Interview & Contest: Peggy Henderson

Today Sarah is interviewing Peggy Henderson for Romancing the Book. Let’s welcome both of them to the blog.

Sarah: Peggy, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Peggy: I never expected to write a novel, much less publish it one day, or write an entire series. I am a medical laboratory technologist by night, and a mother, wife, and now, writer, by day. My family and I live in southern California with too many animals to mention. I may live in the city, but I’m a country girl at heart. I am an avid dressage enthusiast, and because when in Rome, do like the Romans, I like to go hiking with my husband.

Peggy can be found online at:

Sarah: What made you want to become an author?
Peggy: Actually, I never aspired to be an author. I love reading romance novels, especially early American historicals and westerns. I used to devour books at the rate of about one every day or every other day. When the basic story idea for Yellowstone Heart Song popped into my head, I didn’t think, “wow you’ve got to write this.” I was thinking more, “I wish someone would write a story like this”. I searched for romances about mountain men in the Rockies, and nothing came close to what was in my head. A year later, I finally thought I’d write this story down that had been in my mind for so long. I never thought to publish it, but after I found a critique partner, she urged me to get this story published. The rest, they say, is history.

Sarah: How do you decide on book titles?
Peggy: Obviously, the word Yellowstone is in each of my titles, since the stories take place there. Heart Song was the toughest one to name. I couldn’t come up with something for the longest time, until Daniel calls Aimee his heart song. Bam! I had my title. For the other books, I had my titles before I wrote the stories. Redemption is about a man redeeming himself from his old ways and behaviors. Awakening and Dawn were both titles floating in my head for book 3, but I chose Awakening, because it is the story of a man coaxing a shy and abused woman out of her shell, and the story also deals with the beginning – the awakening, if you will – of the national park movement. Dawn, I originally intended to imply the heroine of the story, Danica. Her name means dawn. It also deals with the problems the park faced in its early, dawning years. The title also took on a whole new meaning suddenly halfway through the story when my critique partner made a small suggestion about a key character. Deception, the final book in the series, well….the title speaks for itself, I think.

Sarah: Has writer’s block ever been a problem for you and if yes, how did you move past it?
Peggy: Oh my goodness, yes! I haven’t made it through a single novel without writer’s block. The way I deal with it is, I set the entire story aside for a while, because the more I try and force something onto the page, the worse the block becomes. When I wrote Yellowstone Redemption, I didn’t have a strategy in place yet since this was only my second book, so I simply wrote around the block, meaning I skipped ahead in the story. Now, I tend to start the next novel when I hit a wall.

Sarah: All of your books are set in the Yellowstone area. Why did you choose Yellowstone for the setting?
Peggy: I’ve always been fascinated with the mountain men and history of the area, and it’s also my favorite vacation spot (until I get to move to the general vicinity permanently) The entire ecosystem there fascinates me. Yellowstone Heart Song came to life in my head on a road trip home from the park one summer. When it wouldn’t let go a year later, I knew I had to write it down. The other books are naturally set in the same area, since this is a series, and when I was asked to write a second book, I honestly didn’t know what else to write about, so I stuck with the familiar.

Sarah: If you could travel to any time and/or place in the world, where would you go and why?
Peggy: I think by now the answer to that is obvious. Someday my husband and I plan to move to Montana permanently, hopefully somewhere near Yellowstone National Park. I am not a city girl, even though at the moment I live in a Los Angeles suburb. I much prefer country living, with wide open spaces, and clean air, and beautiful scenery. Time period…probably the present. Although I write about the past, I don’t think I could live very long without modern conveniences. My husband has yet to get me to go on an overnight backpacking trip with him, and my main reason is that there are no toilets in the back country.

Excerpt from Yellowstone Dawn

“Dani, you ‘bout ready?” Josh’s voice droned from outside the door. She parted her lips and blew air up into her flushed face. Time to get moving again. She eyed the bed longingly.

“Yes, coming,” she called. She hooked both hands through the bag’s carrying straps, and heaved if off the bed. Danica turned too quickly, offsetting her center of gravity. Sidestepping to regain her balance, her toe caught the heel of her right foot. She screeched in surprise, and released her hold on the bag. Her hands shot out in front of her just in time to break her fall. She heard the bedroom door bang against the wall with a loud thud. Sprawled on the floor, her fall cushioned by her carpetbag, she raised her head. She groaned when Josh rushed through the door, a murderous look on his face. Instantly, he was at her side, leaning over her. His strong arms lifted her off the ground, and set her on her feet.

“Dani. Are you all right?” His voice sounded strained. Danica grabbed his shoulders to steady her feet. His arms reached around her girth, pinning her stomach snugly against his flat abdomen.

“I…I’m fine,” she stammered. Heat crept up her neck and into her face. When was the last time anyone had held her in a protective embrace? She’d had to rely on her own inner strength for so long, it felt like heaven to have Josh’s arms around her, even if it wasn’t a lover’s embrace. At least she could pretend, if only for a moment. The room spun around her, and bright dots of light danced before her eyes. She blinked to fight off the dizziness. Damn! He would probably reconsider his offer to take her with him now.

“Here, sit down.” A firm hand on her lower back guided her to the bed. He flinched when her hand came too close to his wound, and she slid her hand down his chest, away from his injury.

“I’m sorry,” she gasped. “You shouldn’t have picked me up. Your shoulder—”

“Will be fine,” he interrupted. “It’s you that needs to be more careful. Sit.”

Danica stared up into his face. Her hands rested on his chest, and she didn’t want to break the contact. The momentary dizziness disappeared as quickly as it had come on. Concern was written in Josh’s eyes. With gentle pressure on her shoulders, he pushed her to sit on the bed, and settled himself next to her. Reluctantly, she lowered her hands to her sides. His thigh brushed up against hers, and Danica thought she might faint after all. She couldn’t keep up this aloof pretense much longer if they continued to be so close. She loved a man who would never return those feelings, someone who, even as he sat here next to her, couldn’t wait to be rid of her.

Contest details:

  • The prize is a download of Yellowstone Heart Song.
  • The contest is open to anyone who can claim a book from Amazon.
  • You must leave a meaningful comment for entry.  This means your comment needs to be more than “please enter me in the contest”.
  • Because a valid email is needed to comment in WordPress, if you are ineligible for the contest, but still want to comment, please leave some sort of “don’t enter me in the contest” note in your comment.
  • While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
  • The contest ends on Sunday, June 10.

12 thoughts on “Interview & Contest: Peggy Henderson

  1. Maria D. says:

    Good interview! I haven’t read any of the books in this series but I think it’s a really great idea to write a series based around a national park. My parents visited Yellowstone Park and they really enjoyed the trip. I really haven’t been out west but would love to go. My idea of a vacation though is in a hotel…I need to have modern facilities and can understand Peggy’s reluctance to go backpacking overnight with no running toilets:)

    • Hi Maria,
      I don’t mind tent camping (which is what we do), but the campgrounds have toilets. That’s about as rough as I’ll go.
      thanks for the comment.

  2. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the interview Peggy. I enjoyed getting to know you a bit better. This series has definitely gone on my favorites list and I recommend whenever I can. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books.

    Please don’t enter me in the contest. Already have YHS and LOVED it.! 🙂

  3. Sarah says:

    I did think of another question Peggy. Were you a Grizzly Adams fan growing up? I remember as a kid we watched that show whenever it was on. 🙂

    • Funny you should ask. Yes, I did watch Grizzly Adams, but….I lived in Germany at the time that show was on. So, I never saw an episode in english. All in german. Even as a little kid, I was fascinated with the mountain men.

  4. Lisa H says:

    I have never read any of these books. But the idea is a good one. I always love stubbornly independant women falling in love. And I really liked hearing you say you and your husband have plans for the next chapter in your life. Sounds wonderful.

  5. bn100 says:

    I enjoyed the interview and excerpt. Yellowstone sounds like a nice place to visit and a nice choice for a book setting.

  6. Jen @ RtB says:

    Many thanks to everyone who stopped by to support Peggy. Our contest winner is JoAnne, who has been notified.

Comments are closed.