Good Morning everyone! I’m excited to welcome Tanya Hanson this morning. We met through a terrific group blog called Petticoats and Pistols, and we found that we had something in common – a love of mail-order bride stories. Tanya’s latest novel , Marrying Minda, was recently released from Wild Rose Press.
Tanya, tell us a bit about yourself!
A Southern California native, I live on the coast with my firefighter husband, a real-life hero in every sense. He spent his career fighting wildfires and last year fought the battle of his life against testicular cancer. He kicked its ass and is now cancer-free. Ladies, get your men to do monthly TSE?s. (testicular self-exams). Checking their balls can save their life. He thought it was a hernia!
Our son and daughter selected spouses we adore, and now with our two-year old grandson in the world, life is pretty perfect. My career as a high school English teacher helped me hone my own writing skills, and my love of Happily Ever After combined with my interest in the Old West helps me create historical romances set in the 1880?s.
Why do you write Westerns?
I write Westerns because I love the time period. It?s full of strong women, wide open spaces, self-reliance, and well, hottie guys like my hero Brixton Haynes. Charlene Sands who writes for Harlequin Historicals has been a great influence. I also enjoy the authors featured at the all-Western blog, Petticoats and Pistols, where I am a featured permanent blogger every other Wednesday. Also I find Linda Lael Miller and Diana Palmer to be absolutely classic.
How did your latest book come about?
Interestingly, Marrying Minda came about during a writing group of non-romance authors, a bunch of gals who got together after we met at a workshop at the local college. Two are poets, one?s a memoirist, another wrote unpleasantly dark fiction, so it was fascinating to see what we all wrote and where we got our ideas.
I have always loved mail-order bride stories. The idea of a couple who agrees to be together but has never met, and then has to work it out in real life speaks out to me. I guess because nowadays, couples don?t even consider marriage until they?ve dated, usually for years, and many times have lived together. Then it takes a year to plan the wedding!
I love the journey of a couple falling in love. So I threw in the snafu of the bride marrying a man other than the one she signed up for –a man who definitely doesn?t want to be married.
Marrying Minda placed first in two recent fiction contests, ?Merritt Magic Moment Contest? at San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA), and ?Ignite the Flame? Contest sponsored by the Central Ohio Fiction Writers, and is presently a best-seller at The Wild Rose Press. So I have been thrilled beyond belief with this story.
What are you working on now?
I just submitted the second of the Paradise Brides series, Marrying Mattie. And I?m working on an entry for the Hearts Crossing contest for the White Rose inspirational line. I?m Westernizing it a whole lot LOL, as the contest starts out with a ?bible??a synopsis you have to use while filling in some given blanks. I met an agent at RWA in Fan Francisco last summer who encouraged me to write Old West inspirationals, so I thought this might be a fun opportunity.
And another wip, Outlaw Bride, is a finalist in the Romance Through the Ages Contest sponsored by the RWA special interest group, Hearts through History. When horse thief Jessy Belle Perkins survives her own hanging, she tries to outrun her big bad outlaw brother by hiding out as a nun?all the while falling for the handsome rancher/former Cavalry scout who saved her.
Here’s an excerpt of Marrying Minda:
Night fell soft and silent, and the snuffles of Norman Dale?s livestock comforted Brixton with memories of the trail. Lord, he couldn?t wait to get back.
Habit had him walk quiet as he could from the barn to the house. Even the tiniest noise sparked stampedes on the trail, so his footsteps were cautious wherever he went.
At the back porch, he set down Minda?s valises and paused to peek in the back window. Her lush curves swayed beneath the simple dress as she readied the children for bed, and he couldn?t fill his vision fast enough. The memory of her soft sweet cheek brushed his fingertips once more, and his heart raced and his groin throbbed. It was the heartbeat he didn?t like; a man desiring a beautiful woman was just what a man did. But a galloping heart might mean a man felt something deep inside.
Even worse, night after night alone on the trail, he?d keep seeing her shining hair sweep across little Ned?s shoulders while she kissed the top of the lad?s head. So he pulled out his flask and drank deeper. It was too much like having a family of his own, something he swore he never needed. Suddenly he missed his brother more than he?d missed anything.
Until this minute, he had never felt shy about coming through this door without a knock. His wife?s current disposition gave him pause, but he had goods to deliver and damn, the kids just might like one of his good-night songs. His tongue clicked. Truth to tell, his bride would think him nothing but a rowdy bridegroom wanting a tumble between the sheets. Already she?d tried to disgrace him by letting a room at the boardinghouse just for herself.
Another long hard swig consoled his throat as it emptied his flask. Damn woman.
Thanks for being with us today, Tanya! You can get your copy of Marrying Minda from the Wild Rose Press bookstore or from Tanya’s website, below.