The story

Wyoming, 1880

Will Hyde and Rose McKinley, the older son and the older daughter of successful neighbouring ranches, have grown up together like brother and sister, knowing that one day they’ll marry and thereby unite their two ranches.

Their families and friends know this, too. And impatient to see the marriage take place, they’re now wondering aloud with increasing frequency why the engagement hasn’t yet been announced.

Rose, too, has started to wonder why. She knows that Will loves her and she knows that she loves him, so there isn’t anything that can stop them marrying.

Or is there?

And now over to me!

The difficult thing about talking about a novella that’s just been published is that you’re afraid of giving away more than you should. After all, you want people to read your story and be gripped/moved/surprised/enthralled by the events that happen between the pages – pages literal and figurative – and if they know in advance what happens, the effect will be muted. Obviously, with a full length novel the writer has plenty of scope for dropping tantalising details without revealing any key plot points, but with a 30,000 word novella, there’s limited scope.

Good ranching land in Wyoming

To add flesh to the above outline, though, I can say of A Western Heart that this is a story about the rivalry between sisters. Rose has a sister, Cora, who’s two years younger than Rose, and Cora most definitely has a mind of her own. The theme of sibling rivalry is linked with the theme of how difficult it is to know truly what lies in the depths of one’s heart.

Something else that I don’t mention in the outline is that there’s a handsome stranger who literally rides into the lives of the McKinley girls – Nate Galloway. By the time that Nate arrives, the reader knows that Will Hyde is expected to marry Rose. Will works on the ranch he’s to inherit, so it takes no great leap of imagination to know that he’s a tanned, good-looking guy. Two tanned, good-looking men on horses – A Western Heart has its share of gorgeous males!

Finally, the above outline is an outline of the story alone – it obviously doesn’t tell the reader that the novella is set against an historically authentic background, but it is. I deliberately picked 1880 as the year in which to set my story. The events that happened a few years later in Rock Springs show that Nate had a valid reason for leaving his Rock Springs home at that time, and the developments in the cattle drives and railroads, which form part of the substance of the story, gave him an historically justified purpose for visiting the successful cattle ranchers in Wyoming in 1880.

Outside the horses’ barn

In the story, Jacob’s Cabin is set back from a river, which could look like this …

… or like this.




I love this period in Wyoming history, and I really liked working with my characters, so I enjoyed writing A Western Heart enormously. I hope that readers, too, will enjoy finding out about the lives of Rose, Cora, Will and Nate.

Over and out!

If you feel that you would like to buy A WESTERN HEART (Choc Lit Lite, 99p from Amazon), click here.