At only eleven years old, Ginny Spangler is left orphaned after a horse theft gone bad. As Ginny grows from a self-reliant young girl to the fiery matriarch of a sprawling Texas ranch family, she passes on her resiliency and bold spirit to her nieces, Scottie, Rory, and Georgie O’Brien – sisters that are growing up with a distant mother and a fun-loving but troubled father. Even as little girls, the O’Brien sisters know they must solve their own problems and take charge of their own lives. Without parents to rely on, the sisters look to their Aunt Ginny for support and to the fictional Nancy Drew for a role model. “What would Nancy do?” becomes their secret battle cry as they learn to help each other through the thrilling ups and tragic downs of adolescence and early adulthood as they find love, experience loss, and raise their own families. After passing decades and family rifts set the women on divergent paths, the grown O’Brien sisters learn that their beloved Aunt Ginny is in danger and their family ranch is headed for destruction. They once again channel their childhood refrain, “What would Nancy do?” as they attempt to reunite to rescue Ginny from her abusers and save the ranch. But their mission is no merry heist. The peril is real, and the consequences have the potential to shatter their family entirely.
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about authors, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author K. Blanton Brenner whose book Appaloosa Sky captivated me from beginning to end. With today’s author spotlight, a biography of the author and an interview between me and K. Blanton Brenner will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful K. Blanton Brenner!
I grew up in North Texas in a large extended family that raised horses and holy hell and, in between, sang together in four part harmony. While attending university, I met a drummer from Chicago, married him and moved to the Chicago where we raised our children.
For many years I was a Montessori teacher. I co-founded a Montessori school that has an inclusion program for children who are deaf. After retiring, my husband Tom (a gerontologist) and I began working together implementing the Montessori Method for people living with dementia. We co-authored and published two books about the application of the Montessori Method for positive dementia care. Our first book, is You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello and our second book is The Montessori Method for Connecting to People with Dementia.
For over ten years, I wrote and read stories from my life on WBEZ, the NPR station in Chicago. I was awarded the Peter Lisagor Prize from the Society of Professional Journalists for my radio story, “Driving with Frank Sinatra.” I published my debut novel Appaloosa Sky at age 72. It is the story of strong Texas women who break horses and hearts. Appaloosa Sky lives in a genre somewhere between Nancy Drew and Sex and the City. I hope you have as much reading it as I had writing it!
Now, how wonderful does K. Blanton Brenner sound?! K. Blanton Brenner is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and the author and I hope that you enjoy K. Blanton Brenner’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?
Appaloosa Sky is a family saga that tells the story of Ginny McTaggart and her three nieces, Scottie, Rory and Georgie O’Brien. I wanted to tell a story about North Texas (where I grew up) that highlighted some of the tough, amazing Texas women I knew growing up. I also wanted to write about horses, my first love. I grew up with horses and wanted to share this love of mine with others. I have two sisters but this is not our story, it is completely fictional. However, having grown up as the middle sister of three, I am very familiar with the dynamic of sisters, the strength, the power and the complications of the sister bond and wanted to write about that as well. One of my very early memories is discovering my older sister’s treasure trove of Nancy Drew books and diving into them! Nancy and her independent spirit, her confidence and her ability to solve problems for others was a huge influence on my life, as she is on the lives of my fictional O’Brien sisters.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
Tight rope walkers learn to balance far above the ground by walking on a tight rope that is incrementally made higher and higher as they are learning this skill. They don’t talk about the tight rope or join groups of want-to-to-be tight rope walkers, they put their foot on that narrow space and launch themselves onto the rope. If you want to be a writer, the thing that you need to do is…WRITE! And it is as scary as walking a tight rope. You put yourself out into the world in a very vulnerable position and you must be brave and determined or you will never begin.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
I love a book that puts me into a whole different world filled with amazing and interesting characters, a work that makes me see the world from another viewpoint, that teaches me new things, that makes me feel for the characters and learn from their experiences. In writing my own books, I hope to give my readers those things I love about books.
What is your writing process like?
I decided early on that I would treat writing as I would any other work; I would show up and get on with it! Every weekday after breakfast, I sit down and began writing. I work until the afternoon and then take care of the rest of my life. If I start cleaning or gardening or answering emails or talking on the phone in the morning, I will never get around to writing. So, I make writing my first priority every morning. The only time I answer the phone is if my husband, children or grandchildren are calling. For me, if I don’t treat writing as a task to be done, I would never have finished any of the books I’ve written.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I do extensive research for my novels. I believe that I owe the readers the most accurate and up to date information possible. I am a shy person, but I found that I needed to get over that to reach out to experts and knowledgeable people in their respective fields. I found (to my delight) that if I told the people I reached out to that I was writing a book and had a couple of questions for them, people were very willing to help. I was as organized and succinct as I could be so that I didn’t waste their time. Being sure of my research gave me a boost of confidence in my writing.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?
As I explained earlier, I’m very disciplined in my writing routine. Even on those days that I don’t feel like writing, I sit down at the computer and write something. I may throw it out the next day, but it keeps my writing chops flowing.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I’ve been an avid reader all of my life. I believe that extensive, expansive reading is a great way to prepare yourself to become a writer. I have so many authors I love but here are a few: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Jane Austen, P.G. Wodehouse, Barbara Pym, Agatha Christie, Barbara W. Tuchman, Ngaio Marsh, Wendell Berry and Alexander McCall Smith and Larry McMurtry.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
Thank you for asking! That’s an author’s favorite question (after “Where can we buy your books?”) I’ve completed my second novel. It’s another family saga, but this time I’ve written a trilogy, The Trinity Rivers Trilogy. This book tells the story of a family of musicians and the impact they have on the people they meet throughout the book. The story begins in Louisiana with a mixed race young girl who is a gifted singer. Then the story moves on to Chicago, New York, Ireland, England and Scotland before we wind up back in Louisiana for the ending of the book. I like to write circle stories that take the reader on a wild ride but end up back where we started. I’m hoping that the book will be published before Christmas and I am also hoping that Aimee will agree to review it!
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with K. Blanton Brenner! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,