Good morning, Stitches Thru Time friends! I have someone very fun and special to introduce you to today. Janalyn Voigt is a co-author of the Heroes, Heroines and History blog with me and I am pleased to host her in honor of her newly released book.
Welcome, Janalyn! We're so glad you could visit us today. Tell us about your new release.Thanks for the welcome. I’m thrilled to visit with you today. The first installment in the Montana Gold western historical romance series set in mid-1860s, a turbulent time in the American West. Hills of Nevermore tells the story of America Liberty Reed, who leaves her homestead with her infant daughter after her husband’s death and joins a wagon train bound for Bannack, a booming gold camp. America is befriended by Addie Martin, another widow who lost her husband at the Laramie Crossing. Addie plans to set up a cook tent for the miners and invites America to help her.
In Bannack, America witnesses Shane Hayes, an Irish circuit preacher, being thrown out of a saloon. She intervenes to prevent him from being shot and finds herself in an uncomfortable conversation. America believes Shane’s God is angry with her for the shameful secret she hides, so she tries to avoid him. What she doesn’t know is that Shane has secrets of his own. When circumstances throw America and Shane together, they each come face-to-face with God.
Where did the inspiration for your story come from?During a road trip, my family drove past a stagecoach station called Robbers’ Roost in Montana’s Ruby Valley. Intrigued by the name, I read in a local brochure that outlaws once used this roadhouse as a base from which to rob stagecoach stations carrying gold on the road from Virginia City and Bannack. The Vigilantes of Montana came into being in response to the robberies and murders caused by gold lust. My imagination took fire, and I vowed to write a story set in this stunning location.
How does your faith and spirituality work in with your writing?Writing with a Christian worldview comes naturally to me because my faith is an integral part of my being. I don’t have to think about it. Each book I write contains a central theme that aligns to my faith, and these come from my deep-seated beliefs.
What is your favorite thing about writing historical romance?I love learning about history through my research. That includes exploring websites, spending time in the library, reading original accounts from diaries and letters, and finally taking to the road on a research trip to the locations covered in my books. This creates a lifestyle that I enjoy. What I discover in my research is too good not to share. There are so many stories of well-lived lives and fascinating historical details that have been lost in time. Only a portion of what I find makes it into my novels. So, I write about my research and literary travels to tell the stories behind the stories at my author website.
What are you working on next?I’m currently working on Cheyenne Sunrise, the next book in the Montana gold series. It tells the story of Bry Brennan, an Irish immigrant whose brother, Con, takes her West to help him on his ranch. Along the way, she encounters wagon guide Nick Laramie, a half-blood Indian struggling to survive although he doesn’t fit with either of his parents’ people. After her deceased husband’s treatment of her, Bry doesn’t have a high opinion of men. Falling in love again is out of the question, but she finds herself drawn to Nick anyway.
I’m also editing Sojourner, the second novel in Tales of Faeraven, an epic fantasy series. This is an interesting stretch in my writing career where I’m working back and forth between two publishers, one for western historical romance and the other for medieval epic fantasy. Those genres sound disparate, but there are many similarities. The feudalism in the Middle Ages was not unlike the cultural makeup of the American West. Forts were similar to walled castles, for example, and the cowboy code that arose was not unlike the medieval code of chivalry.
Very interesting. Looks like you have some great stuff going on. Thank you so much for being with us!Thanks for the opportunity to meet your readers, Amber!
About Janalyn's new book:
In an Idaho Territory boom town, America Liberty Reed overhears circuit preacher Shane Hayes try to persuade a hotel owner to close his saloon on Sunday. Shane lands face-down in the mud for his trouble, and there’s talk of shooting him. America intervenes and finds herself in an unexpectedly personal conversation with the blue-eyed preacher. Certain she has angered God in the past, she shies away from Shane.
Addie Martin, another widow, invites America to help in her cook tent in Virginia City, the new mining town. Even with Addie’s teenage son helping with America’s baby, life is hard. Shane urges America to depart for a more civilized location. Neither Shane’s persuasions nor road agents, murder, sickness, or vigilante violence can sway America. Loyalty and ambition hold her fast until dire circumstances force her to confront everything she believes about herself, Shane, and God.
Based on actual historical events during a time of unrest in America, Hills of Nevermore explores faith, love, and courage in the wild west.