Always delighted to have author Janalyn Voigt on the blog, and today she’s here to take us behind the scenes of her new historical romance, The Whispering Wind!
THE WHISPERING WIND by Janalyn Voigt
SERIES: Montana Gold #6
GENRE: Inspirational Historical/Western Romance
PUBLISHER: Mountain Brook Ink
RELEASE DATE: April 5, 2023
Phoebe can have her pick of suitors but never the man she wants.
Fancy parties and embroidered fans hold little appeal for Phoebe Walsh. She would rather gallop across the open range or help her father with a wounded calf. Of her many admirers, none spark her interest. Ma seems determined to save her from becoming a spinster, but how can Phoebe accept her mother’s choice of suitors when her heart belongs elsewhere?
Several years have passed since Will Canfield stole a kiss and her heart. Remembering her passionate response still curls her insides, but how she feels doesn’t matter. Will’s interest in her isn’t serious, as he’s made clear. She needs to get over the man. If Uncle Con will stop throwing them together, that could be a whole lot easier.
Will feels guilty about Phoebe, but he can’t risk another heartbreak. Being left at the altar certainly changed his mind about romance. Phoebe is better off marrying someone else, even if the idea sets his teeth on edge.
Phoebe and Will must both, with God’s help, conquer an old fear before they can move ahead with their lives. Set during a troubled time in America, the Montana Gold series explores faith, courage, and love in the Wild West.
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Behind-the-scenes facts about The Whispering Wind
by Janalyn Voigt, author of The Whispering Wind
Writing the love story of Phoebe Walsh demanded some of the heroine’s strong-mindedness from her author. After suffering a second-degree burn, I couldn’t type without painful muscles spasms. Dictation came to my rescue—sort of. Although I had used it for first drafts, editing was much faster manually. When I couldn’t meet my deadline, my publisher and I considered cancelling the book. At that point, it would have been easier (and a lot less painful) to give up. However, the story wouldn’t let me go, and my publisher extended the grace I needed to finish the book. I will always be grateful.
Here are five behind-the-scenes facts about The Whispering Wind.
Someone needed to die in order to further the plot in an earlier Montana Gold book. Originally, that person was Phoebe, a minor character in the story. My publisher declared herself traumatized by Phoebe’s death, and I agreed to make changes. Phoebe became essential to the series, and I’m very glad for her to star in The Whispering Wind. It seems somehow fitting that the heroine who nearly died should star in the love story that almost wasn’t written. Cowboy hats off to Phoebe, who has always been spunky.
In the 1880s, unmarried women became spinsters at the tender age of twenty-three. Women married young back then, with the focus on producing children, and particularly a son to carry on the family name. This seemed patently unfair for those “old maids” left on the shelf. An intriguing idea presented itself. How would Phoebe, a self-confident woman with a reputation for breaking her prospective suitors’ hearts, react to approaching spinsterhood? Phoebe might feel no pressure to conform, but she loves her parents and wants to please them. Would the pressure of their expectations send her into the arms of a man she doesn’t love? And could she give up all hope of getting together with the one man she can’t have?
The story takes place the year a bad winter ended the era of the open range in the American West. I wanted to show the cattle industry in its glory days but also the factors that led to its reorganization. The introduction of barbed wire created difficulties. Greed and the ambition of foreign investors led to overgrazing and the resultant depletion of natural grasses. The cattle industry was in trouble when the “Big Die Up” came. An early snowfall introduced the brutal winter of 1886-87. Blizzard conditions caused people to become lost and freeze to death in the extreme cold quite close to the front doors of their houses. The tragedy extended to the herds, although the true toll wasn’t fully discovered until spring. Ranchers found their few surviving cattle malnourished and feeble. The sickly animals didn’t fetch much at market, and many ranches went under. The days of the Wild West cattle barons were over.
I went into my office one morning, ready to write a brand new book. Movement outside my office window caught my eye as a large bird lifted brindled wings against the sky and fanned its tail. The moment seemed golden, as if the Creator was very near. Seized by the desire to share my wonder with readers, I researched the bird. It could only be a northern harrier, previously called a marsh hawk. I opened a new document and began to write. Here’s a snippet from the opening scene of The Whispering Wind:
Phoebe Walsh shielded her eyes against the morning sun and watched a large bird glide across the sky. Its wings resembled those of a red-tailed hawk, but black bars banded the creamy underside of the flight feathers. Also, compared to the impressive wingspan, the bird’s head looked stubby—more like that of an owl. The wings lifted into a vee and its tail fanned as the bird adopted the characteristic posture of a marsh hawk. She caught her breath. “What a magnificent creature.”
My favorite quote from The Whispering Wind is when Will Canfield, the hero, takes a moment to look out over the Bitterroot River. The water slides by as geese sound an alarm, sounding like hounds baying. The cookhouse iron will soon ring to announce the noon meal, but he doesn’t budge. “Nature sustained a man’s soul the same as food nourished the body. It brought him closer to his Maker. Will would swear that he could listen to the wind soughing along the river and hear God whisper.”
This passage is the sum total of backpacking trips I’ve taken into the Olympic Mountains. Let’s just say that standing on the banks of a tumbling stream can be a form of worship.
Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read chapters from classics to her as bedtime stories. After Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with stories of her own. She considers this her earliest training in writing. Janalyn is an alumni of Christian Writers Guild. Her memberships include American Christian Fiction Writers, and Northwest Christian Writers. She is represented by Wordserve Literary.
Learn more about Janalyn Voigt and the books she writes at janalynvoigt.com
Janalyn Voigt is offering a print copy of Hills of Nevermore (book one in the series) to one of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read The Whispering Wind by Janalyn Voigt?