Friday, January 23, 2015

Scene Spotlight for Dearest Darling by Andrea Downing


I have a special treat for all of you...I’m bringing a new feature to Write with Fey for authors to showcase a special scene in their books. Andrea Downing, an author from The Wild Rose Press, is the first to be honored with this feature. She’s sharing a scene from her recent release, Dearest Darling.

Andrea Downing: Let me first say thanks so much, Chrys, for having me here today. This is the first time I’ve done a ‘scene spotlight’ and I really enjoyed it.
Title: Dearest Darling
Author: Andrea Downing
Genre:  Western Historical Romance
Page Count: 106
Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press
Release Date:  October 8th 2014

BOOK LINKS:


SCENE:

Daniel drove back in with the feed sleigh in the late afternoon. The snow had stopped, leaving a silver-white aura over the landscape. The moon fought the sun for this hour, a crescent hanging in the sky like a misplaced toy. There Emily stood, her pelisse bundled tight around her. She leaned on the corral fence, staring out, the mountains standing silently caped in their ermine cloaks, the high prairie encased in its diamond shell, a fading sun scattering jewels onto the landscape. As he reined in, she cast a smile his way, one he could not help but return.

“It’s so beautiful. This landscape. It’s remarkable, quite honestly. It’s as if there’s nothing but space for us for miles and miles and miles. Only the mountains and rivers and the prairie, no one else, just us. Amazing.”

He halted the dray horse, set the brake, and jumped down to stand beside her at the corral, trying to see what she saw, see it through her eyes. He sucked in the fresh air, his hands on the fencing he had built himself. “Like you, I didn’t know what I was coming to. Ten years back. But I had read lots. It was different then, quieter. Even less folks than what there are now. I thought...I thought I’d never seen anything so beautiful. Still don’t.” Although, with her before him, he wondered.

“It’s so different from the city.”Her voice had a note of quiet peace, like the evening call of birds. That was what her voice was like. A call. To him.
Picture by Andrea Downing
“Yeah. It sure is.” He patted the waiting horse, puffs of cold breath forming clouds from its nostrils as it snorted out its impatience.

“I’ll put dinner on,” she informed him, and with a last glance at the hills beyond, she headed back into the cabin.

Daniel stood watching her, the reins in his hand, the horse stomping eagerly to be led to warmth, to its feed.

Bet it’ll be good. Bet it’ll be delicious.

And when he made his way back from the barn, the hay sleigh unhitched, the horse curried and fed, he caught sight of her in the lamplight, sitting there with the mending once more, the table set and waiting for him.

He wanted nothing more than this, the firelight casting her shadow against the cabin wall, the golden locks of hair highlighted by the wavering colors of the fire in the grate, the woman at her work, silently waiting for his return. His alone.
He removed his hat as he entered and set it on its peg before unfastening his sheepskin coat. He wondered if he smelled, if she was offended by his body odor and his unshaven face and uncut hair, but it was too late to care about such matters. Ethel, still in New York, still breathing the stench of city streets, enclosed streets with no views, still waiting in the wings, haunted him now.

Picture by Andrea Downing


QUESTIONS:

1. Where does this scene take place?

Daniel’s ranch house was inspired by the Cunningham Cabin in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.  I always envisage Emily coming out of that cabin, and standing by the rail and taking in that breathtaking scenery around her.  I’ve tried to capture what it would be like in these photos but nothing does it justice; you have to go there and experience that sort of beauty, that solitude.

Picture by Andrea Downing

2. If this were a movie, what song would be playing in the background?

I’m a big Country fan so this was a difficult decision, but I think I’ve settled on ‘Never Knew Lonely’ by Vince Gill.

3. Which actors/actresses would play the characters present in this scene?

For Daniel, no one could be better than Chris Hemsworth—I promise you!  Not just because he’s been voted sexiest man of 2014, but he definitely fits how I envisage Daniel.  Maybe I shouldn’t say that because the character is named for my daughter’s boyfriend!  For Emily, I’d settle on Natalie Portman; she has the beauty and the range necessary for this character.

4. What inspired this scene?

As I said above, the ranch was based on this historic site in Grand Teton National Park.  When I was there I knew that the solitude, the way one feels about being so distant from everyone else, had to play a part in the book, especially referencing Daniel’s loneliness and his need for company, for a wife.  Emily’s first bit of dialog captures everything I felt there and the scene evolved from that.

Picture by Andrea Downing

5. What do you love the most about this scene?    

First of all, I’m very proud of my line, “The moon fought the sun for this hour, a crescent hanging in the sky like a misplaced toy.”  It’s one of those lines an author writes and then later wonders where it came from!  Did I write that?!  But the other thing I love about this scene is the vision of Daniel peeking in his window and seeing Emily in the lamplight.  How many of us do that, either walking along a street or driving by houses; we peep into windows and feel the warmth of the home there, the love of a family.  And that’s exactly what Daniel is longing for, only at this point in the story he believes Emily is the wrong woman for him.


BLURB:

Stuck in a life of servitude to her penny-pinching brother, Emily Darling longs for a more exciting existence. When a packet with travel tickets, meant for one Ethel Darton, accidentally lands on her doormat, Emily sees a chance for escape. Having turned down the dreary suitors that have come her way, is it possible a new existence also offers a different kind of man?

Daniel Saunders has carved out a life for himself in Wyoming—a life missing one thing: a wife. Having scrimped and saved to bring his mail-order bride from New York, he is outraged to find in her stead a runaway fraud. Even worse, the impostor is the sister of his old enemy.
But people are not always as they seem, and sometimes the heart knows more than the head.


BIO:  
Andrea Downing likes to say that when she decided to do a Masters Degree, she made the mistake of turning left out of New York, where she was born,  instead of right to the west, and ended up in the UK. She eventually married there, raising a beautiful daughter and staying for longer than she cares to admit.Teaching, editing a poetry magazine, writing travel articles, and a short stint in Nigeria filled those years until in 2008 she returned to NYC. She now divides her time between the city and the shore, and often trades the canyons of New York for the wide open spaces of Wyoming.Family vacations are often out west and, to date, she and her daughter have been to some 20 ranches throughout the west. Loveland, her first book, was a finalist for Best American Historical at the 2013 RONE Awards. Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards and placed in the 2014 International Digital Awards Historical Short contest. Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and came out Oct. 8th, 2014, and Dances of the Heart, another full length novel, comes out in February, 2015.
AUTHOR LINKS:

Thanks again for having me, Chrys!  Loved doing this.


You’re very welcome, Andrea. I’m super glad you had fun with it. I’ll welcome you back for another Scene Spotlight in the future. :)

QUESTION: How did you like Andrea’s scene for my first Scene Spotlight?


69 comments:

  1. There is something ironic about the title (Dearest Darling) and a man loading a rifle. :) Secondly, that lovely sentence (and it is lovely) about the crescent moon and sun fighting for the sky, caused me to ponder this: the crescent moon is first seen right after sunset a day or two after the new moon. The sun has already surrendered the day. (it can also be observed right before sunrise in the east, just before the new moon). A few day later when the moon is more full, you might catch a glimpse of the sun and moon both up, but the sun will be setting and the moon waxing higher in the sky. Sorry, I spent lots of time looking at the sky--something that I really did when living out we when I lived out West under that big sky.

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    1. I love looking at the sky, too, especially the moon and stars. :)

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    2. Hi Sage, thanks so much for that comment. Let me just say that in the book it's explained that one of the ways Daniel makes money is by taking Easterners on hunting trips and, of course, hunting would be a main source of food. But yes, perhaps the gun isn't in keeping with Dearest Darling though I thought the cover captured his loneliness quite well. As for the moon/sun, you say the crescent moon is seen right after sunset; in my mind, that is exactly what I've said without having to say that the moon won the battle. But I'm sorry if you felt it inappropriate. Thanks again

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    3. Thanks, I was concerned about making the comment on the sun/moon, and now realize I was wrong--I was seeing them both in the sky at the same time, now I understand. Thanks for clarifying it for me. And keep writing about the sky! I like it and the changes in the sky is a way to tell time within the story (which you do here).

      As for the picture, it does capture the loneliness, but my cynical side could have seen it as the setting of a "horror" story with "dearest darling"being sarcasm.

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    4. Thanks for getting back on this, Sage. I appreciate your comment about the sky. As for the cover, it's also good to hear that reaction. I was very pleased with this cover, which doesn't always happen for authors. We have very little input, if any, on the design. And it's difficult to please everyone and gauge different reader's reactions. Thanks again for your comments.

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  2. Great descriptive work. When I hiked the mountains in the Brooks Range it was June and midnight and I took pictures, the moon and the sun were both present.. The moon was full, and the light of the sun was still present. The most prized pictures I own!
    Great job Andrea!

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    1. I would love to hike the mountains. It sounds amazing. Thanks for stopping by, Yolanda!

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    2. Thanks so much Yolanda. Hiking in the mountains is wonderful--just take the bear spray with you! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. A genre I don't read much of. Great cover and certainly one which makes me want to read the book, I'm hoping our library will have a copy.

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    1. You could talk to a librarian and request a copy of the book. She may order it for the library just for you. :)

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    2. Hi Tracy, I'm glad the cover has enticed you. Unfortunately, Dearest Darling being only a novella of 100 pages, it is not available in print--it's digital only so I hope you have an eReader. I may, however, being giving away print copies later in the year as I, as author, can obtain them. Hope this helps.

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  4. I really enjoy the pictures and how they relate to your book. Setting can be like a whole other character, especially when dealing with the wide open spaces like that.

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    1. Thanks for leaving Andrea a comment, Rebecca!

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    2. Glad you like the photos, Rebecca--but nothing beats being there in person!

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  5. before I read that that was Andrea's fav line I was like "That line is AWESOME!" great feature, Chrys! :)

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    1. Wow, thanks so much for that compliment, Beth--it's always reassuring when readers like the work and take the trouble to say so!

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    2. I'm glad you like my new feature, Beth. I'm happy that Andrea was the first to test-drive it. ;)

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  6. I really like Andrea's style of writing. Very flowing, beautiful imagery.

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    1. Her style is amazing. Thanks for commenting, Larry!

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    2. Thanks so much. I think you've made my day ;-)

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  7. What a lovely, evocative scene! It made me immediately go to my Kindle to read it.It's there, waiting, waiting ;)

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    1. Read on, Barb. Most people say it's a quick read--Dearest Darling and a sandwich for lunch?

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  8. Painting a picture with words. Sounds like a lovely setting with a great underlying conflict.

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    1. That pretty well sums up what I tried to do. I only hope I accomplished it.

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  9. It's a beautiful scene that helps us see the Wyoming that the characters see. It also gives me insight into Daniel's feelings. He's obviously attracted to Emily but is still torn about his feelings for Ethel. Lovely!

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    1. Yes, you've got Daniel exactly. As for the photos capturing the Wyoming they see, I hoped they do but I don't think any photo can capture the solitude of the place, quite honestly. You really have to stand there.

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  10. I read the book and loved it, so I really enjoyed the pictures that helped to inspire your writing of the book.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the book, Hebby--now you can envisage the scene better perhaps. Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. You are the Queen of features, Chrys. I stand in awe of your blogging productivity.

    Grats to Andrea. Sounds like an interesting read.

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    1. Thanks, Loni. And I can tell you that Chrys is not only productive on the blogging front, she's a great hostess to boot.

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    2. The Queen of Features? I like that, but I'm not sure if I'm worthy of that title, Loni.

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  12. That's my favorite line, too Andrea. How beautifully written and the landscape described. Oh, so romantic. Thanks for this lovely share, Chrys!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed this, Lisa. Hope maybe you'll get to read and enjoy the whole book ;-) Thanks for commenting.

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    2. Thanks for stopping b, Lisa, and for commenting. I thought you'd like Andrea's post. :)

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  13. Congrats to Andrea. It sounds like a good read and those pictures are beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. The photos may be beautiful but not as beautiful as being there. I can't wait to get back.

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  14. I'm only sorry the scene didn't last as long as my salad! What a perfectly lovely read, Andrea! Your flowing prose gives the reader a sense of being in the presence of something exceptional - way to hook 'em!
    'Scene Spotlights', what a clever idea, Chrys!

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    1. Maybe a bigger salad? ;) I'm thrilled everyone likes my new feature and Andrea's scene.

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    2. Deirdre, look at it this way: buy the dang book and read the 106 pages over breakfast, lunch and dinner with maybe the final chapter for bedtime! With apologies to any family/significant other...

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  15. Chris Hemsworth could stand in for any leading man at the moment. Did someone say "Next James Bond?"

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    1. Chris Hemsworth could inspiring many characters/roles.

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    2. Oh, no, really? Somehow I think not--Daniel Craig has made Bond too hardbitten to be turned into a pussycat like Hemsworth, surely. But thanks for the heads-up!

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    3. Craig changed the Bond character forever. He turned the bond movies from spy to action.

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    4. Isn't it a matter that the times changed as well, though? I mean, would women today really put up with the Sean Connery version? I think not! Good as he was...

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  16. Great idea, Chrys. I loved the scene. I, too, loved the author's favourite line too. If the whole book's this good, it should be a winner to all those western fans out there! Also loved the way the author has used settings she knows; this will make it more authentic.

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    1. I'm glad you liked the feature and Andrea's scene, Denise. Her is a winner for sure! :)

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    2. Denise, I hope it's authentic--I certainly tried to make it so. Thanks for such an insightful comment.

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  17. Country music definitely fits that scene. Well done!

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    1. Well, it was a tough choice of song, Stephanie. I'm a huge Country music fan but when push comes to decision…the brain is a mite slow to pull up just the right song.

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  18. What a gorgeous cover! and such pretty pictures. Sounds like a wonderful read!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth. I think the photos are an excellent idea of Chrys' They certainly seem to attract people.

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  19. Interesting to focus on one scene in this way.

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    1. Isn't it? This is the first time I've done any interview like this; it was quite an original idea. I bet Chrys will have copycats pretty soon.

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  20. Spotlighting a scene and giving a little insight into the author's life is GENIUS. I really enjoyed it. More, please. :-)

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    1. Everyone seems to have a thumbs up for Chrys' idea of a scene spotlight. I hope she'll invite me back with the next book; I do think it's a winning idea.

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    2. I'm hoping to schedule more scene spotlights, Cherdo. I have another coming next month. :)

      And Andrea, I would LOVE to have you back for your next book. Just send me an email when the time comes. :D

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  21. Thanks dear not only for discussing a certain scene but allowing us to know the author more. :)

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    1. And my thanks to you for your visit

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    2. Super, I'm glad you appreciated what we did. :)

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  22. What a great double feature event with a wonderful scene, and an interview with Andrea! Many years ago, we went on a family ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and enjoyed our time in Teton Village. This is such a beautiful setting for a story! Best of luck, Andrea! Thanks Chrys!

    Julie

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    1. You're welcome, Julie! I'm thrilled you enjoyed this feature. :)

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    2. Time to return to Jackson, Julie--it's as beautiful as ever. Thanks for your kind words.

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  23. It's wonderful. :) I don't care for typical Westerns, but I like Western Romances.

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    1. Western Romances are lovely! :)

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    2. Medela, yes, there's quite a difference between 'westerns' and 'western romances' Glad you enjoyed mine.

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  24. Chrys, I just wanted to say a thank you once more for having me as your pilot episode ;-) I think it's been a wonderful success. We're expecting a major blizzard here in the NE but I'll try to be available for any stragglers who come in to comment if I have power. Thanks again!

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    1. You're welcome, Andrea! I'm so glad you were the first author to try this feature. I think it was a success because your writing and book are fabulous. Stay safe and warm!

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Please tell me what you think. I love to chat! :)

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