Red Gold developed out of a dream job my husband and I always wanted to do. Run a guest ranch in the Colorado mountains. We love four-wheeling adventures, fishing, and photography. I wanted to incorporate all the things we love and share the beauty and excitement of our mountains. As I was writing it, I struggled with the working title I had. I just wasn’t happy with it. My husband is so great at brainstorming with me, so one night while out in the hot tub under the stars, he said, “How about Red Gold?” It was so perfect for the title. Wish I’d have thought of it. *grin*
Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?
I had two of them. Of course I love my main character, Mandy Phillips, but the teenage guest, Jenny, became near and dear to my heart. Thirteen is such a tough age. I remember it well with my daughter. I really rooted for Jenny, even if I did keep getting her into more and more trouble. Poor girl.
Mr. Shonee is the other. He is such a grouch, but it was fun to take him to his limits of cantankerousness and watch him grow. Discovering along the writing way why a character is the way they are is really fun.
What started you on your writing journey?
So many things. I think it was in my genes. My grandmother wrote, my mom is a poet and writes tons of stories from her growing up years (yes those are a treasure). I wrote a lot in high school, but all that work got tossed out by a teacher when I was sick on the day we were to pick it up. My mom still gets upset by that. I don’t really remember what I wrote.
When my daughter was three, I took a home study course on writing. It really put the bug in me. Stories just kept cropping up in my mind. I worked a lot of years at it, with a twelve year stint as a columnist for a local newspaper. I also researched a lot of our town history back then and wrote all that up for a county contest on local history. (I didn’t win.)
I learned about the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference held in Estes Park, CO and attended that for many years trying to learn more about the craft. Back then, Tracie Peterson encouraged me to join this new writers group called the American Christian Romance Writers, but I just struggled with a lack of confidence back then and never looked into it. Note to self: follow advice when given by Tracie Peterson! A few years passed and I heard more about ACFW (the name now changed to the American Christian Fiction Writers). I met Colleen Coble, love her books, and at her encouragement, I finally joined the national group. Smartest thing I ever did. I’ve learned more about writing in this group than any other time in my life. I love the people involved in it.
It's always fun to ask this question. If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?
Maybe not famous, as what most would consider fame to be in the art world, but my Mom and Dad would be the ones. Mom is an incredible artist, even at the age of 86. She always was an artist- painting in oils- realistic, detailed landscapes, wildlife and stills. She also can do the most amazing relief carvings you’ll ever see, all by hand tools, no motorized Dremels or anything.
Dad is an amazing wood carver making stylized birds out of various woods, some he mounts on old wood pieces, they’re just beautiful. He started making wooden kitchen utensils years ago and sells so many when he travels around to various art shows in the Midwest. They are the best artists I’ve ever known. Their talent is incredible. And no, I didn’t get much of that talent, but I do write.
What is your favorite season of the year?
Any time that we can hop in the car and explore new areas. If we have to lock in the four-wheel drive, so be it. Just get us out there!
What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
Where do I begin? Growing up in the 70’s, in Minnesota, I listened to a lot of John Denver music. Between his songs and family vacations in Colorado, something stirred in me to fall in love with mountains. Who knew that at the age of 28, that dream would become a reality?
Every opportunity, we would pack up a cooler full of food and snacks, load up our daughter and the dog and head for the hills. We discovered way more about the state without a map. Getting into the back country where not as many people can get or bother to go is amazing. There is so much in this state that no one sees and it is beyond the imagination for beauty.
Discovering “new territory” is our favorite thing. Finding a herd of rams or elk, maybe a coyote hunting out in a field, the jagged peaks of the fourteen thousand foot mountains, the extreme clear blue sky at this elevation, an old worn out town long left abandoned when the gold played out in the area or the winter was just too harsh to continue on… Our favorite saying comes in a hushed whisper as we look out on these scenes surrounding us and say, “Good job God”. Not a day has gone by that we don’t totally appreciate where we live. I could probably do without the mountain lion tracks in front of my house. That makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, let me tell ya.
Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
If I’m not making my way around Colorado, then give me anywhere tropical where snorkeling is the adventure of the day.
Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?
Every single time we explore this state, it leads to a blog post on my part. I love adventures and I love to write about them. To incorporate my life experiences into a story is such fun for me. You can’t help but be inspired when you see a mountain range in the distance or the critters. We go “hunting” with our cameras. We made our way through the low hanging brush to get to a stream for photo ops and there stood the biggest bull moose with a huge rack. Quite startling, but inspirational. Moose show me that God has a sense of humor. I love His creation. I can look out my kitchen window and often see the mule deer with their huge ears, and even the elk. One year we were blessed to witness the birth of twin fawns right out behind our back yard. Another year we watched a couple of fox raise four young. That was a real treat. We don’t have to go far to be inspired.
Wow. I am awed. What a backyard!
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
I really don’t know how to write without a spiritual theme. But it’s really fun when, as you write, a theme you hadn’t planned on begins to surface. I read mostly Christian fiction and I continually find things in there that help me in my walk, in my struggles, maybe even how to pray about something difficult. If I can do that for even one person, I will have accomplished much.
Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.”
Words to live by. I have to trust Him, I can’t do it alone. My understanding of things is tainted by much in this life. When I focus on Him, pray, seek, love, then I can follow easily and confidently that He is in control. It’s not always easy, but that’s the path I choose.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Well, I’m working on one. Hope to have it ready to sell it soon. I’m really in love with this new story. It’s a romance between a firefighter and a gal on the rescue squad. She’s given up dating firefighters since her dad died fighting a fire. She struggles with her anger at God and my hero just wants to love her and help her find God’s love again. It’s full of adventure- are you surprised- as they battle fires, rock slides, accidents that the department has to respond to throwing them together more than she’d like. My hubby used to be a firefighter and an EMT, as well as the Director of Emergency Medical Services for our community in our former town in Minnesota. I picked his brain a lot for this one. The story follows their work and their relationship ups and downs. There’s some humorous spots in it too.
Sounds interesting. Nice to have your resource person in house.
Thanks for sharing with us today!
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Sandy Nadeau is giving away a copy of Red Gold. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.