Monday, 14 May 2012
Author Spotlight - Q&A with Delores Goodrick Beggs
STEPH: I don't know much about "Breaking Point." What's it about?
DELORES: Breaking Point is about sisters Mauranie and Tennyson Wells, whose tastes are totally different. Mauranie wants to move their horse ranch forward to a paying proposition in order to support them both. But Tennyson lives for the bright lights of town life. Mauranie has always taken a back seat to her social sister, preferring that because of her poor hearing. She is happily shocked when banker-cowboy Stemson Arroyo Smith rides into the Wells Double Bar one day, and does the unthinkable. He passes by her petite, beautiful sister on the veranda, and stops his horse at the corral where Mauranie is working the black colt Showman. He wants to speak with her, not her sister?
STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
DELORES: Mauranie became my best friend for about a year's worth of long evenings at home after my day job, evenings spent listening to her tell her story in my head as I typed it. Like Mauranie, I have a hearing disability and television in those days, without captions, held no appeal for me. Radio was just noise. My children, two sons and a daughter, led busy lives and were seldom at home evenings.
STEPH: How much research did you have to do?
DELORES:My memory was loaded with what Mauranie did with the horses because I grew up with horses and ponies. My father owned his own acreages and himself built the house we lived in and the outbuilding, so most of the information I needed was there to draw upon. The actual research I did was to determine what kind of writing I wanted to tell the story in. Earlier in my life I read my mother's old favorite books by James Oliver Curwood - she passed that set of books on to me - and the entire set of Zane Grey novels, of which I still have "Wildfire," my favorite one. My brother has the rest of the set. My father read western paperbacks constantly, and when he finished one I read it. I grew up reading western after western, and I knew I wanted to write that kind of stories.
STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?
DELORES: I feel the cover is perfect. It so reminds me of my days riding Snowball, and my heroine Mauranie Wells grew up working horses with her father. She is at home breaking and training her horse of promise, Showman, just as the woman on the cover looks natural, with a fine seat on her horse, including feet in the proper position for what the horse is doing.
STEPH: Mauranie is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?
DELORES: Mauranie knows what she is doing. She has adapted over the years while growing up, learned from her father how to handle and work horses, and to solve, or at least minimize, problems. She had that strength to fall back upon when she and her sister Tennyson suddenly became orphans.
Her weakness is her younger sister Tennyson. Tennyson grew up used to socializing in town with their mother and Mauranie tries to allow her younger sister to continue her own socializing way of life until their banked funds mysteriously disappear and money becomes an issue between them. She still continued to put Tennyson's unreasonable demands first, even when foreclosure on the ranch loomed, and she'd promised herself to finally say no.
STEPH: What does Stemson find appealing about her?
DELORES: They have much in common, their love and knowledge of horses, sibling issues, and neither spends much time on the social scene. Stemson takes advantage of an unexpected opportunity to get to know Mauranie better after he meets her, and is delighted when Mauranie accepts his impromptu invitation, even though she qualifies it that she isn't into "improper."
STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?
DELORES: Families are forever. Even when her own family has problems, Mauranie Wells goes the extra mile to reunite a mother with her two children, and hero Stemson, is moved to take his own younger sister under his care.
STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?
DELORES: Relaxation. My story ideas pop into my mind when I am totally concentrating on something else. Gardening among my clover plants, working a puzzle, cooking... all are fertile ground for my mind to interrupt with a new story idea. Even a real life experience can unexpectedly bloom into a story idea later in a moment of relaxation. This happened after I trimmed the tree back from between my driveway and my neighbor's. I stood in weeds and brush to lop the branches short. I moved to a new position and stepped in a nail that went completely through my foot and out the top of my tennis shoe. I was home alone and on my own. The nail had been driven through a board hidden among the brush and the only way to get free was to stand my other foot on the long end of the board and pull my foot back off it. At a later time this experience turned into my 1991 published short story "Sweetgum," about a tree gone wild on a people.
STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?
DELORES: Yes. I have had a Kindle (2nd generation) for a while and I read all books on it! I have it set exactly the size I want to read without my glasses, and it is SO quick and easy to search by author name, then select to download from Amazon. I am hooked on ebooks!
STEPH: Fun question: What are your plans for Memorial Day?
DELORES: I will be reminiscing about my beloved parents and spreading more clover seeds in my containers. When I was a small child, my father taught me the art of finding 4-leaf clovers and the Irish luck of his family. I know this is going to sound strange, but in 1998 I had a surreal experience. I was thinking about him while I alked in a park near my California home. I looked down at the grass beside the walk, and spied a 4-leaf clover. A few steps further, another...when I finished my walk I had a whole bunch of 4-leafers in my hand. Later I started growing my own clover, and have found numerous 4-leaf clovers in my own gardens. I was privileged last spring to show one of my granddaughters how to find 4-leaf clovers and she came up with a handful of her own. I was delighted to discover she, too had the touch. I work each spring at enlargement of my Lucky Clover Garden, a memorial to my father and my heritage.
You can find Delores at: http://goodrickbeggs.wordpress.com