Do you love cowboy romances? I know I do. If you're like me, then you're in for a treat today. I'm chatting here with Shannon Taylor Vannatter, who writes cowboy romances. I had the pleasure of meeting Shannon at the KenTen writer's retreat a few years ago, and look forward to seeing her again this August at the same place. I'm also thrilled that she is now one of my editors at Scrivenings Press. Read on to learn more about Shannon, as well as how to be entered into an amazing giveaway she's doing right now to celebrate her new release.
Shannon, you've released almost 20 books now, right? What keeps you going and gives you inspiration?
Actually, my 18th will release in March 2021. I can’t not write. I’ve tried. When I take a break, that’s usually when inspiration strikes. I’m inspired when I learn something new, hear an odd phrase, or see a headline. I also find tons of inspiration in being with other writers, just hanging out, or attending conferences. Being with other creative people inspires me and anything that interests me usually ends up in a book.
Okay, I know you live in rural Arkansas, but I don't think you live on a ranch. Where did the love of cowboys come from?
My first three books were set in Romance and Rose Bud, Arkansas. Both are real, small towns. There wasn’t a cowboy in sight. I did marry a Texan, but he’s not a cowboy. I’m fine with that because he’s awesome and completely spoils me.
My father-in-law owned a ranch in Texas until he passed several years ago. His wife still lives there and we visit often. I love visiting family there, love the ranch, love Texas. But the inspiration for my rodeo series took place at the Arkansas State Fair. I saw a cowboy to the bone wearing Wrangler’s, a Stetson, and Justin boots holding hands with a girl wearing a pin-striped business suit and suede, spike-heeled boots. I wondered how they met and what they had in common and poof, inspiration struck.
I knew my way around the rodeo since my dad announced at our small town arena when I was a teenager and I worked in the concession stand. It was just supposed to be one book about a bull rider and an ad exec in Texas, but my editor asked if it could be a series. The next time, we went to visit our Texas family, we visited the Fort Worth Stockyards for research on the way.
I was hooked. The streets teemed with cowboys. I loved trying to capture their carriage, turn of phrase, and drawl. The series morphed into nine books. My line ended after the eighth one released, but the Love Inspired editor asked if I could write number nine as a transition book and build a new series around it. I did and then got another contract for a second series with them.
It said in your little biography on your website that it took you nine years to get published the first time. Did you ever reach a point where you wondered if you were pursuing the wrong career? What kept you going?
When I commit to something, I do it. Period. Once I realized that story in my head could be a book, I pursued publication with dogged persistence. Nice comments in rejection letters kept me going. I have over two hundred rejection letters in a large manila envelope. Most of them were form letters. But the ones with hand-written notes or compliments on something I was doing right kept the glimmer of hope alive.
As an author being published by the new company, Scrivenings Press, I know you and Linda Fulkerson had your work cut out for you in taking over that publisher. Was being an editor something you had considered before this? Or is it one of those blessings that basically fell in your lap? (I love those blessings most of the time).
Once I worked with an editor and learned all the little things that kept me from getting published all those years, I wanted to share my knowledge. To help other hopefuls achieve their dream of publication. I started out teaching classes. Eventually, I did paid critiques at writer’s conferences and I really enjoyed it.
While doing paid critiques, I thought I’d really enjoy being an editor. But I figured I’d have to go to school to do it and didn’t think I’d ever have time for that. So when Linda called and offered me a partnership, along with an editing course I could take online, I was excited. So it basically fell in my lap.
Linda and I had been travel, roomie, conference buddies since before I got published. We’re complete opposites. I’m an ex-hairdresser, she’s an ex-marine. I’m technology challenged, she’s a computer geek. I’m creative with words, she’s creative with graphics. I’ve worked with several content editors, she’s been a newspaper editor and photographer. Our strengths complement each other well for our new joint endeavor.
Do you think being an editor and working with Scrivenings is going to cut into your own writing time? How do you plan to maintain the balance?
During the transition, I know I won’t have time to write. But the timing is good. I just finished my contract and sent my agent a new proposal. By the time anything happens with that, I’ll be caught up on my Scrivenings work.
Once I get a new contract, I’m planning to spend half my day on editing and half on writing. I usually write in three to four hour sittings, so it should balance out fine. But I did tell Linda that if it gets to where I don’t have time to write, we’ll have to hire another editor. Her answer: Use your time wisely. I’ve nicknamed her slave driver.
Tell us what you're working on right now in terms of upcoming stories. We love your cowboy romances.
I just turned a new proposal in to my agent. It’s cowboys on a Texas ranch with a twist, an agritourism ranch, which was introduced to me a few years ago at a writing retreat. I’d never heard of the term and it was mentioned it in a brainstorming session. It intrigued me, so it ended up in a potential book.
It always amazes me how two different writers can take the same character, plot, setting, theme, or trope and each write completely different stories.
I’m hoping by October or November, I’ll have time to polish up a long length book I wrote years ago and find a home for it.
And, to end, what's one thing you can tell us about yourself that very few people know?
I’m an introvert. People I went to school with know it. But most people who’ve met me as an adult don’t. I came out of my shell when I went to cosmetology school. I realized it was way more uncomfortable to cut somebody’s hair for thirty minutes without talking, than it was to make conversation.
Getting published brought me out of my shell even more. Attending conferences and teaching classes requires me to interact with others and speak in front of large groups. I have this outgoing persona at conferences and I enjoy myself. But if I could, I’d hide in the corner. Once I get home after a conference or speaking engagement, I’m exhausted. Even though I had a great time during the event.
What about you, readers? What inspires you and in what way do you use your inspiration or creativity?
Shannon's giving away five copies of The Cowboy’s Missing Memory and five copies of her Western Collection two in one with Jill Lynn – Counting on the Cowboy and Her Texas Cowboy will be split among commenters. Winner’s will be revealed on Shannon’s Blog on July 15th.
Follow her blog tour to enter:
June 2: Jennifer Heeren’s Blog: https://jenniferheeren.com/blog/
June 11: Joy Avery Melville’s Blog: https://www.journeystojoy.net/
June 13: Patti Shene’s Blog: https://pattishene.com/pattisporch
June 25: Laurie Wood’s Blog: https://www.lauriewoodauthor.com/author-my-blog
June 25: Reading is My Superpower Blog: https://readingismysuperpower.org
June 30: Catherine Castle’s Blog: https://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com/blog/
July 3: Inkslinger Blog: https://shannontaylorvannatter.com/inkslinger-blog/
July 6: Amy Anguish’s Blog: https://abitofanguish.weebly.com/blog
July 7: Inkslinger Blog: https://shannontaylorvannatter.com/inkslinger-blog/
July 10: Linda Rondeau’s Blog: https://lindarondeau.com/snarksensibility
The Cowboy’s Missing Memory
Can he reclaim his past…and build a future?
He needs to remember.
She’s his best hope…
After a rodeo accident took away Clint Rawlins’s mobility and two years’ worth of memories, occupational therapist Lexie Parker is his only shot at recovering and regaining independence. Lexie is drawn to Clint…but she’s wary of the amnesiac’s all-too-vulnerable feelings. And with the possibility of him returning to his dangerous bull-riding side job, she refuses to risk her heart. But resisting her charming patient may be harder than she expected…
(Available in Walmart mid-June through mid-July)
The Cowboy’s Missing Memory - Amazon
The Cowboy’s Missing Memory – Christian Book
Award winning author, Shannon Taylor Vannatter writes contemporary Christian cowboy romance and has over a dozen published titles. A romance reader since her teens, she hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as she demonstrates that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does.
She gleans fodder for her fiction in rural Arkansas where she spent her teenage summers working the concession stand with her rodeo announcing dad and married a Texan who morphed into a pastor. In her spare time, she loves hanging out with her husband and son, flea marketing, and doing craft projects.
Recently, Shannon joined Scrivenings Press as co-owner/acquisitions/content editor.
Connect with her:
This is a place for me to tell you about what I'm writing, talk about the process or where some of my ideas came from, or even have other authors come in and talk about their books.
Authors I Love to Read (in no particular order)