Bronwyn Long Terminal is a nurse by day and a writer by night. She also wrote under the pseudonym of Rohret Buchner, who pays tribute to the grandmothers whose courage and determination are the inspiration of her heroines. Bronwyn is published in academic journals related to health care and has served as a freelance wine editor for Examiner.com and coloradowineandfood.com. She lives with her husband in Denver.
Tell us the story of this book. What inspired you to write it? Where does the story/theme come from?
Since I was in elementary school, I have been fascinated by the people who colonized the West. I grew up in Laramie, Wyoming. On the road west of town to the Snowy Range, a range in the Rocky Mountains with peaks reaching elevations of 12,018 feet, when the afternoon light is perfect you can still see the ruts in the path traversed by emigrants traveling west. . This led to my admiration for the bravery and courage of these settlers and the rigors of the journey.
I like adventure stories and stories of women who triumph over adversity. I am a hopeless romantic. Put these items together and you have the setting for “Custodian of the Spirits”, the first book in the Valley of Heart’s Delight series. The Valley of Heart’s Delight is known today as Silicon Valley.
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Put this excerpt into context. How does it fit into the whole book? Why did you select it?
The excerpt from “Custodian of the Spirits” depicts an interaction between Fiona, Kier, and Caleb. Kier has been described as a man who lived with the Sioux, traveled the world, crossed the Pacific Ocean, and was “the best tracker, the best shot, and the best guide of our time”. Fiona has befriended Kier’s parents, Clare and Gideon, and is eager to meet him.
As a romance novelist, there is anticipation for when heroine and hero meet. Will there be magic? The opposite? Something inexplicable?
Tell us about the creation of this book. What influences and/or experiences influenced the project before you sat down to write the book?
Having grown up in the West, there is romance in the landscape and in the courage of the emigrants willing to take it on. A number of books, films and TV shows were inspirational, as were stories from family members of their experiences working the land and building farms passed down to the next generation. One family member was a widow and a single mother who had to find her way while adjusting to her new situation.
Once you started writing, did the story take you in unexpected directions? If so, how would you describe the handling of a story that seems to have a his own mind?
Discoveries of historical events and phenomena have taken history in unexpected directions. For example, learning “See the Elephant” was something I had to include after reading about it.
Also, learning that there were bands of white men posing as Indians and attacking wagons was something new to me. A woman was so angry that her husband took her away from his family that her diary consisted of a count of the graves she saw each day.
Some graves have been placed in the trail so that they are hidden from predators, hidden under the tracks of thousands of wagons. Intriguing historical nuggets will find their place in the book.
What were the biggest challenges you faced or surprises you encountered while finishing this book?
Time. I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day! I have a demanding job as a nurse, which limits my writing time.
Did the book raise questions or spark strong opinions among your readers? How did you address them?
Perhaps the bigger question is what will happen next. Some reviewers said they only gave it one star because of the cliffhanger. My original draft was too long according to the editor’s guidelines, so I needed to find a good place to stop.
Since this is a category romance, readers can expect happy events and cowboys! Lots of cowboys.
Tell us about your writing process: where and how do you write?
The characters and the story are alive and evolving in my head. I take notes on scraps of paper as ideas arise. I’m an outliner-pantser hybrid working from a general outline. The Valley of Heart’s Delight series is a family saga, so I thought about the ending of the next book and the next book.
It looks like the next book will be set in California’s Heart’s Delight Valley. Will future scenarios have a connection to Colorado?
Yes, one of the characters will be spending time in Colorado in a future book. Another character is an Indian agent who is very upset by the Sand Creek Massacre. The distress over the treatment of Native Americans will be woven throughout the series.
Tell us about your next project.
The next project is the next book in the Valley of Heart’s Delight series. The storyline picks up right after the end of the first book, “Custodian of the Spirits”.