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A Visit With Western Author Heidi Thomas

I’m pleased to welcome Heidi Thomas here today!

Raised on a ranch in isolated eastern Montana, Heidi Thomas has had a penchant for reading and writing since she was a child. Armed with a degree in journalism from the University of Montana, she worked for the Daily Missoulian newspaper, and has had numerous magazine articles published.

A tidbit of family history, that her grandmother rode steers in rodeos during the 1920s, spurred Heidi to write a novel based on that grandmother’s life.

Cowgirl Dreams is the first in a series about strong, independent Montana Women.

Heidi is a member of Women Writing the West, Skagit Valley Writers League, Skagit Women in Business, and the Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She is an avid reader of all kinds of books, enjoys hiking the Pacific Northwest, where she writes, edits, and teaches memoir and fiction writing classes.

What do you like best about Western romances?

It was a simpler time, a simpler, more down-to-earth lifestyle. Because of that and because I’ve written a book geared toward Young Adult (as well as adult) readers, I was able to keep my romance sweet and not get into graphic details.

Tell us about your latest release.

Cowgirl Dreams is a novel based on my grandmother who rode steers in Montana rodeos during the 1920s. It is a story of overcoming societal stigma in participating in a man’s sport, wearing men’s clothing in public, and defying family. It is a story of persistence in pursuing a dream, which is a theme that is as much alive today as it was in the 1920s. And it is a sweet love story, based on how my grandparents met and married.

What is the most interesting tidbit you’ve discovered in your research for your books?

The fact that my grandmother rode steers fascinated me throughout my life. She was a petite woman, loved horses, riding, rodeo, and working outdoors. I found that she was not alone in her avocation. The 1920s were the heyday of rodeo for women, and they competed alongside the men on the same rough stock (bucking horses, steers) and in the same arenas—and many did this wearing long, divided skirts. They were courageous, spunky ladies!

What’s your next project in the works?

My sequel, with the working title of Follow the Dream, is with my publisher now. This will be the next segment of Nettie Moser’s story. I’m in the midst of making a decision whether to write a third book in the Nettie series. I already have a draft of the next generation book written (based on my mother who came from Germany after WWII) and a fourth book started, which would be the great granddaughter of my original character. All are stories of strong, independent Montana women. Thanks for having me here, Jennie.

Heidi, I’m so glad you could be with us today!