Smallwood, DeAnn: Unconquerable Callie
by DeAnn Smallwood
Callie Collins, a proud woman in the late 1800’s, is a liar and a darned good one, a master of the dubious art. She is also a dreamer. Her greatest hope is to reach a new life in South Pass City, Wyoming, where she can open a bakery and live an independent life. To be successful, she will need her greatest gifts of deception to date. As a woman alone, she has to prove to Seth McCalister, the wagon master, that she has the wherewithal (a wagon and a set of oxen), the stamina to survive months of drought, dust, hardships and even risk of death, and a mythical fiancé who waits at the end of the line. McCallister is uneasy, but also mystified by the audacity and determination of the young woman. He allows her to join the train west. What he doesn’t realize is there is no fiancé. To make matters worse, Callie is in love with Seth McCallister, too. For the first time, the lies that have brought her so far in life threaten to keep her from her one, true love. McCallister is a man of strong character and Callie feels certain that once he realizes her deception, he’ll turn away, ashamed of his love and trust in her.
For a minute there, I thought you’d decided to sacrifice yourself to Wolf Dog to be his bride.”
Callie wouldn’t meet Seth’s eyes. “I thought of it,” she said softly. “If he hadn’t accepted my offering, I would have.”
Admiration filled Seth’s voice. “I thought as much. I wouldn’t have let you. In fact, I was just getting ready to shoot when you offered him your hair.”
He looked away, shaking his head. “I was going to wound you and when you fell, the next shot would be for Wolf Dog.”
“You were going to wound me?” Callie’s eyes were wide with horror. “You, Seth McCallister, were actually going to shoot me?”
“Now don’t get to riled. Just in the leg.”
“Oh. Only in the leg. What am I getting so ‘riled’ about? Just a leg wound. I fully understand.” Callie’s hands were on her hips and fire sparked from her eyes and her voice held the chill of death
It is my pleasure to feature DeAnn Smallwood, author of Unconquerable Callie, on Room With Books. Thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions!
Tell me about Unconquerable Callie and what inspired you to write it?
I have always been enthralled with the old west and I’m sure I must have been a pioneer woman on a wagon train. I once visited the town of Old South Pass, Wyoming many, many years ago, before it was restored. I peeked in the door of an old barn, smelled the musty smell of a time gone past, and saw several antiques from when South Pass was a booming mining town and a route on the Oregon Trail. It was then this book was born although I didn’t realize it. I didn’t write Unconquerable Callie until many years later, but it’s easy for me to go back in my mind to South Pass and the possibility of a young woman lying her way aboard the wagon train. Callie is an amazing woman. She has a dream and is strong enough to pursue it. She is so determined you might say she is unconquerable. My grandmother was just such a woman. She was a midwife in the Colorado mountains. She wouldn’t tell a lie, but in all other arenas she was unconquerable. I based a lot of Callie on her. Seth is a strong man, a leader. He is skeptical of Callie and very unwilling to have a lone woman on his wagon train. As he gradually falls in love with Callie, her lies can destroy that love. You have to join them as they meet the obstacles that faced our pioneer ancestors heading to a new life and a fulfillment of their dreams.
When you start writing a new novel, do you outline the story or do your characters dictate what will happen?
My characters dictate what will happen. As the novel progresses, they take on a life of their own. And while I have an idea of what I want to have happen and where I’m going, it isn’t unusual for me to write something I had no clue was going to be down on paper. Sometimes, quite often, I read what I’ve written and say, “Wow! Where in the heck did that come from?” To me, this is the thrill of writing.
Do you ever have arguments with your characters and who usually wins?
No, never an argument, but I’ve often wondered how on earth I’m going to get them out of a situation they’ve placed themselves in. If there was an argument, I’ve no doubt the characters would win. They take over my books and for a few months, my life. Aren’t they wonderful?
What is something about you your readers would be surprised to know?
They might be surprised to know I worry that I’ll wake up some day and this wonderful, surprising gift of writing will have disappeared. I love to write. Even more, I love the idea that someone out there is reading one of my books and hopefully liking them. Truly, writing is my greatest pleasure and sharing it is a joy.
If you could write with any other author who would it be any why?
I’d love to write with Nora Roberts. She can develop characters that are truly believable. Her plots are amazing.. She can take hold of my hand and plunge me into her story and leave me feeling sad when it’s ended. I could learn so much from her. She is a kindred spirit that I believe lives to write.
When you were little what did you dream of becoming when you grew up and why?
I dreamed of becoming a nurse. I had this passion to care for people sick or injured. As I matured, it changed to wanting to be a doctor. However, life stepped in and I settled for a different path in medicine and now my thrill of writing. All my dolls ended cut up from major surgery, wrapped in tape, dosed with foul medicine, and becoming patients in my hospital. Give me a white shirt for a uniform and I was set for hours. I wouldn’t make a good nurse. That realization came when I knew I wouldn’t do well taking orders. I admire nurses, but I’m glad I never became one. My career was as a Health Care Administrator.
When did you decide to write and what prompted you to start?
I have written all my life, it seems. When I was very young, I wrote the stories in my head. They were always about cowboys and the Wild West. I wrote several books, but didn’t have the courage to send them off to a publisher. Then if I did manage to send one off, a rejection would have them back in my closet, stored away for another burst of courage. My first book was sent to a publisher and it was a year before I heard from them. I darned near fainted with that phone call. I’ve since got seven books published and two more ready to come out this year, (One Shingle To Hang & Montana Man). There are lots more dancing around in my head and bits and pieces of ideas on my computer. I hope to write for many more years. I seem to be able to write two or three a year so if my publisher agrees there will be more historical novels and romantic suspense books coming. I write my romantic suspense under the pen name of D.M. Woods and have two out in this series: Death Crosses The Finish Line & Death Is A Habit. I had fun switching genres. I can’t pinpoint what prompted me to start writing, The urge has always been there. I just needed prompted to submit them and I had great encouragement from a friend and copyeditor.
What music inspires your writing?
Actually, none. I write to absolute quiet. The only noise while I write is my four pound Yorkie daughter, Stormy, barking at birds or cats as she sits on a pillow in my window. Or, my six pound Yorkie son, Eli, chewing on a bone as his curls up on a chair by my side. Both kids help me tremendously and between them and my husband, they are my inspiration. I have to admit, though, I love Neal Diamond.
What is your favorite breakfast? Cookies or doughnuts. I love junk food.
What is your favorite color? Pink and purple. I really am in to bling and frou-frou.
What is your favorite movie? I just saw two movies I really enjoyed: Heaven Is For Real and God Is Not Dead. I also enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks.
What is your dream car? Okay, here goes. I’m so very lucky to be driving my dream car. I didn’t know it was my dream car as I’ve always been indifferent to what I drive as long as it looks good and runs good. But when I made up my mind to replace my van, I knew I wanted a truck. I have a brand new, yep, new, white, Nissan Frontier truck. It’s four wheel drive and is shiny and darned good looking. I love driving it. It’s all mine, my husband has his own truck. This is my baby and I actually keep it clean and shiny. I’m ashamed to admit, I’m wickedly prideful over my dream truck.
Where can readers find you and your books?
Website link: http://www.deannsmallwood.com/
Death Is A Habit: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HQW3F52/
I appreciate your time and for allowing Room With Books to be part of your tour!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
I live in Colorado with my husband and my two Yorkie kid dogs: Stormy, four pounds, and Eli, six pounds. I’m a native of Colorado, but I’ve lived several years in Wyoming and Montana. I draw from these beautiful states for most of my books. My historical romances are: Montana Star, Sapphire Blue, Unconquerable Callie, and Wyoming Heather. Tears In The Wind is a contemporary romance. I have just contracted for another historical romance, One Shingle To Hang. It will be published fall of 2014. Then I changed genres from my beloved romances and wrote, under the pen name of D. M. Woods, my first suspense/thriller: Death Crosses The Finish Line. The second book in this ‘death’ series, Death Is A Habit, came out January 8th, this year. I am currently working on the third book in the ‘death’ series, Death Walks C Dock. I am also working on another historical romance, Montana Man. Truly, I mean it when I say my greatest pleasure next to writing is having my books read and enjoyed. There are many more stories just waiting to be written.
Website link: http://www.deannsmallwood.com/
DeAnn will be awarding a $25 Barnes & Noble GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
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