Thursday, October 04, 2007
The Bounty Hunter and the Bride by Vickie McDonough
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Vickie McDonough is an
award-winning inspirational romance author. She has written four Heartsong Presents novels and five novellas. Her second Heartsong book, Spinning Out of Control, placed in the Top Ten Favorite Historical Romance category in Heartsong’s 2006 annual contest. Her stories have also placed first in several prestigious contests, such as the ACFW Noble Theme, the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest, and the Texas Gold contest. She has also written books reviews for over five years and enjoys mentoring new writers. Vickie is a wife of thirty-one years, mother to four sons, and a new grandma. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, gardening, watching movies, and traveling.
She loves getting mail from readers, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit her website at www.vickiemcdonough.com
Why did you become a writer? Was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
Honestly, I never once dreamed of becoming a writer. For years I’d prayed for a home business, but never about writing. I’ve always been an avid reader, especially since I discovered Christian fiction over twenty years ago.
The way I became a writer is that a story started going through my mind and wouldn’t go away. I was getting about five hours sleep a night because this story kept playing in my head. I thought if I wrote it down, then maybe it would go away and leave me alone. I wrote that whole book as it came gushing out. Right on its heal came another book. By now I’m wondering if God is trying to get my attention. I started praying and felt He was leading me into writing—a field I knew next to nothing about. I started studying the craft of writing, taking classes at the local community college, and joining writers groups, both locally and online. I started writing in January, 2006, after three of my four boys were already grown, but it’s God timing, and that’s what’s important.
What do you love about being an author?
I love all the friends I’ve made through writing. A whole new world has opened up to me.
Is there anything you dislike?
Two things—marketing—and don’t laugh—writing. Writing isn’t a passion to me, it’s a discipline. I love the brainstorming and thinking up news stories, but the writing part is hard work. I do love it once I’m in the zone and the writing is flowing. It’s just amazing to see God bring a story out of someone who never expected to be a writer.
How do you balance your personal and writing time?
This is tough at times, especially when a deadline is looming. I try to do my writing stuff during the day when my husband is at work and my youngest son is at school.
How do you write?
I usually write sitting in my recliner using my laptop. It’s networked to our main computer so I have access to any files I need. I normally write a long scene or chapter each writing session.
Do your characters come to you first or the plot or the world of the story?
It varies. Sometimes I’ll get a character in mind and write his/her story. Other times, I’ll get a plot idea and create characters to work in that plot. One time I even got a title idea and wrote a book to fit the title. That was The Bounty Hunter and the Bride.
What genre(s) do you write?
I mostly write historicals set in the late 1800s. I have books set in Oklahoma , Texas , Virginia , Ireland , Arizona , and am working on a set in North Dakota .
Why do you write the stories that you write?
As a kid, I grew up watching the westerns of the late sixties and early seventies. Cowboys have always been my heroes, and as a kid I loved any story about a horse. I love reading historicals set during the late 19th century.
What is the biggest misconception about being an author?
Probably that you make a lot of money writing. People don’t realize how much time is involved in writing a book. Besides just the writing of the initial story, there’s rereading, layering, proofing, selling your book to a publisher, copy edits, marketing, book signings, and many more steps that take a book from an initial idea to the completed stage. If you figured out how much money you make per hour, if wouldn’t be a lot.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
My characters are mostly made up, but they may have a characteristic of someone I know. My husband jingles coins in his pocket sometimes when he’s nervous, so I gave that quirk to one of my heroes, and it fit him well.
Out of all the characters that you've written, who is your favorite and why?
Ooo, that’s a toughie. I guess I’d have to say my favorite character so far in Dusty McIntyre from The Bounty Hunter and the Bride. He’s a sheriff who turns bounty hunter when an outlaw escapes from Dusty’s jail and burns down his house, killing Dusty’s wife. Hurting and mad, Dusty gives up his badge, determined to hunt down that outlaw. Dusty is one of those tough, hurting heroes that I love to read about.
If you were writing a script for the big screen, who would you want to act in your movie?
It would really depend on which book you’re talking about, since the characters are different in each one. I guess if I had to pick one actor I base my characters on it would be a young Harrison Ford, about the age he was in the Indiana Jones movies. He’s easy on the eyes, smart, tough, and has a quirky sense of humor.
What would you want readers to take away from your books?
I want to entertain readers—to take them out of their world for a while and into the one I created, but I also want to encourage them that no matter what they are going through, God can help them. My writing motto is: to entertain and inspire
Do you have any advice for beginning writers in regards to writing a book?
Finish the book before you try to market it. Most publishers won’t look at an unpublished writer unless the book is complete. Join local or online writers groups that can help you better learn the craft of writing and how to make contacts in the writing field. Also, attend writing conferences, especially ones geared toward the genre you are writing. And keep at it. Writing is a slow process, but you can reap great rewards if you keep on keeping on.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading a very suspenseful book by one of my critique partners. It’s a Love Inspired Suspense called Vanished by Margaret Daley. It’s the story of a sheriff’s young daughter who suddenly disappears.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
This is the second book in the Oklahoma historical series. The first in the series was Sooner or Later and the third one is A Wealth Beyond Riches.
For over a year, sheriff-turned-bounty hunter, Dusty McIntyre, has been hunting for the outlaw who killed his wife. When his attempt to capture his prey results in a pregnant young widow getting injured and her home destroyed, Dusty feels obligated to help her. But the spitfire widow wants nothing to do with the man who she says is the source of all her problems. Can the two come to an amicable truce long enough for Dusty to get the widow to her family?
Spring 1903, Sanders Creek, Oklahoma
“You oughta be right proud of yourself.”
City Marshal Dusty McIntyre’s chest swelled at Deputy Tom Barker’s comment. Then he heaved a sigh of relief, knowing the crafty swindler he’d been after for months was finally behind bars. He eyed the solemn prisoner in the cell. “I have to admit, there were days I wondered if we’d ever catch this weasel. Feels good to have him locked up.”
Ed Sloane’s eyes narrowed as he peered through the bars. “Just ’cause you got me locked up today, Marshal, doesn’t mean you will tomorrow.” One cheek kicked upward in a cocky sneer.
Dusty wanted to smack that belligerent look off Sloane’s face, but he wouldn’t. As a law officer, he was bound by a different code than the man in his jail, and as a Christian, he was called by God to walk a straight path and control his temper. He looked at Ed Sloane and recognized him for what he was—a lost man. A man on the road to hell if he didn’t change his ways real fast.
Sloane stuck his hands between two bars. “Think you could take these cuffs off now that you got me safe in your jail?”
Dusty didn’t miss the sarcasm that laced his prisoner’s voice. The man still didn’t seem to realize he’d been caught. Much as he’d like to leave Sloane handcuffed, he crossed the room, his boots echoing on the wood floor. He pulled a warm metal key from his shirt pocket, but then stopped and glanced at Tom. “If he tries anything, shoot him.”
Tom pressed his lips together and nodded as he pulled his pistol from his holster and pointed it Sloan’s direction. “Be happy to.”
Dusty approached the cell with caution. Ed Sloane was slipperier than a greased hog at the county fair. A chill slipped up Dusty’s spine when an evil glint flashed in the man’s light blue eyes. What could bring a man to be so depraved that he would prey on the elderly and widows, stealing them blind and leaving them penniless and heartbroken?
With a few rattles and clicks, the handcuffs were off, and Dusty moved back. Sloane gave a guttural laugh that sounded like a snarling, wounded animal. Shaking his head, Dusty crossed the room to his desk and tossed down the key. Tom picked it up, stuck it in the desk drawer, and then holstered his weapon.
“Don’t you reckon you oughta head home to supper and tell that fine wife of yours all about your exceptional day?” Tom grinned, and his thick moustache twitched. “If she’s fixin’ that rhubarb pie of hers, you might save me a slice—if you’ve a mind to. Mmm mmm, it’s mighty fine.”
“I may do just that.” Dusty smiled at his deputy. Tom had been his best friend since school days, and it seemed natural to hire him as his assistant when Dusty’s father retired as City Marshal of Sanders Creek, Oklahoma, and Dusty took over. Most of the time he worked days and Tom evenings, but lately they’d both been pulling twenty-four hour shifts as their search for Sloane narrowed. They’d gone from house to house, ranch to ranch, searching for Sloane and his gang. His trail resembled that of a cyclone, leaving in its wake a debris path of desperation and destruction. Now that Dusty had captured Sloane, it shouldn’t be too hard to get the rest of his gang.
Dusty’s belly grumbled, and he yawned. All he wanted was to eat one of Emily’s fine meals, give her some lovin’, then hit the hay and sleep a full day and night.
Except for Sloane and the havoc he and his gang had caused lately, this past year had been the best Dusty could remember. First, he’d given his heart to God. Then five months ago, he’d fallen in love and married the new banker’s daughter.
He longed to run fingers through Emily’s thick auburn hair. Soft as a horse’s muzzle, but as sweet smelling as the rose bushes in front of their porch. He imagined her pine green eyes twinkling with merriment as she played one of her little pranks on him. An only child, Dusty couldn’t wait until they had a houseful of children. Emily would be a wonderful mother, and he could only hope he’d be a decent father. God would help him in that area.
Ah, yes, life was good.
A cowboy on a bay horse rode past at a quick trot, slinging dust on him and yanking him from his thoughts. Frantic shouts at the end of the street chased away his warm feelings, and a snake of apprehension slithered down his spine. Looking around, he noticed men running and women with skirts lifted high hurrying around the corner up ahead. He picked up his pace and jogged to the end of Main Street, then turned onto Haskell Avenue. Two blocks down, he saw the source of everyone’s anxiety. Thick smoke billowed in the air from one of the houses. His heart thudded to a stop just as his feet did.
He narrowed his eyes and studied the scene. Men ran everywhere, using anything from hats to mixing bowls to dip in the nearby horse troughs and get water to throw onto the fire. It looked like one of his neighbors’ houses was engulfed in flames, but the billowing smoke was so thick, he couldn’t determine which one it was.
Dusty charged forward, fearing for his friends. Was it old man Harper and his sickly wife’s home? Or maybe the two-story clapboard building that housed a pair of widowed sisters who had recently been victims of Ed Sloane? They sure didn’t need any more trouble.
Dusty’s legs propelled him closer. As the roof collapsed on the only blue house in the area, he felt as if he’d been speared by an Indian’s lance. Realization dawned like a heavy, dark curtain being lifted on a stage of performers. Only this was no theatrical show. This was his life. His home.
Dusty raced forward, screaming for his wife. “E–Emily! Emily!”
Heads turned his way, and shoulders drooped. Dusty didn’t want to read the expressions in those faces covered with black soot. Strong arms pulled him back just as he reached his porch. His face stung from the heat of the flames, and he fought his captors but wasn’t strong enough to outmaneuver four big men.
He turned his face away from the scene, feeling the heat bleeding through his shirt onto his back. Across the street from the flaming remains of his house, a group of women stood with handkerchiefs in front of their faces. Sympathetic eyes stared back.
No! This couldn’t be happening. Everything he owned was in that house. Dusty backed out of his friends’ hold and ran to Harmon Styles, a neighbor who lived around the corner. “Have you seen Emily? I need to make sure she’s okay.”
Harmon’s concerned gaze darted toward the man standing next to him. Pastor Phillips reached out his hand to Dusty’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, son. We tried hard to save her.”
A fog enveloped Dusty’s head, making it hard to see and comprehend. “What? Just tell me where she is.” He looked right, then left. Nowhere did he see his beloved’s face.
“E–Emily!” Choking on the swirling smoke, he dropped to his knees. Where was she? His tired mind struggled to remember if this was the day she’d gone to her sewing circle. No, that was Tuesday. This was Wednesday.
"Vickie McDonough has a wonderful way with characters and certainly knows how to keep readers turning the pages. I finished this book in one sitting because I didn’t want to put it down! Dusty and Katie are flawed characters—the kind I love. It’s wonderful to be reminded that, even in our weakness and with the mistakes that we make, God is able to redeem our lives. I couldn’t help but thinking of 1 John 3:20 when I read Dusty’s story. Even “if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.” (NKJV) ...Even if you have to go through a little extra effort to obtain a copy, The Bounty Hunter and the Bride is such an enjoyable read that I promise you won’t regret it."
-- Sheryl Root, Titletrakk.com
"Vickie McDonough keeps the action flowing in this historical romance. From beginning to satisfying ending, this book was chock full of conflict, strong characters and snappy dialogue. The setting, Oklahoma in the early 1900s, was realistically depicted.
Although the inspirational message can be seen in almost every chapter, it was delivered simply and without being preachy."
-- Lacy J. Williams, www.armchairinterviews.com
The Bounty Hunter and the Bride by Vickie McDonough
Publisher: Heartsong Presents
Release Date: June 2007
Genre: Historical Fiction
$2.97 from HeartsongPresents.com
Purchase The Bounty Hunter and the Bride by Vickie McDonough HERE!!!