Friday, October 14, 2011

The Ranch Next Door

I'm excited to host Elisabeth Foley here today, a blogging friend I met last year who was brave enough to answer my interview questions! 

She's just published a collection of short stories titled The Ranch Next Door. Westerns - yay! I'm a westerner! (well, transplanted myself to Wyoming from New York 16 years ago, that counts doesn't it?) I have ranches next door to me, too - so much fun! (unless loose cattle and wild antelope block the road when I'm running late to work). 

Elisabeth is giving away an e-version of the Ranch Next Door to a randomly-selected commenter on this post, so please share your thoughts. On to the interview (more details about the collection below).

What is your favorite word?

Indeed. Used as a surprised or thoughtful ejaculation, this word has become a staple of my family’s vocabulary since we became acquainted with one of our favorite BBC miniseries, Charles Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit. I love hearing it.

(Margo here - Indeed, Chuzzlewit is pretty cool word (name) too!)

What is your least favorite word?

Constructive. As a child, I always hated being dismissed with the sensible order, “Go find something constructive to do.” Now I’m just as likely to say the same thing to my younger siblings.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

You know, I’m afraid when I get on a roll creatively, I’m too busy taking advantage of the fact to stop and think about what started it. Perhaps I should one day, so I can take advantage of that!

I’ve always been stirred emotionally by the beauty of nature. An unexpectedly beautiful view from a hill, the effect of sunlight through the trees, autumn color—well, I’m not too good at capturing in words the feeling it gives me. As L.M. Montgomery put it very simply in Anne of Green Gables, “It gave me a thrill and I just said, “Thank you for it, God.’ ”

If you were given a chance to travel back in time, what year or place would you go?

Actually, I think I’d pick the 1940s. Although I love writing about the later 1800s, I think I’d feel more at home in the 1940sI love the fashions, the music, the small-town America and even some of the glamorous big-city life depicted in classic films from that era.

Describe your book in seven words or less:

Short stories, surprised sheriffs, appearances and disappearances.

Please share with us about your favorite book and fictional crush to date?

Favorite book? One favorite book? Oh, all right. Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley—historical novel of English explorers in the Elizabethan era. I’d say this is a book that transcends my usual tastes, because I’m not particularly interested in that period of history, but the book is just so tremendously entertaining that I always go back to it every once in a while.

Fictional crush? I’m too shy to answer that.

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?

Hmmm, I don’t know. Why not Anne of Green Gables? I’ve always wanted to live on a farm like that.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?

Well, the only Hollywood I know anything about is old Hollywood. Perhaps Deanna Durbin. Lots of music and happy endings guaranteed.
(Margo here - had to include a picture of Deanna Durbin! I was curious)

How would you describe yourself in seven words?

Introvert, optimistic, absent-minded, incorrigibly imaginative, secretly romantic.

Thank you Elisabeth - I loved the incorrigibly imaginative and secretly romantic! Here's a little more about her collection:

The Ranch Next Door (available as an e-book from Amazon and Smashwords)
Suspense, humor and a touch of romance await in seven short stories of the American West. In the title story, "The Ranch Next Door," a cattleman's young son dreads breaking the news to his family that he has fallen in love with the daughter of a neighboring sheep rancher despite an ancient feud between the two families. In "Cross My Heart," a boy is torn between betraying his conscience or a fugitive friend, and in "Delayed Deposit," five people are taken hostage during a bank robbery that turns into a tense standoff. The collection also includes the award-winning "Disturbing the Peace," honorable mention in the 2010 Rope and Wire short story competition. These seven stories total approximately 40,330 words or 161 book pages.

Just so y'all know, cattle ranchers and sheep ranchers are sworn enemies on the range, and Elisabeth gives us a tale of starcrossed lovers within this conflict. Love it! So give us some comments on ranches, starcrossed lovers, Anne of Green Gables, beauties of the big screen in the black and white days, or anything else Elisabeth inspires in you today! I'll announce the winner of the Ranch Next Door early next week.

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