Sunday, August 9, 2009

Snow Melts In Spring by Deborah Vogts

Snow Melts In Spring
by Deborah Vogts
Zondervan / 2009 / Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780310292753
Number of Pages: 304
First of all, I'd like to thank Deborah for sending me a copy of her debut novel Snow Melts In Spring. I believe new authors take a risk asking people they don't really know to review their books! I am happy that Deborah was willing to share a copy with me.

Deborah's novel and website appeal to me hugely because I'm a cowgirl at heart. You don't have to be a cowgirl (or a wanna-be) to enjoy Snow Melts In Spring. This story is a wonderful story of a father and son healing their relationship as well as a bit of romance in the air.

Mattie Evans lives in the Flint Hills of Kansas. She is the local veterinarian. Unfortunately, some recent mishaps have her questioning her abilities. Local ranch owner John McCray sees Mattie as a bright light and a good vet. John's son, Gil, is a pro football player who is ready to retire from the game. He's lived his life running from Flint Hills only to have to return when his gaming horse is hurt in an accident.

The scenery that Deborah details for us gives me a longing for the Kansas prairie. As Gil is flying into the Flint Hills he sees Mattie riding his father's horse with her hair whipping behind her like the horses mane. As I was reading this scene, my mind's eye could picture the landscape and it's beauty. Deborah really brings out that part of the country.

I loved everything about the horse, having been a horse owner myself. I love the intricacies that were paid attention to as to what the injuries were and how Mattie took care of all the animals in her clinic.

The relationship between Gil and his father is one that many parents and children have to deal with. Gil didn't feel like his father was giving him quite the welcome home he would've hoped for. On top of that, Gil is concerned about Mattie's relationship with his father, wondering if it's more than what they're saying. They certainly seem cozy in Gil's eyes.

Mattie doesn't understand how Gil can continue to run from a land she and his father adore. She is also upset that Gil never came home when his father had a heart attack. Mattie doesn't appreciate his lack of trust in her ability to take care of his horse. She offers to have the horse sent to the vet college. Gil decides to trust her for now with Dusty.

Did you grow up on a farm? Have you had horses all your life?
Yes, I grew up on a farm and have lived all of my life in the country (minus 5 years while in college). Both of my brothers work farms/ranches, and my husband and daughters ride and train horses, so many of the ranch/horse scenes come from something I’ve seen or heard about—including Gil’s bull chase.

As a young girl, I had a Welch pony named Freckles. She liked to roll in freshly disked fields or even in creeks—with me on top. I remember passing through a creek one time, and that old pony went down for one of her rolls. I stayed perched on the saddle, not wanting to get my boots wet. Another horse was an American Saddlebred named Strawberry. She liked to jump fences. My freshman year in high school, I was out riding and one of the reins broke on the bridle, and my horse took off for home as fast as she could. She raced past the house and back to the barns, headed for the other horses in the pasture—and straight toward a fence. Believing I wouldn’t survive the jump, I jumped on my own and dove for the ground. Wound up breaking my wrist and upper arm. I didn’t get on another horse until I turned 30.
I had a similar experience when I was about 14. I was bareback on my friend's buckskin, Buck. There were 3 of us girls riding on a semi busy road. The first girl's horse was spooked and she couldn't control it. We were trying to catch her, but it wasn't working and she crossed across the traffic! Our horse followed. We got back to the other side (if I remember correctly), but Buck was out of control and I gradually slid around his neck and under him. He jumped over me. What a crazy time!!!

Those were the horses I grew up with. My husband trains American Quarter horses that are much more behaved—and not barn-sour. Right now we have seven horses, and they are all very calm and mild-mannered. We register them with names from the Bible, nicknames in parenthesis. Saul Henry (Larry), Twistn Moses Belle (Moe), Josiah Lass (Joe), Revielles Enoch (Dunny) and Elijah Belle (Little Blackie).

Did you read books about horses when you were a kid? My 16 yr old and I love any books with horses in them! What do you like to read as an adult?
As a girl, I enjoyed reading the Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague book sets and Black Beauty, etc. I also loved the Little House books. As an adult, I still find myself drawn to books with horses in them—loved Dances with Wolves. Other than that, I am particularly fond of historical and contemporary romance. Right now I’m reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and I have several more in my TBR pile such as The Measure of a Lady by Deeanne Gist, and Just Jane by Nancy Moser.

What was the hardest and easiest part of the writing process?
The hardest is writing on deadline. The easiest part is learning about my characters. It is so fun to learn something new about a character you’re writing about—when that new thing suddenly pops onto the page that you didn’t know. I also enjoy editing and marketing.

Are you a football fan? How did you decide which teams to use for your book? Did you have to get permission from them to use their team name?
I never cared much for football before this book. For some unknown reason, my male lead character, Gil, had to be a retiring professional quarterback, so learning more about football was a challenge. When I began the book, it happened to be football season, so research was easy—just turn on the TV. LOL. But I also made several trips to the library, bringing home loads of books on football. Every night, I sat in bed with my books, soaking it all in. I know my husband especially enjoyed my “newfound interest” in the game. *GRIN*

Is Mattie's Snickerdoodle recipe your own? Do you like to bake?
This recipe is one of my grandma’s and is a favorite in our family. My grandma worked as a school cook for many years and has lots of great recipes that she’s shared with me through the years. I hope to include one in each Tallgrass book. And yes, I LOVE to bake. I also include recipes on my web site (updated each season) and blog, for anyone interested.

Did you want to be a veterinarian ever? I wanted to be one when I was a girl. Parts of me still want to. I'm terrible at science though. Math too, to be honest. I got my first horse when I was 5 yrs ago. Winston was a Quarter horse mixed with who-knows-what. My friend and I thought maybe a Morgan with the way he carried his head. He ended up with a bunch of non-threatening tumors. He couldn't be ridden though because of the location of the tumors. We sold him a few years ago. I still miss him.
Nope, I never had any desire to be a vet, although my oldest daughter once thought she might study it in college. Part of my research for Snow Melts in Spring included visiting with several veterinarians and tagging behind a couple of them for an afternoon. It was imperative to get the horse accident just right, so as not to “kill” the horse, break his legs, etc.

How did you find out your book was being published?
Let me backtrack a bit to tell you how it all came to be. I found my first agent at an ACFW conference, and we shopped the manuscript series for a year—with no takers. After that she let me go, which was a real heart-breaker for me. But after licking my wounds, I sent out three more agent proposals and heard back from the third agent, Rachelle Gardner at WordServe Literary, a few months later. She contracted me in February and Zondervan made an offer for the series the last of April.

When Rachelle called, she asked if I was sitting down. I remember following her instruction and having her tell me that Zondervan had made the offer for a series contract. I was thrilled at the news, but being the business-minded person that I am, I pushed the excitement down in order to get all the details. LOL. Afterwards, I laughed, screamed and danced with my family!

What's in the works for your next book?
I’m continuing on with the Seasons of the Tallgrass series. I’m waiting for edits of my second book, Seeds of Summer and have started working on my third book, tentatively titled Blades of Autumn. One of the neatest parts of the publishing process is seeing what the creative team comes up with for a cover. I’m delighted with what Zondervan came up with (and am planning to unveil the cover to my readers in September) for Seeds of Summer, a story about a former Miss Rodeo Kansas queen, and her return to the Flint Hills to care for her deceased father’s ranch and her two younger siblings.
I can NOT wait for book 2. I will be keeping my eye for that! Can you ask them to edit quicker?;)

Thanks for having me on your blog, Mimi. It’s been fun answering your questions. Many blessings to you & your readers!
It's been a pleasure having you!

You can visit Deborah's website at and her blog Country at Heart. If you are interested in purchasing Deborah's book, you can type the name of the book into the box on the right side of my blog. Right now, August 9, 2009, they have it at a fantastic price of $8.99 (price not guaranteed). Deborah has 5 stars on Way to go!!


Anonymous said...

I've been wanting to read this since its release. Great interview! What hard work it is to write and publish a novel. It's such a risk! I'm looking forward to read this.

Deborah Vogts said...

Hi Mimi, thanks for having me on your blog. I really enjoyed answering your fun questions. Blessings to you & your readers!

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