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Thursday, June 6, 2013


Today, I have the pleasure of Andrea Downing as she discusses her truly wonderful love story LOVELAND! 
Thanks so much for being here today, Andi. Your novel sounds terrific and I can't wait to read it!

What did you see, hear or dream that inspired your book?
First of all, Lisa, thanks so much for having me here today.  It’s greatly appreciated.  I guess the answer to your question is that I saw the book—and read it of course—Fortune’s Daughters by Elizabeth Kehoe, which discusses in part the marriage of Clara Jerome, aunt to Winston Churchill—to Morton Frewen.  Frewen was one of the English aristocratic adventurers who ran a cattle company on the Powder River in WY.  This led me to discover that the British aristocracy was greatly involved in the development of the cattle industry out west. Meantime, I had just returned from England to live in NYC, but always had a great love for the west where my family had often vacationed.  So things sort of went from there.

Wow! Sounds like you have lived in some interesting places and have a love of history.

          Which one of your main characters came across strongest to you?

Lady Alex!  As an aristocrat, her role models have been men who are used to having things their own way.  She is craving her independence from this world of men but at the same time emulating them, and she sets out to do just that.  In the 1880s it took a helluva lot of gumption for a woman to make her own life.

Indeed! In many ways, it still does.

          How long did it take you to fall in love with your Hero?

Ohhhh, you know:  half a second! LOL.  I think for Loveland I had to create a man I could love, otherwise I think it wouldn’t have come across as truthful that Lady Alex was willing to give up her independence for this man--Jesse.  I haven’t found a reader yet who doesn’t love Jesse! 

I think it’s a unique ability for authors to be the first to fall in love with characters that, for everyone else, doesn’t yet exist, then our hearts melt all over again when our readers fall in love with them, too.

Did you borrow certain traits for your characters from someone you know personally?  Which ones?

I’m always surprised when someone asks me this; maybe I’m naïve but I think we create characters to fit the story we’re telling and if they happen to have a trait similar to someone we know, well, I’d call it coincidence.  Of course, I guess the converse could be true, that an author sees something in someone they know that fits the profile of the character for the story and they use it.  For me, the only things I may have stolen are habits or mannerisms:  the way a girl flicks her hair back, the way someone picks at their nails or jiggles coins in their pocket.  That sort of thing.  But for Loveland, I created a lot of people I would want to know and have around me:  Jesse is pretty much my ideal man, Cal is the friend I would love to have, Tom is the avuncular older man I’d like to be able to go to.

Is this book a single category or can we expect to see more of your characters in a series?

It’s single category for now, though I’d like to perhaps one day write Cal’s story since I know exactly what happens to him.  And the thought has also crossed my mind that Loveland could have gone on for another couple of hundred pages at least, since I know the end of Alex and Jesse’s story as well.

I always wanted to be just a category writer, but I fall in love with my secondary characters and, like you, know what happens to them. Therefore, I usually have a tendency to go ahead and write that second, third or fourth book.

What is your most difficult “no-no” when you write? (Show vs. tell, dialogue, plot problems, passive voice, etc.)

Dialogue comes to me fairly rapidly and easily but I do have a problem with plotting at times.  I always know the beginning and the ending of a book but getting from one to the other can present problems.  And I’m a pantser so nothing is really plotted out.  I just start writing and hope for the best!

I’m also a pantser, and from most authors I’ve spoken with, this is true of them also. However, I’m learning the plotting part of the process so I don’t write myself into corners and have to backtrack.

When you take a break from writing, what do you do to allow your brain time to regroup?

I try to take exercise, go to the gym or do something that requires standing and moving.  It seems to be on the news almost every night and in every magazine I pick up these days as to just how bad sitting for long periods is for your health.  Since I suffer with AFib, it’s particularly important to me to keep the blood flowing…and make sure it gets to the brain cells!

I’m sorry about your condition, but so glad that you’re on top of it. I hate exercise and with nerve damage in my left leg, have trouble with much of it. I do try to walk and take the stairs whenever I can. Besides, if the blood stops flowing with all that wonderful oxygen, we get sidetracked in our writing anyway.
        In one sentence, tell us what your book is about.

Loveland is about one woman’s battle to become the person she wants to be and marry the man she loves.

        What is your one “guilty” pleasure? 

            Oh, Lisa—I don’t feel guilty about anything that gives me
            pleasure! Thanks again for having me here. Much 
           appreciated! J


    When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men.
    That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...
Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.
    Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?

     As the round-up wound down, the Reps took their stock back to their outfits,
and soon the men were back at headquarters or at the camps. Alex knew
word had more or less got out and found the punchers were gentler now
around her, had a sort of quiet respect for her, and she hated it. She tried to
bully them a bit to show them she was still the same girl, jolly them into
joshing with her as they had before. It was slow work. At the same time,
she yearned to see Jesse, to speak with him, to try to get life back  to the way
it was before the argument at the corral, and before he saw the scars. The
opportunity didn’t present itself. She would see him from a distance some days,
riding with the herd, sitting his horse with that peculiar grace he had, throwing
his lariat out with an ease that reminded her of people on a dock waving their
hankies in farewell.
     Hoping to just be near him, she slid into one of the corrals one evening
to practice her roping. The light was failing and the birds were settling with
their evening calls. Somewhere in the pasture a horse nickered. She sensed Jesse
was there, watching, but she never turned as he stood at the fence. She heard him
climb over and ease up behind her. He took the coiled rope from her in his left
hand and slid his right hand over hers on the swing end, almost forcing her backward
into his arms. She thought of paintings and statues she had seen, imagining his naked
arms now, how the muscles would form them into long oblique curves, how he
probably had soft downy fair hair on his forearms, how his muscle would
slightly bulge as he bent his arm. His voice was soft in her ear, and she
could feel his breath on her neck like a whispered secret.
     “Gentle-like, right to left, right to left to widen the noose, keep your eye on
the post—are you watchin’ where we’re goin’?” He made the throw and pulled
in the rope to tighten the noose. Alex stood there, his hand still entwined with
hers and, for a moment, she wished they could stand like that forever. Then
she took her hand away and faced him. For a second he rested his chin on the top
of her head, then straightened again and went to get the noose off the post while
coiling in the rope.
     She looked up at him in the fading light and saw nothing
but kindness in his face, simplicity and gentleness that was most inviting. A
smile spread across her face as he handed her the coiled rope and sauntered
away, turning once to look back at her before he opened the gate. Emptiness
filled her like a poisoned vapor seeking every corner of her being, and she
stood with the rope in her hand listening to the ring of his spurs as his footsteps



Twitter:  @andidowning


  1. Great interview. I've had Loveland on my TBR list for awhile and hate that I haven't had the chance to read it yet. Jesse sounds like my kind of hero!

    1. Well, thanks so much Lilly. Of course, I can't imagine that Jesse isn't every gal's kind of hero!! I hope you enjoy the book. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Ah, the inspiration we ladies get from paintings and statues :) Nice excerpt. Lovely interview. This title is on my list just as soon as I finish editing. Best of Luck! Barb Bettis

    1. Barb, there's a line in a Brad Paisley song I always think of: "You see a priceless French painting, I see a drunk, naked girl.." Our associations with art are so individual...and so fascinating! Thanks for your good wishes.