This week’s Author Spotlight features
One of the reasons I read is to travel, and another is to encounter events beyond my daily routine. In Full Circle, I was alternately shocked, surprised, upset, and cheerful. I also travelled to Canada and found out what life on a ranch is like! So it was a satisfying read. I especially enjoyed the dialogues and the descriptive scenes which transported me to another continent.
The four main characters are very well-developed, which made me care about what would happen to them, and plenty of things happen! I read about many life changing and dramatic events in their lives, such as loss of parents and children, neglect, fear of commitment, divorce, betrayal, marriage, pregnancy, falling in and out of love, depression, as well as disturbing events such as child murder.
It is a romance, so it is not a spoiler to say that there is an optimistic ending. However, it is not an ordinary or simple romance, the story gradually unwinds and becomes more complex as the plot grows and the characters develop.
At the start of the novel Shauna Lee Holt is a successful accountant with her own business in a Canadian town, who promiscuously enjoys the company of men. We will learn that there is more to Shauna Lee than lust when Brad appears in her life, like a catalyst, and turns her world upside down, as he discovers (with the reader) the traumatic secrets of her past.
Brad is generous and supportive and helps her discover the healing power of love, instead of (or as well as) lust, and helps her face the truth and discover who she is and what she wants to make of her life.
Although Full Circle is part of a series, this can be read as a stand-alone novel. I have not read book one, The Second Time Around, but now I’m curious to find out more of the back story of the lives of Colt and Frank Thompson, the happy couple who seem to have everything, but are also struck by dramatic events in Full Circle.
There are two more novels in the series, The Hand of Fate and Second Chance, which I look forward to reading.
I read and reviewed this enjoyable novel last summer and asked Gloria to answer some questions to get to know more about her work and her writing routine.
1- What would you say to readers to convince them to buy Full Circle?
If you are looking for something more than a traditional romance, you will enjoy Full Circle. Your first impression of Shauna Lee Holt could easily be disdain because, while she is a successful business woman, in her personal life she is promiscuous, sleeping with different men on a regular basis. When Brad Thompson arrives on the scene she hits on him immediately, but he is different from the other men she knows. He is attracted to her, but he is not willing to play her game. He makes it clear to her that he will not have sex with her until they have gotten to know each other and established the beginning of a truly monogamous relationship. He’s determined not to be another one in a string of guys in her bed, but she certainly does test his resolve.
Behind the façade she has created, Shauna Lee is a tormented person who feels unworthy of love and she doesn’t know how to be with a man like Brad. As he gets glimpses of her tragic past he begins to realise that she may never be able to give him what he wants. When they begin to make headway, shadows from her past come forward, like ghosts slipping through the cracks that Brad has pried opened in her armor. Will Shauna Lee let Brad stand by her side and help her like he wants too, or will fear overrule and cause her to slam all her emotional portals shut again?
This story is filled with drama. It revolves around betrayals, hatred, infanticide, regret, revenge, strong friendships and unconditional love. Bring your box of Kleenex when you sit down to read. There will be times when you may laugh, but I’m certain there will be more times when you will feel like crying.
2.What inspired you to write the Belanger Creek Ranch Books?
The Belanger Creek Ranch Series has been a long journey for me. Over 30 years ago I was fortunate to be able to attend RWA conferences in the USA for a few years in succession. Then one year I decided to go to a writer’s workshop in Regina Saskatchewan. That would have been a long two day drive for me, and my husband didn’t want me to go by myself, so he went with me. I had romanticised about the Cypress Hills. They are a high point of land that straddles the SE corner of the province of Alberta and the adjoining SW corner of the province of Saskatchewan: an anomaly in the otherwise flat land of the prairies. Exploring them was on my agenda for that trip. On our way back home to B.C., we detoured off Highway 1 and visited Loch Levan, then drove through the Center Block of the Interprovincial Cypress Hills Park, and across the Gap Road to historic Fort Walsh in the West Block. Among other things, I saw the biggest grasshoppers I have ever seen in my life on the Gap Road! I made notes and took pictures—we talked to a couple of ranchers and that was research for my first book. I wrote the book, had an agent who presented it to Harlequin, who in turn gave me a polite not-now letter, so I went on to other things. I published that original book as “Hearts at Risk” in 2011, and after a few people said they wanted to know more about the characters I decided to write a second book, “You Can Run,” in 2012.
Then my husband decided to write and publish his hunting memoir and his personal memoir, so I put my writing aside and dedicated my time to editing and revising his manuscripts. As well, there were 350 pictures in his personal memoir and 150 in his hunting memoir. I had to prepare those pictures for the publisher by converting them to black and white, editing them with Photoshop Elements where necessary and resizing them. Then I had to number them according to where they would be placed in the individual manuscripts and create place holders in 3 separate files for each book. It was a major project!
In 2014 I settled into my own writing again. I still loved and believed in the characters and story of my first two books (even though they were total flops) so I did an extensive rewrite of “Hearts At Risk,” and it became The Second Time Around, Book One of the Belanger Creek Ranch Series. Then I tweaked the manuscript for “You Can Run” and it became Full Circle, Book Two of the Belanger Creek Ranch Series.
I like a series of books if they relate to each other, but can be read on their own, and by the time I started writing again I knew I wanted to do a book that included a surrogacy. That book went through 3 title changes—at first I was going to call it “The Bastard and The Barren”. My husband has no input in my books (in fact I don’t think he’s even read books three and four), but one day he when he came into my office and when he saw the file name on my computer he was disgusted!! Any way as the book evolved—(or possibly I was the one who evolved) I decided the title was going to be “The Gift” Then when I did the very final edit—I knew there was so much more to that book than just the gift of surrogacy, and after I changed the last paragraph, I decided to call it The Hand of Fate. Two new characters had been introduced into the “Belanger Creek Ranch family” and the idea for A Second Chance, Book Four was spawned.
I choose to call the series The Belanger Creek Ranch Series, because thirty years ago when we drove through that country I had made a note about a small creek named Belanger Creek. I have no idea what the area is like now, but there was not a ranch there then.
3. What’s your writing routine?
Insane!! I’m a total “pantster.” I’ll have an idea and I’ll do thorough research as background material. Then I’ll just jump right in and start writing—for hours and days and weeks and months.
Since my husband also writes, that is OK when he is settled in front of his computer, but when he isn’t, I think not having “a wife” for weeks on end gets frustrating. He doesn’t say much…although sometimes actions speak louder than words! My kids rag on me for living an unbalanced life—no exercise and sitting at the computer non-stop. Our oldest daughter and her family live upstairs (we live on the ground floor of the same house) and if she looks out of her bathroom window at midnight and sees the glow of the light from my office, she will go into their spare bedroom just above where I am working and stomp on the floor to let me know that she doesn’t approve! Our children and grandchildren are proud of my accomplishments—I have to correct myself here-they are proud of both of our accomplishments—but they just don’t get what it’s like to be a writer!
4-What are you working on now?
I am not writing right now—I am marketing, marketing, marketing!
But I have many ideas simmering on the back burner. I have done research for a possible rodeo series—I know a stock contractor, a bull fighter, a chuckwagon owner, a chuckwagon outrider and a bull rider, as well as a tie down roper. I do much of my research on line, but I like to get a feel for what characters would think and do from real life people if possible. Most of what I learn never makes it into a book, but it makes me feel that I can write with authenticity.
I also have a “series” that’s been on my mind for a few years—one book would be titled Too Little Too Late, another Meant to Be and the third would be The Ties That Bind. They are all about married couples whose relationships face challenges. Too Little Too Late and The Ties That Bind are not actually “happy ever after” books. Meant To Be has heartache but ends happily. They all deal with harsh realities of things that do happen in life. I have thought about them for so long, but am not certain that I want to go down that road yet.
I have also thought about doing a series about girls who arrived on The Bride Ships in the 1800’s—that’s more historical—but there is such fascinating, and yes, horrible stories to be gleaned from that time in the US and when the gold rush was in full swing in the Cariboo area of British Columbia, where I live.
Also I wrote another book years ago that was about a surrogacy contract that fell apart when the intended mother died. More than once I have thought about bringing it to life. I loved that book and still remember it clearly—it had a paranormal element to it.
So as you see, I have plenty of ideas to work on—and in honesty, undoubtedly less than 20 years to write—if I’m very fortunate. Oh mortality!! And the hand of fate! One never knows what will come into your life in a given time. So I choose to live one day at a time!
Lucy, Thank you so much for featuring me in your Author Spotlight!
It was a pleasure having you on my blog, Gloria.
If you’d like to contact Gloria, here are her social network links:
My webpage is http://gloriaantypowichauthor.com/home/
My Blog: http://gloriaantypowich.com/blog/
My books on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/Gloria-Antypowich-Amazon