Thursday, October 19, 2017

Interview with Ada Brownell

Today we welcome Ada Brownell to my blog. Ada, tell us about the book – a brief blurb:  If you are interested, it is 99 cents today only!

By Ada Brownell

To write this historical romance, the author drew from her experiences as a journalist covering the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo, a former asylum; and from working during her teens on a peach and horse ranch in Palisade, Colorado.

Although the fictional asylum is in Boston, the author says you wouldn’t believe the types of diagnoses that could get you committed in the early 1900s. She took the information from historical lists compiled by the Colorado Board of Lunacy Commissioners on the supposed cause of insanity of those held in 1899 to 1910, when asylums were young. Many of those conditions are revealed in the novel.

The leading man, rancher John Lincoln Parks, yearns for a wife to help rebuild the ranch he inherited. He eyes Valerie MacDougal, a young widow who homesteaded, but she also is an attorney who hopes to help those wrongly held in the asylum. One of those she hopes to help is a doctor who had one seizure.

Will the doctor ever be set free from the asylum? Will John marry Valerie or Edwina Jorgenson, the feisty rancher-neighbor he constantly fusses with? This neighbor has a Peeping Tom whose boot prints are like the person’s who dumped a body in John’s barn. Will John even marry, or be hanged for the murder?

20 Reviews
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Ada's publisher is offering a “Count Down Deal.” It starts at 99 cents on the 19 at 8 a.m. PST and ends at $3.99 on the 24 @ 8 a.m. PST. It’s 99 cents up to the end time. or to make it simple it is .99 for the 19th (today) only.

Are any experiences in Peach Blossom Rancher based on personal experiences? Did you draw upon any stories or movies for inspiration for the novel?

The first book in the Peaches and Dreams series, The Lady Fugitive was based on things I’d heard about my maternal grandma and grandpa. Some of the same characters appear in Peach Blossom Rancher, but they weren’t among close kin. Yet I let things happen to my characters, some humorous, that happened to me or somebody in the family. For instance when the pig sucks Edwina’s dress, that happened to me when I worked on my aunt’s peach ranch. I had about the same reaction to the sow as Edwina.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in Peach Blossom Rancher?

I don’t think so. I loved how some of the characters budged their way into the story, and I loved Polly’s joy, love, spunk and commitment to the Lord. I loved young Stu’s mischief although he was a pain in the neck sometimes to John, the rancher. Polly and Stu are in The Lady Fugitive, but their personalities sure blossomed in the second book. They’re also in the third.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Writing was pure fun, but editing and the time line made me even sweat at night. Considering I wrote most of it in five weeks there were kinks I needed to jerk out, but my editors helped. When I have an editor I want criticism and advice on what I need to do to improve my work.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? 

Changing from non-fiction to fiction I needed active tense and showing instead of telling to emerge everywhere in my writing. I grew in other abilities as well. You don’t write 100,000 words without learning a few things.

Did you have to travel much for research for Peach Blossom Rancher? 

I normally do some research no matter what I’m writing., I lived, experienced, and picked brains long before this book came into being --such as what it’s like to work on a horse/peach ranch and for the sub-plot, insanity and institutions for the mentally ill. Nope. I wasn’t a mental patient, although I did spend one night in a new Colorado mental hospital for prisoners. Before they brought the prisoners in, the state invited journalists, politicians, attorneys, etc. to spend the night there. Not pleasant even though I think the inmates that night were sane!  

In the Peaches and Dreams series, what was it like coming back to certain characters for the second novel in the series? Do you forsee any more stories for this family of characters? 

I loved bringing John, the twin brother of Jennifer Parks, the leading character of The Lady Fugitive, and Valerie MacDougal together romantically in Peach Blossom Rancher. John was best man at Jennifer’s wedding and Valerie was matron of honor. Valerie, an attorney, signed over her homestead with the fire-damaged home in which her first husband died, to Jennifer when she was running from her uncle. She had a cow, chickens, an ornery goat and a cellar full of food—plus a trunk full of clothing and things. But when I started the book, I knew Roberta Bellea, a neighbor’s maid who had no family and was compromised by her employer’s son, would appear in the second book. She’s barely mentioned in The Lady Fugitive, but in Peach Blossom Rancher John and Abe find her in John’s barn loft about to give birth. Roberta Bellea is among the main cast of characters in Peach Blossom Rancher.

Who was your favorite character in Peach Blossom Rancher?

I love them all, and even have a little affection for one of the villains.

Was there anything in Peach Blossom Rancher that you did not enjoy writing about?

I had a lot of sympathy for Edwina, the neighbor rancher who thinks she’s in love with John. I didn’t enjoy the search for the murderer either, and allowing one great character to die was most difficult. My editor had a fit over that and we grieved together.

When Ada Brownell sat down to write The Peach Blossom Rancher, the sequel to The Lady Fugitive and book two in The Peaches and Dreams series, she drew from her experience growing up in Colorado’s Peach Country near Grand Junction, picking peaches and working in a packing shed.
 In addition, she uses some of what she learned as a journalist on her beat covering a mental hospital, a former asylum, for The Pueblo Chieftain
Ada Brownell blogs and writes with Stick-to-Your-Soul Encouragement. She is the author of six other books, and more than 350 stories and articles in Christian publications. She now lives in Missouri, a beautiful state except for tornadoes and chiggers..

The Peach Blossom Rancher Is available
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Twitter: @AdaBrownell
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Marilyn R. said...

Interesting plot line and experiences to draw from for Peach Blossom Rancher. Thank you for the interview with Ada Brownell.

Ada Brownell, author said...

Thanks, Marilyn for connecting with my story, and how it came into being. I imagine you know me a little better too. A great interviewer peels back the skin and allows the reader to see what makes him tick. :)

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