Welcome to the first day of a month long celebration for the one year anniversary of VBT – Writers on the Move. We are a cross promoting group of writers.
I’m really excited to have Heidi M. Thomas with me today. She is from Montana, the Big Sky Country but now lives in Mount Vernon, Washington.
Raised on a rach in isolated eastern Montana, Heidi Thomas had a love of reading and writing since she was a little girl.
Heidi, tell us a little about yourself.
A tidbit of family history, that her grandmother rode steers in rodeos during the 1920s, spurred Heidi to write a novel based on that grandmother’s life.
Cowgirl Dreams is the first in a series about strong, independent Montana Women.
Heidi is a member of Women Writing the West, Skagit Valley Writers League, Skagit Women in Business, and the Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She is an avid reader of all kinds of books, enjoys hiking the Pacific Northwest, where she writes, edits, and teaches memoir and fiction writing classes.
Married to Dave Thomas (not of Wendy’s fame), Heidi has no children, but as the “human” for two finicky felines, describes herself primarily as a “cat herder.”
You have a great book that I know I’m anxious to read. Tell us about Cowgirl Dreams.
Defying family and social pressure, Nettie Brady bucks 1920s convention with her dream of becoming a rodeo star. That means competing with men, and cowgirls who ride the rodeo circuit are considered “loose women.” Addicted to the thrill of pitting her strength and wits against a half-ton steer in a rodeo, Nettie exchanges skirts for pants, rides with her brothers on their Montana ranch, and competes in neighborhood rodeos. Broken bones, killer influenza, flash floods, and family hardship team up to keep Nettie from her dreams. Then she meets a young neighbor cowboy who rides broncs and raises rodeo stock. Will this be Nettie’s ticket to freedom and happiness? Will her rodeo dreams come true? Based on the life of the author’s grandmother, a real Montana cowgirl. Cowgirl Dreams is available from the publisher, Treble Heart Books, Amazon.com or the author website. It is suitable for both adult and young adult readers.
Do you think we could share some of what people are saying about Cowgirl Dreams?
Here are some of the reviews I’ve received.
Svetlana Kovalkova-McKenna rated it: 5 of 5 stars It is a wonderful YA (Young Adult) book! For the duration of the story you are completely immersed into the world of growing up in Montana in 1920s. Hard work on a family ranch, dreams that defy conventional wisdom, hard choices and, finally, success. Try becoming a rodeo star, when rodeo circuit is a man’s world and you are a teenage girl! I appreciated author’s meticulous research. All the details of everyday life on a ranch, food, clothes, and people’s mindsets were so interesting…more It is a wonderful YA (Young Adult) book! For the duration of the story you are completely immersed into the world of growing up in Montana in 1920s. Hard work on a family ranch, dreams that defy conventional wisdom, hard choices and, finally, success. Try becoming a rodeo star, when rodeo circuit is a man’s world and you are a teenage girl! I appreciated author’s meticulous research. All the details of everyday life on a ranch, food, clothes, and people’s mindsets were so interesting, true and well placed throughout the story; I could not help but admire it! If you are a fan of “Little Women”, “Secret Garden”, “Little House on the Prairie” and “Ann of Green Gables”, take a note of this author, she is the one for you. I would say the book is a great coming of age story with a lesson in history, lots of adventures, a touch of romance and a great lesson in perseverance. I am buying this one for my daughter. *** From a male reader: Heidi Thomas’s Cowgirl Dreams provided me with a delightfully engrossing pleasure: a “good read.” An added bonus was a bit of history detailing the hardships and delights of rural life in early twentieth century Montana and the expectations for women of the time. I approached the tale with a mixture of mild trepidation and hesitant curiosity, the twin themes not being typical fodder for my pleasure reading, and finished with the great satisfaction found in experiencing a well-told story. Nettie Brady’s adventure richly details a pair of transitions: a child growing into young adulthood and a women tackling roles previously claimed by the men of her times. This is a book for all ages, and I look forward to the possibility of reading further installments of Nettie’s life and times. Peter Olson *** Some girls claim they were born as horses and only later grew up to be western women. Heidi Thomas gives us one of those passionate, persistent young women in Nettie Brady, and she s based this sparkling and enduring character on her own grandmother s story. Cowgirl Dreams is a heart-warming read for all ages and lets us all know why Ms. Thomas is not only a fine editor of other author s books but shines as a skilled and compassionate writer herself. Jane Kirkpatrick, Award Winning author of A Sweetness to the Soul (Wrangler Award, 1995) and A Tendering in the Storm, winner of a WILLA Literary Award, 2008. *** Heidi has truly captured the heart of the early days of Montana. She brings to life Nettie and her dreams for the rodeo despite the opposition of a woman in an exclusive man’s arena. As I read this authors first novel it was a sweet reminder of the Jan Karon Mitford series. I look forward to reading the sequel in what appears to be a Montana series in the making! Stephanie Hooper
These are wonderful. I’m sure that you will capture your readers and they will be fans for life, Heidi. Thank you so much for being with me. I know we all look forward to getting to know you and your writing better. How can people purchase your book?
Thank you for having me, Dianne.
Cowgirl Dreams is available at:
November 1, 2009 at 5:15 pm
The reviews of this book about a woman who embraces her passion, bucking trends (I know, bad pun), from female and male readers, all appear to focus on not merely the historical context but a deeper entry to the mindset of ‘Nettie Brady.’ Do you see this story as translating to today’s mundane society and encouraging women and girls (as well as men and boys) to engage their passion and embrace individuality? Do you see Nettie’s story translating to urban readers as well ~ as an entry to an ‘otherworld’ of possibilities? Do you have other books planned in like vein? Any details willing to share?
November 2, 2009 at 1:18 am
thanks for you comments. Yes, I do see this story transcending the era of the 20s and being a “model” for women and girls today. There are many similarities in relationships between mothers and daughters and there certainly need to be dreams to strive for.
My sequel, Follow the Dream, is with my publisher now, and I’ve started writing a third in the “Nettie” series.
November 1, 2009 at 6:27 pm
Anyone coming from a family tradition that has a rodeo riding grandmother in it has GOT to be interesting! Good kick off post! Interesting the way you laid out the scrolled excerpts and reviews, also. I’d not seen that before on a blog book feature post. Best wishes for many Cowgirl book sales, Heidi!
Marvin D Wilson
November 1, 2009 at 6:47 pm
Heidi, Cowgirl Dreams looks like a great read! And, wow, your grandmother was in the rodeos!
Thanks, Dianne, for the 1st post in our Blogaversary.
November 1, 2009 at 6:48 pm
Happy Blogaversary! Hiedi, your book sounds wonderful. Historical fiction is a great tool to use to get kids into history. Good luck with it.
November 1, 2009 at 7:01 pm
Heidi, good luck with your book — it sounds very exciting. A few more books like that when I was in school, and I might actually have paid attention in history class.
November 1, 2009 at 7:01 pm
Heidi, I’m fascinated by the fact that your novel was inspired by your grandmother. What your grandmother did reminds me of what an adopted aunt of mine did in 1930 in the UK and that was to break the world record for 100cc motorbikes at Brooklands – she was 3 days short of her 16th birthday. A remarkable feat at a time when it wasn’t the done thing for women to ride motorbikes, let alone break world records, but her father had a motorcycle business and the whole family was motorcycling crazy. Family connections can be a real source of inspiration for a writer and I love how you have used yours! (My adopted aunt has also inspired me to write a poem about her for the paperback version of my book “Family and More – Enemies or Friends?”)
I wish you the best of success with your novel. Do you plan do write a sequel?
November 2, 2009 at 1:20 am
Wow! That is an admirable feat! There were some very courageous & intrepid women in those “good ol’ days.” grin.
November 1, 2009 at 7:46 pm
I love this idea. And how lucky you were to have a grandmother who was such a great, independent role model for you. Look what she hath wrought! (-:
Tweeting writing tips at http://www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo
November 2, 2009 at 1:21 am
Indeed! I’ve always been somewhat of a “square peg in a round hole” type of gal. And I thank my grandmother (and my mother–subject of book #4) for that!
November 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm
I love books about independent women. Your grandmother sounds like a real winner. You must be glad to have her in the family!
November 1, 2009 at 10:21 pm
Good post to kickoff the anniversary tour, Dianne. Cowgirl Dreams sounds like a very interesting book. Best of luck with the sales of it, Heidi.
Everyone, please stop by my blog tomorrow for day 2 of the tour. My guest is Karen.
November 1, 2009 at 10:24 pm
Great post. Cowgirl Dreams looks to be a terrific read! 🙂
November 2, 2009 at 1:22 am
Thank you all for your terrific comments. It’s always fun to have a “dialogue” about our writing passion.
Good to get to “know” you all as well.
Thanks again, Dianne, for hosting me.
November 2, 2009 at 6:29 pm
Heidi, best of luck with your book!
November 2, 2009 at 8:46 pm
It looks like you have a winner – Kate Sender!
I’ll try to notify her and let her know she’s won!
Oh, I forgot to mention I love the new site format!
November 3, 2009 at 12:45 pm
Heidi, you are a very interesting person (and your grandma too!) The best of luck to you and your book!