Barbara Scott credits her strong Irish heritage for her story-telling abilities—and she says it doesn't hurt to believe in the Blarney Stone, either. She's written textbooks, has done educational consulting, and taught special education for twenty-five years. She shares a home with her sister and three rambunctious terriers.
She is the author of five published novels including four historicals: Tug of War, A Golden Heart Winner; Haunts of the Heart, winner of a Write Touch Reader’s award; and Listen With Your Heart. Her other work, a psychological suspense titled Cast a Pale Shadow, won the EPIC Award for Romantic Suspense. She recently completed a contemporary, Talk of the Town, due out in October 2011
Barbara, what was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction, West of Heaven?
"The idea for West of Heaven came from reading Lonesome Dove, viewing Red River, and learning about cattle trails. So many Westerns involve women in minor roles. I wanted to feature them and show them as capable of doing the work of any cowboy as they do on ranches all over the West today."
Is West of Heaven connected to other novels you have published?
"West of Heaven is a standalone novel."
What type of hero do you usually write about? Is the hero in West of Heaven this type? If not, how would you describe him?
"Most of my heroes are Alpha with Beta tendencies. They are strong in the image they present to the world but softer in their relationships with women. They often have significant personal demons to overcome. Jean Luc "Lucky" Desloge, the hero of West of Heaven, fits this description."
Describe the type of heroine in this story.
"Marcella is a heroine with a strong moral compass and a deep belief in the integrity of other people."
What was your journey to publication like? Can you look back and pinpoint your mistakes? Or did you make any serious ones?
"I made many mistakes in my early writing career including signing with a bad agent and staying with her too long just to be able to say "I have an agent." For a while, I was called the Queen of Writer's Market since I sold my work to several obscure, small publishers. I have still not been published with a traditional NY publisher, but that seems less important these days."
How have your friends and family received your career as an author? Are they supportive?
"I was raised by a mother who appreciated my writing talent but encouraged me to have a career to "fall back on." She was why I was a special education teacher until I retired. She died before my first book was published. My dad was never a reader and that first book of mine, Tug of War, was the first fiction he'd read since high school. My sister is very supportive. My first book signing was at her hair salon. I still hold the record for most books sold there."
What’s the most challenging aspect of writing for you?
"My writing challenge is my preference for descriptive writing which is not the style today. I'm not a fan of books that read like movie scripts, all dialog and no meat. However, I know most people are book vegans these days when so many other things besides reading make demands on their time. So, I try to write leaner."
"On the Desert Breeze Publishing website:
Also available at Amazon.com for Kindle, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Kobo, All Romance eBooks and Apple's iBookstore."
Do you have a blurb for us so we'll know the premise of the story?
"Marcella McGovern arrives in Onion Creek, Texas for the reading of the will of her unknown benefactress. Accompanied by the attorney who managed her education but kept the secret of her parenthood, she soon discovers more shocks than her prim upbringing has prepared her to face. The late proprietress of the local house of ill repute, Miss Sophie Castleman, and Clint Harte, wealthy cattle baron of the Heart O' Gold Ranch, were murdered in each other's arms. The will names Marcella as their secret daughter and the inheritor of Sophie's bawdy house and all Harte’s marketable cattle. Complicating the inheritance is Lucky Desloge, Sophie’s disreputable but all too-tempting majordomo, a prime suspect in the murders, and all Sophie’s working girls who are in hiding in her boarded-up house. Then Clint Harte's angry widow issues Marcella an ultimatum, get the cattle off the Heart O' Gold or pay the price."
I must say, this novel sounds very exciting! I assume our heroine will change from that prim and proper young lady to a force to be reckoned with! How about an excerpt?"
Crane’s bellow of disbelief was drowned out by a piercing shriek and a wall-shaking clatter that seemed to come from heaven. Or so Marcella imagined.
Jean Luc scowled at the ceiling where the scuffling continued, mingled with muffled whispers and stifled giggling. “Excuse me, Miss McGovern. We’ve been troubled with squirrels in the attic.”
Sheriff White almost choked on his own laughter. “Squirrels? Ain’t never heard them called that before.”
Jean Luc clapped on his hat and stalked out. Marcella heard the ring of his boots and spurs as he took the stairs two at a time. And then the authoritative clang of them as he arrived on the floor above. The low rumble of his voice silenced all else from that quarter.
“Ain’t nothin’ like a will-readin’ to get folks riled up,” Sheriff White said. “How are you holding up, Miss McGovern? You must be shook clear to the roots with all this. It ain’t everyday a little gal like you gets handed an unlikely set o’parents, a herd of Texas longhorns, and a hog farm all at once.”
“A hog farm, Sheriff?” Mr. Peeper said. ”I hardly think that’s the appropriate phrase to use. Despite her parentage, Miss McGovern has been raised in a genteel—”
“Please, Mr. Peeper, could I leave you gentlemen to your discussion for a moment? I need—”
“Of course, Marcella, dear, after all this you must need a breath of fresh air. Allow me to accompany you to the shade of the porch.”
“No, thank you, I can take myself where I need to go.” In truth, she’d never felt stronger. For all her years, she’d dreamed of a mother who would wrap her in her arms and kiss away her hurts. Of a father who would shower her with gifts and beg her forgiveness for leaving her so alone while he was off fighting wars and righting wrongs. But she had never dreamed this dream. The daughter of a Texas cattle baron and his light o’life. She could almost feel their blood coursing through her veins. And it was driving her to a decision she would never dare on her own.
“You did say, Mr. Peeper, that this was my house?”
“Then I should be the one to see to the squirrels in my attic.” She smiled at the way Mr. Peeper’s mouth popped open and no words came out. She was glad she’d shocked him. Sheriff White had plenty to say, most of it “no, you’d best not” and other such that she had no intention of listening to. They followed her to the stairs but she ignored them.
She did not knock at the closed door at the top of the stair. It was her house. No door should be closed to her. She grasped the latch and pushed the door open. “Mr. Desloge, I must insist you—”
Four women in various stages of shock, befuddlement, and undress stared at her. Jean Luc Desloge, his back to the door, slowly turned, a look of pure chagrin on his face. He took a deep breath and shrugged. Caught again, the devil in his eyes seemed to say. And no hope for it.
“Miss McGovern, may I present Miss Sophie’s ladies.” He stepped aside so she could see them all. “From left to right, Mary Lynn McQueen, June Bug, Glory B, and Polly. Ladies, Miss Marcella McGovern, the new owner of Miss Sophie’s Baths and Gentlemen’s Parlors.”
Thank you so much, Barbara, for being our guest. Readers, please leave a message.
You can learn more about Barbara at her website: http://www.barbarascottink.com