What inspires you?
I’d have to start with my daughter—she’s the most inspirational person I know. But if I have to put motherly pride aside, just being out west inspires me. Those wide open spaces where you feel you can really breathe and be yourself, the towering mountains standing like guardians—the whole geography of it just fascinates and inspires me. To think of the people who first went there, not knowing what lay ahead, turning open prairie into tilled fields and cattle range and making a new life for themselves away from everyone and everything they knew. That’s truly inspirational.
Where in the world would you want to visit (all in the name of research, of course) and why?
I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled pretty extensively during the course of my life and while I’d now like to get to Australia and Asia, where I haven’t been, if someone said to me ‘you can go anywhere right now’ I’d probably still choose to head west. And the only reason I can give you is because I feel different there, happier. But Australia might be nice—big country, lots of room to ride!
Who has helped you along the way?
Some years ago, while I was still living in Britain, I wrote a 600 page book I intended to try to have published. It got rejected from about 3 agents and then I gave up—which, when you think about it, is pretty laughable. Anyway, all my friends sort of ‘yelled’ at me, told me how foolish that was, as did my daughter. They’ve all been my cheerleaders until I finally decided I had nothing to lose.
What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are, and what advice do you have for anyone in a similar situation?
Very low self-esteem, self-doubt and a huge amount of fear! I used to shake horribly when in certain situations with people I’d never previously met, until I had to go on beta-blockers for AFib. So you might say my heart saved me! But really, as I say, I realized I had nothing to lose. Sure, there are going to be people who hate my book and trash it but someone liked it enough to publish it! That’s what you’ve got to believe…
What was your first writing piece and where is it now?
I can’t even remember the title of it but, strangely enough, it was about a British Prince who falls in love with a commoner—and I wrote it way back before such a thing was even vaguely a possibility. So, being so young when I wrote it, I put it in the circular file.
Can you talk about what you are working on now?
Loveland is an historical so I’ve now come back to the 21st Century and written women’s lit with strong elements of romance. Tentatively titled Dances of the Heart, it’s about four people with very different lives, very different conflicts who come together and relationships blossom while they all undergo some interior change. There’s a mother who is a successful writer but has a deep fear of growing old and letting a man, who might reject her, into her life; her daughter, meanwhile, has just suffered the death of her fiancé, quit law school and now lacks direction to get her life back on track. Then there is a hard drinking father who blames himself for having sent his oldest son off to Afghanistan, where he died, and his younger son carries a secret which affects them all in the end. I’m just finishing up.
Who would you like to meet in the publishing industry and why?
I’d really like to head out to Colorado and meet Maggie Osborne. She’s written some terrific western historical romances which I absolutely love, was even President of RWA, but she ‘retired’ in 2004 and hasn’t published anything since. I’d like to know why and I’d like to get her to write more.
Now for a little fun! This is where we really get to know our guests.
Boxers or briefs on your man and why?
Oh, come now, boxers surely. Those briefs look like a banana hammock.
Favorite movie and why?
Broken Trail! I absolutely adore that. Does it count, it was really a miniseries? First off, it has Robert Duvall who I think is fantastic in everything, but really, that scene at the end when the stagecoach pulls away and Sun Foy is standing there… You don’t get any more romantic than that.
About the Book:
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?
He watched as she sat on a stool and pulled first one boot, then the other off and kicked them aside, then she stood and put her leg on the stool to roll down her stockings one by one.
He marveled at her wantonness, her lack of propriety. “Alex, stop,” he said, laying his hand on hers. “Stop. You know…”
But he was lost; she took his face in her hands and pulled him to her, kissing him so any resistance he had had was now shattered. His heart was beating faster at the sweetness of her mouth, the softness of her tongue, the lack of air as they sought each other. His hands moved over her feeling the outline of her body, knowing its curves, its gentleness, its yielding. “Are you sure?” he asked at last.
“I want you so much, Jesse, I want you so much, I’m not waiting three years. And if…if anything happens, so what? We’ll get married, that’ll be it.”
“Yes, but Alex, you can’t…I mean it’d be a shotgun wedding, it’s not how—”
“Shh.” She put her finger to his mouth and then turned for him to unhook her gown. He ran his hands gently down her exposed back, feeling each scar, then kissed her neck.
“You have nothing on under...”
“It’s how the gown is made. Monsieur Worth builds the undergarments into the gown.” Her voice was at barely a whisper, a tremor showing her nerves. She turned and still held the gown up to her, then, looking at Jesse, let it drop to the floor.
Oooh, so tantalizing. Great excerpt. The book sounds amazing.
About the Author:
Andrea Downing emigrated to the UK from New York in order to do her Masters Degree. She ended up marrying, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit. Teaching, editing a poetry magazine and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC. She now divides her time between the city and the shore and often trades the canyons of New York for the open spaces of the west—and writes incessantly.
Author website: http://andreadowning.com
Buylinks for Loveland:
Thank you so much for stopping by Andrea. Great answers and even better book! Can't wait to check this one out.