In Dana Mentink’s second Gold Country Cowboys story, Treacherous Trails (Love Inspired Suspense), farrier Ella Cahill is accused of murder—and only former marine Owen Thorn, her brother’s best friend, can help clear her name. Can they work together to find the true killer before she becomes the next to die? In this interview, Dana shares the inspiration for the story, the challenges of writing romances as a Christian author, and her goals writing the novel…

What inspired the story in Treacherous Trails?

A trip to the California gold country left me with a hankering to write a story set in a region that prompted the biggest treasure hunt in the nation’s history. As one of four siblings, I’ve got a heart to write family saga type stories. This particular installment was also inspired by the true life, unsolved murder of candy heiress Helen Brach.

Dana, what were your goals writing this novel?

I wanted to write a novel that would leave readers guessing until the end, an adventure with plenty of twists and turns and a deeply satisfying love story. That, and I can’t resist a good cowboy hero!

What do you want readers to take away after reading Treacherous Trails?

I hope they will come away with a reminder that they are loved by God, no matter what the circumstances of their lives. I also aim to have them end with the feeling that they’ve been taken on a thrilling adventure (all from the comfort of their cozy armchairs!)

What are the challenges (or benefits) of writing “romances” as a Christian author?

It’s especially challenging to write Christian romance in today’s market as many of the top sellers are sexually explicit. It’s satisfying to provide an alternative, a realistic love story about two people struggling with big issues, without including explicit material. Every great story has an element of love at the core, and it’s an honor to be able to write romance that inspires as well as entertains.

Your novel has elements of faith, romance, and suspense – which of those elements was hardest for you to write? Which was the easiest?

Suspense is the easiest for me, by and large. Balancing the romance thread and the faith arc are more challenging. Some days require extra doses of coffee and chocolate!

Visit Dana Mentink’s author profile here:

Treacherous Trails
Gold Country Cowboys
Love Inspired Suspense

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About The Author

Dana Mentink resides in sunny California, where the climate is mild and the cheese divine. She enjoys performing in mystery dinner theater and devouring books from her favorite authors. In between juggling an elementary teaching career, two beautiful girls, one husband, and a dog with social anxiety troubles, Dana writes mysteries and inspirational fiction.