Interview with Andrea Downing: Author of Loveland and Lawless Love

Thank to Andrea Downing, author of Loveland and Lawless Love, for joining us today, and congratulations to Andrea on having Loveland nominated for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards
Tell us a little about yourself and what you write.
I lived most of my life in the UK and returned to live in New York, where I was born, in 2008.  Most of our family vacations were taken out west; my daughter and I have actually now been to about 18 dude ranches and done several long road trips through the west, visiting national parks and other places of interest.  The west permeates everything I do so it is always in my writing, whether contemporary or historical.  My first two books are western historical romances but I also have a contemporary I’m just tidying up, partially set in Texas, and two more in the pipeline also set predominantly out west.
Do you find any recurring theme or idea in your writing? 
I seem to write about heroines who are self-reliant and have overcome some ordeal or obstacle to get where they want to be.  I’m not sure what this says, if anything, but then I figure no one wants to read about a namby-pamby heroine who is just dragged through events by chance or some domineering man!  But as to themes, if I really had to pinpoint it, I’d say it’s discovering  who you are and what you are capable of that is the main theme of my work.
Do you think parts of you show up in the characters you write about? i.e, Your values, experiences, feelings, etc. 
I don’t think one can write without showing something of oneself.  My love of the west is fairly dominant.  Even smaller things, likes and dislikes, tend to come out.   For instance, I have one contemporary protagonist who loves country & western music even though she’s from NYC—just like me!
What do you consider the most important element of a story?
For me it’s characterization.  You can have a great idea for a story but if you don’t people it with three-dimensional characters, it will just fall flat.  On the other hand, I’ve read books where the story lost its way or dragged on but I’ve continued to read because the characters were so compelling.  In any event, my characters tend to write my books.  Maybe they’re forcing me to say all that!
How much of the story do you know when you sit down to write it?
 I know the beginning and I know the end but I’m not always sure how I’m going to get from one to the other.  I may have a few road markers but, so far, I haven’t had the whole story when I’ve started. I’m definitely a pantser and, as I said above, my characters tend to write the story so I may come up with a few surprises—for myself!
How do you research your writing?
It depends on what I’m writing.  For historical books, I read a lot of memoirs or whatever else I need from the period, and also visit the sites where the book takes place.  For the contemporary I’ve just written, I just went down to Texas Hill Country, which is one of the settings, and I consulted with a wildlife expert from the area as well. I also had a Texan friend check my language, etc.
Do you choose the time period setting first and then research it, or do you have certain eras that interest you more?
For historicals, I tend to stick with the post-civil war era.  It was the golden age of the cowboy and I already know quite a bit about that era so I’m comfortable—confident—writing about it.  I am considering writing a book around the civil war, however, but that is going to take a whale of research, which is sort of putting me off.  Bascially, I think the answer to your question is that I think of the story first and sometimes, as with the Civil War, it is era-dependent and sometimes I have leeway so I set it where I like.
Do you use inspiration boards, Pinterest, or anything like that while writing? If so, how does it work?
No, l don’t use anything like that. No music while I write either.
Everyone’s road to publication is different. Take us down yours. 
I was writing as long as I can remember, taking all the creative writing courses in school and college and so on.  When I moved to the UK, I got involved with a group of writers—poets mostly—and ended up co-editing a poetry magazine.  Over the years I wrote two full length novels but just couldn’t bring myself to show anyone.  Finally, when I moved back to the USA, I figured I had nothing to lose.  I wrote Loveland and the rest is history.
Do you have any advice for other writers? 
Don’t give up and don’t be afraid of criticism; it’s the only way you can improve your craft.  Remember, talent will out!
Are you working on anything right now or do you have anything new coming out soon?
I’m working on several things.  I’m just finishing up contemporary women’s fiction, I have another western historical novella part-way done and one other piece on the backburner.  Aside from doing edits, I can only really work on one piece at a time because I live with my characters, but at the moment I seem to have several lots of people in my head.  It’ll be interesting to see who makes it onto a published page first!
Thanks so much for having me here, Gloria.  It’s been great to explore these things with you.

Lawless Love

Lacey Everhart has carved out a tough existence in the wilds of 1880s Wyoming, working hard to build a secure life for herself and her younger brother, Luke. She will stop at nothing to protect what’s hers and keep them safe. Even if it means keeping a secret that could destroy their lives. 

Marshal Dylan J. Kane is a man who considers everything as black and white, right or wrong.  He's never seen life any other way until he sets eyes on Lacey. Suddenly the straight and narrow that he's followed has a few twists and turns. Loving Lacey offers the home life for which he hankers...but can he really love a woman who seems to be plain lawless?

Excerpt from Lawless Love

Lacey thought of fluttering her eyelashes, but it was such a silly thing to do. How could women act like that? She just looked up at the marshal and waited, the possibilities turning over in her mind, flitting through her head but never settling.
“You wanna tell me what really happened now so we can try to sort this matter? All I can do is promise I’ll do everything in my power to sort it for you, but I cain’t help you less’n you tell the truth. You tell me lies and make me look a dang fool, there’s nothin’ I can do. You understand that?”
Along with the tiniest nod, she clasped her hands together. She looked up at Dylan Kane and saw kindness in that face, a face she could so easily have loved had things been different. She could sense the heat radiating from his body and knew if she touched his chest, a strength would exist where his heart beat. If she ran her hand down his arms, she would find that same strength in his muscle. How she wanted those arms around her! All her life, it seemed, she had looked after herself, cared for her brother, struggled to make a home for the two of them. What would it have been like if Morgan had not...
 “Lacey?” Dylan’s soft voice brought her back from her reveries. “You ready to tell the truth?” With one gentle finger, he lifted her chin so their gazes met for a moment before they each stepped back from the brink of something neither could control. “Lacey?” he repeated.
“Yes, I’m ready.”

Twitter:  @andidowning
LAWLESS LOVE: (full release Sept. 4)


  1. Good morning everyone, and thanks to Gloria for having me here today.

  2. Great post! I love the blurb and excerpt. Being a born and bred Texan, I appreciate that you took extra care to preserve reality! Well done!

    1. Thanks so much Jerrie. I do try to keep it within the era and work with the Etymological Dictionary by my side but, of course, having Allison Byers for my editor helps too! Thanks for your comment

  3. Thanks everyone for stopping by and thank you, Andrea for being here today!!

    1. Your very welcome, Gloria. It was my pleasure. thanks for having me!

  4. Don't forget when my blog reaches 25 followers, I'm drawing for a free ebook - Sweet Sacrifices or When Swallows Fall.


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