ABOUT AUTHOR: Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers' Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at www.amandacabot.com
Author Amanda Cabot invites you to step into a place away from the pressures of the day. You might be surprised by what you find at Rainbow's End.
You have mentioned to me that you love traveling. What was your most memorable trip? What made it special for you?
Without a doubt, it would be the trip my husband and I took to Australia to celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary. Not only was this a special time in our lives, but I had the opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream of seeing kangaroos in the wild.
We started the trip with a few days of relaxation on the Barrier Reef, recovering from jet lag and getting our first sight of roos. As we snapped pictures of them on the golf course, one of the staff approached us, asking “What part of the States are you from?”
We hadn't spoken to the man, so it wasn't our accent that betrayed us. It was the fascination with what the locals considered nuisances. They weren't nuisances to us. They were a major attraction. Not only did we see roos there and along the roadways, but when we were picnicking in one of the national parks, a couple kangaroos decided to share our lunch, poking their heads into the basket. But kangaroos weren't Australia’s only appeal. In addition, there were koalas, gorgeous scenery, delicious food and friendly people. It was truly a trip of a lifetime.
|A young koala doing what koalas do best – sleeping – in the Lone Pine Sanctuary near Brisbane.|
In your travels have you learned something new about the history of our country. In all the research you've done about our country what did you uncover that surprised you? Fascinated you?
Before I took my first trip to the Texas Hill Country, I wanted to learn more about the places we’d be visiting. Like most Americans, I knew the area had been settled by German immigrants. What I didn't know was that there were Latin Settlements, towns where scholarly discussions – in Latin, of course – took precedence over farming and other life-sustaining activities. As you might guess, those settlements didn't last too long. It’s been years since that trip, but I’m still intrigued by the idea of those decidedly impractical scholars. Who knows? They may find their way into a book someday.
Which form of transportation do you like best when traveling Airplane, Car, Train?
There’s no question about this one: car. While there are some limitations – it was obviously impossible to get to Australia in an automobile – there are many advantages. For me, the major advantages include the flexibility of being able to leave whenever we want rather than being tied to an airline’s schedule and the ability to take detours when we find interesting things along the way.
Amongst all the places you've been is there a place you went to and thought, “This location is definitely going into one of my books – I can’t wait to share this with my readers?”
I’m so glad you asked that, Nora, because there was one place that resulted in not one but three books. The first summer we lived in Cheyenne, my husband and I took a day trip to Fort Laramie. I’d always been intrigued by stories of wagon trains and the pioneers who left everything behind to find a new life and couldn't wait to see the place that was a major milestone on all the journeys west. Fort Laramie was so different from my mental picture! There was no stockade with guard towers on the corners, no wooden buildings. Instead, it reminded me of a New England town with houses around the center green. And when I saw the pictures of officers’ wives in their fancy clothes and parasols walking along the sidewalks, I knew there were stories to tell. The Westward Winds trilogy beginning with Summer of Promise was the result.
The parade ground at Fort Laramie pictured above and the two-story building on the right in the foreground is the cavalry barracks. The brown and white building on the right in the background is the sutler’s store, sometimes referred to as the post trader’s store. No matter what it was called, it was an important stop for residents and travelers alike, the only place to buy provisions for many miles.
Can you give us a peek into what book you’re working on now? When will it be out?
I just finished the copy edits for In Firefly Valley, the second of the Texas Crossroads series, which will be released next May. Although it can be read as a standalone book, readers who fell in love with Rainbow’s End, the dilapidated resort that’s at the center of At Bluebonnet Lake, will be happy to know that I've heard their requests to know what happens next. In Firefly Valley continues the story of both Rainbow’s End and some of the characters they've grown to love through Bluebonnet. Readers will have a chance to meet Marisa, a woman whose career has imploded, and Blake, a writer suffering from what feels like a terminal case of writer’s block, as well as learn what’s in store for Kate and Greg, Lauren and Fiona, Carmen and the rest of the Rainbow’s End crew.
Do you have places on your bucket list you’d still like to go to? Please share some of those places and what you’d like to see there?
I’m a great fan of national parks. (And, yes, the presence of Yellowstone is one of the reasons I moved to Wyoming.) Although I've been fortunate to have been able to travel to many of them, Yosemite and Crater Lake are still on my ‘must visit’ list.
Out of all the sounds in the world which are your favorite?
Trumpets. There’s something so majestic about a trumpet fanfare.
There are so many types of weather – which are your favorite? Which do you try to avoid?
Spring is my favorite season, so it’s probably no surprise that I like cool clear days, preferably with low humidity. I try to avoid excessive heat and humidity, since they sap my energy.
Name two jobs that you've had that might surprise people?
My first job was the distinctly unglamorous job of a clerk at a Laundromat. Although there were good things about it, including the variety of customers I met, cleaning washing machines and mopping floors was not my idea of fun, especially since I was expected to wear a dress to work. My second job was feeding the animals in a biology lab during college. Are you picturing mice, rabbits or even monkeys? Wrong. The animals were hydra, fresh-water animals less than half an inch long. They ate brine shrimp, which I had to scoop out of a tank, wash and then ladle into the hydras’ tanks.
What is your favorite holiday? Why?
Easter. Besides the joyous message of a risen Christ, when I was growing up, it was one of the best celebrations my family had. The entire family would attend Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. After the solemnity of those days, it was pure joy to put on our Easter finery and attend an early morning service, then come home to a special breakfast followed by an Easter egg hunt. In addition to Easter baskets with candy and small treats, we had the fun of searching for the candy eggs my parents had hidden throughout the house the night before. My father, in particular, was creative in his hiding places, putting eggs on window ledges, inside lampshades and behind knickknacks, resulting in a hunt that was fun for all four kids. I still smile at the memory of those days.
What has been your favorite book club experience? What made it so much fun?
This is a difficult question to answer, because there have been a number of great book club experiences, but if I had to choose only one, it would be the day I met with the Novel Book Club in Eaton, CO. Not only did I meet a great group of women who share my love for books and who contributed to a spirited discussion of Scattered Petals, but they provided what they called a salad lunch. If the word ‘salad’ conjures images of nothing more than greens, I wish you could have been there. We had everything from pasta, noodle and fruit salads to one made with popcorn. Yes, popcorn! And then there were the desserts. It was such a fun day, enjoying good food and conversation with women who soon became friends. Isn't that the essence of a good book club?
Nora: This does sound like fun! Wish I were there!
Thanks so much for stopping by and letting us get to know you better Ananda. Looking forward to you sharing pictures from your travels. I’m excited about your new book. TBCN is having a contest where readers can have a chance at winning a copy of AT BLUEBONNET LAKE. It started on November 20th and runs until the end of the month.
SEE YOU THERE TBCN www.bookfun.org.
It’s FREE to JOIN – Must join to participate!!
It’s FREE to JOIN – Must join to participate!!
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!