What a pleasure to have Amanda Cabot as my guest on Books & Writing. Welcome, Amanda.
A former director of Information Technology, Amanda has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. She's delighted to now be a full-time writer of Christian historical romances. Her Texas Dreams trilogy received critical acclaim and Waiting for Spring, the second in her Westward Winds series, was just released.
Amanda's most recent book, Waiting for Spring, didn't "just happen". It was sparked by her interest in Cheyenne, Wyoming, her new home. Amanda has some fascinating and surprising facts to share with us about --
What's Special About Waiting for Spring
If there's one question I've learned to expect each time a new book is released it's "what makes this book special?" Special of course, is iin the eye of the beholder or, in this case, the reader. While I can't predict how you would answer that question, I can tell you what made this particular book special for me: the opportunity to introduce readers to my new home.
Admittedly, Cheyenne has changed dramatically in the more than 125 years between the time frame of Waiting for Spring and 2013. Most of the buildings from that era are gone, and to make it even more confusing, several of the main streets have different names. But there are still glimmers of that opulent era in the city's history. Opulent, you ask? I don't imagine that's an adjective that most of you associate with anything in Wyoming. Yet in 1883, Cheyenne was the wealthiest city per capital in the world. As if that weren't enough, the city had the only opera house west of the Mississippi, and its InterOcean hotel was the first hotel anywhere to have electric lights in its guest rooms. Were you surprised by that? I thought you might be.
Cheyenne's wealth had several sources. It was the territorial capital as well as a major stop on the railroad, but the major source of wealth during the 1880s was cattle. The combination of free grazing land and high prices for cattle attracted men from all over the world to Wyoming. Some historians refer to them as 'cattle kings,' but I prefer the term 'cattle baron.' It was the cattle barons who built the mansions, some of which even boasted their own ballrooms. It was the cattle barons who frequented the opera house and who made their private club, the Cheyenne Club, the epitome of wealth and elegance in a city that had more than its share of both.
At the same time that the cattle barons were amassing fortunes, the citizens of Wyoming Territory were agitating to become a state. Although there were additional costs associated with statehood, there were distinct advantages, including the ability to control the land, water and minerals within the state lines. Did you know that the governors of territories were appointed by the President, sometimes to repay a political favor? It's true. some of Wyoming's territorial governors had never been here, and, in many cases, they had no knowledge of what made Wyoming unique. Imagine a man who'd lived his entire life on the East Coast where rain was plentiful being able to appreciate the need to regulate use of water in a semi-arid territory where survival might be determined by an inch or two of rain. As a former Easterner who was far more accustomed to flooding than drought, I can tell you that it was an adjustment moving to a place where rainfall in a normal year is less than a quarter of what I was used to.
In the fall of 1886, which is when waiting for Spring begins, Wyoming was poised for change. Not only was statehood approaching, but the cattle barons' fortunes were about to be destroyed by a particularly severe winter. As soon as I read about the events of that fateful fall and winter, I knew that would be the background for my story. I knew Barrett would be a cattle baron who's considering running for state senator. I knew Charlotte would be a widow trying desperately to protect her young son. And I knew that finding happily-ever-after would not be easy for either of them, especially during a harsh Wyoming winter.
Does that make the book special? I hope so.
Yes! It is special, Amanda. Your love of history, story and realism merged to create a terrific story.
A NEW IDENTITY MAY PROTECT HER FAMILY
BUT CAN IT PROTECT HER HEART?
After the loss of her husband and the birth of her baby, Charlotte has had a long, hard year. But she can find no rest from the ghosts of the past and flees to Cheyenne to put the pieces of her life back together.
Wealthy cattle baron and political hopeful Barrett Landry must make a sensible match if he is to be elected senator of the soon-to-be state of Wyoming. He needs someone with connections. Someone without a past. Yet he can't shake the feeling that Charlotte holds the key to his heart and his future.
Will Charlotte and Barrett find the courage to look love in the face? Or will their fears blot out any chance for happiness?
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