Margaret Brownley is a new author to me. Always interested in inspirational messages, I read this book with high expectations of both history and inspiration. Being the 4th of July, it seemed appropriate to a read a book about the old west, a time which was the fermenting of social innovation. The suffragette movement was going strong and men and women were figuring out new ways of interactions and rights that facilitated a different relationship to work and family. In A Vision of Lucy Margaret Brownley brings us into this time through a young women who loves photography, and in her own way brings illumination of the truth about people and their lives.
All of us have secrets--some of them small secrets like a convenient lie, some secrets are larger like a betrayal. Every secret hurts someone, including ourselves. Some people have secrets so large it effects their entire life, it changes everything they do and sets them on a path God never intended. In her own naive, stumbling, and sometimes humorous way Lucy learns of a secret that will change every life in her small town, including her own. The saying "the truth will set you free" is one I was brought up to believe. But even in facing the truth it is not easy. And the longer one waits, the more debilitating it becomes.
Margaret Brownley with her wonderful third book in the Rocky Creek series.
What was the initial spark that put this story in your head?
The idea for my protagonist Lucy Fairbanks was sparked by an advertisement in an old newspaper. In 1860 Julia Shannon of San Francisco took the family portrait to new heights when she shockingly advertised herself as a daguerreotypist and midwife. How could I not be intrigued? After seeing that ad I just had to write about a woman photographer.
It seems that most authors use something from their own lives, or the lives of people they know as an integral part of the story. Is there anything in this story like that? If so, what?
One of the underlying themes of the book is abandonment. It's an odd thing but I think every child who loses a parent at a young age, even if it’s to death, feels abandoned. I know I did and I delved into that pain to write the book. I guess the ability to write serious themes with humor is a survival tool.
Is there a particular scene in this book that you really loved when you finished it? Which one and why?
It's a romance so of course I loved writing the scenes with the hero, but I also enjoyed the scenes with Lucy with her brother. Caleb is the brother I never had.
Your books all take place in the Old West. This seems unusual for a Southern California gal. What is it about this time period that draws you to write these stories?
I love writing about the old west because that’s when women came of age. The westward migration freed women in ways never before imagined. Women abandoned Victorian mores and rid themselves of confining clothes. The gun may have won the west, but it was the women who tamed it. They brought churches, schools, newspapers and helped build community. These are the heroines for whom we like to cheer. It must have been a shock to the male ego to have to deal with such strong and unconventional women—and that’s at the very heart of my stories.
I also like writing serious themes with a touch of humor and the old west lends itself nicely to laughter, don’t you think? Since people lived so close to the land it’s also a perfect setting for an inspirational novel.
I noticed that your three books are all subtitled "A Rocky Creek Romance." Is this book part of a series? If so, should the reader start with an earlier book or does it matter the order in which they are read?
All three stories take place in the fictional town of Rocky Creek, Texas, but the books don't have to be read in any particular order. I planned it that way. The other two books are A Lady like Sarah and A Suitor for Jenny.
What's next for you? Can you tell us about any upcoming releases?
My story Snow Angel will be in the Log Cabin Christmas collection due out in September. I'm currently working on a new series that takes place in Arizona Territory. The first book Dawn Comes Early will be out March 2012.
Thank you so much for letting me visit your blog today. Readers can reach me through my website. www.margaretbrownley.com
Also my publisher is running a “Vision of Funny” photograph contest with prizes. To enter go to the Margaret Brownley Books Facebook page.
You can get Margaret's Books in print or e-book from these fine retailers and from your local bookseller. Margaret is also willing to give away one free book to a lucky commenter. I know I really enjoyed reading this, so please take a chance and see if you can win a book.