Jen: Today we are happy to welcome Dorothy Wiley to Romancing the Book. Dorothy, will you share a short bio with us?
Dorothy: Called a “deft new writer of intelligent romantic fiction,” award-winning author Dorothy Wiley enjoys writing big, action-packed romantic adventures set in the American wilderness when it was still a frontier. In her exciting new American Wilderness Series Romances, Wiley breaches the walls of time, bringing readers to a young America, where romance and danger are as powerful as the wilderness. Readers describe her writing as fresh, unblinkingly gritty, and highly enjoyable with well portrayed characters. Like Wiley’s compelling heroes, who from the outset make it clear they will not fail despite the adversities they face, this author is likewise destined for success. During 2014, Wiley’s first novel, WILDERNESS TRAIL OF LOVE, was a CFRWA Touch of Magic Finalist and her second novel, NEW FRONTIER OF LOVE, was a Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist.
Wiley grew up in southern California and found her own romantic hero in Austin, Texas, where she received a Bachelor of Journalism degree, with honors, from The University of Texas. After a distinguished 35-year corporate career in marketing and public relations, she is living her dream—writing historical romances—and residing in central Texas with her husband (the same wonderful guy) on their beautiful cattle ranch. Yes, dreams really can come true!
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Dorothy: My newest lease in my American Wilderness Series Romances is my second book NEW FRONTIER OF LOVE. But it is only about a couple of weeks newer than WILDERNESS TRAIL OF LOVE, the first book in the series. Both books, released in August 2014, are set in 1797 colonial America. My husband’s ancestors, who really did journey from the New England area to Kentucky in the late 18th century, inspired this series. I wanted to honor these and other first wave settlers of early America by writing these books.
Here’s a simplified synopsis of WILDERNESS TRAIL OF LOVE – Book One: Set in 1797, on America’s romantic frontier, WILDERNESS TRAIL OF LOVE is a gripping journey of danger, heartache, and passion and is author Dorothy Wiley’s first American Wilderness Series Romance. This historical romance is the story of Stephen Wyllie, and his heroic and breathtaking quest for land—across a thousand perilous miles to the Kentucky wilderness—a new world for the brave. Stephen wants only one thing more than land—to keep Jane and their young daughters safe. But he needs land to make a better future for his family, and the frontier lies open to settlement in the new state of Kentucky. When the harsh demands of the frontier and their enemies nearly tear apart their great love, Stephen and Jane must find a path through more than the wilderness. His courage is undaunted, her passion is deep, but the wilderness is full of terror. Storms, illnesses, wild beasts, accidents, and the unrelenting pursuit by a cunning half-Indian slave trader, make their journey on the Wilderness Trail nearly beyond endurance. Two lives. One great love. Torn apart by a frightening wilderness. Will Stephen’s dream cost him what he values most—Jane’s love?
Here’s a short excerpt:
Yes, it would be dangerous, maybe even deadly.
But at least he could live his life as God intended and build a better future for his family. Wouldn’t it be far worse to hide from life—to end it doing nothing significant? To choose only what you will not do.
It isn’t death that a man should fear. It’s never living.
Nearly dark, Stephen Wyllie watched the boldest of the evening’s stars push their way through the regal purple of a cloudless sky. He resisted the urge to race home. He needed to think. Sometimes it was just easier to think clearly on the back of a horse. Could ‘two minds are better than one’ include a horse? Perhaps with a trusted steed like George it could. The black stallion was by far the best mount he had ever thrown his leg over—tall, strong, and even-tempered.
Passing dense stands of timber, he stared west toward the rugged darkening mountains. “It’s time to see the world beyond those peaks, George.” He had just confided in his four brothers telling them what he had not discussed with anyone else, even Jane.
Going west. Folly or glory? For months, his mind had spun the question around again and again—like some sort of top inside his head. But now he had his answer.
He wanted to move his family to Kentucky.
It didn’t surprise him that his middle brother Edward had mocked the idea. The man didn’t have an adventurous bone in his body. Stephen had laid his heart on the line only to be met with extreme negativity. It caused his temper to flare. This was a difficult enough decision without Edward making it more so. His cynical middle brother had snickered at the idea of going to Kentucky and predicted that their heads would be swinging from some savage’s hand like Daniel Boone’s decapitated brother.
But his other three brothers supported the idea. In fact, Sam’s feet were already itching to go. And John and William both wanted to leave New Hampshire for their own reasons.
Going west would be a chance to test himself—to see just what he was capable of facing. He welcomed the idea. The frontier would pit him and his brothers against countless dangers—mile upon mile of wilderness, the worst elements, vicious beasts, and savage men—all trying to steal their lives. They would leave civilization behind. Their lives would be in their own hands. The lives of his beloved wife Jane and four young daughters would be in his hands. The thought nearly stopped his heart. Could he keep them safe?
He could and he would. He had to.
He patted George’s neck, wanting to share his excitement with someone, even if it could only be his horse. The prospect of land opportunities that would enable him to raise fine horses and cattle made his spirit soar. For the first time, he believed he might be able to go where his dreams had already taken him.
And here’s a simplified synopsis of NEW FRONTIER OF LOVE – Book Two: NEW FRONTIER OF LOVE is author Dorothy Wiley’s second American Wilderness Series Romance. Set in 1797, this historical romance is a pulse-pounding page turner. The Revolutionary War left Captain Sam Wyllie battle-hardened. But his hardest battle of all will be the one with his own heart. His courageous but cold heart defies danger—and love. He is determined to make a fresh start in the far west, the new state of Kentucky. Newly widowed, Catherine Adams knows she should return to her wealthy father in Boston but fears he will once again force her to marry for prestige, not love. Drawn to Sam’s keen intelligence and harsh masculinity, she decides the west holds a chance for real love. But dark forces—a ruthless enemy and a secret sorrow from Sam’s past—conspire against them. Harboring her own secrets, Catherine resolves to help this brave buckskin-clad warrior lay down his heart’s armor. Although Sam refuses to risk his heart again, Catherine won’t give up, believing he could be as passionate about love as he is about his country and family. This heart-jolting romance novel blends high action, heroism, and humor, with a love and passion as powerful as the wilderness.
Jen: What age did you discover writing? Tell us your call story.
Dorothy: At the University of Texas, I majored in Journalism. After graduating, I worked in marketing/public relations for corporations in Houston and writing was a big part of all my jobs. I primarily wrote annual reports, speeches, news releases, magazine articles, etc. But I always wanted to try writing a novel. Eventually, I just had to try. I had characters in my head who needed their story told. At the time, I was a VP for a major corporation and could only find time to write for a few minutes or hours here and there and it was hard to make significant progress. But I did get my characters and setting fully developed. A little over a year ago, I decided to retire early so that I could begin writing novels full-time. That opportunity has been a real God given blessing and I have loved every minute of it.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Dorothy: I would like to be a plotter, and I am going to try that with my third book, but I confess to being a pantser. For those of you who are new to writing, pantser means writing from the seat of your pants rather than following a detailed plot outlined in advance of writing the book. For me, it means writing stories that are driven by the characters. I spent a lot of time initially conceiving the characters and describing them, both physical characteristics and personalities, to myself. Then I put them in a room or situation and just follow their lead. They always seem to know what to do or say. I guess that’s my subconscious driving them forward, but it works for me.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Dorothy: Gritty, emotional, gripping.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Dorothy: I spent a great deal of time in libraries and online. Even some shows on the History Channel helped. I read everything I could get my hands on about the Wilderness Trail and early Kentucky, particularly Boonesborough. The thing I learned that was the most surprising was the difficult land laws and complicated processes that existed in the 1790’s for acquiring land. The procedure was very complex and often resulted in armed conflicts and people losing their land. This aspect of frontier life is a part of Book 2, NEW FRONTIER OF LOVE.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
Dorothy: During the 60’s and 70’s, in high school and college, I read everything Thomas Costain ever wrote. He was a bestselling author back in the 1950’s. He made me love historical romance. Since then, my favorite authors are Sharon Kay Penman, Margaret George, George R. R. Martin, Ken Follett, Terry Goodkind, Diana Gabaldon, Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove) and more recently Deborah Gafford. She’s an excellent writer of Highland historical romance. I just finished reading Hard Land to Rule by Anthony Whitt and really enjoyed it. Right now, I am reading Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Dorothy: American Wilderness Series Romances book three is next. It will be the story of Stephen’s brother William and Kelly. Both are introduced in Book One. The title will be Whispering Hills of Love.