrowded WIP list, lol.
CD: Ah, the overcrowded WIP list. I know it well 🙂 What is your writing process?
It depends on the story. Sometimes just a name will spark a story to build around it. Usually I do begin with a vague plot in mind, and sometimes I will create a draft outline, but I’m mostly a pantser and let the characters lead me where they will. They’re very stubborn when I resist!
CD: What do you believe to be the most important factor in portraying a believable romantic relationship?
For me, the characters have to feel real, and readers have to care about them. Oh wait, that’s two, sorry. 🙂 But they’re equal in importance.
CD: No probs, Cate! What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My Dad always told me, Stop dreaming your life away. Excellent advice as far as real life goes, but for writing, it definitely comes in handy, lol.
CD: What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
To keep writing. Simple but true, because the more you write, the better you write.
CD: Totally agree with that! Who is your greatest writing influence?
Oh, a toughie. I don’t think I could pinpoint any one writer. I love so many, and the list keeps growing all the time.
CD: What do you enjoy reading?
Pretty much anything. I have three bookcases in my house overloaded with poetry books, short story anthologies, literary, fantasy, sci-fi, stories of magic and real life, you name it. Which also explains my eclectic writing!
CD: What’s your favourite television show? Favourite movie?
I’m usually not big on television, but Grimm has me absolutely hooked. It’s the one show I make a point to watch, though at this writing it’s in between seasons and I’m waiting eagerly for the new one to begin.
Movie, wow – I can’t pick only one. It changes as new movies are released, lol. The one that put me in awe in the past few years was Avatar – the theme, the world-building, the characters, the premise kept me intrigued long after I stopped watching, so I’d watch again later. (But no, I wasn’t one of those people who wanted to live in that world.) 🙂
CD: If you were stranded in the wild, wild West, what three things would you wish were with you?
Ha! Oh, what a great question. A horse would be a must-have, I suppose (I’ve always wanted one!). I absolutely hate guns, but I imagine those would also be handy. And I’d have to have a multi-talented cowboy like Jeb, who’s intelligent, resourceful, multilingual, and easy on the eyes!
CD: Where can readers find you?
They can catch up to me here:
My Blog ~ Blog for readers ~ Facebook ~ Google+ ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads
Open sky, Shakespeare, solitude. All Jebediah Greene needs. Alone since his teens, he’s never known loneliness, until he leaves Winona Young in California. Worse, he fears she’ll trap herself in a loveless marriage of convenience. After acting as her guide to San Francisco, how far will Jeb go to win her heart?
Reading provides escape for Winona Young. Usually. Fleeing Philadelphia, she learns her distant suitor isn’t who he seemed. Neither is her mountain man guide, in a good way. Intelligent, but mule-headed, Jeb’s impossible to speak to, in any language. Winona falls in love with the stunning beauty of the wilderness, with the simple ways of the Osage people, and with Jeb. But books can’t teach her how to tame a mountain man.
Curses flew through Jeb’s head all day, but he cut them off before they reached his tongue. Stubborn woman. She’d cornered him like a fox in a hen house. Her chances were slim, but not impossible.
The mere thought of riding beside her, wind rifling through her hair… Oh, what a pickle. He sure could use the cash, but the strain of avoiding her might do him in. He’d have to ride upwind so as not to catch her lilac scent, or the constant erection hitting the saddle might kill him.
When she approached him that night as he relaxed on the porch swing, her sheepish expression said it all. “No luck?”
“Not yet. But I’ll find one soon. When I do, will you be my guide?”
Time to try a different tack. “What makes you think I’m trustworthy? I might be the kind of man who takes advantage of a lady in such a situation.”
“You are trustworthy. Mrs. Wilson said so. I have implicit faith in her good opinion of you.”
Why had he introduced the two women? Dealing with a single woman didn’t present a problem, not usually, but get two or more together, and damned if trouble didn’t brew in the kitchen right along with the coffee.
At his silence, she folded her arms, and stole glances at him. Never a good sign. He could see the spokes of her brain working behind those dark eyes.
“Perhaps you don’t have the gumption necessary for such an assignment.” She tilted her head, exposing her gracefully arched neck.
His mouth watered, longing to taste it. A laugh burst from him. “Gumption?” He scratched his chin. “Or perhaps my foresight is keener than yours, Miss Young. Do you have any idea what such a trip entails?”
“If you’re worried I can’t keep up with you—”
“You can’t keep up, you can’t pitch in. You can’t even cook, can you?”
She glanced away. “Well, I—”
“If I shoot a rabbit for dinner, how would you prepare it?”
She winced. “A rabbit?”
“A saddle can get mighty uncomfortable after an hour. What would you do after three hours? Or five?” The image of her rubbing her sore rear stirred him. Mighty tempting to offer to rub it for her. His voice cracked as he said, “If you want to be in San Francisco sooner than the coach, we’d have to make good time. Six, seven, maybe eight hours’ riding every day. And if we get caught in a storm, or held up somehow, we’d have to make up the time.”
Her jaw set hard, her lips pressed into a thin line.
“I’m sorry, Miss Young. You are not cut out for that kind of hardship.” Nor was he built to resist such temptation, the kind that carried a long-term sentence. Not that he wouldn’t enjoy carrying it out; yes, just thinking of sharing a bedroll with her heated his insides and turned his brain to mush. Another strike against such a trip; he might lead them in circles, staring at her rather than the path ahead.
She stepped closer, her eyes ablaze. “You think I don’t know hardship? You’re wrong, Mr. Greene. No, not the kind you face in your travels. I would think those hardships would be easier to bear than…” She looked away with glazed eyes. “Forgive me.”
Her sudden fury gave him pause, and aroused his curiosity. She had mettle in her bones, a steel reserve of strength in her sinewy frame. He had no doubt she’d experienced something terrible, terrible enough to make her leave her home. Her stubbornness might fade in the face of the long trail.
“I mean no disrespect.”
“Your kind never do.”
“Ma’am, believe it or not, I am not ignorant of the rules of civilization. I am well able to prevent myself from committing social blunders.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be unkind. My nerves have been on edge since we left Philadelphia. A woman traveling alone can’t take too many precautions.”
“I don’t expect you’d encounter many willing to take up the challenge of threatening you, ma’am.” He regretted his words when he saw how she flinched under their sting. He wished her no harm, but everything she said provoked him in some way.
I’ll give an ebook of A Midwest Summer Night’s Dream to a commenter who shares what they love most about Westerns. Please leave your email address so I can contact you.
Thanks so much for having me as a guest, Cassandra! It’s been a pleasure.
CD: Thanks for stopping by, Cate! Make sure you check out A MIDWEST SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, peeps!
Cate Masters has made beautiful central Pennsylvania her home for the past 20 years, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart.
Most days, she can be found in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with her cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company.
Look for her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com, and in strange nooks and far-flung corners of the web.
# The small print: Comment before midnight on 20 January 2013 (Australian Central Standard Time) to be entered to win an ebook of A Midwest Summer Night’s Dream by Cate Masters. Winner will be selected via random.org, with winner’s name posted on this blog within three days of the close of the giveaway. Cate will also contact the winner by e-mail; the winner will be required to reply with their postal address so Cate can send the prize to them.
Only one entry per ISP address. Entrants must be over 18 years of age. By entering, you agree Cassandra and Cate can use your name when announcing the winner if you should win. If potential prize winner forfeits or does not claim the prize, prize will be re-awarded, in Sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. International entries are welcome. No purchase necessary to enter. Odds of winning depend on number of entries received. Void where prohibited by law.