Hello and welcome to my blog for another round of Meet the Characters! Today I am featuring a guest blogger who has graciously agreed to let me do a character interview, which is my favorite kind of interview. Join me in welcoming author, Neva Brown, and her characters from By Clear Water. It’s a fantastic romance with wonderful characters so without further ado here is the interview with Matt and Leslyn.
How did you first meet your writer?
Leslyn – I slipped into her dreams during the time she was grieving, after the death of her mother. I thought I might be of help, but she almost buried me in an avalanche of research, and then she stuffed me in a dark file draw. I nagged until she took me out of that draw. After that she and I went on a life-changing adventure (she smiles at Matt) where we met Matt.
Matt – I was rather busy with my own problems when I met our writer and maybe a little arrogant. I felt I was being helpful to a half-starved looking kid when I let Leslyn join the wagon train. However, the tables turned. Soon she was the one doing the helping. Our journey wasn’t easy.
If you could rewrite anything in your book what would it be?
Leslyn – I’d probably change the part where I was totally under the control of others. That was horrible. Yet my maturing and the things I learned during that time ended up enriching my life.
Matt – I’d change a thing or two about that first Christmas season that Leslyn was at Hacienda Hermosa. I just wasn’t my true self part of the time.
Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?
Matt – We certainly did. That whole epilogue was our idea and our writer had to be prodded along every step of the way. We kept her awake some nights nagging because we wanted the reader to know all those things.
Leslyn – That’s right (looking at Matt with love in her eyes). We wanted readers to know that keeping on keeping on, even when times are difficult, has great rewards.
Did you like the way the book ended?
(in unison) Oh yes, it was perfect!
Would you be interested in a sequel, if your writer was so inclined?
(Both shake their heads)
Leslyn – I think each of our readers will be happy to do his or her own version of a sequel and should be encouraged to, without our interference.
Is there something more you’d like to add?
Matt – We‘ve enjoyed our visit with you. Thanks for having us, and we hope our readers enjoy our story as much as we enjoyed telling about our journey in that time of our lives.
Leslyn – And I hope our readers can feel the faith and love that sustained me throughout the story.
Leslyn laughed. “I’ll never forget that first morning when Ned roped out a tall, hammer-headed roan for me to ride. He explained the gelding was cold-jawed, but knew how to work drag. He said, if I’d just hang on, I’d get the job done. By the end of that day I’d been jerked and jarred until my insides felt like mush. Every muscle in me hurt.”
Matt looked over at her, “You know, I can still picture you at the Morrison’s wagon with that cow. I remember saying you could work your way to California with us. I couldn’t leave a half-starved kid in that God-forsaken country, whether you could do the work or not. But I can’t recall even seeing you after that.”
“I tried to be invisible. I was scared of everything and everybody. You seemed bigger than life. Everyone took your word as absolute law.” She didn’t look at him. “I always ate standing in the shadows, away from Juan’s campfire and never stayed to listen to the men talking, but went to my bedroll even further in the shadows. Fear ruled my life.”
They rode in silence as they turned back toward the barn. Finally, Matt said, “I had no idea and the men probably just thought you were shy or backward.” He hesitated a moment then said, “Annabel told me about the death of your family. I’m truly sorry. I can understand being afraid. I hope you don’t mind Mavis telling us. You may not realize it, but you’re now a part of Yeats history since you kept me alive out on the trail.”
Leslyn felt her face heat as she remembered all the horrible things and personal information she’d shared with Mavis. “You probably saved my life long before I helped you. I don’t know whether I would have had the courage to ever leave that place in the bend of the creek where I’d stopped with nothing but a shallow cave under a ledge for shelter. Most of my supplies were exhausted, and I was living pretty much on milk and the occasional fish I caught or rabbit I snared.”
As they neared the barn, Matt said, “I’ve probably ridden as far as I should for now. Could we do this again tomorrow when you and Raul get back from your morning ride?”
“Of course. Camilla works in her studio in the mornings, and she’s had me spending time with Bessie in the kitchen. I’m sure Bessie will be happy to have me out from underfoot. She’s a no-nonsense person who takes her work seriously. I can tell she’s appalled that I don’t already know about fancy table settings, flower arranging, and how to plan all kinds of meals.” Leslyn chuckled. “I occasionally think of the old saying trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear when she sets into instructing me about exotic, gourmet food from all parts of the world and gives me the history of dish after dish.”
Leslyn dismounted as they reached the gate leading to the barn and opened it so Princesa and Babieca could come through. She closed the gate, swung back up into the saddle, and continued her story. “She never lets me try my hand at preparing anything. According to her, learning to recognize the ingredients and watching the meticulous preparations of menus is all a lady needs to know.” Leslyn grimaced then added, “I have a hard time associating the title lady with the life I’ve lived these last few months.”
Matt laughed. “The elegant dining she talks about isn’t quite like eating out of a tin plate or out of your hand while sitting in the saddle, following a herd of horses, is it?”
“Bessie would probably die of horror to have her food associated with trail conditions.” Leslyn swung down from the saddle at the barn. Almost before her foot touched the ground, a stable boy appeared to take their mounts.
Leslyn looked up at Matt as they walked toward the house. “Did we ride too far?”
“No, I may be stiff and sore later, but for now I’m fine. It felt good to be on a horse again. I’ve remembered some things about the night my horse fell, but I can’t seem to get passed some of the nightmarish dreams about later when I was in and out of consciousness.” He fell silent.
Leslyn hesitated before she said, “I still have bad dreams that get all mixed up with bits and pieces about my family, the stampede, and your struggle to live in the weeks following. I spend lots of time on the veranda outside my room at night. Ulysses comes and keeps me company. He’s a good listener.”
Neva Brown, a retired secondary teacher/administrator, now enjoys the challenge of writing romance novels.
Neva spent most of her life on West Texas ranches and uses that culture and environment in many of her stories. She and her husband now live at Rio Concho West in San Angelo, Texas. They enjoy visits from their two sons and their families, are always delighted to hear from old friends, and are amazed at how well they have adjusted to ‘city’ living.
Neva loves to hear from her readers. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thank you for joining us today! I hope you enjoyed this round of Meet the Characters and will join us again next week!