MK: Your Yellowstone Romance Series involves a lot of love, a bit of time travel and some wilderness adventure. How did these elements come together for you?
PH: I am a true romantic at heart. For me, it’s all about the love story. With Yellowstone Heart Song, I wanted to write a female character with the thoughts, experiences, and attitudes of a modern woman, meeting a man from the past, someone completely familiar with survival in a primitive world. The wilderness is obviously the backdrop for the stories. For Yellowstone Redemption, I switched it around – modern man meets woman from the past, and I “borrowed” and modified an actual event from history for one of Chase’s wilderness adventures.
For Books 3 and 4 (Yellowstone Awakening and Yellowstone Dawn), the time travel element is missing, but the other two elements are definitely present. For the final book in the series, Yellowstone Deception, I’m sending two modern people to the past for their love story in a primitive wilderness.
MK: Why Yellowstone Park?
PH: That’s easy. Yellowstone is my favorite place. The natural wonders of the area, the animals, the history, it is all awe-inspiring. My family and I visit every summer, and each time, there are new things to see and discover, new experiences to be had. I get asked a lot if we don’t get bored going to the same place year after year. The answer is a loud and resounding NO. Anyone who thinks Yellowstone can be seen and experienced in a weekend trip, or even an entire week will never experience the park to its fullest. Instead of driving the loop, visiting Old Faithful and some of the other major attractions, take a day, and go for a hike. You’ll be amazed what it will do to rekindle your connection to the natural world.
Of course, Yellowstone was not yet a national park in the first two books of my series. In fact, very few white men even knew of the existence of such a spectacular place. Book 3, Yellowstone Awakening, deals with the movement that got the government involved in setting aside the area “as a pleasuring ground for the enjoyment of the people.” Yellowstone is America’s – in fact, the world’s – first national park, and has inspired countries to set aside their own national treasures for preservation.
MK: I agree that Yellowstone does have a wonderful history. So tell us, what is your favorite scene in the book, Yellowstone Heart Song?
PH: My favorite scene happens after Daniel Osborne rescues Aimee Donovan from two other fur trappers. During this scene, both of them see a turning point in their relationship. Daniel realizes that he can’t give Aimee up (until this point he’s been adamant about getting her out of the wilderness), and Aimee knows she can’t fight her feelings for Daniel any longer. Her agreement with the person who sent her to the past was that she would spend three months in the past, so she’s known from the beginning she will return to the future. Her mind set begins to change, and she wonders if she couldn’t remain in the past with Daniel.
MK: Do you have a favorite character you’ve written? Who and why?
PH: Chase Russell has got to be my favorite character. He started out as such a flawed character, my critique partner had some serious doubts about him when she read my earliest chapters in Yellowstone Redemption. He’s a typical cocky, modern jock and frat boy, but underneath that lays a vulnerable side where he’s consumed with self-doubt because important people in his past left for one reason or another. But because he was so flawed, he had immense room to grow and shine, and he really comes through in the end. He pretty much took on a life of his own when I wrote him. Some of the things that came out of his mouth, and some of his actions, all to trip up his leading lady…. I had to really rein him in a couple of times. He’s much more toned down in the final book than he was in some of my earlier drafts. He was just a lot of fun to write.
MK: Without giving it all away, please tell us a little something about how Chase Russell is going to get through his biggest challenges in Yellowstone Redemption.
PH: Chase Russell had his moments of glory as a football star in modern times, when he had someone push him to be the best he could be, and motivate him. His father left when he was still young, and his mother never urged him to be successful. When the one person who believed in him, his coach and mentor, passed away, Chase lost his drive, and fell in with the wrong crowd. When he ends up in the past, he continues on his path of self-doubt. He is completely out of his element, and the one person who believes in him, despite his failures, is Sarah Osborne. Chase has to re-learn to dig deep within himself to overcome all the challenges he has to face in order to survive in the wilderness, and Sarah becomes his motivating/driving force.
MK: What has been your greatest challenge in writing these stories?
PH: Time management. There just never seems to be enough time to write as much as I’d like to. Now that I’m published, social networking comes into play as well. As far as the stories themselves, the greatest challenges is keeping things believable, and trying to put myself in my character’s shoes. Given the situations I put them in, do they react realistically? I also had a really hard time getting into the head of a person from the past who had to come to the future. Trying to see modern things through his eyes was very challenging to write.
MK: How do you unwind after a long writing session?
PH: I go to bed. I work graveyard, so when I come home from work in the morning, I get the kids off to school, tend to my multitude of critters, then sit down to write for a few hours. That actually relaxes me after work. To unwind from the writing, I head off to bed to do it all over again the next day.
MK: Sounds like a great way to unwind to me! Please tell us what you have in store next for your readers?
PH: Yellowstone Awakening, Book 3 in the series, (which just released on March 1st) deals loosely with the creation of Yellowstone National Park. I took a different approach with this book than I did with the first two. I’m still exploring different characters, and after writing a flawed male lead in Book 2, I thought I’d do the opposite with Book 3, and write a man who was basically content with his life, other than the fact that, in his mind, he lived in his father’s shadow. Of course, his life gets thrown into turmoil when he meets the heroine, and he has a couple of problems to solve before they can have their HEA.
I’m currently writing Book 4, Yellowstone Dawn. I took two supporting characters from Book 3, and gave them their own story in this book. I’m continuing my experimentation with characters and not-so-mainstream situations in this story.
Finally, Book 5 is in the plotting/planning stages, and will re-introduce a couple of characters that made an appearance in Book 1. I’m writing this book (working title Yellowstone Deception) because of several reader requests for these characters to get their own story. This will probably be my final full-length novel in this series. I do have a short novella planned, as a prequel to the entire series.
After that? I’ll continue to write historical western romance, maybe some more time travel. I’ve got several ideas floating around in my mind.
The series sounds wonderful Peggy and you've even appealed to a reader (yes, me) who doesn't normally read time-travel books. Thank you for joining us today!
For all you readers out there...want a free book?
Yellowstone Heartsong is free through Amazon on 3/15 and 3/16. Just click on the link: http://www.amazon.com/Yellowstone-Heart-Romance-Series-ebook/dp/B006SS09A4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331661255&sr=8-1
The Book: Yellowstone Heart Song
Book 1 in the Yellowstone Romance Series
Nurse and avid backpacker Aimee Donovan is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. She encounters a patient who tells her he can send her two hundred years into the past to spend three months in the rugged Yellowstone wilderness at the dawn of the mountain man era. The only requirement: she cannot tell anyone that she’s from the future.
How did a white woman suddenly appear in the remote Rocky Mountain wilderness? Trapper Daniel Osborne’s first instinct is to protect this mysterious and unconventional woman from the harsh realities of his mountains. While he fights his growing attraction to her, he is left frustrated by her lies and secrecy.
Daniel shows Aimee a side of Yellowstone she’s never experienced. She is torn between her feelings for him, and exposing a secret that will destroy everything he holds as truth. As her three months come to an end, she is faced with a dilemma: return to her own time, or stay with the man who opened her eyes to a whole new world. When the decision is made for her, both their lives will be changed forever.
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/peggylhenderson
Follow Peggy on twitter: @ynpdreamer