Interview & Contest: Dorothy Wiley

IMG_0368_editedJen: 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!

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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.

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15 thoughts on “Interview & Contest: Dorothy Wiley

  1. Jen,
    First, I want to thank you for hosting me today. It is such a pleasure to connect with you and the followers of Romancing the Book. Also, I am so grateful for your extremely well-written reviews. They described the books perfectly without any spoilers. Your kind comments are appreciated very much. It’s reviews like yours, and the positive feedback from readers, that inspire me to keep writing.

    Your readers might be interested in viewing the trailer for the first book WILDERNESS TRAIL OF LOVE –

    Thanks again! Your support means a great deal to me.


  2. anne says:

    What a captivating and wonderful post. Your beautiful historical Western Romance sounds memorable and unforgettable. Writing about the Western Frontier is meaningful and important. This is a time that was extremely important and your novel captures the life, characters and setting. Wishing you the best of happiness, enjoyment, adventures and success.

    • Anne,
      Thank you so much for your kind comment. I completely agree with you. Americans should not forget the hard fought struggles and battles our ancestors made to give us our country! In fact, they inspired me to write these books.
      Thanks for your good wishes,

  3. erinf1 says:

    Congrats to Dorothy on the new release! I think that it’s so hard for some of us to picture the “untamed wild wild west”. Fun to read about definitely! Thanks for sharing!

    • Erinfi,
      Thanks. I appreciate your comment. It is hard for some of appreciate what the frontier was like. It was a completely different world–beautiful, but challenging in so many ways.

  4. I don’t know why this sub-genre in romance novels has virtually disappeared. I for one am about to burn out on regency romance. I do wish authors would write more historical romances set in America. If people are not aware of the wild frontier, reading a book in this setting should be quite interesting. Don’t people ever get tired of Dukes and Earls ?

    • Julie,
      Thanks for your comment. You are so right. I had a hard time figuring out what two categories on Amazon to list the books under because their sub-genres for Romance don’t include anything remotely close to my books. I finally just put them under historical romance and western romance, even though they are not true “westerns.”

      While regency romance is an important genre, I think the American frontier is an incredibly romantic setting for a novel and far more interesting. Maybe it’s because I grew up with shows like Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett (I’m really dating myself here!). I also loved the mini-series How The West Was Won. In my books, I tried to balance the gritty hardships of the frontier with adventure, humor, love, and, of course, romance.

      I certainly hope you find the book interesting and really enjoy it.

  5. I’m not sure why it’s so uncommon, probably because it’s a wholly American topic and wouldn’t appeal to the international market. I would definitely love to see more though, it’s one of my favorite romance genres!

  6. Karielle Stephaniem

    Thanks for your comment. Interestingly, some American historical films and TV series have been extremely popular in Europe. For example How the West Was Won TV miniseries starring James Arness. From Wikipedia:
    “It aired as a mini-series in 1977, and as a regular series in 1978 and 1979. A 2 hour long pilot episode, The Macahans, ran in 1976.[1] A total of 25 episodes were aired. The show was a great success in Europe, apparently finding a larger and more lasting audience there than in the United States. It has been rebroadcast many times on various European networks, e.g. in France, Germany, Italy and Sweden, and has built a cult following.[2] It was released on DVD in Europe in November 2009.”

    This makes me wonder if Hollywood isn’t missing the boat. A number of readers have told me that my American Wilderness Series romances should be made into a movie or TV series. I won’t hold my breath, but wouldn’t that be amazing! What do you think Jen?

  7. JoAnne_W says:

    I look forward to reading your next book in this series. Wonderful interview and I have some new to me authors to look for.
    I’m glad you liked my reviews.

    • Jo Anne,
      I am about 38,000 words into the next book and I am striving to finish it by the end of November.

      I don’t know if she forwarded to you or not, but I sent the below to Jen:

      First, I can’t thank you enough for the awesome reviews. They were so well written and gave away just enough of the story to entice a reader. I appreciate your rating them so highly very much!

      Second, I have continued to promote the interview on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, so we may get some more entries into the contest and hopefully a few more readers for the interview.

      I would like to post a shortened review on the books’ pages, which I can do through Author Central on Amazon. But the reviews are supposed to only be 1 – 2 sentences and less than 600 characters, so I can’t use your full review. I pulled the following from your reviews, but wanted to get your permission before I post them. Feel free to edit or change as you would like. Also, do you want me to use your name or just Romancing the Book?

      “Wow, what a great read My emotions were totally engaged. What a great debut novel for an author. I look forward to reading the next two books in the series but also other books this author pens. I for one can’t wait!” – Romancing the Book

      “Another great read by Dorothy Wiley. A great start to this series and I look forward to reading the next and final book, Whispering Hills of Love, William and Kelly’s story. I also look forward to reading any other books this author pens if this is her caliber of writing as shown to us in the first two books of her series.” – Romancing the Book

      When you get a chance, I would also greatly appreciate your rating and review on Amazon and Goodreads.

      I had to laugh when I read our comment about a fourth book set in England. I do plan a fourth book about Bear. He will accompany Sam and Catherine to England, take a side trip to visit his home in Scotland. And, of course, find his true love there.

      Thanks again!!!

      • JoAnne_W says:

        Both are great excerpts – feel free to use them as Romancing the Book or JoAnne from Romancing the Book.

        I always put my reviews on Goodreads so they are there already with a link to the review on RtB. I will put on Amazon and Romancing the Book will eventually put them on both as well under their name.

        Now I can’t wait for books 3 and 4 in the series.

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