About the Book
Book: The Restless Wrangler
Author: Karen Baney
Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Christian Western
Release Date: March 8, 2023
A Prodigal Son, Surprise Baby Christian Historical Cowboy Romance. Compelling love story full of heartache and redemption set in Ash Fork, Arizona Territory in 1893-1894.
Preston Colter felt like he was the forgotten son. Years of drinking and drifting finally catch up to him. When a near-death experience recharts the course of his life, he finds himself face-to-face with an old flame. Will he prove he is a new and different man, or will he fall back into his old destructive ways
Years ago, Hetty Clark made one bad choice to follow her attraction to a man she loved which led to the birth of her son out of wedlock. After she inherits her father’s ranch, an older man offers her security for her son’s future if she marries him. When the man from her past shows up on her doorstep, she is faced with a difficult decision. Will she choose a loveless proposal to secure her son’s future? Or will she risk her heart on a man she doesn’t believe has really changed?
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About the Author
Karen Baney is passionate about writing stories full of flawed characters. She enjoys weaving together stories of second chances, redemption, and overcoming personal trials. As a transplant to Arizona in the late 1990s, she loves researching the state’s history and finding ways to seamlessly incorporate real history and real settings into her novels. In addition to writing and speaking, Karen works as a Software Development Manager for a Christian ministry.
Her faith plays an important role both in her life and in her writing. Karen and her husband, Jim, make their home in Gilbert, Arizona, with their two dogs, Bella and Daisy. Both Jim and Karen are active at Rock Point Church in Queen Creek, Arizona.
More from Karen
What was the inspiration behind Preston Colter’s character?
I love a good prodigal story—partly because I was one. I also figured in a family with five boys and one daughter, at least one of them had to have a rebellious streak. Very early in developing the series, I felt like this role would be perfect for a fifth son.
Why did you write the series in the first person?
A few years ago, I read a historical series by Tess Thompson where she wrote the hero and heroine in the first person. I had enjoyed how the point of view felt deeper when written in the first person, so with the Colter Sons Series, I decided to give it a try. Since then, I’ve loved hearing from many readers how much they’ve enjoyed it.
If you’re a little nervous about reading something in the first person, please take advantage of the sample download feature available on most ereaders, including Kindle. The point of view characters are clearly marked at the beginning of the chapter and whenever the point of view changes.
Hetty Clark is a rancher?! What inspired you to choose that profession for her, especially since the book is set in 1893?
One of my favorite research sites for Arizona territorial history is the Sharlot Hall Museum’s online archives and “Days Past” articles. I read several articles about the early days of Prescott, Arizona’s Independence Day Celebrations. These were HUGE events for the town and surrounding communities, which eventually expanded into Cowboy Tournaments (aka Rodeo).
After reading an article about the women winners in the Cowboy Tournament in 1888, I dug deeper into what competitions the women participated in. I was surprised to learn that many of the women worked on ranches right alongside their husbands or brothers.
I enjoy writing strong female characters in unconventional roles, so making Hetty Clark a bronc rider and a ranch manager fit perfectly with the type of woman I pictured for Preston.
Interview with Karen
- How do you select the names of your characters?
In the case of the Colter Sons, the last name was easy, since their parents were in the Prescott Pioneers Series. Sometimes the character names just come to me. Other times I scroll through different name lists or character name generators online to get inspired. I also keep a running list of names l like in a notebook.
And, fun fact, my husband points out football player names that “would make a great cowboy name.” I may occasionally mix and match some football player names. Just saying.
- What was your hardest scene to write?
In The Restless Wrangler, Chapter 2 was it. I had to take the reader deep into Preston’s thought process quickly. I didn’t want to spend too much time on his old lifestyle. I knew it was important to balance the ugly truth of how far he had fallen with the changes to be revealed in the rest of the book. I refined it several times before the final version and hope readers see the intent.
- What is your favorite childhood book?
When I think about books and childhood, I always go back to my junior high years. It’s when I became a voracious reader of Christian historical romance. The first book I vividly remember is Janette Oke’s Once Upon A Summer. I LOVED that book and every book Janette has written. I even wrote a fan letter to her and she graciously responded. Yes—I still have that letter as a woman in my late 40s.
- If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Honestly, my personal mistakes from my teen years and 20s provide a great deal of inspiration for my characters. So, I’m not sure I would change anything. This is how I see God using me to comfort those with the comfort I’ve received.
- What comes first, the plot or characters?
I start with a rough idea of the biggest plot points. Then I build the characters. I work from a loose outline, because I’ve found the characters really do have a mind of their own and often dictate how the story gets to the big rough plot points.
- Who is the author you most admire in your genre?
When it comes to Christian historical romance, I really admire Karen Witemeyer. Her Hanger’s Horsemen series is one of my favorite series of all time. She inspired me to embrace the western grit in my Arizona stories, of which The Restless Wrangler is better for it.
- What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Writing is what I do when I’m not working my other job. But I love to read too. I’m totally obsessed with contemporary cowboy romance and billionaire romance right now. I also love spending time with my hubby and football season means I’ll be reading or editing while watching football sitting next to him for seven hours of commercial free football.
- If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be and what would you cook?
You know what would be fun? To invite all the new-to-me authors that I’ve discovered this year. I would smoke a brisket, ribs, chicken, and my homemade mac n cheese (yes – that’s smoked too). Salad. Maybe some fruit. Then let’s just sit around and talk shop. Who’s game?
Thank you for letting us get to know you better!
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Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 10 (Author Interview)
Bizwings Book Blog, November 10
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 11
Artistic Nobody, November 12 (Author Interview)
For Him and My Family, November 12
Simple Harvest Reads, November 13 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Guild Master, November 14 (Author Interview)
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 15
To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 gift card with signed paperback copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.