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Author Interview with Chantry Dawes

Thoroughly Besotted comes out tomorrow! It’s book two in Chantry Dawes’s Aldbey Park series. Chantry was kind enough to answer some questions for us.

You can get your copy of this delightful romance HERE!

Did you always know you wanted to be an author? What is the first story you remember writing? How did you get from there to where you are today? Pretty much, yes! I wrote my first story when I was in 5th grade, I think. It was about some kids that found a school bus in an old orchard. I think they even drove it around. Mainly they made it into some sort of a cool fort.

What is the most inspiring place you’ve visited and has it shown up in one of your books? Up in the top of the Rockies and the small towns there. It is breathtakingly beautiful and some of the towns make you feel like you are stepping back into time.

How much research do you do into the time period and places you write about? Do you have any experience dressing in character or participating in living history situations or are you more a fan of libraries and online resources? I probably spend too much time researching, I get very engrossed in the history of an era. I love to find characters that are fascinating or incidents that are unknown and intriguing. Dressing in character- My elementary school had a restored original one room school house on the property. All students were invited to spend a week experiencing it. I think I was the only one out of all of the 6th grades that immediately raised my hand in excitement. I spent a wonderful week in that one room school house and loved dressing up in the era of the early 1800s. I’ll never forget it.

What drew you to the era you write in? Is there something about the time period you think most people don’t know about? What do you think would be the most difficult part about living in that period? First- I love the clothing of that era. Second- there was so much going on in the world then- politically, with wars involving so many countries. It was also the origin of the Thoroughbred horse- I love to include horses in my stories when I can. What woman does not love horses or dream of riding one? Or seeing her knight in shining armor riding up on a breathtaking horse. If he rode an old, skinny, boney ugly nag- would you be so taken with him?

What are your favorite kind of characters to write? Do you have a specific trope that you’re drawn too? Strong gritty women – prob

ably ahead of their time, that are loving and humorous, and smart. As for tropes- I don’t like enemies to lovers, or any type of cheating and then getting back t

ogether. My couples tend to be attracted to one another but something is keeping them apart- either an inner problem or an outside source. They must help each other or come together to solve the problem to get to their happily ever after.  I like a bit of a mystery that needs to be solved in my stories as well

Where is your favorite place to write? Does it change depending on where you are in the process? I write at my kitchen table. It is a 12 foot long farm table and my research takes up the whole thing.

Which comes first for you: the plot or the characters? The plot- the characters are born from that.

Do you know where the story is going before you begin, or does it come to you as you write? Do scenes come to you fully formed or are you as surprised as the reader? I do a rough outline of the story and who each of the characters are and their individual characteristics, issues or idiosyncrasies with several scenes from the hook in the beginning to the climax. Then it evolves and may change as I go as the characters come to life. Ie: perhaps you realize that your character may not ‘say’ that or ‘do that’ and the story or scene must be tweaked.

Does your writing process include any kind of ritual? Story specific playlists, tea, or candles, for example? Not really.

Do you write better in the morning or evening? How do you handle the distractions of working from home, especially if you’re sharing the space with others? I am alone as my boys are all grown up and gone, so the only distraction I have is letting the dogs in and out and in and out and in and out all day!

When it’s difficult to physically travel, how do you find ways to escape? I take the dogs for a long walk or go groom one of my old horses.

From all your books, who is your favorite hero and why? The heroine was a woman on a wagon train to Montana. The wagon master thought she was too old to be in the group of young mail order brides heading west. She proved him wrong with her grit and knowledge on the trail. Plus she could shoot a rifle. The trail was rough going and all kinds of things happened. She was pretty bad ass and the wagon master of course fell in love with her. Otherwise- from my current series in the Regency it would be the character of Lula Darley whose story I am writing now. I love her, she is so real and struggles to be brave. She sings or hums when she is nervous or afraid and she is an animal lover and wants to be an animal practitioner. It was not acceptable for a women to be an animal doctor at that time, though many women were out of necessity with so many men away at war.

What do you like to read when you’re not reading in your genre? Did you have a favorite book or series when you were growing up? I don’t have time to read for pleasure anymore since I am always writing. Growing up I was a voracious reader, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, romance, all the classics. Anything and everything. When they handed out the class books (ie: history, biology, chemistry,) at the beginning of each semester I would read the entire book that first week. When I was a junior and senior in HS I told the teachers to just let me know when the tests were and I’d show up for class on test days. They knew I had already read all the material. They let me get away with that! I was working pretty much full time outside of school so it came in handy to be able to leave school early.