How Do You Decide What to Write Next?
Sometimes, I have to look at what's due. What have I promised to my editor? My fans? Is anything on pre-order? Once I've met obligations, and it's literally just ME picking what happens next, I choose the story that's most impatient to get out. I have those. Stories that are on my mind, with the plot and characters doing circles from the back of my brain to the forefront, over and over until I take notice of them. That's how I decide. Which story is taking up the most of my mental bandwith? That's the one that has to get out next!
Do you like character bios? I always have, and they're pretty essential for me to create as an author. Today, I'm sharing the heroine for my next western/Victorian novel: Evelyn Lyon, Countess Tyneham. At least, that's her name for about half the book. Then she becomes Mrs. Evelyn Morgan, wife to our favorite foreman, "Frosty."
Evelyn is so much fun to write. She's my third heroine who starts her novel as a widow - but she's the first one who isn't all that sad about it. She's too busy surviving to mourn a man who didn't hold her in very high regard. I've loved writing about her as a love interest because she has so much going on in her head and emotions, so much to worry about, with a daughter as dependent on Evelyn making good choices as Evelyn is.
Karen Gillan (ugh, typo in the graphic - sorry!) is Scottish. My heroine is not. But Karen has that copper-haired, playful beauty that I picture as I write Evelyn.
This book is different from the first of my westerns because, this time, we have a woman who is used to the stylish life of English High Society suddenly dropped in the desert, amid coyotes and cowboys, and expected to learn how to do everything a prairie wife has to accomplish every day. While caring for three children and coming to know the near-stranger she married.
Evelyn has a lot of pluck, though. She's determined to make the best of things. And if that cowboy she married wants to flirt with her, he can go on ahead and flirt! She'll just keep on guarding her heart. At least. She'll try. ;-)
She has a hard road to travel. Her mother brought Evelyn up to believe that her only asset is her beauty and her only value is that of a pretty wife on the arm of an important man. Before long, Evelyn discovers what her mother taught her may not be the only way to claim a place in the hearts of others.
Copper for the Countess is the second book in the Hearts of Arizona Western/Victorian romances. It's available for pre-order now and will be released in September.
It will not surprise you in the least that most of them have an element of romance in them...
Let's talk Western movies! What are some of your favorites? I have so many that it is hard to choose but I managed to narrow it down to five.
(1) Westward the Women - it's an older film about a wagon train of women going west to be brides. They have a LOT of problems on the way. But it's ultimately about the strength of a group of women relying on each other to make the journey. And yeah. There's a love story.
(2) The Magnificent Seven (original version) with Yule Brenner (the King of Siam in the musical The King and I) as the main morally gray hero. Love him. I really wish Hollywood would've let him be a romantic lead more often. He's VERY intense, in a swoony way.
(3 & 4) Tie of two musicals. Calamity Jane (Doris Day is amazing and hilarious in this one) and The Harvey Girls (Judy Garland stars in this romance!) - I LOVE Musicals. Can't get enough of them.
5) I also LOVE The Mask of Zorro. Don't know if that counts as a western. It should. I grew up watching the black and white film with Tyrone Powell in the lead part, and this reboot of the story made me fall in love with Antonio Bandaras.
Have you seen any of my favorites? What are some of yours?
Kevin McGarry is one of my favorite Hallmark movie actors...
...And so I have cast him (mentally) as Chris "Frosty" Morgan, the next Sally Britton hero y'all will be meeting. If all goes according to plan. (Manuscript is with my editor right now!) Isn't he something else? If you're a fan of Hallmark movies and TV shows, you've seen him before. I only knew him from his work on the show When Calls the Heart, but I've since gone looking for him in other places. (Autumn Stables is a super cute Hallmark romance you can rent on Amazon, btw.)
Kevin McGarry is the perfect Frosty, the hero of my second western novel, Copper for the Countess.
Here's why. In Silver Dollar Duke, readers met Frosty alongside my hero, Evan. Frosty is the foreman of KB Ranch, and he's also a man of few words. Most of the time. He's a good guy. He smiles a bit crookedly when amused. He's easy-going, so long as you get the work done before you play. He's a gentleman, too. He'd never leave a lady to fend for herself, and he minds his manners. Describe as tall and slim, with dark hair, and ice-blue eyes, he's a working man and believes a good day is a day in which the job gets done right.
In my new western, we're back on KB Ranch land, and Frosty is just starting to wonder if there's more to life than cattle. That's when the news comes that his best friend from childhood, his cousin, has passed away. Leaving two children orphans and in Frosty's guardianship.
Frosty's never had much of a problem with rounding up cattle and cowboys alike, but children? He's a bit like a duck in the desert--lost. (Fact: There are a lot of ducks native to Arizona. But you get the idea.)
I love cowboys. There's something about a man in denim, a hat, plaid, and a good pair of boots that makes me happy. I think learning that my husband spent a couple of summers working on a ranch increased the appeal, back when we were dating.
Frosty has a pretty interesting backstory, but I'm always at odds with how much to share, since some of it isn't so "sweet." He found himself in a pretty bad situation during his first years as a cowboy.
I've based Frosty's story on my own family history. I'll be sure to share more when it's not so spoiler-y. (Probably on my Facebook Group, Sally's Sweet Romance Fans.)
What do you think? Are you looking forward to Frosty's book?
Never fear, Regency-only readers. I have two Regency novels coming up in just a few months. And a whole host of Regency plans.
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Sally Britton's books on Goodreads
His Bluestocking Bride (Branches of Love #3)
ratings: 1062 (avg rating 4.21)
The Earl and His Lady (Branches of Love #4)
ratings: 1008 (avg rating 4.36)
The Gentleman Physician (Branches of Love #2)
ratings: 680 (avg rating 4.20)
The Social Tutor (Branches of Love #1)
ratings: 656 (avg rating 4.11)
Miss Devon's Choice (Branches of Love #5)
ratings: 517 (avg rating 4.45)