Hello to readers of DEB’S BOOK BAG! My name is Rosanne Bittner, and I have joined you by invitation to answer questions your members provided. Thanks for allowing me to become a part of Deb’s Book Bag!
I have been writing for 30 years and am the recipient of a number of writing awards. PARADISE VALLEY is book #58 for me, with several million books printed over these many years, including foreign copies in Russia, Taiwan, Germany, Italy, Norway and France, where my book MONTANA WOMAN has done well for years. I just contracted with France to publish SONG OF THE WOLF. I travel often to writers conferences and to conduct workshops and give talks.
My first and only love is American history, especially America’s Old West. It’s all I write about. I have studied American history and Native Americans for years and have covered just about every subject involved in the settling of this great country and every topic involving the growth of the American West. I write every day, sometimes a lot, sometimes not so much, depending on how busy I am with helping run a family tool and die business and spending time with my three grandsons. Once I am set on how my story will be told, I can write pretty fast, finishing a 100,000 word story in about 3 months.
PARADISE VALLEY is set in Wyoming, mostly along the famed Outlaw Trail. Young Maggie Tucker finds herself stranded on the plains of Wyoming after outlaws murder her husband and had their way with Maggie. The story opens with Maggie digging a grave for her husband, but aching weariness and the horror of her situation overcome her and she passes out. When she comes to, her husband is buried and a tall, dark stranger is sitting near a campfire and offers her a cup of coffee. Now begins a new relationship for Maggie, as she joins Sage Lightfoot, the owner of a huge ranch called Paradise Valley, in a search for the men who killed Maggie’s husband. Sage is after the same men for stealing from him, and Maggie insists on accompanying him. She is a tough, determined young woman who knows how to use a gun and won’t take “no” for an answer. Maggie and Sage fall in love, but both carry personal secrets that could destroy their relationship, while at the same time love causes them to risk their lives for each other.
My favorite scene from PARADISE VALLEY is when Maggie and Sage first make love in an old, abandoned cabin as they journey the Outlaw Trail. It is a touching moment for both of them because of the deep hurts both of them secretly suffer and the healing that takes place in each other’s arms. PARADISE VALLEY is full of adventure and romance, as well as a journey through some of the most beautiful country in America. Readers will love the dramatic descriptions of western Wyoming and will be rooting for Sage and Maggie to find the men who have caused both of them anguish. My idea came not just from my love for stories of the Old West, but also from the hard cover book THE OUTLAW TRAIL by Robert Redford, filled with beautiful pictures of Wyoming as Redford himself travels the Outlaw Trail. Some of his interviews with the still-rugged people who live in that country are very interesting. I recommend THE OUTLAW TRAIL to anyone who wants to read about today’s West and how its history still casts a shadow over what is happening today.
I have always loved America’s Old West and stories and movies about Native Americans. I still watch old westerns on Turner Classic Movies – still watch reruns of Gunsmoke and other TV westerns. I swear I once lived as a pioneer or perhaps an Indian woman. Something about the west just draws me there in my heart, and books that influenced me are A LANTERN IN HER HAND by Bess Streeter Aldrich, THE PROUD BREED by Celeste de Blasis, and BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE by Dee Brown. I am passionately in love with the awesome western landscape, and that love comes through in my vivid descriptions of the places I write about. My husband and I have traveled the West for years and I have visited every location in my books. My goal has always been to tell the truth about American history, things we never learned in school, especially about our Native Americans. From the feedback I get from readers, I can tell I am succeeding!
My next project is DESPERATE HEARTS, which is set in Montana during the gold rush at Alder Gulch. Young Elizabeth Wainright has fled there, leaving civilization for a wild, lawless new world where she hopes to never be found by someone who is out to accuse her of theft and even murder. Amid a stage coach robbery, the rugged life in a gold town and efforts to stave off the advances of lawless, woman-hungry men, Elizabeth repeatedly finds herself thrown into confrontations with one Mitch Brady, a lawman and vigilante who takes it upon himself to look out for her. Mitch, of course, takes a love interest in Elizabeth, and eventually Elizabeth returns that interest, but an experience she suffered before arriving in Alder Gulch has left her very wary and distrustful of men. DESPERATE HEARTS will be full of suspense, drama, action, adventure, and romance, with a good share of humor thrown into the mix. I just sent the proposal to Sourcebooks and can’t wait to get started on the story!
My advice to new writers is to never give up. Once you finish a book and start trying to sell it, get going on another book, and another and another. You never know which one will hit the right editor at the right time and sell – and editors like to know you’re good for more than one book. And more advice for your writing – WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE!! Write what excites you. Don’t write a particular genre just because that’s what is popular. If you don’t really enjoy that genre, you won’t succeed at it. The worst advice I ever got was to try writing something different. I wasted some good writing years trying new things that all failed. When I went back to America’s Old West, I finished a book in no time and sold it – my first new book in ten years – and that’s PARADISE VALLEY. Social media has also helped promote my name again and I am finding a world of new readers through Facebook and Twitter and Goodreads and my web site and blog. I am on a wild new ride and loving it!
Thanks for your interest in my writing. Be sure to look for PARADISE VALLEY in stores or on-line in July! And visit my web site at www.rosannebittner.com and my blog at www.rosannebittner.blogspot.com. And remember to go to my virtual party (site address above) and enter your name for some great prizes! Happy reading and enjoy your summer!
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