Monday, February 16, 2015

Guest: Andrea Downing

Today on my blog is Andrea Downing.



Tell us a little about yourself.        
Thanks so much for having me here today, Marie.  I'm really excited at the moment because my fourth book, Dances of the Heart, just came out Feb. 4th and it's taken a really long time to get this one out!  It's my first contemporary novel so quite a departure for me, and for someone who has spent most of her life living in England, it was difficult getting the Texas characters right.  At the moment I'm sitting looking out my New York window at a snowstorm, and trying not to be too nervous about how well I did.
What do like the most and the least about writing?          
I love immersing myself in a world I've created and seeing where my characters go.  I hear the dialog in my head clearly and love getting those scenes down on the page.  In fact, I love the entire creative process behind telling a story.  What I hate most is then being expected to sell it!  The entire promotional side of writing, I think, sucks the lifeblood out of it.  Writers are creative people, not salesmen, but then what's the point of writing a book if no one is going to read it?
Give us a peek into your latest published work?  
 Successful, workaholic author Carrie Bennett lives through her writing, but can’t succeed at writing a man into her life. Furthermore, her equally successful but cynical daughter, Paige, proves inconsolable after the death of her fiancé.
Hard-drinking rancher Ray Ryder can find humor in just about anything—except the loss of his oldest son. His younger son, Jake, recently returned from Iraq, now keeps a secret that could shatter his deceased brother’s good name.
           On one sultry night in Texas, relationships blossom when the four meet, starting a series of events that move from the dancehalls of Hill Country to the beach parties of East Hampton, and from the penthouses of New York to the backstreets of a Mexican border town. But the hurts of the past are hard to leave behind, especially when old adversaries threaten the fragile ties that bind family to family…and lover to lover.  

What’s next on the writing horizon for you?    
I've been trying to get back to a book that takes place in two different time periods, and which is more literary than previous books I've written.  Unfortunately, I have a couple of health issues at the moment and that is a real time-suck, but I'm feeling positive and hope to get back to my book soon.
Excerpt: 
Ray pointed to his pickup, smirking slightly with the knowledge of what her reaction would probably be.
“You must be joking.”

He could hardly hear the mumbled comment, but it was exactly what he’d been expecting.

She glowered, a brow definitively arched in query.  “What year is this thing?”

He attempted to wipe the amusement away from his face with a hand that rubbed his stubble in a satisfying scrape. “Sorry, I left the Cadillac at home this time.” A raised brow questioned if she took him seriously. “It’s an ’89, and still runs as smooth as the day I got it.”
“Which was, what? Last year?”
Ray shook his head and proceeded to the passenger door. “You have the key, sweetheart,” he said, patiently standing and waiting.
“Listen!” Carrie put her hands out as if to stop any further conversation. “First off, I am not your sweetheart. And second, if by any chance you think you just may have gotten lucky tonight--”
“Whoa, whoa now.” Ray was truly mystified at the turn events were taking. “Not that I wouldn’t be honored and damn well pleased, but I sure as heck wasn’t thinkin’ along those lines...and truth be told, you know, I’m hardly up to it.” He considered this for a second, a fog clearing for a moment’s view of the road. “And I don’t mean I need Viagra either.” He noted her staring at the key as if it might turn into something else. “No, it doesn’t open automatically,” he informed her at last.
She shoved the key into the handle and got the door open, climbed up into the cab and reached across to unlock the door for him. Her gaze ran over the dashboard, uncertainty scrunching her face like a bitter fruit.
Ray folded himself into the passenger seat and slouched back, tipping his hat over his eyes. “Just let me know when you give up. I’ll be right here, darl...” Yeah, better not. He could almost feel her indignation, listening as she squirmed around and adjusted the seat.
“It’ll be a cold day in hell, mister, before I give up!” The key turned and the truck sputtered to life, then died again.
“You ever drive manual before?” he mumbled from under his Stetson, and sensed Carrie eyeing him. “That’s what I thought,” he answered to her lack of response. “Put your foot on the clutch, move her into first, release the brake, and get goin’, slowly releasing the clutch.”
“Who the hell drives stick shift anymore?” she muttered as she followed his terse instructions. The truck lurched forward as she spun it off the grass toward the road.
“Right,” Ray directed, feeling suddenly nauseous with the pitch of the car. Bile rising, he opened the door and spat before yanking it shut again. “Can you get the damn thing into second? Foot on the clutch, move the shift and let’s go if we’re going.”
“Fine! You don’t have to yell at me.”
Ray sat up, shoved his hat back from his eyes and glared at her, reining in his frustration and anger. “I was not yelling at you, but you know dang well we’d be far safer with me drivin’. As it is, I’m gonna need a new transmission.”
The truck staggered again. “I know no such thing.” She bent forward to swipe at the windscreen to clear it. “We haven’t got seatbelts on,” she murmured.
“We’re not going fast enough to need them.”
Carrie ignored his last remark and appeared to concentrate on keeping the truck moving. It sputtered again, and Ray let out a sigh of resignation just as flashing blue lights appeared in the side mirror. She pulled over, and the motor unceremoniously died.
“Damn!” she cursed, reaching down for her bag at Ray’s feet. “Let me get my license.”
Is there anything you want to tell readers?     
Well, if there's one thing I'd like to tell readers it's about the importance of reviews for our books.  Good or bad, it's always nice to know what a reader's reaction is, how we're doing.  Often a line or two is all it takes and it makes a world of difference to us.
Bio:  
Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York, where she was born, instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK.   She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit.  Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC.  She now divides her time between the city and the shore, and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming.  Family vacations are often out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to some 20 ranches throughout the west.  Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards.  Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards and placed in the 2014 International Digital Awards Historical Short contest.   Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and came out Oct. 8th, 2014, and Dances of the Heart, her first contemporary novel, comes out in February, 2015.

Links to Social Media:  
WEBSITE AND BLOG:  http://andreadowning.com
Twitter:  @andidowning  https://twitter.com/AndiDowning
Linkedin:  http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=124888740&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic


Thanks for being my guest today Andrea

7 comments:

andreadowning.com said...

Many thanks again for having me,Marie. I've enjoyed our time together.

CottonSr said...

Enjoyed the interview. Always great to read about the great state of Texas. I'm sure you handled it well in the novel. Good luck.

andreadowning.com said...

Well, as for handling the Texan bits, I had a dear Texan friend check it over though it did get another version after she looked. Thanks for stopping by

Barbara Bettis said...

Sounds like a terrific storyline for you first contemporary. I'm looking forward to reading it and finding out just what secret the younger brother is keeping about his brother! Best of luck with the book!

andreadowning.com said...

Thanks Barb…and I'm not giving away any secrets. Afraid you'll definitely have to read the book for that one.

Renaissance Women said...

Andrea, I like the way this story is going. As for the weather, you in the northeast have my synpathy. I have friends in Boston and worry about them.

Take care and hope you get to feeling 100% soon. Doris McCrwa/Angela Raines

andreadowning.com said...

Hey Doris, thanks for stopping by on line--I doubt you'd want to be stopping by in NYC, though. More snow expected tomorrow but not as bad as Boston!