Velda Brotherton

July 21, 2008

Fly With The Mourning Dove

Fly With The Mourning Dove

Today, my friend, Velda Brotherton has consented to guest blog for me. She has TWO new books out!

FLY WITH THE MOURNING DOVE: A creative nonfiction biography. Six-year-old Edna accompanies her parents to a homestead on the high desert of New Mexico after World War One. There she grows up among the artists and other early settlers around the Taos area. Today, at the age of 94, she lives in the San Luis Valley of Colorado and manages both ranches, one in New Mexico and the other in Colorado.

IMAGES IN SCARLET: A western historical romance by Samantha Lee. Allie Caine sets out from Missouri after the Civil War to establish a photography shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She finds romance with a man known only to himself as Jake, consorts with outlaws and helps an abused woman escape her cruel husband.

Here’s what happened when Velda and I sat down for a little Q & A recently:

1. What type stories do you write and what drew you to this genre?

My favorite genres are historical in nature. I’ve written a creative nonfiction biography, and a lot of western
historical romances. Probably if I would stick to those, I’d either be famous or rich, or both by now. My problem is I enjoy both reading and writing so many genres I have trouble sticking to one. You wouldn’t believe the manuscripts I’ve stockpiled. Everything from horror to women’s fiction.

2. How did you begin writing and could you describe your writing process?

Images in Scarlet

Images in Scarlet

I began one rainy Sunday afternoon, with football on the only TV station we received at that time. For a long while I’d been intrigued by the stories of men returning from Vietnam, and I began to wonder what were the women like who dealt with these returning heroes? I started daydreaming the story, one thing led to another and I wrote the book. First in a notebook, then with a small, portable electric typewriter. It went on to lead me to other writers, to gain me an agent and came so close to selling so many times it was heartbreaking. But that began my hunger to put words on paper, though I had made up stories all my life.

3. Where can readers find your books?

I actually have four books available now. They are at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and BooksaMillion online.
4. What are you working on now?

I just finished a western historical romance. It’s the story of a reluctant English bride who comes to America and the victorian settlement of Victoria City, Kansas, only to find she can’t stand her husband-to-be, so she hires an outlaw to kidnap her.

5. Do you have a website so readers can learn more?

Yes, definitely. It’s

6. Who’s your favorite author and why?

Now, I always have trouble with that question. I read so many genres and enjoy a favorite author in each. Some of the best selling authors, of course. They are best sellers for a reason. I enjoy Tami Hoag a lot. Kathy Reichs who writes the Bones series is terrific. Jeffrey Deaver writes some great books and he’s a great guy as well. James Lee Burke literally takes his readers to Louisiana where we experience the bayous as if we were there. I could go on and on, but I will spare you that.
7. How does writing fiction compare to non-fiction?

Fiction is easier. That’s the simple answer. While historical fiction has to be right on the money history wise, we can turn ourselves loose with the characters and story itself, as long as we don’t meet Jesse James in Texas in 1850. I’ve written historical nonfiction and find I like creative nonfiction the best, though it too is very difficult because every character and locale must be precisely correct. I’ve written two nonfiction books on the history of an area and those were the toughest books I’ve ever written because they cover such a vast period of time that it’s difficult to get hold of specific characters.
8. Have you created a favorite character?

If so, please tell us about them. Allie Caine, the woman photographer in Images In Scarlet is probably my favorite character. She’s much like I might have been had I lived during her lifetime. As it is, I was a tomboy who played football with the boys, even stepped in to fight my little brother’s battles on more than one occasion. Allie takes nothing off anyone, yet she’s compassionate and romantic. She knows what she wants and sets out with determination to get it, no matter the barriers.
9. What’s the greatest challenge you face in your writing and how are you overcoming it?

Trying to write too many things at the same time. I’ve got so much going right now that I’ve had to get really ornery with myself and organized my time to allow for better concentration. It’s true that when I try to multi-task, all my tasks suffer and most especially the quality of my writing. So it’s short stories and articles one day, promotion another, book in progress the rest of the days. And I do write at least four hours a day, six days a week.
10. What’s been the greatest help in improving your writing?

I think the one thing that’s taught me more about myself and my writing than anything else is teaching workshops. You’d be surprised how much more a teacher can learn by teaching. First there’s the preparation to make sure everything is cutting edge, then when we begin the task of teaching, there’s making sure we listen closely to what our students say. Attending others’ workshops of course, is always a learning experience as well. But we have to be careful because not everything we’re taught at workshops can be applied to our own work. It’s a fine line we writers walk when we set out to learn our craft.

That’s so true, Velda. Thanks for stopping by today. If you’d like to leave a comment or question for Velda, please do! I’m sure she’d like to hear from you.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by today. And best wishes to Velda on her new releases! Please visit to read an excerpt and to purchase DOVE.


21 Responses to “Velda Brotherton”

  1. Interesting interview. Thanks.

    I agree about multi-tasking. It’s difficult to do when you’ve got multiple projects in the works. Sometimes the hardest part is to stop thinking about one project while you move on to another!

  2. Nice interview and I can relate to your problem with the multi-tasking. Your books sound like ones I’d enjoy, Velda! I’m off to your website to learn more!

  3. Geneva King Emerson said

    Velda, I could get lost reading all your writings! When I started thinking about that, I remembered hours sitting in a childhood friend’s outbuilding devouring stacks of ancient readers stored there. (I was supposed to be playing with her!) You have my admiration for your self-discipline.

    I hope to read your blogs each day. However, eight of my great grandchildren–ages 6 days to 10 years–are to be here tonight for a visit this week. It’s been three years since the families were able to come for a visit. I’m so glad they’re coming. But I may need a while to recoup afterward.
    Go, Girl. Hope you do make it to fame and riches.

  4. barb huddleston said

    Hi Velda,

    I can’t wait to read your new historical romance! Your plot sounds great!!!Ironically, a friend and I stopped in Victoria coming back from Cheyenne this summer and I was intrigued by the idea of the Englishmen who settled there.

    Don’t see how you juggle everything.

    Loved your historical creative non-fiction book. It’s such a challenging process, but you’ve made it seem effortless.

    Thanks to you and Emily for the excellent interview.

  5. Dani said

    Nice interview, Velda. Came straight over here from a Twitter reminder! Reminders are good… everwhere for the muddle-aged like me! 😉


  6. Alice Trego said

    Hi, Velda –

    I loved ‘listening’ to you and Emily talk about writing. I’m so glad to hear someone else has difficulty with multi-tasking — I’m famous for that, too, and sometimes it gets me into trouble.

    Your new western historical romance sounds wonderful! Western historical romances are my favorite, and the genre started me on the path to, well, reading and writing.

    You’re a great teacher, Velda. I always learn something new from you, be it your books or your blogging…


  7. Thanks to all who read and commented. Sometimes I don’t juggle everything as well as I’d like. Words often get lost somewhere in the process. All of your comments about my writing were much appreciated. Good to hear from old friends and new. Follow the tour for more information, plenty of photos and links.

  8. J.R. Engle said

    Velda, nice interview. I’ve met you a few times at workshops, and it’s always good when you’re speaking! wow – 4 hours a day. I’m lucky if I can grab 1 hour a week to write. you said you spend 1 day on promotion. does that mean you are book signing or emailing or what? I guess I’m really asking how do you promote yourself?

    J.R. Engle

  9. Jeri said

    You are the most interesting person I know. I always enjoy your work. Keep on multi tasking.

  10. Great interview and I am so glad I came over to find your non-fiction book. A woman who manages two ranches at age 90+ is someone I need to know. I will be getting that book. 🙂

    And like the others have mentioned, I can relate to the multi-tasking problem. Although it is not just a problem being able to multi-task — I think I can do that pretty well — it’s having too many tasks for the hours in a day. 🙂


  11. Nancy said

    Hi Velda,

    Love the title of your new book! And of course I love that it’s a western historical romance. I keep hearing those are gaining in popularity. As a reader and a writer, I sure hope that’s true.

    Did you have to do a lot of research on photography – does it play strongly in the book? The last few decades of the 19th century were just amazing for the developments that happened . . . no pun intended 🙂

  12. heidiwriter said

    It’s great to get to know you a little better, Velda! Your books sound intriguing–I love the title “Fly With the Mourning Dove.” I can identify with what you said about feeling scattered with so many writing-related projects, and also with learning through teaching. To my surprise, when I started my classes several years ago, I found I really enjoyed teaching and that often I’ve had to stop and tell myself to listen to the techniques I’m teaching!

    Best of luck with your blogtour.
    Heidi Thomas

  13. Loved reading about you and your books. Getting ornery with yourself fits perfectly. I truly understand. A writer has to watch multi-tasking. Events can fill a daily schedule, causing the writer to push writing aside. If this happens too often, nothing gets written and a blank page is hard to edit. By the way, I like James Lee Burke, too.

  14. So great to hear from so many writers and readers. One question was how do I promote myself. That day I spend is usually online or doing mailings of postcards or trying to find new interesting sites online that help writers handle their promotion and marketing. I spend more time on that day with newsletters that I’ve subscribed to, trying not to read them when they arrive as that cuts into my schedule. I also try to find places where I can get to know more writers and readers, like some of the social communities that don’t necessarily help us promote our books, but rather help us socialize and let people get to know me as a writer and mentor and teacher.
    So glad for the comment on the title of the book. It was a battle to get what I wanted, as it has been with most of my books. Here I stuck to my guns. Stay with the tour. I’ve enjoyed the comments so much.

  15. Also want to thank Diana Groe for hosting me here. I really appreciate the time it takes to help out with one of these blog tours.

  16. My pleasure, Velda! It was lovely having you.

    Best wishes,
    aka Emily Bryan

  17. Velda, I read Fly With the Mourning Dove with a great sense of nostalgia, even though it has been nearly forty years since I lived in New Mexico. I can hardly wait to read Images in Scarlet. Your sense of place draws me right into the plot every time.

  18. I’m sure glad you’re a multi-tasker, Velda. It benefits us all! I enjoyed your online interview.

    Good luck with your continuing virtual book tour!


  19. Thanks Jan and Jean and all the rest of you for your thoughtful comments. I’m really enjoying this tour myself and am anxious to see what the next stop and the next brings. All my hosts are so creative.

  20. Delois McGrew said

    Okay, Velda, I finally figured out how to get into these blogs to comment. Without your encouragement (I’d never say persistent encouragement) , this computer illiterate would never have managed it. What can I say, except that I’m your biggest fan, and not just of your books. Your devotion to and passion for writing is an example for all of us “wannabes.”

  21. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the comments on this super blog posted by Emily. All of you will go into the drawing on Aug. 4, so don’t forget to visit my blog late that afternoon for a posting of the winners and a photo of my daughter drawing the names.
    See you there.

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