First, a blurb about the book:
She's been living in a desert all her life. Suddenly she's come upon an oasis. But is it just a mirage?
Brooke Marie Baker, eighteen, has been sent west as a mail-order bride. As the stage nears Greer's Ferry, where she is to meet the man she's pledged to marry, she tries to swallow the lump of nervousness in her throat. Can it be any worse than living with Uncle Jackson...or Hank? she wonders. All men are the same, aren't they? But with her parents and sister dead, she has no choice.
Sky Jordan, a rancher, holds a single yellow daisy in his hand as he watches the ferry cross the river. Ever since he'd found out his surly cousin, Jason, had sent for a mail-order bride, his mind and heart had been ill at ease. No woman deserves to be left with the likes of Jason. But now he questions his own plans to claim the bride for himself. Why am I drawn to this woman I don't even know?
Rocky Mountain Oasis is Book One in Lynnette's The Shepherd's Heart series.
Jeannie: Tell me a bit about what got you into writing. Readers always love hearing about an author’s journey.
Lynnette: I always loved to read. And after awhile I started having stories of my own floating around in my head. Writing is something I’ve toyed with for a long time. But I didn’t seriously start writing until about 1999.
The oasis is a desert metaphor prominent in Brooke’s life as she thinks about her history with men and how different Sky is from them. What made you choose this metaphor?
I think there are many women today who may feel a little like they’ve been living a dry, parched life. I want them to know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Not all of them can have a nice guy like Sky. But all of them can have the relationship with Jesus that Brooke finds in the book.
What is it about a marriage that brings the hero and heroine prematurely and permanently together early in the book that just touches a chord with women? If this happened in real life, we wouldn’t have such warm fuzzies. Why do you think it’s different when reading about it?
Romance is all about the happy ending. I think we all know how hard that situation would be in real life – so the happy ending is all the more fulfilling when it comes about.
For someone with such a battered past as Brooke, it’s not any wonder that she found trusting Sky hard to do. What primary method did you choose for Sky to win her trust and why?
Sky had to show her he was trustworthy through kindness and patients. She wasn’t going to believe him until she experienced safety and True Love for the first time in her life. I chose that method, because I honestly think it would be the only one that would work in that situation.
It’s said that Christian marriages have 3 partners: the husband, the wife and the Lord. But in Sky’s marriage, there is another partner: Brooke’s baggage. How hard was it writing Sky’s perspective as he dealt the fourth party in his relationship?
I don’t think it was any harder than writing the other scenes in the book. In a sense we all bring some baggage into our relationships.
Brooke suffers from terrible nightmares about her past. These are bad enough to effect how she views her present. In effect, she has post-traumatic stress disorder. Did you know anything about this disorder when you were writing?
No. I’d heard of it. But had no firsthand experience with it. I just tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who had been treated in that way and imagine how that might affect Brooke and her relationships with others.
What kind of research did you do on the effects of opium withdrawal?
I did most of that research online. There is so much information available online now. It is wonderful for writers. If you are typing a scene and you don’t know what the symptoms of opium withdrawal are, within 5 minutes you can have your answer.
Usually there is only one salvation experience in fiction books. What was behind your decision to include two?
I didn’t originally intend to redeem Jason. But as the story unfolded I just fell in love with him. And I knew I couldn’t leave him wallowing in his misery. He is the hero in the second book in The Shepherd’s Heart series, High Desert Haven.
Where did you find And Five Were Hanged: And Other Historical Short Stories of Pierce and the Oro Fino Mining District by Layne Gellner Spencer from which you based your book?
I lived in the town of Pierce, the setting of the book. That book was in our local library. The history of Pierce (previously known as Pierce City) was so interesting that a story begged to be told.
I want to add a note of thanks to Jeannie for allowing me to be here today. I’d also like to give away one e-copy of Rocky Mountain Oasis to a winner drawn randomly from this post's commenters. The winner will be announced next Wednesday the 9th of September.
Big congratulations to Lynnette for her book release and thanks for being on my blog. You can find Lynnette's book at Amazon or CBD.com.