Happy Cinco de Mayo! I'm sitting here in the middle of Yellowstone National Park on vacation for 10 days. But I still have a blog post for you. Aren't you relieved? And maybe amazed at my commitment that I wouldn't leave y'all hanging high and dry? :)
Don't forget the new rules of the spotlights here. Random questions will be inserted in each spotlight for you to find and answer in the comments. So, be on the lookout!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
DEBORAH VOGTS and her husband have three daughters and make their home in Southeast Kansas where they raise and train American Quarter Horses. As a student at Emporia State University studying English and journalism, Deborah developed a love for the Flint Hills that has never faded. In writing this series, she hopes to share her passion for one of the last tallgrass prairie regions in the world, showing that God’s great beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.
SEEDS OF SUMMER
by Deborah Vogts
Published by Zondervan
ABOUT THE BOOK
Releases May 25th!
Seeds of Summer is the second book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series. A heart-warming contemporary romance set in the Flint Hills of Kansas where a former rodeo queen abandons her dreams in order to care for her deceased father’s ranch and her two half-siblings, only to realize with the help of a young new pastor that God can turn even the most dire circumstances into seeds of hope.
Readers, buy your copy of Seeds of Summer today!
1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?
Years ago, I took a Flint Hills Folklife summer course at Emporia State University that was taught by Dr. Jim Hoy. Along with classroom study, we took field trips into the heart of the Flint Hills and visited with old-time ranchers, schoolmarms and post-mistresses. It was such a delightful experience, especially our drives into the pastures. We would get on these back roads and drive over cattle guards into the open range. We would travel for miles without seeing another car or even an electric line—just pure, native prairie. That summer, I fell in love with the Flint Hills and it has stayed with me all this time.
For each of the seasonal books, I wanted to portray one aspect found in the Flint Hills—and I knew I had to include a story about a female rancher. Also because I have three daughters who are spread out in age, I started wondering what it would be like if something happened to my husband and I, and our oldest daughter was left to care for her sisters. It helped make the plot for Seeds of Summer real for me.
Question: Have you ever visited a location and fallen in love with it upon viewing or spending time there? If so, where? And did you move there? Answer in the comments.
2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone?
I would have to say that Natalie is most like my oldest daughter, Samantha. Very strong, determined and dependable. So when I wrote this story, I would often think to myself, how would Sam have handled this. :)
A lot of the scenes in the story came from my own experience on the farm. Like Chelsey (Natalie’s sister), as a girl I did much of the cooking for the family, and took care of the house while my parents and brothers farmed. The haying scene in the book came directly from my own experience of raking hayfields and watching the crew stack the bales in the haymow. And Natalie’s horse Jackson was inspired by one of our own horses that is also a gallant protector. I believe some horses are extremely faithful creatures and can sense their owner’s emotions and will act accordingly.
3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?
I had to do a Google search for this on Baskin-Robbins, but here’s what I’ve decided. Natalie would be Gold-Medal Ribbon (a combination of vanilla and chocolate ice cream with a caramel ribbon) because she’s been a winner at most everything she’s tried. She’s dependable like vanilla, but is willing to add a little extra chocolate in her life to make things interesting. LOL
For Jared, I’m going to go with Black Walnut. Why? I have no clue. Maybe because he is old fashioned, but is just enough different to stand out in the crowd. OR, you have to be a certain kind of person to like him. LOL. No idea. :)
4. Are there any themes in Seeds of Summer that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
When the story begins, Natalie has lost both her parents, so obviously dealing with grief is one theme in the story. What surprised me is that Natalie needed to deal with her mother’s death, which happened when she was a little girl. It surprised me that she’d carried it for so long without coming to terms with it.
I hope readers will realize how important family relations are and that we can get through our difficulties if we remember to love and forgive each other. I also hope to give my readers a taste of the Flint Hills and of how God’s beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.
5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
For the longest time, I didn’t know how to end my story. Then about a month before my deadline, it came to me like a clanging cymbal. Also, there were a few plot twists created by my secondary characters—Libby and Tom—who never wanted to go in the direction I’d outlined for them. I don’t want to give away the story, so you’ll have to read the book to find out. :)
Favorite: I really enjoyed writing Natalie’s story and trying to get her through the difficult family problems she had to face. She is a very strong character with an interesting twist in her story—she’s a former Miss Rodeo Kansas AND the first runner up Miss Rodeo America. I don’t want to give away any of the plot line, but I can say that much of my research involved studying the rodeo queen pageants.
6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
Blades of Autumn, the third book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series, is set to release June 2011.
(Blurb for Book #3) With a café to run and three children to raise, Clara Lambert doesn’t have time for men or loneliness, despite what her heart might tell her. When two handsome cowboys vie for her attention, one of the brothers proves to be her soul mate, but at what cost? Will it tear the brothers’ relationship apart or is blood really thicker than water?
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Thank you, Deb, for being in the spotlight with us.
NEW!! Readers, find the question associated with the spotlight and answer it in the comments, then leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net) for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Seeds of Summer. If you do not answer the question, you will not be entered.
Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname dot.com/net). You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.
This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.
Note from Deb - Book Giveaway: Because the book doesn’t release until the end of May, I’m unable to offer a book until the end of the month. If you don't mind waiting, feel free to enter through this spotlight. HOWEVER, Country magazine (Reiman Publications) interviewed me for their April/May issue, which was an incredible blessing and honor, as I’ve been a huge fan of their publications for years. If you go to their site, you can read a sample from the first chapter of Seeds of Summer as well as enter your chance to win one of my books. This drawing ends May 31st.
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