Today I’d like to introduce Andrea Downing, a fellow Wild Rose Press author.
Hello Andrea, and welcome. Tell us a little about your writing adventure
Do you see writing as a ?
Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.
Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?
As the round-up wound down, the Reps took their stock back to their outfits, and soon the men were back at headquarters or at the camps.
Alex knew word had more or less got out and found the punchers were gentler now around her, had a sort of quiet respect for her, and she hated it. She tried to bully them a bit to show them she was still the same girl, jolly them into joshing with her as they had before. It was slow work. At the same time, she yearned to see Jesse, to speak with him, to try to get life back to the way it was before the argument at the corral, and before he saw the scars.
The opportunity didn’t present itself. She would see him from a distance some days, riding with the herd, sitting his horse with that peculiar grace he had, throwing his lariat out with an ease that reminded her of people on a dock waving their hankies in farewell. Hoping to just be near him, she slid into one of the corrals one evening to practice her roping.
The light was failing and the birds were settling with their evening calls. Somewhere in the pasture a horse nickered. She sensed Jesse was there, watching, but she never turned as he stood at the fence. She heard him climb over and ease up behind her. He took the coiled rope from her in his left hand and slid his right hand over hers on the swing end, almost forcing her backward into his arms.
She thought of paintings and statues she had seen, imagining his naked arms now, how the muscles would form them into long oblique curves, how he probably had soft downy fair hair on his forearms, how his muscle would slightly bulge as he bent his arm. His voice was soft in her ear, and she could feel his breath on her neck like a whispered
“Gentle-like, right to left, right to left to widen the noose, keep your eye on the post—are you watchin’ where we’re goin’?” He made the throw and pulled in the rope to
tighten the noose.
Alex stood there, his hand still entwined with hers and, for a moment, she wished they could stand like that forever. Then she took her hand away and faced him. For a second he rested his chin on the top of her head, then straightened again and went to get the noose off the post while coiling in the rope. She looked up at him in the fading light and saw nothing but kindness in his face, simplicity and gentleness that was most inviting.
A smile spread across her face as he handed her the coiled rope and sauntered away, turning once to look back at her before he opened the gate. Emptiness filled her like a poisoned vapor seeking every corner of her being, and she stood with the rope in her hand listening to the ring of his spurs as his footsteps retreated.
When you are not writing, what are your hobbies, passions, etc?
I love traveling. My parents were great travellers and I guess I’ve inherited it from them, and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do that. Living in Europe for so long was a privilege because you have all those different countries, those different cultures, within such easy reach. But I also lived in Africa for a bit, and then I am originally from the states so travel here a great deal. I think at last count I’ve done 30 states. My daughter is very involved with Latin America so I’ve also been down there to several countries either to visit her or traveling with her. Aside from that, I’m absolutely passionate about the American west and its culture. Horses, rodeo, native American arts, you name it, I love it.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? Writing, or something else?
Actually, I was torn between acting and writing. I had voice lessons and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts summer school and, of course, took part in every school play I could. At the same time I was also taking every creative writing class available. I wanted to go on to RADA in London but got side tracked for various reasons and went back to the writing, ended up co-editing a poetry magazine and working in publishing.
What historical person would you want to meet and why?
I would love to meet Elizabeth, or Libby, Custer. The daughter of a doting father who was a judge, she came from a very privileged background and married George Armstrong Custer who was basically a nobody at the time. She followed him all over, during the American Civil War, and later on his assignments out west, giving up the luxuries to which she was accustomed for quite a hard life. They had a very passionate relationship—apparently their letters are really sexually charged—and Libby spent her life as a widow writing and lecturing about her husband, trying to revive his reputation after he had been blamed for the Little Big Horn massacre by President Grant. She proved very successful at this and actually died a wealthy woman on the proceeds of her books and lectures. But I wonder how she would see Custer’s pursuit of the Native Americans with the benefit of hindsight, and I wonder what fuelled such passion in her.
If you could time travel back, or forward, for one day, where would it be and why?