An Interview with Lee Savino author of the hot new western title:
Even though I have read your books, can you tell my friends about your newest release?
- Sure! Rocky Mountain Dawn is the first in the Rocky Mountain Brides series. It stars Esther, a 22 year old woman and the oldest of 10 children, who’s turning down all her marriage proposals because she feels her life is meant for something more than being the wife of a Maine farmer. She writes to the American Mission Board, requesting a missionary post out West. A few months later, Johnathan Shepherd turns up on her doorstep. He wants to be a missionary, but the Board thinks he should take a wife, so he goes to meet Esther to see if she will suit.
- The book is based a real life couple who met the same way in 1837. :D
And are you working on anything right now? Will you sneak and tell me about it? I won’t tell anyone if you do…
- I’m writing the third book in the series, Rocky Mountain Rose. The heroine is a redhead who works as a dancer in a saloon. She’s pretty feisty! She fights every chance she can. Very different than Esther, or any other character I’ve written.
So what inspires you?
- This series came about when I thought about writing a book for Blushing. I was reading a book about real mail order brides, and the stories were so inspiring, I started imagining what sort of woman would leave the home she knows and travel across the country to marry a man she’s never met. Thousands of women did this, especially widows after the Civil War. During the Gold Rush, ninety thousand men rushed across the country to seek their fortune, and there were very few women. There were actual publications dedicated to the advertisements of men and women seeking a partner. That really got my juices flowing.
- Usually it’s a picture in my head, or a phrase. My first book, Raven and Wolf, came about from one sentence, and ended up being a 300 page paranormal romance set in 9th century Norway. I won a grant to research in Norway and everything. So I think I start with a snippet and then start researching things that interest me, trying to create a world to fit the picture or phrase into.
What were the challenges you faced (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing your latest book to life?
- I think, as a writer, there’s always some self doubt. Sometimes I wish I was a better writer so I could really capture the depth of feeling my characters have. But the only way to get better is to write more! Fortunately, my characters are very nice to me. They want their stories told, one way or another. J
- I’ve been doing research on the Wild West, but probably not as much as I should. The point of my books isn’t to talk about the intensity of the Gold Rush, the fortunes made and lost, the atrocities against Native Americans and the four million Americans in slavery, or the Civil War ripping the nation apart. Those things were on peoples mind and should shape the narrative of what I’m writing, but I don’t want to write that stuff! I want to write sexy men chasing women and then catching them for a smooch. I hope the readers forgive me for staying focused on the lover’s lines.
What books have influenced your writing most?
- For my life, every book I’ve ever read has shaped my life. Recently, the romances novels of Kristen Ashley for the emotional archs of her heroines, Stephen King’s “On Writing”, and
- For this series, “Hearts West: the true story of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier” and “The Best Of Covered Wagon Women”—both include real narratives of pioneer women. There’s another book I can’t wait to start called “One Thousand White Women” about an Indian chief who requests white brides so his people won’t die out. It’s a fictionalized story
Esther Richardson longs to live a life of meaning, and settling for a hometown suitor simply won't do. Instead, she writes to the American Mission Board requesting a post in the West. A single woman of twenty-three, she's shocked when a tall stranger arrives at her door. Sent by the Board, Johnathan Shepherd needs a wife to take West, and he's here to see if Esther will fit the bill.
Will her new, firm husband and the hard journey West break Esther's spirit, or give her the adventure she's always wanted?