When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...
Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.
Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?
Today Wild Women Authors is delighted to welcome Andrea Downing who brings Lady Alexandra Calthorpe, from LOVELAND, a recent release for the Cactus Rose line at The Wild Rose Press.
Where are you from? Well, I was born in England but Colorado has become my home. I love it there!
What is Loveland about? Basically, it’s the story of how I moved from the strictures of Victorian England to the freedom of the American West, and how I reconciled my desire for independence with my love for Jesse Makepeace, top hand on the Faringdon ranch, which my father owns.
What did you think the first time you saw the hero? Oh, you mean Jess, I suppose. Well, the first time I saw him I was eight years old and thought he was the most beautiful person I’d ever seen—he is, you know. Those cornflower-blue eyes! I still melt when I see him.
What was your second thought? That he was my very best friend and I never wanted to be parted from him. I still feel that!
Did you feel it was love at first sight? At eight I guess you don’t think along those lines but I remember being terribly jealous when he danced with women his age at the July 4th and other parties. It probably was love at first sight.
What do you like most about Jess? His gentleness and his patience with me. He can have a temper but in general he keeps it under control around me. Well, almost under control. I guess not always…
How would you describe him? Well, he’s very smart, hard-working, gentle, kind, patient as I’ve already said, and –uh- a great kisser! Oooh, I’m getting goose bumps just thinking about him!
How would Jess describe you? Headstrong! I know he gives in to me, lets me have my own way a lot. Maybe he’d say I was spoiled, a product of my upbringing. Then again, since he understands me so well, perhaps he might say I was just independent and focused on what I want from life.
What made you choose art as a profession? Really, when one comes to think of it, there aren’t many respectable professions for a Lady of my ilk. I mean, a woman can become a governess and that’s about it. I’m hardly suited for that and I’m told I have talent so becoming an artist was the obvious choice. And the paintings seem to be selling well in New York.
What is your biggest fear? Being sent back to England. Without a doubt, being sent back—away from all the people I love and this beautiful, open country.
How do you relax? I take my horse, Ranger, out and ride like the wind, as fast as we can go. Or, if it’s truly terrible weather, I might have Rose, my maid, prepare me a bath and I’ll just soak and clear my head.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Goodness, I’ve never really thought about that. Jesse reads far more than I. I did read to the Yost children—that’s the children of Tom and Annie, the foreman and his wife—‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ but, really, I have little time for books.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? I don’t know whether I should tell you but, I guess as it’s in the book, I might as well. My brother advised me to become accouchement—but that’s all I’m going to say. If you want to know more you’ll have to read Loveland.
After talking with Lady Alexandra, it's time for an excerpt:
The two men looked over at Jesse who was leading his own horse into the stable, anger etched in every muscle of his face. Joe nodded toward the chuck house and they followed the others in to leave Alex alone when Jesse came out.
She was starting back to the main house when Jesse grabbed her arm and turned her around. “You ever do that again,” he said in a voice she had never heard, intense in its anger, rage just below its surface, “I swear to God, Alex, I’ll...I’ll take you over my knee and give you a lickin’ once and for all.”
“How dare you!” She shook him off. “How dare you talk to me like that! How dare you! Who the hell do you think you are?”
Jesse jabbed his finger at her to emphasize he meant what he was saying. “Who do I think I am?”he snarled back. “Who do I think I am? You ever, ever take a gun off me again and point it at someone, you’ll find out who the hell I think I am. You know that coulda gone off? You know you coulda killed someone? I told you—out there yonder—I told you, you never point that thing at anyone less’n you mean bus’ness.”
“I did bloody well mean business! They were destroying that horse. Furthermore, I knew, and you knew, and they both knew, there wasn’t a shot under the hammer. You taught me that, didn’t you? So there was no chance of an accident!”
“That don’t matter none. You coulda pulled the hammer back twice. Way you was, you were nothin’ better’n a loose cannon, Alex. You ever do a thing like that again—”
“You’ll what?” She shook with her rage as tears pooled against her will. “I apologized to them both and they accepted my apologies. It’s none of your concern—”
“None of my concern! You pulled my gun! You ever do that again— Don’t you walk away when I’m talkin’ to you!”
She turned back to him after a few steps. “You’ll what? You’ll what, Jesse? What will you do? I want to hear it! Say it again. What will you do?” And she stood there in the evening darkness, facing him down, wearing him out like she’d faced down the stallion.
It's Kat and Veronica's turn: Andrea, what movies or books have had an impact on your writing? Just about every western since the beginning of time—or at least my time.
Tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them? I kept coming upon [The Wild Rose Press] all over the place it seemed—particularly in mentions in the RWA magazine. Then, I think I was going through Preditors and Editors and saw that TWRP had a terrific review so I did some research, found they had a Cactus Rose line that is publishing western historical romances and thought, why not?
What influenced your decision to submit to them? Their reputation basically. After seeing them on P & E I found them mentioned elsewhere, all good things.
Tell us a bit about the submission process. How long did it take from query to release? Well, I wouldn’t judge them on that. The first editor given my mss. left the firm for family reasons and I was only told on the very date I was to hear back from her regarding my full. So another editor had to take over and it went from there. I think altogether it went on for 18 months!
We thank Andrea for visiting our blog today. We wish her much luck in her writing career—Kat and Veronica
To learn more about Andrea and the stories she creates go to: http://andreadowning.com
To purchase Loveland, go to _http://www.thewildrosepress.com/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=991OR _http://www.amazon.com/Loveland-Andrea-Downing/dp/1612173233/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345392651&sr=1-1&keywords=LOVELAND
And thanks so much for having us, Kat. Back to the ranch now…____________________