Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of interviewing best-selling, award-winning novelist Davalynn Spencer! Since Davalynn conducts many of our interviews here on the CAN blog, it’s fun to turn the tables on her! Davalynn doesn’t just write about life on the frontier—this rodeo wife/rodeo mom lives it. Plus, she’s a whole lot of fun. I hope you enjoy our chat together.
Davalynn, please tell us about your new novel, An Improper Proposal (Front Range Brides–Book 1)—which releases today!
Widowed before she says “I do,” mail order bride Mae Ann Remington asks rancher Cade Parker to take her groom’s place and ends up a cattleman’s wife facing snakes, scoundrels, and second chances.
What inspired you to write this book?
Mae Ann Remington’s story came to me two years ago while I was curled up near the woodstove one wintry evening. It’s set during late spring and summer when Colorado thunder storms are at their peak. I could “see” her, a mail order bride just arrived in an 1800s Colorado town. Within thirty minutes of meeting her groom, he’s dead—before they even say “I do.”
Why did you write this book?
The visceral answer to that question is I couldn’t get it out of my head and onto my laptop fast enough. I imagined Mae Ann, the heroine, standing ramrod straight in the face of probable death, bracing her groom’s killer. I was impressed by her stubbornness and determination to not give up in her darkest moment. As the story developed, the spiritual drive behind her struggle emerged and I discovered nuggets of encouragement that help all of us in our not-going-as-planned lives, just like they did Mae Ann.
What is the primary focus of your book?
Plans and dreams often don’t work out the way we expect. Sometimes, someone else’s greed costs us everything we hoped for. But God isn’t caught by surprise and He makes good on His promise to work “all things” together for our benefit. Those things might not be good—they might be horrible. But His reputation for creating light in darkness, man from dirt, and everything else from nothing is stellar.
What’s your favorite scene in this book?
I love writing action scenes, and there are plenty in An Improper Proposal. But the scene that draws my heart is one with Mae Ann and Cade riding through the high “parks” (cowboy for cow country with good grass). She thrills to the meadowlarks’ songs, something she’s not heard growing up in the city and living in a rooming house. I love this scene because it imitates my morning walks where meadowlarks call across the pastures. Every time I hear them, I’m reminded of this story and how much I like it. For me personally, it’s a story I wouldn’t mind living.
How do you share Christ in your writing?
My life verse says, “You will show me the path of life” (Psalm 16:11). I write about the paths my characters take, their challenges and struggles and failures—the things they have in common with readers as everyday people. It’s my desire that Jesus shows up along the way.
What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Redemption and comfort seem to be recurring themes in my writing. In my personal life, these are key components, and both are a result of His presence and peace.
Do you have an unfulfilled dream?
I hope to someday visit Mesa Verde, Vermont in the fall, and Ireland.
What ministries are you involved in, and why?
Praise and worship has been a part of my life since I was in elementary school playing the piano for Sunday school. Over the years I’ve led worship or served as part of a team, contributing vocals, guitar, or keyboard. When my husband rodeoed, we traveled the country holding Cowboy Church services back of the chutes or in the bleachers at venues ranging from the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver to Rodeo Bible Camps put on by the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys for which my husband served as president and general manager.
Do you have pets and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley keep me busy and would probably be good fodder for a children’s series. Blue makes his debut in An Improper Proposal.
Everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
I have a background in journalism – from a daily newsroom crime beat to a national rodeo trade paper and various magazines. Making deadline is a learned skill that becomes habit. For me it began the first time my newspaper editor said, “I need that story in thirty minutes.” When I didn’t drop dead from shock, I took a faith-leap with the Lord and pulled it off. Since then, with my books, I aim for about two weeks ahead of deadline. Wiggle room can sometimes save the day when life events interfere!
Tell us about your next project.
I have more than one, so this summer and fall are already full. I’m working on a Christmas-romance novella involving snow angels made by … well, I’ll keep that part a secret. There’s a fun story behind the idea for this tale.
Book 2 of the Front Range Brides collection is in the works and tells the story of Betsy—Cade Parker’s wayward sister who returns home disgraced and alone after running off with her beau. Working title: An Unexpected Redemption.
Thank you for chatting with us, Davalynn!
Writing for Him,