Deb here, welcoming Janine Mick Wills to the blog today to help her celebrate her debut novel, Cassandra and the Cowboy from Journey Fiction.
Cassandra Pickett is one prayer away from giving up on God. The tragic death of her father and the devastating results of the Great Drought of 1886 have centered the family ranch, the Triple P, in the crosshairs of the Goose Neck Ridge Bank of Texas. Desperate to save the Triple P, Cassandra sees only one option: marriage to Phillip Brigham, the local cattle baron, who has promised to repay her father’s loan. When the enigmatic Matt Atkins shows up looking for a job, Cassandra wonders if the cowboy could be the answer to her prayer instead.
As they work side by side, Cassandra’s feelings for Matt deepen, and she envisions the possibility of marrying for love and not for necessity. But her dreams are shattered when she discovers Matt harbors a hidden agenda for the Triple P. Will Cassandra have to turn to Phillip after all, or will God take the shards of her broken dreams and create something beyond what she could ever hope for?
Hi Janine! Welcome to the Inkwell Inspirations blog!
Deb: How did you choose that setting and decade?
Janine: Though I’ve never lived in Texas, it’s bigger-than-the-life reputation was a perfect setting for a novel that takes place in the Old West. And I love writing about the late 19th century. Though life was hard, it seemed a simpler time before the advent of industry and technology that would change the world and the way people lived.
Deb: How much planning do you do to write a novel?
Janine: Not as much beforehand as during the process of writing it. I have an idea of the setting, era, characters, and plot. From there, I start writing and fill-in-the-blanks later with lots and lots of research. I may have a sketchy outline, but I usually let the story develop as I write it. Even though it is fiction, I believe it also has a life and mind of its own.
Deb: If you plotted your novel, what happened along the way that surprised you in the story?
Janine: What surprised me the most in Cassandra and the Cowboy was the character of Cassandra. A friend suggested she was too immature and flighty, more like a petulant teenager. I tried to rewrite her as a mature woman, but she refused the process. Yes, I was able to tone down her dialog a bit, but she stayed true to who she was to the very end. I call her my “Pepper pot!”
Deb: Your story showed a nice example of forgiveness--real forgiveness of a difficult nature. Did that expand as you wrote it?
Janine: I’d like to think it did. The three principal characters, Cassandra, Matt, and Phillip needed to receive forgiveness from God and each other. Throughout the story, God allowed circumstances to draw the three back to His side, with help from the steady, spiritual influence of Helen Pickett on Cassandra and Matt.
Deb: What can you tell us about the next two books in the series?
Janine: I love the next two novels in the Texas Treasures series. The second one, Juanita and the Outlaw, takes place eleven years after the first (1898). Half of it takes place in Gooseneck Ridge, TX, the location of Cassandra and the Cowboy, and the other half takes place in Boston, MA. Juanita, the little girl and friend of Phillip Brigham, is the protagonist who is now a grown woman. This is a beautiful, sweet story of love and redemption and the fight against prejudices, both real and imagined.
Maddie and the Texas Ranger takes place four years after Juanita and the Outlaw (1902) in the city of Dallas, TX. This story follows Juanita’s Bostonian maid, Madeline Spencer, and her long-lost love, Stephen Caldwell, a hard-working, dedicated Texas Ranger. Madeline is the too-busy-for God, foster mother of four, adorable orphan boys. These boys will bring smiles, laughter, and tears. I promise!
More about Janine:
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