My Guest today is Heidi M. Thomas, author of COWGIRL DREAMS that was just released December 2008. She is of Montana stock and now resides in Washington State. So Heidi, tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up on a ranch in eastern Montana, rode horses and worked cattle (but never rode in rodeos). I’ve always loved reading and writing, went on to receive a degree in journalism from the University of Montana, and wrote for newspapers and magazines for many years before turning to fiction.
How did you come to write Cowgirl Dreams? What was your inspiration?
My grandmother was my inspiration. I grew up knowing that she was just as happy on the back of a horse as behind a dust mop. She died when I was 12, and later, going through photo albums with my dad, I learned that she had ridden steers in local rodeos and that she knew Marie Gibson, a prize-winning Montana rodeo rider. I was impressed! That tidbit of information planted a seed and many years later resulted in Cowgirl Dreams. Fictionalizing her story was a way of filling in the gaps and getting to know her better by imagining how she must have felt or reacted to different situations.
Where did you get your material/information for your book and how long did it take you to write this novel?
My dad told me many stories of growing up with his cowboy and cowgirl dad and mom. Grandma had several photo albums and put together a scrapbook, a vignette of ranch and rodeo life. I also did a lot of reading and research about the cowgirls of the 1920s, a heyday of rodeo for women.
I started writing the novel in 1999. It took me about two years to write it, but it’s gone through a number of revisions during the submission and rejection process before it was published. (My overnight success story!)
Do you have a follow-up to your published book Cowgirl Dreams? If so, what is it about?
I do have a sequel written and in the revision process. The working title is Follow the Dream and it is the “rest of the story” about Nettie, which largely takes place in the “dirty thirties” and again follows my grandparents’ quest for grass for their horses and a better life.
Thank you, Heidi for sharing time with us. We loved having you. Her book can be purchased from Treble Heart Books. Visit Heidi's website and read more about her book.
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