Today I’m interviewing YA historical romance author Stephy Smith.
Stephy grew up in the Northwest Texas Panhandle and still lives within a few miles of her childhood home. She owns her own ranch and has 34 horses, three dogs and a chinchilla. Her three sons are grown with families of their own.
Other than writing, Stephy loves to read, garden, ride horses, paint and do just about any kind of arts and crafts if it doesn't involve yarn, knitting needles, crochet needles or material.
She also likes to quilt once in a while. It takes her back to playing under the quilt tent while her mother, grandmother and other ladies in the Texan community hurried to finish a quilt for a wedding or wedding shower.
Welcome, Stephy. I can certainly relate with the quilting bee. As I child I also played under my grandmother's quilt frame. I loved sitting quietly and listening to all the chatter as they stitched away. Thank you for being the catayst to that memory! I’m so glad you could drop by today. :-)
Now, let’s get down to business and talk books. When did you first realize you were destined to write romance?
Stephy - About a year and a half ago I entered Lizzie and the Rebel in a writing contest and it got Honorable Mention. I edited it until I was ready to set a match to it and the pitch session on SweeterRomanceNotions yahoo group came up. I thought what can it hurt, so I pitched and here I am.
Anne - Tell us about your book.
Stephy - The title of the book is Lizzie and the Rebel, it’s a young adult sweet historical romance.
Orphaned at fifteen, Elizabeth George learned to protect herself and her ranch from ruffians trying to steal her part of the
Rocky Mountains. Interrupted while tracking a mountain lion, she follows the smoke filled air to the half-frozen body of Frank Walling. Caring for the wounded confederate soldier, his demise stirred emotions Lizzie thought she was incapable of feeling.
Frank Walling fought for his beliefs during the Civil War. Wounded and half-frozen on the side of a mountain an angel appeared at his side. a new and difficult war of emotions boiled inside him. he determined he could not now, not ever— leave his angel unprotected on the mountain alone.
Anne - Of all the characters you’ve created, does one hold a special place in your heart? Why?
Stephy - Lizzie lives my dream of living in a log cabin in the mountains. Grizzly
Adams was the popular series on Saturday mornings and we would watch it. I wasn’t sure about having a grizzly for a friend but living in the mountains looked harmless enough. Lol. When Lizzie came about and I put myself in her shoes it opened my eyes to the dangers of a woman alone on a mountain and the possibilities they faced back then.
Anne - What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Stephy - Editing. Not because I have to cut parts out, more because I don’t see the mistakes. I edited Lizzie and never even noticed the name of the horse changed and the spelling of a lady’s name changed until I did the final edit.
Anne - What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself from your writing?
Stephy - I have always loved history. Mixing the era with my characters, placing myself in their shoes isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. In my area of Texas where we have the wide open ranges, blizzards in winter and hot sweltering days of summer, it’s easy to imagine walking beside a wagon train, riding a horse in a blizzard with no landmarks, getting lost or even the fear of seeing the enemy coming with no place to hide helps move the story.
Anne - Tell us about the defining moment when you felt as if you’d finally made it as an author.
Stephy - The day Lizzie released I got an e-mail from the publisher telling me I was a published author. That was when it became real. When I showed my sons the cover art for the book it became real to them.
Anne - Any words of advice for struggling, unpublished writers?
Stephy - Never give up, keep writing and learn as much as you can about the craft. Take rejections as a positive move, at least you tried. Some people are more afraid of failure they won’t even try. If you at least try, how can you fail?
Anne - Outside of writing, what accomplishment are you most proud?
Stephy - Raising my sons, and now I take care of my mother. She never gave up on her kids and I will never give up on mine. Learning how to be a mother to your mother is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.
Anne - Quick. Your five favorites: author, actor, movie, song and quote.
Stephy - Author- Jodi Thomas, actor- Kevin Costner, movie- Dances with Wolves, song- Seminole Wind, quote- Nobody can ruin your day if you don’t let them.
Anne – Super quote, Stephy. Could we read an excerpt from your book?
Stephy - Of course!
Smoke drifted across the treetops of the snow-covered
Rocky Mountains. A strong smell of burned pine trees lingered in the air. Lizzie’s anger engulfed her at the thought of another series of persistent terrorization from trappers who threatened to take over the land.
“It looks like we have visitors, Oro. Better take care of them first and pick up the mountain lion later.” Elizabeth George bent forward and patted the golden stallion on the neck. The sky was a little grayer than it had been in the past half hour.
Danger of men on the mountain brought mixed grief and pain. Aware of the dangers of the mountain storm fueled her determination to keep trappers from taking what, by all rights, was hers. It wasn’t the first time she’d had to stand toe to toe with one of the rude men and she knew it wouldn’t be the last if things worked in her favor. Her eyes nnnarrowed and she squinted against the white ground cover.
She cast one more glance at the paw prints leading to a large boulder. “You, my furry friend, get to live at least one more day. If you follow me, you could have fresh meat for your last meal,” she whispered, and checked the rifle and pistol. With a heave, she pulled the bearskin coat tighter around her neck and spurred the palomino stallion up a rocky, winding trail.
Death of cattle to the mountain lion would be naught. Loss of the land was different. Land, she held close to heart, the land of her mother’s people. The land her family had sacrificed their lives to keep. Their spirits lived on this mountain. She could sense them along the trails, when the trees rustled and the rivers sang with rapid water from winter snow. Everything about the mountain held one spirit or another to reach and guide her on some kind of instructive journey. A lesson to intensify skills each time she re-entered the area.
Always on the lookout, alert to the environment, she watched a fox chase a rabbit into dense underbrush. The wildlife touched her heart and left her smiling. God and the great spirits had always been good to provide joy from the world created. She reached to the heavens, thanked both, and asked for guidance as she moved further up the trail.
Anne – Thanks so much for sharing. Final question, Stephy. Where can readers find you online?
Stephy – They can visit my website: www.stephyjsmith.webs.com
Anne - Thanks for dropping by. It was such fun!
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Do you write sweet romances?
Want your latest release featured?
Email - annekalbert AT gmail DOT com
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