11 March 2009

Interview with Mary Connealy with giveaway

Please welcome Mary Connealy to my blog today. Mary is here to talk about her new book Gingham Mountain. Welcome Mary and thanks for coming back to my blog

1. I loved Gingham Mountain, I love how its so different from the first 2 books but still similar at the same time. What did you like best when writing this book?
My goal with Gingham Mountain was to get away from the ‘all-girl’ book Petticoat Ranch and the ‘all-boy’ book Calico Canyon. But I had such fun with those, going way overboard with girly behavior and boy-ish behavior that I wasn’t sure I could get the kind of chaos I wanted in a family with a mix. I ended up really liking it and most of the chaos seemed, in the end, to come from Grant and Hannah.

2. I have to say Grant is my favourite male Character of the 3 books and he’s different from the other men was he fun to write?
I am totally in love with Grant. I loved giving him a father’s heart but having him be so befuddled about romance. That somehow made him seem so young. One of my favorite moments was when the kids where harassing him about getting new clothes and the whole scene just flips from him being the father to him being just one of the kids, in fact less mature than some of the kids. I struggled hard to get that right and ended up loving it.

3. Did you have a special interest in Orphan trains before writing this book?
I knew a lady from my area who came west on an Orphan Train. She’s no longer living but her grandchildren were in school with me, so she was a very settled and established member of our community. That made the Orphan Trains more real to me, actually knowing someone. I’ve wanted to explore that whole idea for a long time and finally got to, at least somewhat in Gingham Mountain

4. Did you do alot of research on orphan trains and did many come to Texas?
I did a ton of research. Something that really tripped me up with the Civil War. These Orphan Trains started about 1850 and continued until around 1920. 200,000 children were sent west on these trains. But my book needed to be set in Texas because of the earlier books in the series and … I realized after I was quite a way into the book and needed some firm details … that, of course, train travel from north to south ended during the Civil War. That affected my story because Grant came west on an Orphan Train before the war. Then, when I needed to set up the earlier children Grant had adopted, I couldn’t have them come on the Orphan Train because of the war. So where did they come from? It took a lot of research to get it all in order.

5. I enjoyed how you wrote about Grace and her cabin bound feelings how did you come up with that idea. I love how she just had to get out of the canyon.
I had someone who hadn’t read the first two books of the series say Grace came off as a lunatic. I suppose she did if you didn’t know her before. I was just trying to capture cabin fever, for someone really, REALLY stuck in a cabin. And something else, in writing books, we set up flawed characters with troubled pasts and then go about fixing them. I’ve got this idea that we probably shouldn’t fix them. I mean we fix what’s really messed up, but people mostly stay the same once their personalities are formed. So I try to show that Grace’s boys don’t become quiet little cherubs and Grace doesn’t become this all knowing, all-wise mother and Daniel doesn’t get over his fear of his wife dying in childbirth. Instead of changing each other, they learn to accept each other.

6. If you had to describe Gingham Mountain to someone what would you say?
Romantic comedy with cowboys.
How about that? I’ve been working on a short, sweet way to describe my work.
As for Gingham Mountain--A rancher runs head-on into the new school marm, who believes he's made slave labor out of eight orphaned children.
Grant Cooper crowds too many orphans into his rickety house, just like Hannah Cartwright's cruel father. Grant's family of orphans have been mistreated too many times by judgmental school teachers. Now the new schoolmarm is the same except she's so pretty and she isn't really bad to his children, it's Grant she can't stand.

7. Now this series is finished (which I am sad to see) what are you working on now?
Next up is the Montana Marriages series. Coming in July, Montana Rose. Cassie is a widow, left pregnant and penniless in the unforgiving west. She married an older man who squandered her family’s money and taught her to be submissive with a hard hand.
Red is a rancher who moonlights as the town handy man and fills in every Sunday for the circuit rider. Her marries Cassie to save her from the rough and ready men around Divide, Montana, believing it’s a sin because she’s not a Christian to his knowledge. She expects her new husband to dominate her like the old one did but Red isn’t much good at giving orders. So Cassie tried to guess what he wants and almost destroys his ranch in the process.
Very funny, very sweet, one of my favorite books so far and if you liked Grant in Gingham Mountain you are going to love Red. He’s a true hero, but pretty befuddled as to how to handle his pretty new wife.

8. Finally where can readers find you online?
Thanks for having me on, Jenny.
to read my review Click here

Mary has a book to one reader of this blog. For a chance to win this book leave a comment with a way to contact you if you win and answer this question. Do you have a favourite western movie, series or actor?
winner will be drawn on Wed March 18 6pm aussie time.


Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Jenny. Thanks for having me on. It always makes me feel like a world traveler to be on your blog all the way over in Australia. I love it.

Mary Connealy said...

Oops, forgot about my new picture. What do you think? I loved it because it made me look younger. :)

Ausjenny said...

Sure does love the ears!

Amber S. said...

Great interview! The book (along with the rest of the series) sounds great. I love that genre. I would have to say that right now I am really enjoying watching episodes of Bonanza (and it sounds like one of the characters in Gingham Mountain is a Cartwright, too!). Anyway, this sounds great! Can I enter the drawing if I live in the United States?


Beth said...

Can't wait for this one. The other 2 were great. Sad to see the series end though.

I love John Wyane movies. My favorite would have to be McLintock!.


Mary Connealy said...

McKlintock is the one where John Wayne is married but estranged from Maureen O'Hara, right and he chased her around town with her in her underwear, and they end up in a huge mud pit.

And Stephanie Powers is sweet on Jerry Van Dyke-the wimp???
Love that movie.

Mary Connealy said...

Anyone who enters is eligible I'm in the United States but I'll mail the book to anyone anywhere. I like the idea of my book winging across the ocean. :)

Anita Yancey said...

My favorite western movie is High Noon with Gary Cooper. Loved the interview, and I would really like to read this book. Thanks for having this giveaway.

sarahw said...

my favourite western movie would be "the good, the bad, and the ugly." i love mary's books and would love to win this one.
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Cheryl said...

I would love a chance to win a copy of this book! My email address is shryackmom[@]charter[.]net. My favorite western actor has always been John Wayne.

Renee said...

Ok I don't where my other comment went! Oh well I'll try again!! I'll start by saying I love Mary's book! Thefirst 2 Lassoed In Texas books were great? They made me laugh so much and I like that!

My fave Western is Unconquered with Gary Cooper. I love it because it shows the "frontier" of 18th century SW Pennsylvania, which is where I live! I also watch Bonanza and Gunsmoke practically everyday with my little brother he can't get enough of those Cartwright's or Marshal Matt Dillion! Please enter me:)


Ausjenny said...

As Mary said its an open contest.

thanks for all the replies and the answers. I love westerns. I grew up on The Cisco Kid I loved that show. then Bonanza, The Barbary Coast (think thats right) Dr Quinn,Daniel Boon.
As a kid I loved Randolph Scott movies.
I have since gotten into John Wayne and others. I would Say I enjoyed The Alamo.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Mary and Jenny! I loved Mary's first two books--looking forward to Gingham Mountain! As for a favorite western, I haven't watched many. I did recently read the Little House stories with my kids, and we all really enjoyed reading about that time in history--there was so much SPACE then, and it was such an exciting and challenging time for settlers heading west.

Thanks also for the contest :)
f dot chen at comcast dot net

Wyn said...

I liked the Western with the song Call the Wind Myria. I think it was Paint Your Wagon and the star was Lee Marvin. How's that for going back in time.


wyndyc at gmail.com

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