Today I welcome romance author Dorothy Wiley to my blog.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in southern California and found my own romantic hero in Austin, Texas, where I received a Bachelor of Journalism degree, with honors, from The University of Texas. After a 35-year corporate career in marketing and public relations, I am living my dream—writing historical romances—and residing in central Texas with my husband (the same wonderful guy) on our beautiful cattle ranch. Yes, dreams really can come true!
What or who inspired you to start writing?
My American Wilderness Series Romances, WILDERNESS TRAIL OF LOVE (Book One) and NEW FRONTIER OF LOVE (Book Two), are set in 1797 colonial America. My husband’s ancestors, who really did journey from the New England area to Kentucky in the late 18th century, inspired this series. I wanted to honor these and other first wave settlers of early America by writing these books. The arduous journeys, brave battles, and daily sacrifices of these first-wave pioneers should not be forgotten. Although the books are only inspired by America’s ancestors and are not based on actual people, I’ve attempted to balance the hardships of the frontier with amusing, romantic, and vividly compelling characters that I hope will be very memorable.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
At the University of Texas, I majored in Journalism. After graduating, I worked in marketing/public relations for corporations in Houston and writing was a big part of all my jobs. I primarily wrote annual reports, speeches, news releases, magazine articles, etc. But I always wanted to try writing a novel. Eventually, I just had to try. I had characters in my head who needed their story told. At the time, I was a VP for a major corporation and could only find time to write for a few minutes or hours here and there and it was hard to make significant progress. But I did get my characters and setting fully developed. A little over a year ago, I decided to retire early so that I could begin writing novels full-time. That opportunity has been a real God given blessing and I have loved every minute of it, especially that minute in July of this year when I opened the box that held my first book. That’s when I really felt like a writer! What a thrill.
Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?
Yes, I’ve started the third book in the series, which will be called WHISPERING HILLS OF LOVE. It’s the story of William and Kelly. William is the brother of Stephen and Captain Sam, the main characters in Books One and Two. William’s a sheriff and the best looking of all the brothers. In Book Three, he plays a significant role in helping Kelly to overcome her emotional scars (something really awful happens to her in Book One, but I won’t say what).
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
My primary approach to writing is to allow the characters to drive the story. I believe a writer must really get to know their characters. I would like to be a plotter, and I am going to try that with my third book, but I confess to being a pantser. For those of you who are new to writing, pantser means writing from the seat of your pants rather than following a detailed plot outlined in advance of writing the book. For me, it means plots driven by the characters. I spent a lot of time initially conceiving the characters and describing them to myself, both physical characteristics and personalities. Then, in my head, I put them in a room or situation and just follow their lead. They always seem to know what to do or say. I guess that’s my subconscious driving them forward, but it seems to work for me. I often receive compliments on my characters such as this one from a reviewer on Amazon, “The author’s well-sculpted cast of characters, not only come alive, but you actually begin to really care about them and want them to succeed in their journey west. Her evil characters are truly scary and her good characters are painted gloriously.”
Advise for aspiring writers?
Like top athletes, writers must continually train. With each draft, you build more stamina. With each edit, you increase muscle and get rid of fat. With each skill you practice, such as showing not telling, you add beauty and style. Learning how to produce quality manuscripts is not easy or quick. To really shine, a book requires many drafts and countless edits. After writing for more than 30 years, I still have a lot to learn and believe that each of my novels will be better than the last because I am continually striving to become a better writer.
Please tell us about your current release.
WILDERNESS TRAIL OF LOVE, is Book One of my American Wilderness Series Romances, and is set in 1797 on America’s romantic frontier. This historical romance is a gripping journey of danger, heartache, and passion. It is the story of Stephen Wyllie, and his heroic and breathtaking quest for land—across a thousand perilous miles to the Kentucky wilderness—a new world for the brave. Stephen wants only one thing more than land—to keep his wife Jane and their young daughters safe. But he needs land to make a better future for his family, and the frontier lies open to settlement in the new state of Kentucky. When the harsh demands of the frontier nearly tear apart their great love, Stephen and Jane must find a path through more than the wilderness. His courage is undaunted, her passion is deep, but the wilderness is full of terror. Two lives. One great love. Torn apart by a frightening wilderness. Will Stephen’s dream cost him what he values most—Jane’s love?
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I believe in really studying the history and geography of the book’s time period. I spent a great deal of time in libraries and online preparing to write these books. Even some shows on the History Channel helped. I read everything I could get my hands on about the Wilderness Trail and early Kentucky, particularly Boonesborough. The thing I learned that was the most surprising was the difficult land laws and complicated processes that existed in the 1790’s for acquiring land. The procedure was very complex and often resulted in armed conflicts and people losing their land. This aspect of frontier life is a part of Book 2, NEW FRONTIER OF LOVE. Even though it’s a very small part, it adds historical detail and authenticity to the story.
Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?
My favorite character is the hero of Book Two, NEW FRONTIER OF LOVE, Captain Sam Wyllie. He’s a wounded warrior type of character. Very strong and courageous, but battle-scarred and hardened by war and tragedy. He’s afraid of love. But he has a courageous and bold heart that defies danger. He is determined to make a fresh start in the newborn state of Kentucky. Newly widowed, the heroine, Catherine, is drawn to Sam’s keen intelligence and harsh masculinity.
I really dislike the antagonist in Book One, WILDERNESS TRAIL OF LOVE, Bomazeen. He’s a half-Indian slave trader and vicious killer. He targets Jane, wife of the main character Stephen and the mother of four daughters.
Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?
I usually write in my home office. It’s filled with inspirational items like a Kentucky Rifle, Bowie knife, whip, authentic peace pipe, bears (not real ones), Indians (also not real ones), and my favorite books. Lots of books. Sometimes, if the weather is really nice, I like to write on my terrace. The view of our ranch from there is great and sometimes it’s just good to feel the breeze on your face and listen to the birds when you are writing.
What book are you reading right now?
Sharon Kay Penman’s Lionheart. She writes fabulous literary historicals. But you must love history to enjoy her books.
Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I mention this only to strongly encourage all women to get their annual mammogram. That’s how my cancer was found and it saved my life. It didn’t save me from two traumatic surgeries, but the hero of my life, my wonderful husband of 37 years, and the answered prayers of family and friends got me through it. Please, please, please, get your mammograms. They have made amazing advances in the treatment of breast cancer, especially drugs that target a specific type of tumor, and nearly all breast cancers can be cured IF they are caught early.
Award-winning historical romance author Dorothy Wiley’s Wilderness Trail of Love is the first American Wilderness Series Romance. This memorable historical romance novel breaches the walls of time, bringing readers to a young America, where romance and danger are as powerful as the wilderness.
Set in 1797, on America’s romantic frontier, this gripping journey of danger, heartache, and passion is the story of Stephen Wyllie, and his heroic and breathtaking quest for land—across a thousand perilous miles to the Kentucky wilderness—a new world for the brave.
Stephen wants only one thing more than land—to keep his wife Jane and their young daughters safe. But he needs land to make a better future for his family, and the frontier lies open to settlement in the new state of Kentucky. He must make a difficult decision—choose between the comfort and safety of their New Hampshire home and his dream for their future. Can he risk exposing them to the dangers of the wilderness? Then an immediate threat makes the decision clear. A vicious half-Indian killer, Bomazeen, begins to haunt the area, stealing slaves for the Algonquians to replace those lost to smallpox. Having glimpsed her great beauty from afar, the cunning slave trader tantalizes the tribe’s virulent Chief, Wanalancet, describing his next target—Jane. Believing the merciless slave trader may soon succeed in kidnapping or murdering Jane, Stephen decides his family must leave for Kentucky with his four brothers. When the harsh demands of the frontier nearly tear apart their great love, Stephen and Jane must find a path through more than the wilderness. His courage is undaunted, her passion is deep, but the wilderness is full of terror.
Two lives. One great love. Torn apart by a frightening wilderness. Will Stephen’s dream cost him what he values most—Jane’s love?
A fresh, unblinkingly gritty, and deft new writer of intelligent heart-pounding romance novels, Dorothy Wiley’s new American Wilderness Romance Series captivates readers by balancing the hardships of the frontier with amusing, romantic, and vivid characters. Join her as she robustly blends adventure and action, heartache and humor, with romance and passion
About the Author
Called a “deft new writer of intelligent romantic fiction,” award-winning author Dorothy Wiley enjoys writing big, action-packed romantic adventures set in the American wilderness when it was still a frontier. In her exciting new American Wilderness Series Romances, Wiley breaches the walls of time, bringing readers to a young America, where romance and danger are as powerful as the wilderness. Readers describe her writing as fresh, unblinkingly gritty, and highly enjoyable with well portrayed characters. Like Wiley’s compelling heroes, who from the outset make it clear they will not fail despite the adversities they face, Wiley is likewise destined for success.
Her debut historical romance WILDERNESS TRAIL OF LOVE was a 2014 Florida Romance Writers Touch of Magic Contest Finalist. According to one contest judge, “This work has that memorable feel I associate with big historicals (i.e. Lonesome Dove).”
Wiley’s second book NEW FRONTIER OF LOVE was a 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest Quarter-Finalist. Described by an Amazon reviewer as, “fresh, unblinkingly gritty, and highly readable, her romance novel reads like a classic American adventure story.”
You can purchase Wilderness Trail of Love on Amazon.