A short and sweet retelling of the beloved Cinderella story set on the Montana prairies.
Life on her brother’s ranch is lonely for Ellie Strickland. Ed’s ungracious manners and tight-fisted habits keep visitors away and his mother and sister close to home. But when Cole Newcomb, son of the wealthiest rancher in the county, meets Ellie by chance, he is struck by an unexpected impulse to rescue her from her solitude—and Ellie’s lonely summer is transformed.
When Cole asks her to go with him to the Fourth of July dance, Ellie is determined that nothing, from an old dress to Ed’s sour temper, will stand in her way. By the time the Fourth of July fireworks go off at midnight, will they herald only more heartache, or maybe—just maybe—a dream come true?
Novella, approximately 21,000 words.
Q&A with Author Elisabeth Foley
What is your favorite scene in Corral Nocturne?
The climax of the story: the aftermath of the dance. I enjoyed writing it the most; it turned out just the way I wanted it, which made me very happy…and it’s just my favorite part of the story.
Do you share any personality traits with Ellie Strickland?
We’re not exactly alike, but we’re both a quieter type of personality. Like Ellie, I tend to be shy in groups of people, especially on first meetings, or if I don’t know anyone very well; but I can talk easily and comfortably with people once I get better acquainted with them.
How much research do you do?
If I’m already familiar with the setting, I usually do some preparatory reading on specific things, events and places that are going to be important to the story. I research smaller things as they crop up along the way, and then my last edit is usually a fact-check just to make sure I got all the details right. For Corral Nocturne, that involved things like confirming the proper terms for parts of a wagon and checking the date that word s like “gramophone” came into circulation.
Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?
Being entirely alone isn’t a requirement (and living in the midst of a family of six, it’s not always feasible!). I do like a reasonably quiet room—I can’t write with busy background noise like a TV or music playing, as some people can.
What is your favorite quote?
“Why is joy not a fit subject for an artist?” – Eugene Manlove Rhodes
In today’s culture, it increasingly seems that the greater proportion of darkness and tragedy in a work, the greater its validation as “serious” art. This quote captures perfectly the attitude I’d like to see revived: themes of joy and happiness and hope in fiction considered equally valuable and worthwhile.
Elisabeth Grace Foley is a historical fiction author, avid reader and lifelong history buff. Her first published story, "Disturbing the Peace," was an honorable mention in the first annual Rope and Wire Western short story competition, and is now collected with six others in her debut short story collection, The Ranch Next Door and Other Stories. Her other works include a series of short historical mysteries, the Mrs. Meade Mysteries; and short fiction set during the American Civil War and the Great Depression. A homeschool graduate, she chose not to attend college in order to pursue self-education and her writing career.
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