These days, she writes novels, maintains a history blog, and herds poodles in her native Colorado.
Q&A with Lauren
I always loved reading, and I got my first taste of fiction writing in 6th grade. I enjoyed it, but I struggled with believing in my own creativity. I wrote, but I stuck to non-fiction because it was less personal. By the time my son was born a decade ago, I began to break free of that fear and admit to myself and others that I wanted to write fiction. That's part of the message of When Doves Fly--learning to believe in yourself and being true to yourself without apology or regret.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Oh, let me count the ways. Where the Red Fern Grows, Charlotte's Web, and Nancy Drew influenced me because they were the bedrock for my love of reading. Jean Auel's Earth Children's series stuck with me because of her lovely imagery, though I've grown out of her style. I suppose it's cliché now, but Stephen King's On Writing was a huge motivator for my belief that I could BE a fiction writer--not to mention the many books of his I've read and re-read to tatters.
Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
I'm an amateur genealogist--that is one of the hobbies that fed my love of history and led to the book.
What book are you reading now?
Tracy Chevalier's The Last Runaway--finally!
What can we expect from you in the future?
I'm working on a sequel to When Doves Fly. After that, I haven't decided whether I want to do another historical or dip my toes into a different genre, perhaps a psychological thriller. It's hard because I want to write ALL the books.
When Doves Fly
In a time when men control every woman’s destiny, Lily craves independence. Taking advantage of a gold rush, she settles in a boomtown and opens a dry goods catering to the miners, outlaws, and fallen women. She builds a new life and forms bonds that banish the ghosts of her past.
Lily soon discovers the Wild West is a fool’s paradise. The false-fronted saloons and shops cloak a world of addiction and violence. When she stands her ground, jealousy, injustice, and greed exact their dues in ways a lady couldn’t imagine.
Independence has a price. It will cost Lily her sanity and her life, unless she finds the strength and courage to make her own destiny.
Available Now on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1L53HNb
Excerpt from When Doves Fly
The livery operator, even harder used than his horses, eyed Lily with an arched brow. He wore chaps molded to his legs and a cowboy hat with holes. Tanned rifts covered his face and shifted in strange patterns as he talked.
“Where ya headed?”
“Cheyenne,” she lied.
“Where’s yer men folk?”
“I’ll be making this trip alone.”
“Missy, that’s a long ride. Oughtta at least wait for a party goin’ out.”
Lily set her jaw. “I’ll worry about that. How much for that one?” She pointed to the less-swaybacked roan.
“That’s Charlie. Let you have him for $50.00. Can you even heft a saddle on yer own?”
Her lips pursed, and she walked to a rack loaded with saddles. Struggling, she lifted one over her head.
The horseman shrugged. “All right. But ain’t no way you can make it all the way to Cheyenne on yer lonesome. Bandits roamin’ all over now, even if the ride don’t kill ya.”
“Will you sell me the horse or not?”
He opened a packet from his vest and stuffed a plug of tobacco in his cheek. “I reckon.”
“Do you have any mules?”
“For what?” His eyes narrowed.
She tossed him a withering look. “A pack mule, of course.”
His gaze wandered. “Nope. No mules.”
Lily followed his glance and walked to the corner of the building. Several mules munched hay at a paddock trough. She rounded on the man.
“Just what are those? Pigs?”
“Bad enough if I sell you the horse, but that’ll only getcha in so much trouble. I ain’t sendin’ you out on the trail with two animals you can’t handle.”
“Then I’ll have to find someone who wants to make money. Thank you and good day.”
He stuck his leg out, blocking her attempt at a huffing exit. “Listen, missy. You don’t look as if you been doin’ much trail ridin’. I’ll allow you might handle the horse on yer own, mostly ‘cause he’s too old and tired to do much but eat. But a jack’s a different animal, and tryin’ to lead one while you ride ain’t easy, even for trail men with some miles under their belts. What do you need to pack, anyhow?”
Lily pressed her lips together to stop their trembling. She wanted to tell him to mind his business but lifted her chin. “Goods.”
“Er … you can buy goods in Cheyenne, reckon? It’s a bonafide city these days. Stores and everything.”
“Cheyenne isn’t my final destination. Will you sell me a mule, or are you going to spend all day asking questions?” Her nails dug into her palms.
He looked her up and down. “I can’t do it. Take my advice: don’t try it.”
She fumed but changed her tack and offered a sweet smile. “What if I take a hired man? Can I, please, have a mule then?”
“Do I look that brainless?”
“No, truly, I promise. You’re right; I shouldn’t do it on my own. I’ll hire someone. Do you know where I can find a reliable hand?”
The cowboy considered her and wagged a finger. “I’ll give ya the address. And I’ll check up on it, too.”
She paid him $95.00 for the horse, mule, and a saddle. As he saddled the horse, he looked at her skirt.
“You know how to ride a western?”
She didn’t meet his gaze. “Of course.”
When he finished, she led the animals away, with no intention of hiring anyone.