The historic setting is the terrible winter of 1886-1887, known a century ago as "The Big Die-Off."
Q&A with Carla Kelly
What are three things people might not know about you?
I spent a number of quality years as a seasonal ranger in the National Park Service, plus additional special projects for the NPS. I worked at Fort Laramie National Historic Site, and Fort Union Trading Post NHS. I’d do it again in a minute. Best job I ever had.
I make excellent handcream and sell it. My husband named it Mrs. Kelly’s Novel Hand Cream. I started doing it because that was the only way I could find affordable vetyver hand cream. If you want some, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (P.S. It’s therapy for when I get tired of writing.)
I’m in a select group of folks who have two certificates from the August Golden Dragon, King of the 180th Meridian. It’s an old U.S. Navy and Royal Navy tradition that shellbacks who cross that 180th Meridian in a ship (International Dateline), are subject to any number of inhumane and uncomfortable ceremonies signifying the rite of passage. For Navy dependents, it’s a mild presentation. I got my first one at age 10 months when we sailed to Guam in 1948. By rights I shouldn’t have received a second one, but I never complained when I got a more colorful certificate in 1956, when I crossed again on the way to Japan. I have them framed and they are treasures.
What is your favorite scene in Softly Falling?
I like any scene involving Mr. Wing Li, who runs the Great Wall of China Café in Wisner, Wyoming Territory. He might seem like a throwaway minor character, but he figures largely in the climax of the novel. I have other favorites, too, but to describe them would be to give away some of the story.
If you could be any character from literature, who would it be?
Probably Jean Paget in A Town like Alice. I love that book. Or Sarah, in Sarah, Plain and Tall. She is an adventurous woman, in the context of her times. And I’ve always wanted to be tall.
What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?
Historical fiction is my bag, mostly because history is my bag and my profession. I like the challenge of hanging fictitious characters on a real event, and having people asked me who is real and who is not in the story. This happens all the time, which I find flattering, because it means my novels are seamless, blending fact and fiction until it’s hard to know the difference.
What is your favorite non-writing pastime?
I like to visit friends. I like to soak in hot springs (plenty here in Idaho and nearby Wyoming). I like to read crime fiction.
About the Author
Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America. She is also a recipient of a Whitney Award for Borrowed Light and My Loving Vigil Keeping.