Today it is my great pleasure to welcome Deborah Vogts author of SNOW MELTS IN SPRING. Please join me in welcoming Deborah to My Book Addiction and more.
SNOW MELTS IN SPRING
- Pub. Date: July 2009
- Publisher: Zondervan
- Series: Seasons of the Tallgrass
- ISBN-13: 9780310292753
- ISBN: 0310292751
She loves the land.
Mattie Evans grew up in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Although her family has lost their ranch, she still calls this land home. A skilled young veterinarian, she struggles to gain the confidence of the local ranchers. Fortunately, her best friend and staunchest supporter is John McCray, owner of the Lightning M Ranch. They both love the ranch, and can’t imagine living anywhere but in the Flint Hills.
He’s haunted by it.
Gil McCray, John’s estranged son, is a pro football player living in California. The ranch is where his mother died and where every aspect of the tallgrass prairie stirs unwanted memories of his older brother’s fatal accident. Gil decides leaving the ranch is the best solution for his ailing father and his own ailing heart. But he doesn’t count on falling in love.
Falling in love isn’t an option. Or is it?
When Mattie is called in to save a horse injured in a terrible accident, she finds herself unwillingly tossed into the middle of a family conflict. Secret pain, secret passions, and secret agendas play out against the beautiful landscapes as love leads to some unexpected conclusions about forgiveness and renewal.
And now for the good stuff, please join me in welcoming Deborah to My Book Addiction!
WK: Thank you for being a guest at My Book Addiction and More. For readers who are new to you will you please tell readers who you are, where you are from,etc….(married, kids,)
Deborah Vogts: Hi Wendy! Thanks for having me on your blog. I’m a stay-at-home mom and wife to a loving husband. We have three daughters, ages 23, 18, & 13. We live in SE Kansas where we raise and train American Quarter Horses—my husband & daughters train them & I do the bookwork (both financial & fictional.)
WK: Let’s start with your newest release, in your own words can you tell us about it, who are the characters, what is their conflict or what must they face?
DV: Snow Melts in Spring is my debut book, and the first book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass Series. Mattie Evans, a young veterinarian in rural Kansas, saves a horse injured in a terrible accident. But she also finds herself tending the wounded relationship between prodigal son, Gil McCray, and his ailing father. Love, conflict, forgiveness and renewal drive this first book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series.
WK: Where did you get the idea for this story?
DV: Years ago, I took a Flint Hills Folklife summer course at Emporia State University that was taught by Dr. Jim Hoy. Along with classroom study, we took field trips into the heart of the Flint Hills and visited with old-time ranchers, schoolmarms and post-mistresses. It was such a delightful experience, especially our drives into the pastures. We would get on these back roads and drive over pasture guards into the open range. We would travel for miles without seeing another car or even an electric line—just pure, native prairie. That summer, I fell in love with the Flint Hills and it has stayed with me all this time. I’m so glad I have this chance to share this place with my readers through the Seasons of the Tallgrass series.
WK: How do you pick the names for your characters for this story as well as others?
DV: Normally, I start off going through a baby naming book, pronouncing the names out loud and putting first and last names together until I come up with a character name I like and that fits his personality.
WK: Is this story related to any others? If so how, and must we read them in order?
DV: Snow Melts in Spring is the first in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series. The second book, Seeds of Summer, is set to release April 2010. Each book can stand alone, so you do not need to read them in order. What brings the series together is the ranching community of Diamond Falls, so you’ll see familiar & beloved characters appear throughout the series, but each book is about a new family and is set in its own ranching season, ie: spring, summer, autumn, winter.
WK: Why did you decide to write for this genre over any other?
DV: I chose to write Christian romance because I wanted to write books I could share with my girls or my grandmother–books with true and pure romance in them–the kind that reaches deep into the heart and soul of a person and makes her smile the rest of the day. My prayer for all my books is that they minister to a reader’s heart in whatever fashion God allows.
WK: How has your life change since becoming published?
DV: I have had to learn (and am still learning) to schedule my days –allotting plenty of time for writing, marketing, and all the other things we deal with each day. Probably the biggest challenge is writing on deadline. I also love hearing from my readers. The reader response has been amazing and something I hadn’t expected.
WK: What has been your biggest challenge in your writing career?
DV: It took three years from the time I shopped this manuscript to my first agent to receiving an offer from Zondervan. During that time period, I had many moments when I saw God’s hand on my work—from the moment I heard the words “Write the book, and I’ll take care of the rest,” to receiving two conference scholarships, to individual meetings with agents and editors. And the writing was easy. But there were also low moments and times of doubt. In my lowest times, when I doubted that God might not want me on this path, I rested on his word, and especially on the verse – “Be still and know that I am God.” I think we all have to rest on the assurance that God knows what is best for us and to try to follow the path he wants us to go. I’ve found that when I doubt my writing ability or even this writing journey, I need to cling to God’s word and his promise that he will take care of me.
WK: How do you go about researching for your stories, are there any sources that you use for everything?
DV: I did lots of research on the Flint Hills and on ranching. Because of the horse accident at the beginning of the story, it was imperative that I have everything believable and correct, so I visited several veterinarians about his injuries and recovery period. My male lead character, Gil, is a retiring professional quarterback, and I’ve never been a big football fan, so learning more about football was also important. I lugged home tons of books on the game and drenched myself in them. Plus, it happened to be football season, so we watched a LOT of games on TV and I asked tons of questions. I’m sure my husband enjoyed my “newfound interest” in the game. LOL
WK: What is your favorite reading material for pleasure?
DV: I enjoy reading contemporary and historical Christian fiction. On occasion, I’ll read women’s fiction. My two favorite books are Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and Peace Like a River by Leif Enger.
WK: What to date has been the happiest day of your life?
DV: I’ve had four happiest days—the day I married my husband, Chris, and each of the days our daughters were born. My next happiest day was the day I learned Zondervan had made an offer for the book series.
WK: Can you tell us about your current work in progress and what’s next to hit the shelves?
DV: I’m continuing on with the Seasons of the Tallgrass series. I’m waiting for edits of my second book, Seeds of Summer and have started working on my third book, Blades of Autumn. One of the neatest parts of the publishing process is seeing what the creative team comes up with for a cover, and the cover for Seeds of Summer, does not disappoint. That story is about a former Miss Rodeo Kansas queen, and her return to the Flint Hills to care for her deceased father’s ranch and her two younger siblings.
WK: What “bad” for you food is hardest for you to say no to?
DV: LOL – I like Cheetos and potato chips—and fried foods. The cheddar peppers at Sonic are my favorite!
WK: What healthy food do you love best?
DV: Is ice-cream healthy??? If not, how about chocolate?
WK: What is your favorite recipe? Can you share it with us?
DV: I have lots of favorite recipes, (you can find more on my Web site and blog) but here’s one from my childhood that my grandma was famous for:
Chocolate Applesauce Cake
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups applesauce
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa
Topping: 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 cup chocolate chips
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixing bowl, cream together sugar and shortening. Add eggs, vanilla and applesauce until mixed well. In small bowl sift together flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa. Add to creamed mixture and stir until well blended. Pour into a greased oblong cake pan. Sprinkle cake with topping ingredients. Bake for 35 minutes or until cake is set. Yummy.
WK: If you could meet one person, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
DV: John Wayne. I watched his movies as a girl, and now our family collects them. I’ll never forget watching “The Cowboys” at the drive-in theatre and crying when Will Anderson died. I have to admit, it’d be really cool to meet Kevin Costner too. LOL
WK: Do you have one passage, quote, saying, phrase or anything else that you feel best describes you and your way of living? –
DV: Yes, my blog and my writing tagline – Country at Heart.
WK: If someone who has never read a Christian fiction was considering reading your work, what would you most want them to know to help them decide?
DV: There are many family relationship issues in this story, whether it’s Gil’s wounded relationship with his dad, Mattie’s guarded relationship with her parents and sisters, and even the precious friendships found in the least-expected places. And while forgiveness and honesty are two of the issues my characters deal with, I’d really like my readers to understand that though you may have your life all mapped out, you need to be open to the path God wants you to travel AND be prepared to follow it once He points you in that direction. I also hope to give my readers a taste of the Flint Hills and of how God’s beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.
WK: Do you think Christian fiction has changed in the last 20years? How and why do think this?
DV: I started reading Christian fiction with Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly series. I fell in love with her stories at the time, with little else to compare it to. In the last eight years, there has been an explosion in Christian fiction, with offerings from nearly every genre (not just prairie romance) and along with it, an increase in quality. Now mind you, I still love prairie romance—but there are other alternatives for those who don’t. LOL
WK: Do you put yourself or people you know in characters within your stories?
DV: To a small extent, every writer puts himself into his characters. I cannot say that I base my characters on any one person—sometimes I will use a combination of people I know or have met or even base them on actors/actresses. One of the neatest individuals that I met in doing my research for Snow Melts in Spring was a lady from Cottonwood Falls who owns the Emma Chase Café. She’s a real “character” and has a great love for her community and for the Flint Hills. And while I don’t necessarily base my secondary-character, Clara, on this person, I am getting lots of information from her. You’ll read about Clara’s story in my third book in this series. J
WK: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know or remember about you, your work, or what you’d hope they’d get from reading your stories?
DV: I grew up in the country with lots of space to roam and the freedom to dream big. I remember climbing to the top of one of our grain bins and looking out over the countryside, thinking that I couldn’t wait to get out on my own and start my life. Then, only a few years later, I recall being in a city park and flying kites with my youngest daughter and longing for “home” and for the wide-open spaces of the country. Little did I know as a girl, that my strong bonds of childhood would bring me back home to the country. And that’s what I write about today. Country at Heart is the tagline I use for my writing, as well as what I call my blog. It’s what I know, and it comes from the memories that I draw upon.
Thanks for having me here, Wendy.
Thank you Deborah for being my guest! It’s be great and I am thrilled to be able to share you and your work my readers. If anyone would like to know more about Deborah and her writing please visit her website, also please feel free to ask Deborah anything, I’m sure she’d be glad to answer your questions.
*One lucky commenter will recieve a copy of Deborah Vogts’ latest release SNOW MELTS IN SPRING. So be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of this book.*