Canadian author and editor of the blogazine The Pink Heart Society, Donna Alward's, latest release, 'Her Lone Cowboy', releases today in North America. It's the second of her 'Cowboys & Confetti' duet started in January.
Welcome to LoveCats DownUnder, Donna. Let's get the most pressing question out of the way first...
Q1. Cat person or dog person?
That’s actually a tough question. Because I have both. But I think…while I love our little Boo dearly…I’m more of a dog person. I think it’s in the eyes. Puppy eyes are so expressive. And I always had dogs growing up but never cats (my mum wouldn’t allow it). We’ve only just brought our first kitty home in December, and I have to admit he’s added a little bit of something special to our household. My friend and CP Michelle Styles says there is nothing like a cat in the lap. She’s right – and there’s also nothing like the devotion of a dog. Dreamer is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever – as you can tell, she loves the water. I love both our furbabies – how could I not when they’re this cute?
Q2. Your cover for Her Lone Cowboy is wonderfully evocative - just a man and a whole lotta country! What is it about your cowboy that makes him such a loner? Tell us a little about the story.
Can I just say how much I LOVE this cover? I was horribly nervous waiting to see it and boy did they get it right! Noah’s definitely a loner. He’s been a career soldier up until now, when he’s wounded and pretty much guaranteed to stay that way. He and his brother basically grew up without a mother and their relationship with their dad is complicated. He hasn’t seen his brother often in the intervening years. And now he’s come back home not by choice but by circumstance.
When I knew I was going to be writing a physically disabled hero, I also knew one thing – that there would be no room for self pity. Noah might be angry, and get frustrated, but he never feels sorry for himself. For Noah it is all about wanting to move forward and sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s happening as fast as he’d like. He finds it difficult to accept help – which is where the heroine, Lily comes in. Lily just GETS him. And so when there comes a time that he does seek someone out to talk to, it’s her that he chooses. There were a few scenes in this book that were amazing – and draining – to write. I went through TONS of tissues during two particular scenes. I think at one point I had to stop as I couldn’t see the screen. What a baby I am!
I mention in my Dear Reader that it is hard to think of Noah as disabled. I just got caught up in their story and I still think he’s soooo sexy – despite his scars. Can you tell I’m still a little in love with this book?
Q3. Are you a country-girl yourself? What is it that you love so much about cowboys and ranches?
Aw, you’ve outted me. LOL Yes, I’m a country girl, though I grew up on an apple farm and not one with livestock. Still, being a country girl I feel that connection to the land and wide open spaces. I lived in Calgary, Alberta for several years – home of the Calgary Stampede and a short drive to the Rocky Mountains and ranch country. There is something about the prairie especially that is beautiful. The sky is so huge, and there’s a wild freedom to it. You can stand in the middle of a field and feel small, but also feel how awesomely big it is and marvel at being a small part of a big whole…it’s hard to explain. As far as cowboys and ranches – there is something about the farming work ethic, and a man who is self assured, a man who works the land to be a provider and protector. Hey, you get it – you have your own version with your outback heroes and cattlemen!
Q4. You're Canadian, eh? Right on the coast of Nova Scotia, specifically. What an amazing place to live - what do you see out your window (other than a heap of used Olympic banners)?
After years of being a city dweller (hard for a country girl like me), we moved a few years ago to Nova Scotia, which is much closer to where I grew up. We aren’t “rural” but rather I guess what you’d call “country residential” – our subdivision has minimum one acre lots, lots of trees, and is very quiet. The last place we lived our side door was three feet away from the neighbour’s steps. Here – if I shout, our neighbour and I can communicate while on our decks. Barely.
I have my own office here too, that looks out over our front yard. The two lots across from us are not developed so when I look out my window, I see our front lawn, my perennial garden, and lots and lots of trees across the road. Quite often I will also see pheasants strutting around or deer – they’d better keep away from my apple trees! J It’s a good life. I love it. And when the trees get too much – it’s a hop skip and a jump to the ocean. I LOVE sitting and listening to the ocean.
Q5. Have you ever been DownUnder? Would you like to come? I can have the spare room ready....
I haven’t! And yes I’d love to visit! I have such itchy feet but travel is expensive especially when you have kids to tow along. And we would have to take them…I love watching them experience new things and places.
My sister did a trip many years ago to Australia and New Zealand and her pictures are so gorgeous. And of course “meeting” so many Aussie authors only tempts me more. The one thing that scares me? You guys have some seriously poisonous species over there. I watched a show once that had the world’s deadliest creatures and I swear half of them were in Australia! LOL You’re made of stern stuff!
Q6. The Pink Heart Society... a great regular read (especially 'Male on Monday'...ahem...) What do you enjoy most about helping to run a blog-a-zine?
Hands down it’s the people I get to meet – even if it’s just cyber meet. This year I’m looking after the calendar and am starting to get over my numbing fear of cold-e-mailing people to be special guests. I learn a lot about different people and parts of the industry. It sounds weird but I can’t tell you how much I get from working with Michelle (Styles) and Jenna (Bayley-Burke) and the rest of our fab group. The PHS rocks and reminds me daily how great it is to be a part of the category romance genre.
Q7. What's next on your to-do list, book-wise?
I just handed in the second book of my current contract, and it was a book that was a slight departure for me but fun! My next deadline is the end of May, so I’m full-speed ahead with a brand new story. You can usually catch up with what I’m doing on my blog (www.donnaalward.blogspot.com) .
Donna, thanks for your time, I know there isn't much of it, especially in shelf-week. We've loved having you DownUnder albeit virtually. Maybe one day we'll see you here. Until then... race you back to The Pink Heart Society.