Interview with Author Margaret Brownley
I played with the idea for four or five years before I actually got around to writing the book. Book ideas generally come to me in scenes. Iâll suddenly visualize someone atop a runaway stagecoach or scrambling over a roof and then have to figure out who and why. The scene that popped into my head for Cowboy Charm School was a wedding scene with a man running down the church aisle yelling, âStop the Wedding!â
It took me awhile to figure out that the man was a Texas Ranger who thinks heâs saving the bride from marrying an outlaw. Heâs mistaken, of course, but his accusations cause the couple to break up. Itâs only right that he tries to get the estranged couple back together and thatâs when it starts to get complicated.
How long have you been writing?
It feels like Iâve been writing all my life. As a child, when anyone gave me money, I would always buy one thing; a notebook. I wrote my first âbookâ in fifth grade. It was thirty pages long and, to a ten-year-old, that qualified as a book. It was a mystery involving stolen macaroons.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Every book offers its own challenges, and Cowboy Charm School was no different. After writing more than 50 books, the biggest challenge for me is keeping my stories fresh and each couplesâ story unique.
What did you enjoy most about writing?
I think what I enjoy most about writing is discovery. As I learn about my characters, I also learn about myself. A former agent once pointed out that one of the themes that runs through my books is abandonment. Until she brought that to my attention, I hadnât known I had abandonment issues. Never underestimate the power of the subconscious.
Did you first experience rejections when submitting this manuscript for publication?
No rejections on this one but, boy, did I ever pile them up on other books. My first historical pulled in more than seventeen rejections. It finally sold and helped launch a publisherâs new line. That meant lots of publicity and perks. Had the first seventeen publishers not rejected my story, I would have missed out on a great opportunity.
From this experience I learned a valuable lesson; a rejection is not the end of the story. Sometimes it simply means thereâs something better out there.
How important are names to you in your books? How do you choose names?
Since I write books set in the Old West itâs important that names reflect the times. A name also has to say something about the character and carry the tone of the book. After picking a name, I check the census for the year my character was born to see if the name existed back then.
For my heroes, I look for strong masculine names. This means choosing names with hard consonant sounds like Garrett, Rhett or Hunter. Iâll also work in a soft consonant, usually in his last name. That tells the reader that no matter how arrogant or difficult the hero is, he has a vulnerable spot that the heroine will eventually uncover
What is your favorite quote?
I recently came across a quote by Ram Dass that touched my heart. âWeâre all just walking each other home.â Thatâs something to think about.