Thursday, November 22, 2012

Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and reading, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical fiction set in the American West. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two near-grown kids, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.

Welcome, Erica! Tell us a little about yourself. How did your writing journey begin?

I suspect like most writers, my journey began when I was young, spinning stories in my head and daydreaming a lot. It wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom that I gave any serious thought to trying to write any of them down.

How long did you write before you sold your first book?

I wrote for about four years before I received my first contract. There was a steep learning curve. I had no idea what I didn’t know when I started. I didn’t read a craft book until after I finished my first novel. My mind was blown, and I realized how much work I had to do.

What book(s) are you reading, or have read lately?

I have eclectic tastes when it comes to what I read. I just finished a Sherlock Holmes story (The Red-Headed League) I started a novella by Jane Kirkpatrick, part of A Midwife’s Legacy collection, and before that, a romance by Debbie Macomber. For research, I’m reading about the US Cavalry in the mid-1800s, Native American herbal medicines, and the Santa Fe Trail. I love mysteries, thrillers, romance, classics, history books, biographies, and more.

Which fictional literary character most inspired/inspires you?

This is a tough one! When I was a child, I would’ve said Laura Ingalls Wilder. I devoured the Little House books, reading and re-reading them. Now I’d say Amelia Peabody, the intrepid archeologist created by Elizabeth Peters. She’s smart, funny, brave, and her worldview cracks me up.

Now that you are published, do you still experience rejections? If so, how are these rejections different or similar to the ones you received before becoming published?

You know, I do experience rejections. At the moment, I’m writing without a contract. I’ve got submissions out there, but so far, not much is happening. As to how they are different from before I was published…I’m not as crushed when a no, thank you, is returned to me. I think I’ve gained a little perspective, and I’m more willing to move on to either another submission or another project.

Tell us a little about your latest release, A Bride Sews With Love in Needles, CA.

From the back cover: A Harvey Girl waits on True Love.

With her brother already on the front lines in France, Meghan Thorson becomes a Harvey Girl in Needles, California. Ready and willing to wait on the hundreds of doughboys heading for Europe, Meghan deems this service her way of contributing to the war effort. When a Red Cross representative breezes through town, Meghan embraces the challenge to do even more, committing to completing a Red Cross signature quilt and canvassing the town for donations to the cause.

Horseman Caleb McBride makes his living by training stock for the US Cavalry and keeps his pride by remaining a loner. When Meghan meets Caleb, she senses something mysterious and wounded about him, piquing her curiosity. But after the townsfolk scorn him as a coward and a profiteer, Caleb feels her pity and becomes even more guarded.

When Needles is hit by an influenza epidemic and the Harvey hotel is made into a temporary hospital, Meghan discovers Caleb’s shameful secret.

Will both Caleb and Meghan find a way to kill their pride before their chance of love rips them apart at the seams?

I’m also excited that December 1st, I have a novella collection releasing called Sagebrush Knights. Here’s a little bit about these four mail-order bride stories:

Journey along with the four Gerhard sisters as they head to Wyoming Territory in search of husbands and discover that happy endings are not ready-made. Evelyn arrives in Wyoming with a secret and a grudge, only to find her prospective groom holds a secret, too. Jane vies for the attention of her workaholic husband who is bent on saving his ranch even if it means losing love. Gwendolyn’s would-be husband dies, leaving her to the will of another man. And Emmeline’s knight-in-shining-armor herds sheep instead of cattle. Will love prevail, or will their journeys have not so happy endings?

If you could only share one line from A Bride Sews With Love in Needles, CA, which one would you choose and why?

“I told her you were more courageous than anyone I had ever met, and that she was a fool to let other people define courage for her.”

I love this line because this story is actually about courage. Courage to be authentic, courage to let go of entrenched belief, courage to stand up for what is right, even if it costs you what you hold most dear.

That's a great line, Erica! What inspired you to choose the setting for your novel?

I knew I wanted to write a story about a Harvey Girl, and during my research into the restaurants and employees of Fred Harvey, I learned about the El Garces Hotel in Needles, CA. I’d been told by people who had been there that Needles was a harsh place, hot, isolated, even hostile-seeming to those from outside. It seemed the perfect place for my story, since I wanted the setting to be adversarial and to require courage to deal with.

What kind of research did you have to do for this book? Can you share some articles or website links you found particularly helpful?

I actually relied mostly on research books. I purchased or checked out books on the Fred Harvey Company, Needles, CA, World War One, and particularly the US home front. I was able to view a WW1 vintage Red Cross quilt at a local museum, and I interviewed a doctor for some help with my medical questions.

Tell us what new projects you’re working on.

I’m currently working on a novel set in 1860’s Fort Larned, Kansas, along the Santa Fe Trail. An army major inherits a pair of precocious twins who think the commandant’s daughter would make the perfect mother, though she’s counting the days until she can return East and take up her life as a fashion artist once more.

What is the one question you were afraid I would ask…and how would you answer?

I don’t know that I was so much afraid to ask questions as much as I didn’t know who to ask. As it turned out, most of my questions are answered by writing friends I’ve made, my agent, my publisher, my editors. My advice is to spend time in writing communities, on writers’ blogs, in an organization such as the ACFW. Writers love to help other writers, and they love to talk about writing. Make some writing friends!

Thank you so much for stopping by The Borrowed  Book. Now, for those who want to learn more, where can readers connect with you?


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