Mom Loves 2 Read: Mary Connealy ~ Sharpshooter in Petticoats

Dec 19, 2010

Mary Connealy ~ Sharpshooter in Petticoats

Sharpshooter in Petticoats (Sophie's Daughters #3) with interview by Mary Connealy


Mandy McClellen Gray has chosen a hard life.  A man who lied to get her to marry him, then took her away from all her family to the middle of nowhere, finds gold – gets even more greedy and strange actin’; then up a dies on her, leaving her rich and alone with 3 kids and a clan of back-shootin’ cowards trying to kill her. She has made enemies of the Cooter family, by killing one of them in self-defense.   She has decided the only way to protect her children, is to send her family and friends away and stay alone up in her Mansion (Grey Tower) that her recently deceased husband had built on a Mountaintop.
 Tom Linscott, a wealthy cattle rancher, decides to come rescue her and her kids. He literally climbs a steep cliff to Mandy's home, the only “safe” way in, and sets out to kidnap her and her 3 children in order to get her off the mountain.  I’ll give him credit though, he does first try to talk some sense into her, and when that doesn’t work, he sort of kidnaps her kids, so she has to follow, and… well… seems like everyone thinks the little ones are his, so of course she has to marry him.  She’s reluctant, though she knows she wants him; but she’s afraid to bring her danger into his life.  Can these two come to an agreement?  Can Tom handle a head-strong, sharpshooting wife?  Will their marriage survive? Can they keep each other and Mandy’s kids alive?
Ok, I have officially changed my mind – this is my new FAVORITE book of Mary Connealy’s. . .  no it’s Husband Tree. . . Uh, maybe it’s all of them!  Oh how I love this story!  I’m even more intrigued that so many of my other favorite characters from Mary’s books come into play in this adventure!   I must say this truly is ONE of my favorite female characters.  Not only is Mandy well-aware of her mistakes, but she perseveres.  She continues to struggle to live a Christian life, regardless of her circumstances (and no-account husband).  A real heroine in my opinion.
I am so jealous of the winner of this contest!  I was given the privilege of reading Sharpshooter in Petticoats as an eBook, through NetGalley.com, but will have to wait until January to purchase an actual printed copy!  AND, your copy will be autographed by Mary Connealy!  So exciting!

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An interview with Mary Connealy - Author of Sharpshooter in Petticoats
(Signed book Giveaway contest 11/28 - 12/12)

Loves2Read -
Which of your books was the easiest/hardest to write?

Mary -  
The first thing that came to mind was Montana Rose. When I set out to write that book, I made a very definite decision to stretch myself, step out of my comfort zone. My comfort zone seems to be really feisty, bossy, take charge women (don’t ask me why, I’m NOTHING like that). So I decided I was getting lazy and needed to take a chance on a different kind of heroine. Enter submissive Cassie Dawson. Making her be afraid of everything, keep everything inside was a real challenge in a lot of ways. Not only did the comedy seem harder to discover, because the comedy between two strong willed confident people struggling for control of a marriage or ranch or family, is easy. All that conflict and sass, mixed in with attraction…nice comedy source.
But Cassie isn’t going to SASS her new husband. She’s going to obey. I didn’t really want to do it. I didn’t want to write that character that way. But I goaded myself into it and ended up just adoring Cassie and Red.
In similar ways Wade Sawyer(bad guy turned good), Alex Buchanan(Post Traumatic Stressed out Army Doctor) and Logan McKenzie (western artist) were me trying to challenge myself to step away from the sort of clueless but heroic males who inhabited my books, like Clay McClellen and Silas Harden.

Loves2Read -
Where do you get your ideas or inspirations for your books/characters?


Mary -  Ideas just come from everywhere. I got the idea from Petticoat Rance from two fundamental things.  My husband is from a family of seven sons.  Now we have four daughters.  He reacts to girls in a very strange and frightened way.  Like he's; scared of them, charmed by them and annoyed with them because they act like GIRLS. The other part is like the second Dirty Harry movie, I think it's called Sudden Impact.  The one about vigilantes.  I always really liked the idea of good guys, throwing out the rules to catch BAD guys and inch by inch becoming bad guys themselves. At first they're only killing real scum who need to die, but before you know it, as our hero Harry Callahan closes in on them, they go after him to protect themselves.  So vigilantes and a man stuck in an all-girl world.  Sorry, that's flaky, I know.  But it's true.
Calico Canyon…well, I’d done a man in an all girl world, I did the flip side.  Montana Rose was inspired by Janette Oke’s beautiful, classic romance, Love Comes Softly. Mine is just like that, only with gunfire and mayhem. I call it Love Comes Loudly.
Wildflower Bride was mostly me exploring how a really strong man would come to Christ. I was just really interested in that. Mort Sawyer, how could a man so powerful, so wealthy, so independent and tyrannical, ever be brought to faith. I didn’t quite manage it, but I left the door open to him maybe making the right choice this side of the Pearly Gates.

Loves2Read -
Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what way(s)?


I really write STRONG women, feisty, mouthy, take charge, competent. They say exactly what they mean and they don’t much care about stepping on toes.
See……………I’m nothing like that. I really think I’m the peacemaker in my family. I’m the calm in the center of the storm. Non-confrontational to a pathological degree. So I write these women as I wish I was, not as I am. Neither am I the abused, overly submissive Cassie. Any characters, even if they’re rooted in someone I know, morph into exaggerated form because that’s what makes a character interesting, so in the end they’re like NOBODY.

Loves2Read -
Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?

Mary -  
Hmmm…tough question. Belle Tanner from The Husband Tree is my favorite character ever. But she’s a handful. Red Dawson IS THE PERFECT MAN. All men should immediately go and change to be just like him. For some reason I just adored Hannah in Gingham Mountain, she was such a sweetheart and the man she ends up with, Grant has the most beautiful heart for children, though he’s a dolt when it comes to women.

I probably love Wade Sawyer as much as any character I’ve created, just because his growth through all three books in the Montana Marriages series, from a yucky villain in Montana Rose to the struggling new Christian in The Husband Tree, to the hero of Wildflower Bride was something I tried to do with a lot of honesty.

Loves2Read -
What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

Mary -
I love hanging around with my grown up daughters.  Two married, one grandchild--we could do a whole MONTH of blog posts on how cute my little granddaughter is.

Loves2Read -
Could you tell us a bit about your newest book "Sharpshooter in Petticoats?


Mary -  
" Sharpshooter in Petticoats is the most fun I’ve EVER HAD writing a book. Just an absolute pure, chaotic, action packed, comedy filled riot from beginning to end.
It is the conclusion to the Sophie’s Daughters series, but it also has characters from The Lassoed in Texas series and the Montana Marriages series.
And these two, in Sharpshooter, Mandy McClellen Gray and Tom Linscott, are just in my sweet spot. I talked earlier about stretching myself to do different characters, but in this one, I came home to the type of characters I just love. Feisty lady rancher. Clueless super tough cowboy. They can’t stop fighting and they can’t resist the attraction.

A little bit about Sharpshooter in Petticoats

Mandy McClellen Grey, has become the focus of a feud thanks to her husband, who made this mess and then died. Far from home, Mandy, the best little rifle woman in the west, has resigned herself to a lonely life under siege rather than call for help and endanger her family.
Tom Linscott is fed up with waiting for Mandy who should have had the sense to come to him as soon as she finished burying her worthless husband. In fact he'd've come fast enough to dig the hole if she'd've sent for him. He goes to round up his little woman and buys into a heap of trouble from a whole clan of outlaws.
Between Mandy's deadly skill with her rifle, her determination to not bring trouble down on someone she loves, and an ever growing crowd of varmints who want to bury everyone named Grey—and anyone who sides with them, Tom may not survive getting himself hitched.

Loves2Read -
Who is your favorite character in this book and why?


Mary -  
It’s gotta be Mandy. But Tom is the absolute perfect man for her. One of my favorite lines in the book is when, right after their very sudden marriage, Mandy runs off to fight the men who have the feud against her, willing to kill or die rather than risk her husband’s life. Mandy has fought off an attack while Tom is drawn away from the ranch and the attack almost cost the life of Mandy, Wade and Abby Sawyer, Red and Cassie Dawson and their two children and Mandy’s three children.
Red sees Mandy’s stunning skill with a rifle, then she abandons her children, steals Tom’s horse and goes after the villains to kill them in cold blood if she has to, even if it means she ends up hanging for it.
Tom comes back and he’s furious with Red for letting Mandy leave.
Excerpt from Sharpshooter in Petticoats
Tom stumbled to a halt when he reached the corral. A dozen horses grazed in the pen, none of them the one he wanted. “She stole my best horse?” Though it was no time for such a thing, Tom laughed. He had married himself one beauty of a woman.
“Borrowed, Tom. Not stole.” Red had tagged along to the corral.
Tom remembered well his plan to beat Red within an inch of his life. Right now time was too tight. “Which way did she go?”
Red pointed to a trail in the distance Tom could only see because he knew his land so well. “She asked me where I saw the men riding, the ones who shot up your house.”
“And you told her? Why would you do a stupid thing like that?”
Red shoved his face right up into Tom’s, which reminded Tom that Red wasn’t just a sky pilot—he was also a rancher who’d come out here and tamed a mighty mean stretch of a land. “I told her because it never occurred to me that a woman would abandon three children and a man she’d just married to go hunting a pack of killers. What kind of woman did you marry anyway? She’s acting crazy.”
Tom shrugged. He couldn’t really argue Red’s point, though arguing came real easy. “I married me the sharpest shooting woman in the West, I reckon.”
“That you did, Tom. I saw her in action.” Abby bridled Tom’s second choice for a horse while he saddled.
“I saw her, too.” Red shook his head in wonder. “I’ve never seen anyone shoot like that. Why do you want a woman who appears to have a taste for killing? What are you thinking to pick a woman like that?”
                Tom looked past Red and saw Red’s wife, sweet little Cassie Dawson, quietly tending all six children, both the Dawsons’ and Mandy’s—Tom caught that thought. They were his children now, too.
Tom’s temper would have crushed Cassie like a bug the first week of their marriage. Shrugging, Tom felt a little sheepish, but this was a man of God. It’d be wrong to lie. “Honest, Red, that’s what I like most about her.”

Loves2Read -
What is the main message that you want your readers to grasp in this novel?


Mary -  
What I want for readers to get is, I think (I’m kind of struggling with this—Susan-the-brat) that even when two people aren’t perfect, they can be perfect for each other. The line above, where Tom realizes he’d have crushed Cassie-well- Tom is a cranky man, but Mandy needs someone this strong, this fierce or she’s have run all over him. And Mandy’s first marriage, she spent twisting herself into knots to make her jerk of a husband happy. Now she’s just defiant that Tom can love her for exactly who she is or get away from her and let her take care of herself. I think too many people, heck, maybe all people, spend their time trying to change themselves and change the people around them and no one ever really changes much, so the world is just full of dissatisfied people and I don’t think God wants us to be that way. He comes to us and loves us just as we are and we ought to love other people just as they are. I mean of course people can change their values, their priorities, they can use their strengths and weakness for God or they can use them for evil. But those strengths and weaknesses are still there, that part of you doesn’t change much.
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BIO
Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award Finalist, a Carol Award Finalist and an IRCC Award finalist.

The Lassoed in Texas Series, Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. Petticoat Ranch was a Carol Award Finalist. Calico Canyon was a Christy Award Finalist and a Carol Award Finalist. These three books are now contained in one large volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.

The Montana Marriages Series, Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.

Cowboy Christmas—the 2010 Carol Award for Best Long Historical Romance, and an Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Finalist.

The Sophie's Daughters series. Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

She is also the author of; Black Hills Blessing a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances, Nosy in Nebraska, a 3-in-1 collection of cozy romantic mysteries and she's one of the three authors contributing to Alaska Brides with her Carol Award Winning historical romance Golden Days
You can find Mary online at:
http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com/">Seekerville       
http://petticoatsandpistols.com/">Petticoats & Pistols
http://mconnealy.blogspot.com/">My Blog
http://www.maryconnealy.com/">My Website

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