Today we're celebrating Into The Storm, Helen DePrima's debut novel for Heartwarming.
So, Helen, where did you get the idea for this novel?
My agent suggested I write about what I love, so I chose on three of my passions: Colorado, Western horsemanship, and the sport of Professional Bull Riding. Into The Storm is the first novel in the Cameron's Pride series about a Colorado ranch family involved in bull riding. This first book focuses on rancher Jake Cameron as he struggles to carry out his responsibilities as head of the family after losing his wife several years earlier to lupus. His life begins to swing in a more positive direction when Shelby Doucette, a traveling horse trainer on the run from her past, takes refuge at Cameron's Pride.
My favorite scene is quiet but pivotal, the point at which Shelby discovers the strength to confront the tragedy in her past which still threatens her future.
It would be hard for me to chose between Jake Cameron and Shelby Doucette as my favorite character. Both have taken hard blows in their lives, responding with courage and honor so that they deserve a rich reward by the end of their tale. I've tried to draw the secondary characters, especially Jake's sons Tom and Luke, with equal sympathy and detail so that their stories will keep readers interested in the ongoing fortunes of the Cameron family.
I had no trouble finding public figures to visualize as Jake and Shelby. Joanna Gaines of HGTV's Fixer Upper is the perfect double for Shelby, and retired bull rider J.W. Hart is my ideal Jake.
Researching Into The Storm was a treat, traveling through southern Colorado and attending Professional Bull Riding events to soak up details of geography and speech to lend authenticity to my settings and characterization. Pro bull riding is a sport with a fascinating subculture, colorful characters and language and a crazy magnificence from another age.
Working on my first novel with Heartwarming was an enlightening experience. My editor Dana Grimard shepherded me through the process with wonderful patience and expertise so that we emerged with a much better product than I could have created without her guidance. I just sent her the initial draft of the second novel in the Cameron's Pride series focusing on Jake's bull rider son Tom. I'm currently putting together the synopsis and opening chapters for the third book which will tell Luke's story.
Right now I'm reading Robert B. Parker's Appaloosa in my few spare moments before turning out the light at night.