I am very pleased to have author Heather Blanton with me on the blog today! A Promise in Defiance, the third book in Heather’s popular Romance in the Rockies series releases June 22nd, and we’re chatting about that as well as westerns and movie scripts and superpowers.
Heather Blanton is the independent bestselling author of several Christian Westerns, including the Romance in the Rockies series, which has sold over 40,000 copies. Intrigued by the concept of three good sisters stranded in a lawless Colorado mining town, a few notable Hollywood producers have requested the script for her first book in that series, A Lady in Defiance. Heather’s writing is gritty and realistic. In fact, her books have been compared to AMC’s Hell on Wheels series, as well as the legendary Francine Rivers book, Redeeming Love.
A former journalist, Heather is an avid researcher and skillfully weaves truth in among the fictional story lines. She loves exploring the American West, especially ghost towns and museums. She has walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw’s note in her hand.
She writes Westerns because she grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne movies. Her most fond childhood memory is of sitting next to her father, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester!
She can be reached several different ways:
Christian Westerns is the genre that lets her write about strong pioneer women and men who struggle to find God and then live out their faith in real ways. Romance is always a strong element in her stories because it is such a beautiful gift from God, and a perfect reflection of how he loves His children: sacrificially and lavishly. Heather’s stories aren’t preachy or cheesy, but she hopes they are heart-warming, realistic, illuminating, and glorifying to God. Like good old fashioned Westerns, there is always justice, a moral message, American values, lots of high adventure, unexpected plot twists, and more than a touch of suspense.
“I believe Christian fiction should be messy and gritty, because the human condition is … and God loves us anyway.” —Heather Blanton
Welcome to RimSP, Heather! Let’s start you out with our “fast four”!
Heather: Oranges if they’re navel. Big as a softball and juicy! No seeds!
Carrie: No seeds is key.
Heather: Winter. You get to wear the best clothes and BOOTS in the winter.
Carrie: haha! Clothes ARE better in the winter.
Heather: Well, I breed long hair German Shepherds and have two rescue cats in the house. Because we can all get along.
Carrie: Zuzu says that is up for debate 😉
Zuzu’s skeptical face. Still cute.
Heather: Is that a trick question. It’s COFFEE. Java. Joe. Elixir of the gods. Magic beans.
Carrie: Yuck. lol. But I have many many friends who would agree with you wholeheartedly, leaving me in a distinct minority!
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Heather: Completely perfect aim. I hate missing when I shoot.
Carrie: Ha!! You could probably give me some pointers. I went to a shooting range with my brother once – I had the time of my life but shot like it was my first time (because it was). But I felt like a FBI agent and my brother was the one who broke a nail, not me. So, all in all, I think I won the day.
If you knew you were only going to be allowed FIVE books for the rest of your life, besides the Bible, which five would make the cut?
Heather: Gulp. Only 5?
- The Mirror by Marlys Milheiser
- Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
- Crossfire Trail by Louis L’Amour
- The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers
- Anything by Edgar Allan Poe
Carrie: The Last Sin Eater is one of my very faves by Francine Rivers, and it’s not one that I hear people mention a lot. I’m due for a reread of that one sometime soon…
Since you write Christian historical westerns, I’d like to know – If you could live in any classic Western movie or TV show, which one would you choose and which character would you want to be?
Heather: It’s a toss up. I would either be the cattle baroness with the ranch adjacent to Ben Cartwright’s place. You know, that little spread called the Ponderosa. Or I’d be Ann Rodney in love with Rafe Covington—Tom Selleck—in Crossfire Trail. Either way I get a big ranch and a handsome man!
Carrie: My vote is for Tom Selleck. He’s aged very well. *swoon*
You have said, “I believe Christian fiction should be messy and gritty, because the human condition is … and God loves us anyway.” (I completely agree, by the way!) How has this belief affected your writing?
Heather: When I wrote my first book, I just wanted to tell a story that was inspired by my sister’s life. What amazed me was the way people responded! I’ve had widows write and tell me they were One woman told me she cried when Naomi said to God, “I don’t like You very much right now.” She’d said those very words. Another woman left a review on Amazon and said the story reawakened her sleeping faith. Wow. Hence, I want to write stories that have an impact like a meteor. I want to show God at work in the muck and pain of our lives…because He is.
Carrie: Yes! Absolutely! He so is… and some of my favorite-favorite books are those that have impacted me like that.
Your newest book, A Promise in Defiance, releases June 22nd! In this third book in the Romance in the Rockies series, we follow up with some familiar characters and meet a new face or two as well. Of all the characters in Defiance so far, who has been your favorite to write?
Heather: Charles McIntyre, that sexy Southern boy. He is such a complex character. I love how he fought his attraction to Naomi, didn’t understand it, and then totally embraced what a better life he could have with her and Christ. He loves her deeply and unconditionally and that helps him understand his relationship with God. Now, walking out his faith in a town as mean as Defiance is challenging, especially in Book 3. He asks at one point how does he fight evil if not with evil? Of course, God has the answer.
Carrie: Sexy, Southern boy? I’m in! And that question – how do we fight evil if not with evil – is such a timely question for the world we live in today. I’m eager to see how God answers Charles 🙂
What do you most want readers to take away from A Promise in Defiance?
Heather: I’ve seen it over and over: new Believers come to Christ, and then fall away when life gets hard or doesn’t go their way, especially if it’s because of past choices. Somehow they think God not only wipes away their sins, but the consequences too, and they’re gonna spend the rest of their lives tip toing through the tulips. Well, Jesus promised us that in this life we would have trouble. So what He really does is give us the strength to stand when everything around us is falling apart—especially if our own choices are the cause of that destruction. We can stand the storms because we know He has a purpose and a plan for us.
Carrie: Amen. Heather, it’s been so nice to “meet you”. Thanks for stopping by to chat!
Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you. I’ve seen a rumor floating around about a movie script??
Heather: I wrote a script for my first book, A Lady in Defiance and it has been perused by some producers in Hollywood like Brian Bird and Mark Headly. Fortunately, the script has garnered some serious interest so now I am trying to decide if I want to accept an offer to be represented and let the agent shop it around, or if I want to work with a professional screen writer and we’ll sell it ourselves. I’m just not sure at the moment. God’s got his hand on this book. He has from the beginning so I think you’ll be seeing it on the screen one day!
Thank you for letting me visit! I enjoyed these fun questions!
Carrie: My pleasure! I enjoyed your fun answers 🙂 Come back anytime!
You can preorder A Promise in Defiance here.
Other books by Heather Blanton
Heather is offering a fantastic giveaway to my readers!
2 paperbacks and 2 ebooks of A Promise in Defiance are up for grabs!
That’s FOUR chances to WIN!
(Paperbacks open to US mailing addresses only, ebooks open internationally)
I haven’t watched western shows in years, so I don’t know which I’d like to live in. But I might choose the Ponderosa since it’s the only one I remember, especially Little Joe. LOL Thanks for the giveaway and good luck everyone.
LOL! that works 🙂 Thanks, Debbie!
Oh, Debbie, you’ve got to get with the program, girl. Start with a little move called The Trail to Hope Rose. If that doesn’t put you in the mood to watch a Western, check your pulse. LOL!
Awesome interview questions. Love your interactive playfulness too. Congrats!
Thank you, thank you!
I’m not sure I would want to live in any of them because I love my creature comforts so much. I did like the Christy and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman series though. Thanks for the interview and the giveaway!
Haha! I’m with you, Loraine!
Loraine, if you’ve got the right hero by your side, everything will be all right. Grin.
Haha! The right hero does make all the difference
I have always loved books about the west, wagon trains. Any Christian book about the west. If I could go back in time I would want to live back in those days. I would ride a wagon train to get to the west.
i love the idea … but I’m not sure I could survive it LOL
I have to agree with Heather that I would want to be in Crossfire Trail with Tom Selleck. Bonanza was always fun to watch, as was Five Mile Creek that takes place in the Australian Outback. Although I’m not sure I could stomach stagecoaches!! Really great interview!
yeah… the modes of transportation would give me trouble. And the outhouses. And the dirt. Hmm… maybe I’d better just stay in this time period LOL
Thank you, Becky. Yeah, I reckon if you put a gun to my head, I would choose Rafe Covington!
I’ve never heard of Crossfire Trail… I’ll have to check it out! I’d have to say either Bonanza or Dr. Quinn. If I thought about it longer I might be able to come up with another one… maybe. Great interview with a “new-to-me” author! I’ll be looking her up! Thanks for the giveaway!
Dr. Quinn is a great one!!
Cyndi, if you can stand to watch Tom Selleck ride, shoot, and kiss, this is the best Western of his to start with. He is somethin’ else in it.
I think *I*could be persuaded to stand to watch TS do all of those things…
I don’t think I’d like to live in a western movie or tv show. I’m with Carrie–I like my modern conveniences too much. I’m pretty sure my husband would love it, though. He loves western shows, horses, cowboy things. He grew up on a farm, and he’s ridden horses all his life.
eep! horses! I’ll have to tell you sometime about the horseback riding class I took in college for phys ed credit hahahaha
Oh, I really need to hear this! I rode a few times when I was younger, but I’ve never been too crazy about it. I definitely don’t go riding with my husband–I let him have some man time with his friends! 😀
Winnie, maybe you’d like When Calls the Heart then. Our heroine comes from a wealthy family in the early 1900’s and returns home periodically to be doted upon and spoiled by her rich daddy–but she always returns to her Canadian Mounty!
I’d probably go for the Love Comes Softly series.
Oh that’s a great one!
Oh, good answer. Dale Midkiff is most excellent in that! The strong, sensitive kind!
Oooh, I pick When Calls the Heart – is that considered a Western?! 🙂 I adore Heather’s books and cannot wait for this one!!
sure, I’ll count that one 😉 It was after all based on the series of books called the Canadian West series so … sure! haha! 🙂
When Calls the Heart is, indeed, a most excellent choice! I love to watch Jack ride a horse. My, my …
I think I would like to live in the time of Bonanza.
too dusty for me 😉
Dianne, great choice. Three young men raised well by their handsome father. Money, land, cattle, power. Yeah…
So many choices. I would go with Little House on the Prairie.
Oh that’s a fantastic choice!
I always liked LHOP, but I never cared for the scenery. I like the Rockies. But the stories were great!
Big Valley because the Barkleys have a beautiful home. Living with Victoria Barkley[Barbara Stanwyck] would be a joy,since she is one of my favorite actresses.
I enjoy Gunsmoke,but it is a little too much the old wild west for me.
I forgot about Big Valley!
I LOVE The Big Valley. I actually wrote a story back in the ’80’s and Nick was the hero. Love those tempestuous men!
I think Lonesome Dove..
Another excellent choice!
Deanna, nearly everyone dies in LD. I would make sure I was the star of THAT story before I went back in time. LOL!
I love Westerns! Lonesome Dove is good but I wouldn’t want to live back then. Sure are fun to read though.
Yes, I’m with you Emilee – fun to read but I’m too prissy to survive back then lol
Lot of tragedy in LD. But I did have a thing for Woodrow. Love that strong, silent type!
I am not going to apologize for saying, yet again . . . . . . . how much I loved these books. Heather has a lovely way of writing deep spiritual truths into life’s messy spots. Her characters are wonderful!
FYI, I share Heather’s love of “The Last Sin Eater”, have read it several times and our book club read and watched the movie together last year. Vintage western movies are definitely the best! I am a huge fan of John Wayne!
Can’t go wrong with John Wayne – or Heather – or The Last Sin Eater 🙂
Rebecca, you should watch Angel and the Badman. A great Western that shows a tender side to the Duke. And thank you for your kind words. I will always try to write the beautiful truth of how God is willing to wade into the deepest muck to save us. 🙂
I don’t know if this will count or not, but my Dad introduced me to the show F Troop a few years ago, talk about hysterical!!
Hahaha!! I’ll count it 😉
ABBY, I LOVE that show! Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker were fabulous. Ah, back when TV was simple and clean.
I like the Longmire series. Even though it’s set in modern times, the characters definitely fit the classic hero & heroine mold.
I keep meaning to watch Longmire!!
I love Longmire. S5 is in production right now!
Gotta love that Robert Taylor! Did you know he’s Australian?
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman was and still is an all time favorite. I loved the more modern tales of the west. It still held enough of western conflict yet had some style and grace.
I always loved Dr. Quinn!
Bree, did you know that Dr. Quinn had the largest petition for reinstatement that any show has ever had to date?! And still CBS ignored the fans and didn’t renew it. 🙁
Can I say a book instead? 🙂 LOL! I loved Judith Pella’s western frontier books, but I am not a big movie or TV western watcher. So, if I had to say, probably Little House on the Prairie.
on this blog, you can ALWAYS say books instead 🙂
I will have to check out Pella. I’m not familiar with her.
When Calls the Heart and Longmire would be fun!
Good choices … but very different. I like the way your mind works.
I wouldn’t mind replacing Becky in McClintock with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara as parents. Not to mention her suitor is pretty great.
Can you imagine those two … your parents? Wow. My daddy came awfully close, though. 🙂
I’ve got to read Heather’s work based on her love of westerns…it’s as if she’s my long lost sister because Dad was always watching The Lone Ranger or Bonanza or Gunsmoke or some Western, along with The Andy Griffith Show. So, I could totally live in the Gunsmoke era as long as Matt Dillon guarded me as faithfully as he did Miss Kitty. But you know, Dr. Quinn did alright too with that hunky Sully, so you’re right- it’s all about the hero. So glad you’ve spotlighted a new-to-me author, Carrie! 🙂
yay! that makes me happy Amanda 🙂 And Sully… *dreamy sigh*
Amanda, awesome observations. I am to this day a big fan of Bonanza. I have an Indian blanket hanging over my railing just like in the Ponderosa. None of those Cartwright men would have been bad choices — they each had such unique characteristics … but Sully would have been quite tolerable. LOL
don’t know any
I would have to say Wild Wild West (the TV series)! I love the Steampunk aspect of it all!
i have not seen that one!
Artemis Gordon and James West. Yep, one of my favorite shows!!!
My Dad loved westerns so they were a big part of our lives when I was growing up. He loved Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Wagon Train….He just loved westerns! To answer your question: I would choose The Big Valley because the Barkley’s home was beautiful and there were some creature comforts that being on a Wagon Train just didn’t offer! 🙂
Yes, those Wagon Trains aren’t much for comfort 😉
Oh. I forgot to mention Heath Barkley!! Quite a hero!!!
You know, I actually had him in mind when I wrote the character of Thad in Grace be a Lady!
I love westerns. Bonanza was my favorite growing up, although Michael Landon use to joke about the show that one could barely walk the ranch because of all the dead women. Until I heard that I’d never stopped to think they always killed the girls and girlfriends off the show. 🙂 When Calls the Heart, Dr. Quinn, and Big Valley are all ones I enjoy. I love Barbara Stanwyck!
LOL that’s funny!!
That’s too funny … and absolutely true. Being a love interest was a death sentence!
The Wild Wild West might be fun or Maverick with James Garner.
oh yes – James Garner!
Did you know Roger Moore (007) played a Maverick cousin in, I believe, the last season?
haha! I think I would like him better as a Maverick than as Bond 🙂
He was basically Bond in a silk vest. Quite enjoyable.
oh mmm… yes that would be 🙂
Not sure about the western question, but if we are talking a ‘different” reality. I would have to say either Dr. Who universe or Westeros in the far far south.
Dr. Who is definitely a different reality! LOL!