Today’s new giveaway is for the first two books of the Valentine Series: Lost Highways and Driving Lessons. As often in writing, I began with an idea and ended up with something quite different. As Rainey in Lost Highways says: “I don’t know where I’m goin’, but I’ll know when I get there.” Most of my living is done the same way.
I adored writing Rainey. At the time I wrote the book, I was actively riding. I never was, nor aspired to be, a barrel racer, as Rainey was, but I knew a few barrel racers and saw many training. When I wrote the book, I enjoyed many hours driving the roads of west Texas for research, and a lovely time at the Tri-State Fair Rodeo in Amarillo, one of the best rodeos in the country.
With Lost Highways, I had the idea to write about two sisters and a mother, all barrel racers. I vaguely intended a three book series. What I ended up with was two sisters, Rainey and Charlene, and all manner of other characters that lodged in my heart. My dear Winston Valentine made his first appearance in Lost Highways. He is Rainey and Charlene’s father.
Shortly after Driving Lessons was published, I received a call from an older neighbor woman. She tearfully told me that her father had left her family when she was quite young. This abandonment resulted in a lot of heartache for her family, disappointment and pain that she had not dealt with in all those years, and here she was in her seventies. She thanked me for writing the book, because it helped her to let out her pain and to see things in perspective. She did not realize that she was the one to give me a gift. Hers was one of the highest compliments I have ever received. Fiction helps us see reality.
Both books are currently out of print. They may be available on Kindle or through Google. I am giving away the mass-market paperback originals.
Each person who leaves a comment on this post is automatically entered in the drawing. The name will be chosen tomorrow evening, Wednesday, June 2.