Please welcome Author Andrea Downing who talks about her New release –Dances of the Heart. I asked how she was feeling?
I’m excited and shaking at the same time. Two days ago, Feb. 4th, my 4th book came out: Dances of the Heart—but it’s my first contemporary novel. Like my previous historical romances, it does take place predominantly out west, this time in Texas, but it’s very different from anything I’ve ever written before.
I was brought up on Long Island, New York, on a diet of television westerns. I constantly envisioned myself as riding across the plains with The Virginian, being a sidekick to Smith and Jones, or ranching out on The High Chaparral or in Nevada at The Ponderosa. In my head, I put myself in various stories, which eventually translated into my writing. For some reason, all that went out the window when, carried on the winds of Beatlemania, I moved to Britain to do my M.A. But I’m back now, and I know the west is my true love…even if I can’t live there year round.
So how, after three historical western romances, did I get to write women’s fiction with a strong romance element that moves between my home state of New York and Texas? Basically, it evolved from wanting to learn the Texas Two-Step. Two-Step translated in my brain into two couples, and, as a mother with a close relationship to her then-twenty-something daughter, the what-ifs began. What if we each fell for a father and son? What about Texas? I’ve never been to Hill Country…isn’t that where Luckenbach is? (That from a country song by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson) Then there was the military aspect, brought on by so much talk about Iraq and Afghanistan, the men lost there, the families affected and so on.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch—er, apartment—my ‘mother’character had to be a strong foil against a hard-drinking Texas rancher, but also had to work at something she could basically do anywhere, to give her mobility. The answer was in front of my nose, though I make no aspirations or claims to be anywhere near as successful as Carrie Bennett in my book. I do know the areas in which she lives, however. As for her daughter, Paige, my own daughter went to University of Pennsylvania as an undergrad so, knowing the university area of Philly fairly well, that was a good choice. And so it went…and Dances of the Heart came out of all that. I just hope I got it right!
Thanks, Susan, for letting me share these thoughts with y’all. I think the themes of Dances of the Heart will connect with people wherever they live.
DANCES OF THE HEART
Author: Andrea Downing
Genre: contemporary women’s fiction/romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Blurb: Successful, workaholic author Carrie Bennett lives through her writing, but can’t succeed at writing a man into her life. Furthermore, her equally successful but cynical daughter, Paige, proves inconsolable after the death of her fiancé.
Hard-drinking rancher Ray Ryder can find humor in just about anything—except the loss of his oldest son. His younger son, Jake, recently returned from Iraq, now keeps a secret that could shatter his deceased brother’s good name.
On one sultry night in Texas, relationships blossom when the four meet, starting a series of events that move from the dancehalls of Hill Country to the beach parties of East Hampton, and from the penthouses of New York to the backstreets of a Mexican border town. But the hurts of the past are hard to leave behind, especially when old adversaries threaten the fragile ties that bind family to family…and lover to lover.
Excerpt: Ray pointed to his pickup, smirking slightly with the knowledge of what her reaction would probably be.
“You must be joking.”
He could hardly hear the mumbled comment, but it was exactly what he’d been expecting.
She glowered, a brow definitively arched in query. “What year is this thing?”
He attempted to wipe the amusement away from his face with a hand that rubbed his stubble in a satisfying scrape. “Sorry, I left the Cadillac at home this time.” A raised brow questioned if she took him seriously. “It’s an ’89, and still runs as smooth as the day I got it.”
“Which was, what? Last year?”
Ray shook his head and proceeded to the passenger door. “You have the key, sweetheart,” he said, patiently standing and waiting.
“Listen!” Carrie put her hands out as if to stop any further conversation. “First off, I am not your sweetheart. And second, if by any chance you think you just may have gotten lucky tonight–”
“Whoa, whoa now.” Ray was truly mystified at the turn events were taking. “Not that I wouldn’t be honored and damn well pleased, but I sure as heck wasn’t thinkin’ along those lines…and truth be told, you know, I’m hardly up to it.” He considered this for a second, a fog clearing for a moment’s view of the road. “And I don’t mean I need Viagra either.” He noted her staring at the key as if it might turn into something else. “No, it doesn’t open automatically,” he informed her at last.
She shoved the key into the handle and got the door open, climbed up into the cab and reached across to unlock the door for him. Her gaze ran over the dashboard, uncertainty scrunching her face like a bitter fruit.
Ray folded himself into the passenger seat and slouched back, tipping his hat over his eyes. “Just let me know when you give up. I’ll be right here, darl…” Yeah, better not. He could almost feel her indignation, listening as she squirmed around and adjusted the seat.
“It’ll be a cold day in hell, mister, before I give up!” The key turned and the truck sputtered to life, then died again.
“You ever drive manual before?” he mumbled from under his Stetson, and sensed Carrie eyeing him. “That’s what I thought,” he answered to her lack of response. “Put your foot on the clutch, move her into first, release the brake, and get goin’, slowly releasing the clutch.”
“Who the hell drives stick shift anymore?” she muttered as she followed his terse instructions. The truck lurched forward as she spun it off the grass toward the road.
“Right,” Ray directed, feeling suddenly nauseous with the pitch of the car. Bile rising, he opened the door and spat before yanking it shut again. “Can you get the damn thing into second? Foot on the clutch, move the shift and let’s go if we’re going.”
“Fine! You don’t have to yell at me.”
Ray sat up, shoved his hat back from his eyes and glared at her, reining in his frustration and anger. “I was not yelling at you, but you know dang well we’d be far safer with me drivin’. As it is, I’m gonna need a new transmission.”
The truck staggered again. “I know no such thing.” She bent forward to swipe at the windscreen to clear it. “We haven’t got seatbelts on,” she murmured.
“We’re not going fast enough to need them.”
Carrie ignored his last remark and appeared to concentrate on keeping the truck moving. It sputtered again, and Ray let out a sigh of resignation just as flashing blue lights appeared in the side mirror. She pulled over, and the motor unceremoniously died.
“Damn!” she cursed, reaching down for her bag at Ray’s feet. “Let me get my license.”
Links to Social Media:
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
Buy Links: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dances-Heart-Andrea-Downing-ebook/dp/B00S46BGY6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421510959&sr=8-2&keywords=Dances+of+the+Heart
The Wild Rose Press: http://www.wildrosepub: http://www.amazon.com/Dances-Heart-Andrea-Downing-ebook/dp/B00S46BGY6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421510959&sr=8-2&keywords=Dances+of+the+Heartlishing.com/maincatalog_v151/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=195&products_id=6060
Tags: Andrea Downing, Texas, New York City, East Hampton, Hill Country, writers, ranchers, military, loss