Thank you, Kat, for inviting me to your blog.
Peggy, please tell us what inspired you to write book one,Yellowstone Heart Song of the series?
Well, here’s the story….
Yellowstone Heart Song was born on a lone stretch of Interstate 5, heading home from a trip to Yellowstone National Park in 2009. I had asked my very good friend to take a week-long camping trip with me since my husband was committed that summer to lead a boy scout troop on a backpacking trip into the High Sierras. My husband didn’t take me very seriously at first when I told him of my plans to go to Yellowstone on my own; just me and another woman who had very minimal experience in camping. That made me even more determined to prove him wrong, and off we went. It was a great trip for Diana and me, I proved that I was capable of pitching a tent and starting a campfire and even cooking a meal over it, and that two women could go hiking without getting lost or eaten by bears.
My blog: http://peggylhenderson.blogspot.com/
Driving through the Utah desert on a thousand mile road trip, the mind has a lot of time to wander. Although the published story has some changes in it, the original concept remains the same from when it first took shape in my mind. I’ve never thought about writing a book of any sort, but I had been reading romance, especially western and early American historical, for many years. When this story popped into my head, it came as a complete surprise to me. I didn’t think much of it over the next months, but the idea always stuck with me in the back of my mind. I kept searching for books, hoping to find something that had been published that was similar to what I had in my head, so I could read it. No luck.
The following year, on another trip to Wonderland (with husband and children along this time), I took greater notice of all the places in the park that were part of that story in my head. The day after we got home, I sat down to write. It just wouldn’t let me go. I told no one what I was doing. The thought of letting anyone else see what I wrote was laughable.
A year later, I had a finished story. Well, a story anyways. Now what? I checked around the internet and found a critique partner. I struck gold when Carol Spradling answered my query. She tore through my manuscript with a loaded red pen and fine tooth comb. Months later, she asked me when I would pursue publishing. What?!?! I basically ignored her. She wanted to know what I would write next. Huh??? Okay, I thought. I love Yellowstone, I can’t think of anything else to write, and I loved the interaction with Carol, so why not write a sequel? That’s how Yellowstone Redemption came to be. Carol hated my new hero as much as she loved Daniel in the first book. I told her to trust me, and that he would end up just fine.
After leading her on a merry guessing game through the chapters of that book, I completely surprised her with the ending, and was gung ho to write another. I knew right away I could never duplicate a story like the one in Book 2, and decided to write a hero who was just a nice guy, trying to solve an impossible problem for his leading lady. By now, it became obvious that this was turning into a series, and I wrote a couple of characters into Yellowstone Awakening, who would be my main characters for the fourth book, Yellowstone Dawn. The series has evolved from one stand alone book, to me taking factual events from Yellowstone’s history, and weaving them into my stories. Yellowstone Redemption contains a scene that was inspired by John Colter’s legendary escape from the Blackfoot Indians. Yellowstone Awakening is a fictional account (with true facts sprinkled in) of the creation of the nation’s first national park, and Yellowstone Dawn deals with some of the problems the park encountered in its infancy. The final book in the series, Yellowstone Deception, deals with a more current issue the park has faced.
Here’s the blurb for Yellowstone Heart Song:
Nurse and avid backpacker Aimee Donovan is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. She encounters a patient who tells her he can send her two hundred years into the past to spend three months in the rugged Yellowstone wilderness at the dawn of the mountain man era. The only requirement: she cannot tell anyone that she’s from the future.
How did a white woman suddenly appear in the remote Rocky Mountain wilderness? Trapper Daniel Osborne’s first instinct is to protect this mysterious and unconventional woman from the harsh realities of his mountains. While he fights his growing attraction to her, he is left frustrated by her lies and secrecy.
Daniel shows Aimee a side of Yellowstone she’s never experienced. She is torn between her feelings for him, and exposing a secret that will destroy everything he holds as truth. As her three months come to an end, she is faced with a dilemma: return to her own time, or stay with the man who opened her eyes to a whole new world. When the decision is made for her, both their lives will be changed forever.
Aimee stirred and slowly opened her eyes. One of her rescuers sat a short distance away, staring at her intently. She pulled herself to a sitting position, wincing at the throbbing pain in her ankle.
“Good morning.” She yawned, and rubbed her fingers against the temples of her pounding head. She glanced up as he walked toward her. Aimee drew in a sharp breath. With her first clear look at his face, it became obvious that this man was not an Indian. It was easy to make that mistake in the dark of night. Although white, he could almost pass for an Indian.
Her eyes poured over his clothing and appearance. He wore a dark-colored breechcloth and leather leggings with fringes on the sides. His faded red flannel shirt had been poorly patched in a few places. Several leather pouches were draped around his neck, and over one broad shoulder dangled a powder horn made from the horn of a mountain sheep. A tomahawk and large hunting knife hung from the wide leather belt around his waist. He wore un-decorated leather moccasins. His raven black hair fell to his shoulders, with some unruly strands tumbling over his forehead. Aimee’s eyes moved to his deeply tanned face, his square jaw line shadowed by a day’s growth of stubble, and dark brown eyes that betrayed none of his thoughts as he moved ever closer.
Her pulse quickened as she met and held his hard gaze. She couldn’t help but stare. Those penetrating dark eyes drew her in. She blinked, but couldn’t look away. Dear God, she couldn’t recall ever seeing a painting or drawing of a mountain man that looked like this guy. Images of rough looking, bearded wild men came to mind. The man in front of her was quite simply . . . stunning. The feral, masculine virility he projected took her breath away, leaving her head spinning dizzily, and not from dehydration this time.
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