My guest star who is bringing life again to Celebrity Saturday is my good friend Michelle Franco! I’m very excited she has a new book that came out on the 14th for Valentine’s Day, the Rustler’s Daughter! The Rustler’s Daughter sounds like a sexy cowboy romance, and here to tell more about it is Ms. Franco herself! So happy to have her here on Life, Muse and Coffee!
1. So your book is called The Rustler’s Daughter, can you tell us about the title?
The main character, Hannah, is forced to go live with her father and brother after her mother dies. They didn’t
know about each other, so she is hoping they will be glad to meet her. To them, she is just another mouth to feed, and her
father’s desperate scheme to get money changes all their lives. Cattle rustling was a very serious crime, and that kind of
scandal could ruin family members who may not have been involved. This story is about Hannah’s struggle to cope after her
father steals cattle from their neighbors.
2. What inspired you to write a Western? Have you always been a big fan of Western?
Yes, I have always been a big fan a westerns. When I was growing up, there were still a lot of western programs
on television like Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Big Valley, Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, How the West Was Won, etc.
There were also a lot of western movies, so I was exposed to the western way of life and cowboys at an early age. I was
lucky enough to have my great grandparents until I was a teenager, and I loved to listen to their stories. They came to
California from Oklahoma in covered wagons and settled in Bakersfield to farm. It was a tough life. My grandmother told me
a lot of family stories as well. She was very young when they moved to California, but she enjoys sharing stories about our
family. My inspiration for The Rustler’s Daughter came from one of the stories my grandmother told me about an aunt of
hers. She met and married a man who owned a cattle ranch and moved to California with him. One day, he and his two
brothers went to town because they believed someone had stolen some of their cattle. They turned the men in, and on
their way back to the ranch, they were ambushed. All three brothers were killed…shot in the back. It was a very sad story,
but not an unusual one in California. This state has a very wild history, especially following the Gold Rush. It was a
potentially prosperous time, but also very dangerous. Justice was not what it is today. It was not unusual for people to take
the law into their own hands, and hang or shoot people without a trial if they were caught in the act of a crime –
sometimes, they even acted on suspicions or accusations alone without any proof. Like I said, it was a very dangerous time
in California history.
3. What’s your favorite Western story, book or film?
My husband loves John Wayne, and so do I. However, I am very partial to westerns with Tom Selleck. I loved him
in The Sacketts, Quigley Down Under, and Crossfire Trail which was based on a Louis L’Amour book.
4. Have you gone through anything your characters have gone through, or are their experiences completely different than
Thankfully, no. I’m so glad that times are not as difficult as they were then. I can’t imagine having to grow most
all of my food, including livestock. They didn’t have electric ovens, washing machines/dryers, microwaves, or heating/air
conditioning. It was much harder on women as well. Even though women could be very strong emotionally, they were often
dependent on men. It wasn’t as if they could go to college and get a job. They were often forced into loveless marriages of
convenience as were some of the men. On the upside, families were closer. They didn’t have television or the internet, so
evenings were spent talking, reading, playing instruments, doing needlework, playing games, or other family oriented
activities. They all worked together to survive and often had to cooperate with neighboring farms/ranches to be successful.
My grandmother told me that her grandfather died of meningitis after trying to help a neighboring farm family who had
been quarantined due the contagious disease. He felt sorry for them, so he would go to their farm, milk their cows, gather
their eggs and put them on the porch. He would take their used milk bottles to use the next day. Somehow, he contracted
meningitis and died within a week. My great grandfather was only 8 years old at the time when he watched his father die.
People often helped each other out even if it meant endangering themselves because they never knew when they would be
the ones needing the help, and it was just the right thing to do.
5. That’s a steamy but awesome cover you got there. Is there a lot of sex?
*Blushing* LOL…there isn’t a lot of sex, but there is one steamy love scene. I have a hard time writing sex
scenes, so this is the first one I have actually published.
6. If the Rustler’s Daughter was a movie, what rating would you give it?
Due to the violence and sexual situations, it would probably be rated R.
7. If the Rustler’s Daughter was a movie, do you have any actors in mind for your characters?
Oh…the dreaded casting question. I’m so bad at this. Thankfully, I’m prepared this time. I already did a little
research on some up and coming young actors.
8. Was it tricky to write a Western, or was it like writing anything else?
I think it would be very difficult if I didn’t have the background I have. Even with all of the information I had about
the history of this area growing up here in California, and the exposure to westerns, I still had to do a lot of research. It was
difficult to keep in mind how things were back then, and to stay consistent and true to the time period.
9. Is this book a stand-alone or a planned series?
Well, I had originally intended for it to be a stand-alone book, but I have already had several requests
(translation: demands) to write books for the other two Scott brothers. I might be open to that idea.
10. What about your Dion series, any news for your next book?
That is my next project. I have already started writing the third book in the Dion series. This one is crazy so far. It
looks like it is going to be a lot of fun to write. I’m also considering doing a series of short stories featuring each member of
the team. I’m thinking of calling them Dion Origins, and each short would tell the back story of one of the Dion team
members, and how they became involved with the Dion.
11. What food or drink does your muse demand?
Caffeine and chocolate.
12. Any advice on writing?
Just do it. Write. Don’t worry about making it perfect the first time. I used to do that. I would be so worried about
making mistakes and writing something I couldn’t use, that I missed out on some really great ideas. It’s okay to write
something you may never use. Like all things, writing gets better with practice, so anytime you spend writing is never a
waste, even if you don’t use it. Keep everything though, just in case. Something that doesn’t work out for your current
project may be perfect for something else later.
Thank you Claire!! Great interview 😀
Other works by M.E. Franco are Where Will You Run and Where Will You Hide, books one and two of the Dion series. The Dion series is a fun supernatural story set in San Francisco of modern times. I read both books and if the Rustler’s Daughter is half as good as the Dion we are in for a treat!
For more on M.E. Franco check out her blog: http://mefrancoauthor.blogspot.com/
And her website www.mefranco.com
And her books can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=M.%20E.%20Franco&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank
Or on Barnes and Nobel: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-rustlers-daughter-janna-shay/1114552363?ean=2940016339733
Thanks again Michelle for stopping by!