Please tell us about Rodeo Song, Shannon.
It’s the only book I’ve ever written based on a dream. Back in Michael Bolton’s heydey, I attended one of his concerts. During the intermission, he made his famous lobby run. I was sitting in the nosebleed seats, but that night I dreamed I was in the lobby and he grabbed my hand, took me on stage with him and sang Georgia on My Mind to me. I used to live in Georgia.
I thought it was funny and retold the dream countless times. After I started writing, I realized it could be a book. I wrote it back in 2001. In that version, the hero was a long-haired rock star and the heroine only went to the concert as a favor to a friend, but she went onstage with this guy anyway. I’m really not sure why I wrote it like that, but I didn’t know what I was doing since I’d never taken any classes on writing. It got around 30 rejections.
When Harlequin gave me the opportunity to continue my rodeo series, I thought about that story. I decided I could convert him to a Country star to fit the rodeo theme. And it made sense if they’d been high school sweethearts. That way, she could still go as a favor to a friend, but she knew him, so it made sense for her to go onstage. Because she hadn’t really gone as a favor, deep down, she wanted to see him.
I love that you could recycle that story and make it new!
But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna—and his cowboy past—far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna’s life. But, once burned by love, Jenna must guard her heart against the captivating singer.
Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he’d be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he’s found what he was looking for all along…right here in his hometown.
When did you first get the writing itch?
Around 1996, my husband’s hours changed and suddenly I spent my evenings alone. I went to the library to get sweet romance books, but couldn’t find any. At the same time, I’d had a story in my head since my teens. I’d move scenes around in my head and add complications. For years, I’d thought it was a movie, but I didn’t want to go to Hollywood.
When I couldn’t find any clean romance, I thought I should write one. Hey, that story could be a book. But I didn’t have a computer, so I vowed if I ever got one, I’d write the book. Three years later, my father-in-law gave me his old computer. In late 1999, I wrote that story in my head. It ended up being Rodeo Queen, book five in my rodeo series.
I’m with you regarding writing on a computer. I don’t think I’d be a writer if I had to type it out on a typewriter. Ugh!
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
That sometimes your dreams can take you away from God. We need to give Him our dreams along with everything in our lives and let Him choose our paths.
Do you have a favorite childhood memory?
From the age of seven to twelve, I lived 5 miles from Six Flags over Georgia. We bought summer passes and spent much of the summer there. It was a great place to grow up.
How fun! What is next for you?
I get to continue my rodeo series with three more titles. The next title, Rodeo Break releases in January 2015. I just completed the first draft on it. It’s about another singer—the one that takes Garrett’s place as the rodeo singer at the Fort Worth Stockyards Championship Rodeo. He’s also a church song leader at a small Aubrey church, but he’s hoping to get his rodeo break and land a position as worship leader in a mega-church.
The heroine was a side character in Rodeo Song. She isn’t a Christian in the beginning of the book and she’s in an abusive relationship. At rock bottom, she ends up in the same church as the hero and eventually becomes the pianist there. But just as she turns her life around and comes to realize there are good Christian men in the world through her attraction to the hero, she learns there are extreme consequences for past mistakes.
Shannon is giving away a copy of Rodeo Song to one lucky commenter. Please answer the following question to be entered. Who is your favorite Christian singer?
Drawing Rules: You must have a USA mailing address to be entered for a print copy. There must be at least ten qualifying comments for the drawing to take place. The drawing ends 4/27/2014. The winner will be contacted by email on 4/28/14 and have until 5/04/2014 to respond or forfeit–no new winner will be chosen. Void where prohibited by law.
Central Arkansas author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife. She lives in a town with a population of around 100, if you count a few cows. Vannatter won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award in the short contemporary category, The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards 3rd Favorite New Author and #1 Contemporary Award.
Her books are available at christianbook.com, barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, harlequin.com, and barbourbooks.com. Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/. Connect with her on Facebook: facebook.com/shannontaylorvannatter, Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/stvannatter/, and Twitter: @stvauthor