I set 3 blogging goals for this year, with one being to step out of my reading comfort zone. Of all of the New Year’s resolutions I’ve set, I finally found one that I could keep! This year I’ve read several new-to-me authors and even ventured into a few new genres.
One such literary adventure came in April when I was introduced, through twitter, to Indie author Heather Blanton. Heather has written several Christian Western, including the Romance in the Rockies series. I had the pleasure of reviewing A Lady In Defiance (Romance In The Rockies: Book One) right here on Christian Shelf-Esteem.
With the release of A Promise In Defiance (Romance In The Rockies: Book Three) just days away, I’ve invited Heather Blanton to the blog so you can make her acquaintance. Please join me in extending a warm welcome — Hello, Heather!
Getting to Know You:
Tell us about Heather Blanton! We’d love to get to know you more. If you want, please include something silly or funny you’d like us to know about you.
I’m funny. At least people seem to laugh a lot around me. Saaaay…they are laughing with me, aren’t they?
Aside from that, I’m a closet (old generation) Trekkie. (Picard who?) I’ll fight you over the last piece of pizza, and I do not have a coffee addiction. Nope. Not me. Just don’t ask me why I’m holding a steaming mug on a hot Southern day. Did I mention I can be random?
What inspired you to become a novelist, and did you always want to write?
I remember sticking a “press pass” in my hat and running around interviewing make-believe celebrities like Freddy, Daphne, Betty, and Veronica. I wrote my first story when I was 5. I dictated it and Momma typed it. She took some editorial liberties, as I recall, and I’m still fuming over a few of her word choices some forty-plus years later. Yeah, I said forty.
On a serious note, when my sister died in 1999 from breast cancer, I started writing as a way to deal with my grief. Suzy is the inspiration for my character of Hannah in the Defiance books.
What has been the most surprising aspect to becoming a published novelist?
The people who think I’m, like, famous. Really? I sit around on my ever-widening hiney and type out to the voices in my head. I’m personable and very interactive with people on Facebook and a few of them act like they’re really talking to some big-wig. Sometimes I want to say, “Uh, hey, I think you’ve got me confused with Francine Rivers.”
Heather, I may have readers who have not met you online. What would you like for my readers to know about you?
I like most people.
I’m a lot like the disciple Peter—I can get confrontational in a heartbeat but thankfully Christ gets the better of me most of the time.
I don’t like rude behavior in a man; won’t tolerate it.
I’m politically incorrect—I mean, a Christian.
What spiritual lessons did you apply to your own life while you wrote this manuscript?
Book 3 has a tough message, I won’t sugarcoat it. Too many of us Believers want to get mad at God when our road gets hard. A lot of the time, we’re unwilling to accept that our own choices have made things hard, not God. He forgives us, he wipes away our sins, but often the consequences remain. Only now, as Believers, we should have the strength to stand in Defiance (pardon the pun) of those consequences knowing they won’t overtake us. We are overcomers!
In the Foreword of A Lady in Defiance you mentioned that your sister Suzy was the inspiration for the character Hannah. How much of yourself do you write into your characters?
Funny story there. As I said, I started A Lady in Defiance as a way to deal with my sister’s death. I started writing a story about three sisters lost in the Rockies. Now, I’ve heard it said that 90% of authors base their first character on themselves and I started Naomi that way. The weird thing was, as the story came together and characters interacted, SHE took over. Naomi became someone apart from me—truly her own character. If I wasn’t a writer, that would be weird.
Your next book A Promise in Defiance comes out on June 22nd. What can you tell us about it?
This one is making me nervous. A main character is killed. Talk about a gamble. Most of the feedback has been extremely positive, but one beta reader had a flippin’ duck fit. After way too many emails back-and-forth regarding her anxiety, she finally asked, “Why did you kill [that character]?” I have an answer. Every single book I’ve ever written starts with one scene. One. From that scene, a novel is born. That one scene is like a dandelion and the seeds just start floating around in my head. All I can say is I don’t question. God gives me the scene. I take it and try to run with it.
Here’s the blurb—
CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES…EVEN FOR THE REDEEMED.
When Charles McIntyre founded Defiance, he was more than happy to rule in hell rather than serve in heaven. But things have changed. Now, he has faith, a new wife…and a ten-year-old half-breed son. Infamous madam Delilah Goodnight wants to take it all away from him. How can he protect his kingdom and his loved ones from her schemes without falling back on his past? How does he fight evil if not with evil?
Logan Tillane carries a Bible in his hand, wears a gun on his hip, and fights for lost souls any way he can. Newly arrived in Defiance, he has trouble, though, telling saints from sinners. The challenge only worsens when Delilah flings open the doors to the scandalous Crystal Chandelier. She and the new preacher have opposite plans for the town. One wants to save it, one wants to lead it straight to hell.
For Tillane and McIntyre, finding redemption was a long, hard road. God’s grace has washed away their sins, but the consequences remain and God will not be mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap…and the harvest is finally at hand.
Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?
http://amzn.to/1Zz9fV5 the link to A Promise in Defiance
I’m chatty, so come along for a talk!
http://ladiesindefiance.com/ my blog
Many readers enjoy picking their favorite quotes from novels. Do you have a particular favorite quote from your recent novel that you can share with us?
“Smith, I know I fouled up. I reckon I’m about the worst witness for Jesus you’ve ever seen, but who I am doesn’t change who God is.”
How important do you think cover art is in attracting readers?
I’ve had books that floundered until I re-did the cover and then they hit the charts. So my experience is that people DO judge a book by the cover! First, I had to find a designer whose style spoke to me. That turned out to be Tamara Leigh’s designer, Ravven. Her use of color is so dramatic and mood-setting. I give her fairly detailed descriptions of my characters, as well as a decade/time period. For A Promise in Defiance, it was important to have a pretty gal who looked more “racy” than the previous cover, and I wanted a Bible and a gun in my preacher’s hands. My covers are rich with hints!
Do you ever wake up at night and have to write a scene?
No, that would be too easy. Roll over, grab a pen and paper and write. I’m usually in the shower and forget the brilliant idea before I get out. Or I’m driving down the road begging Siri to open the dictation app. A request to which she usually says something snarky like, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you with that request right now.” But I do a lot of writing in the car, sometimes in the parking lot at Food Lion.
How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?
I thought for the longest time I wanted to be a traditionally published author. I mean, since the time I was knee-high to a grasshopper. In 2012, I thought my dream had come true. My book, A Lady in Defiance, had made it all the way to the fabled “Contract Meeting” at the biggest Christian fiction publisher in the world. The meeting where they hammer out your offer … or pass. They passed. I was crushed. God was still in control. My book went on to sell over 8000 copies that year and, to date, has sold nearly 40,000 copies. No publisher. No Pr. Just God. Ironically, the last line from A Lady in Defiance is, “As Charles pulled her into a long-awaited embrace and literally stole her breath, she knew God’s plans for her were truly far better than anything she could ever create.” My trust has grown exponentially since that day. I’m always telling people when we discuss our problems, “God’s got this. There is no panic in Heaven.”
What is your favorite way to communicate with your readers?
I have the best time chatting with people on Facebook. I have made some sweet friends, some crazy friends, some famous friends, some friends from all over the world. I love my friends!
Who is your favorite Christian author? Why?
I think Bodie Thoene is the bees knees. She writes so well, so effortlessly it’s almost like you’re watching a move. Maybe that’s because she used to write for Batjac Productions—John Wayne’s movie company!
Readers, if you haven’t had a chance to read my review of A Lady In Defiance, please do. Then click over and follow Heather on your favorite media platform. FYI: She has a number of giveaways on her website this week in celebration of her upcoming release.
Kindle users can pre-order A Promise In Defiance for $4.99.