As I scan the shelves of my local used bookstore, Edward McKay's, I have to walk down to the "G" shelf and search for any books from one of my favorite authors.
Sharon Gillenwater is a talented author who has broken my heart and comforted me through her characters. My favorite series of hers to read is the Callahan series. It all started with Jenna's Cowboy! From there I was hooked. I have all three books in the series and absolutely refuse to get rid of them (even if I have read them each twice).
I was positively thrilled when Mrs. Gillenwater agreed to do an interview with me. In fact, I could barely contain my excitement. Here's what this wonderful lady had to say...
Me: Of all the books you've written, which was your favorite and why?
SG: That’s a hard one! But I have a couple that are very special to me. Because my husband has PTSD from Viet Nam, Jenna’s Cowboy is the book of my heart. Not only did it bring some healing to both of us, I’ve received numerous letters from veterans’ spouses or other family members thanking me for helping them understand a bit of what their loved one was going through. And that has been a tremendous blessing.
Another favorite is Yours Truly because it is set in my Texas hometown. As a major railroad hub on the Texas and Pacific Railroad in the 1880’s, Colorado City has a wonderful history. It was a unique combination of wild west cowtown and settlers wanting a civilized community. Somehow, they made it work—at one point with twenty-eight saloons and four churches according to local legend. I’d done research on the town and area for years and had a blast including it in the story.
Me: Do you work from an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
SG: I’ve tried all three. On my first several books, I outlined meticulously, with every detail of the plot as well as very thorough character descriptions. I once sent my editor a forty-two page synopsis! Gradually, I shifted to less detailed outlines, plotting, and characterizations. That gives more of an opportunity to let the characters lead the story but still keeps it somewhat on track.
With my current w-i-p, I tried just seeing where the idea takes me. It’s been interesting. In one way it’s more freeing—the story flew along for a hundred pages. Then it came to a screeching halt, and I’m trying to figure out where to go next. I’ve also written some scenes out of order and shuffled things around, which I’ve never done before. That feels a little strange. So I’m not sure how well this pantster writing style is going to work out for me.
Me: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
SG: I’m drawing a blank on this one. There are too many good books to choose from.
Me: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
SG: Visit our son and his family, read, or try to track down ancestors on Ancestry.com. Watch TV with my husband or take off in our travel trailer with him.
Me: What inspired you to write your first book?
SG: It was a combination of a visit to England and Scotland and discovering Regency romances. All those country houses, castles, and lords and ladies...
Me: Can you tell us something about yourself that isn't on your website or blog?
SG: I love historical research, whether it’s for a book or learning about my (or my husband’s) ancestors. I can get lost in it for days at a time. My dream is to compile a book of family history and visit all the places they lived.
Me: Can you share what you're working on now and how you came up with the concept for it?
SG: I’m working on a book for Gideon Steel, who was a secondary character in Texas Tender in the Buckley, Texas series. The ideas for my books usually start when a scene with the hero or heroine or both pops into my head. Then I try to figure out who they are and what their story is. I already knew who Gideon was—a six foot five, handsome, wealthy rancher—but I’d struggled to come up with his story. Then a scene popped into my head with him all dressed up for a wedding, standing on the church steps with a cell phone pressed against his ear, and the bride hovering in the background inside the church. The bad news—Gideon’s cousin, the groom, has changed his mind and isn’t coming. The good news—Gideon is already halfway in love with Kylie Beth and decides to win her heart. This will be the first book in a new indie series, though I haven’t settled on a book title or series title yet. Hopefully, it will release this summer.
I don't know about y'all, but I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of that new book! -AJ
For more information on this talented author, go visit her website today. Or, click on any of the above pictures to download her books!