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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Spotlight on Tammy Barley and Love's Rescue


TAMMY BARLEY shares the family lines of James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Emily Dickenson. With that background, she says it’s no wonder she writes Western Romance. She also works full time as a freelance manuscript editor, writing mentor, and biographer, judges a number of top Christian fiction writing contests, and is a homeschool mom of three teens. She has ghostwritten a number of published books, but Love’s Rescue is the first with her name on the cover as author.

by Tammy Barley
Published by Whitaker House


A Dividing Conflict

In 1863, the War Between the States is dividing more than a nation. To escape the conflict, Jessica Hale and her family flee their Kentucky home and head for Nevada Territory. Her brother, Ambrose, committed to the Confederates, rejoins the Kentucky militia and is disowned by his father. But the worst is yet to come.

A Heroic Kidnapper

When Unionists presume the family to be Confederate sympathizers, they set a devastating fire to their home. All alone and then “kidnapped” by cattleman Jake Bennett, Jessica is taken to a ranch deep in the Sierra Nevada wilderness. Can she overcome her resentment toward Jake for failing to save her family?

The Depths of Love

When Jake launches a plan to help Jessica’s brother escape from prison camp, she sees him for the honest, good-hearted Christian man that he is and now knows the depth of his love for her. Through the lingering smoke and smoldering ashes from her ruined home and murdered family, will Jessica see a future with Jake?

Buy Your Copy of Love's Rescue today!

Read Love’s Rescue for a chance to win a one-week western guest ranch resort vacation for two to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado! For details and to enter, visit


1. This is your debut novel. Congratulations. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Hi everyone, and thank you so much, Tiff, for inviting me today! The story’s inspiration. . . . Oddly, it wasn’t one main factor, but four: 1) a lifetime of travel in which I toured Civil War homes and battlefields and the Old West (for years curiosity frequently tugged at me and I wondered What was happening in the West during the Civil War?) 2) moving around a lot—I’ve lived in 27 cities and towns in 8 states so far—meant I often had to say goodbye (one of the main themes of Love’s Rescue), 3) the unexpected death of my best friend when she was thirty years old (her friendship inspired the friendship in the story) and 4) a gripping one-man play which I saw years ago at Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City, Nevada called The Ghosts of the Opera House. The play spoke deeply to me, and the actor made eye contact with me once in a way that made me feel he was doing the play specifically for me. The characters of the Old West came alive through that actor, and I felt that their story had to be told.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

I horseback rode halfway across Arizona on a ten-day trip, which came in handy writing the scenes with horses and bad and cold weather. The cowboy coffee scene which provides good comedy in the book was similar to one I went through when, shivering clear through to my bones, I learned to appreciate hot, chunky cowboy coffee. Even with the rain and cold, I loved the relationship with my horse, and the feeling of going high speed with nothing—no doors, no windows—between myself and the wind. Jess has the same love of horses and riding.

My handgun training evolved into a turn-up-the-air-conditioning-variety romantic scene between Jake and Jess. Also, an angel visited me in the hospital once (I had kidney failure), and, when I asked her if I was going to die, told me that I “was just a little butterfly,” which meant I wasn’t done yet. The nickname “Butterfly” appears in the book. My tenacity (different folks have called it by different terms ) becomes Jess’s, as does my enjoyment of God’s creation and of simple pleasures. Jess’s sheer grit is a solid step above my own, and the uniqueness of the several cultures present in the characters were those I observed in others or drew from diaries of those who lived in the West during the time period the book takes place. I strove to make them as real and as unique as could be.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

What a fascinating question! Hmm. Lemon sorbet. Jess loves cold, sweet lemonade on a hot summer day, and she’s got too much kick to be any mildly flavored ice cream. She’s one you meet and don’t easily forget.

4. Are there any themes in Love's Rescue that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?

I’m thrilled you asked that question. A few themes weave very subtly through the story, but I hope the reader catches two in particular: The first: If you must marry, choose your future spouse wisely! The second is subtle, but it’s the foremost spiritual theme: Due to Christ’s death and resurrection, we never have to say goodbye to those we love. Women who have lost a family member and have read Love’s Rescue have commented how much that touched them.

It’s funny, but I didn’t have either of these themes in mind as I first wrote the story. When I finished a few rewrites, they became more and more clear, like seeing stars in the night sky as you drive further and further from the light noise of a city.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

Most difficult: page one. I’d wanted it to begin with Jess’s brother, Ambrose, writing to her from the Civil War, but it just didn’t want to happen that way. Favorite: Jess’s first escape scene. Adventure and suspense is always fun to write, but this scene, with so much at stake for Jess and her and Jake’s personalities and intentions clashing, it was tremendous fun.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

The second book in the series, Hope’s Promise, should be out next summer. Jake and Jessica Bennett learn there was more to her parents’ deaths than they knew, and both the ranch and Jessica are in danger. Now they must quickly find the murderer . . . and discover for themselves how far they will go for love.

* * * * *

Thank you, Tammy, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Love's Rescue.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname 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.

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to anyone worldwide.


Anonymous said...

hey girl, world-class shelf can't lose, God's got your back! super cover, and I hear your agent ain't too shabby terry burns.

bobby weaver

Jeanette Hanscome said...

This book sounds great! I enjoyed getting to know the author too. Great blog Amber!

Debbie Lynne Costello said...

Wonderful interview! Thank you Amber and Tammy. My crit partner got me interested in the CW time period. Your book sounds great. And Oh I am so jealous that you got to ride half way across Arizona. Though I don't envy you if you had to sleep on the ground. Looking forward to reading your book!

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for the great interview, Amber and Tammy. Interesting questions.

I thoroughly enjoyed Love's Rescue. Jake is a to-drool-for hero I fell for hard, and Jess is a bright, spunky heroine with a well-hidden softer side. The story is full of action coupled with fun, one of the best I've read recently.

Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview and getting to know this author. Sounds like a wonderful read. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.


Tammy Barley said...

Hi Bobby, Thanks! Putting together the Web site was a hoot . . . makes me wish I needed more Web sites. Yep, God's got my back, no doubt--He frequently shows me that's right where He is. You're right about Terry Burns too. He's an outstanding agent and a great person.

Hi Jeanette! Totally cute photo. Thank you so much for stopping by. Yep, Amber certainly has a beautiful Web site--warm, friendly, easy to navigate!

Hi DebbieLynn, I LOVED that trip! I slept on the ground, though in a tent. One guy slept under the stars, and when the horses got loose at night and wandered around camp, he occasionally got stepped on! You know you love horses when... =)

Hi Keli! It's great to see you. Everyone, if you haven't been to Keli's blog RomanceWritersOnTheJourney, she offers encouragement, advice, and inspirational stories to new writers. It's well worth a visit.

Welcome, Cherie! Yep, Amber has a gift for creative, engaging interviews. It's a fun, fun way to connect with readers.



Linda W. said...

It's interesting you wanted to know what the West was doing during the Civil War. I, too, wonder the same thing. It's one interesting question.

Please enter me in the contest. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Tammy Barley said...

Hi Linda,

The Civil War in the West saw a lot of division, and, at the same time, a lot of patriotism. Clashes between sides were big, and support for the soldiers was greatly heartening. To be inspired by one of the best examples, visit to read the brief story.



Unknown said...

Amber, wonderful interview and lovely blogsite. ; )
Tammy, your book sounds right up my alley. I'll have to have this one.
My wip involves a CW prison camp, too, so you give me hope that there's interest in the subject. I'll be watching your series closely.
And, uhm, you slept in a tent in Arizona? you;re as brave as your characters. Any snakes or eight-legged guests snuggle with you in the night? eeek!

Kathleen L. Maher

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a book I would really enjoy reading!!! Please enter me.

Tammy Barley said...

Hello, Kathleen!

Yes, I slept in a tent in Arizona. LOL! I also stepped over rattlesnakes to get into my car to drive to work, chased scorpions out of my house, went hiking with tarantulas and desert lizards (a gecko lived on my front porch), and had a temperamental horse try to throw me into a saguaro cactus. Great experiences to weave into a western romance novel, no? =)

Tammy Barley said...

Welcome, Jackie!

You're entered!


Carolynn said...

Congrats on your debut novel! Please enter me, I would love to read this book!

Tammy Barley said...

Thank you, Carolynn! You are entered!



Naomi Musch said...

I'm looking forward to reading your work. You have a great book trailer!

Tammy Barley said...

Hi Naomi,

I'm delighted with how the trailer came out too. In truth I'm already looking forward to putting together the next one. I think Windows Movie Maker is a fabulous big-people toy!


Rebecca Herman said...

please enter me! this book sounds very good.

rebecca191 at aol dot com

Tammy Barley said...

Hi, Rebecca! You are entered!

Ladies, if you'd enjoy reading the reviews, I've compiled reviews at, the second half of the page.

Also, if you enjoy the genre, there's a list of Western and Prairie Romance authors and their newest and upcoming releases all in one place--, again, second half of the page. The authors' name link to their Web sites. =)

Maggie Brendan said...

Enjoyed the interview. The 10 day horseback trip sounds like a great opportunity to connect with the outdoors and your horse. I doubt I could climb down off the horse after 10 day. lol. Please enter me.

Tammy Barley said...

Hi, Brenda. I'm delighted you stopped by. The funny thing about riding for ten days is that yes, you want to climb down but can't after five or six days, but after ten days I found I didn't want to stop at all. I loved it.


Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:


Congratulations! I have emailed you for your mailing information so Tammy can send out your book.

As always, thanks to everyone for your continued support.

Tammy Barley said...

Congratulations, Brenda! Thank you to everyone who stopped by! I love getting to know you all!

Hugs! Hugs! Hugs!