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"Patch of Dirt" Q&A For Events

These seven questions are starting points only. I'll have my answers in next week's blog.

1. What is a Big Sky Romance Novel?

2. Why is a big city Easterner like you so captivated by the culture and stories of the American West?

3. The American West once symbolized a place where one could live free, reinvent one’s self, and own a “patch of dirt.” Is that concept of the American West still viable and grounded in the reality of today?

4 One of your characters is a Vietnam War veteran who is psychologically and physically traumatized. Was it difficult to conceive of this character and write about war trauma in an accurate and respectful way?

5. At the heart of the novel is a couple’s desire for a baby and the bargain that is struck with another man to help the couple conceive the child. The plot deviates from the Western novel formula. Why did you choose to write such an unconventional story in a time-tested formulaic genre?

6. Many of your novel’s characters are broken people yearning for compassion and a connection with others. Is the Western a lonely genre despite the majesty and breadth of its setting? Why?

7. The American West’s male archetype is strong, self-sufficient and hard-drinking; this notion of manhood is romanticized in the genre. Why did you choose instead to portray an unflinching and unromantic reality of the effects of alcoholism on marriages and children?

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