Q&A: Shannon Taylor Vannatter (Rodeo Ashes)
Rodeo Ashes, the latest novel by Shannon Taylor Vannatter, picks up where her previous novel Rodeo Hero left off - with Lacie Gentry mourning the loss of her husband but trying to move forward with her life.
WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS WRITING RODEO ASHES?
My goal for writing every book is that nonbelievers will accidentally get a hold of the book and it will touch souls or that a Christian will grow closer to God through my characters struggles.
Specifically for Rodeo Ashes, I hoped Lacie’s story might help a widow and Quinn’s story might help someone struggling with guilt or a secret. And since I killed poor Lacie’s husband in Rodeo Dust, I had to give her a happily-ever-after.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH STORY TO WRITE?
I keep an idea book where I write down every character, phrase, scene, or plot that pops into my head. In between contracts, I read through them and which ever one tugs at me or makes me think about it, that’s the project I focus on next. Rodeo Ashes is the 3rd book in this series, so it began with a character from book one who kept bugging me.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES FROM THE STORY WHERE YOU DREW ELEMENTS FROM REAL LIFE?
My dad was a rodeo announcer and I worked the concession stand at our very small town rodeo when I was a teenager. I had a horse and trained for barrel racing, but the neither one of us was very good at it. I’m not very competitive when it comes to the sweating and getting dirty part.
My hero in the book is a part-time rodeo announcer and the heroine dabbles in barrel racing, but she’s much better at it than I was and I never officially competed. Also, she likes rhinestones and blingy clothing and jewelry. That’s me, the flashier and shinier it is, the more I like it.
WHO IS THE CHARACTER IN THIS STORY WHO SURPRISED YOU MOST?
Lacie. She turned out to be tougher than I expected. She started out kind of naive and needing someone. By the end, she could stand on her own.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
I just signed a contract with Heartsong Presents for 3 more books in the rodeo series. Rodeo Regrets starts where Rodeo Ashes left off and will release next summer.