You've found the home on the net for romance writer, LaVerne Clark. Thanks for visiting! :)

I write suspense and light fantasy/paranormal set in the beautiful country of New Zealand. A land of myths and magic, Aotearoa (Maori for Long White Cloud) has always been a storytelling nation and it is my pleasure to share mine with you.

Make yourself your drink of choice, stay a while and feel free to leave comments. I love to meet new friends.

Heartpounding suspense and fantasy Downunder

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Andrea Downing's Loveland

I'm thrilled to introduce to everyone, Andrea Downing, debut author for The Wild Rose Press. Welcome to Novel Natterings Andrea! :)

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 
I was born in New York but have spent most of my life in the UK.  However, in 2008, I decided I wanted to be near my baby who had graduated from university in the states and had decided to stay on and work over here.  So back I came to NYC, swapping year-round rain for snow and heat, the Underground for the Subway, and sticky toffee pudding for red velvet cupcakes.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? 
About age 6!  I wrote my first story in one of those dappled black and white school books.  Most likely it was a cowboy romance because I watched every western there was on TV.
Do you remember what inspired you to write your first book?
If we’re talking about Loveland, because that is my first published book, it was when I discovered how many large ranches were actually owned by British companies headed by members of the aristocracy.   When I think of it, I must’ve made a wrong turn somewhere down the line and gone east to England rather than out west.  I’ve always loved the west, had our family vacations out there twice a year for most of my daughter’s childhood and, even now, I go every chance I have. So what better subject for me than an English Lady being sent west and falling in love?
I love call stories. Can you tell us about yours and your reaction?
Oh, dear, mine was a bit of an anti-climax.  The editor at The Wild Rose Press who had first asked for a partial and then my full, left the firm for family reasons and I wasn’t told until the very day she said I would hear one way or the other.  So I had to start all over again with a new editor and another wait.  But when I got the email asking ‘how would I like a contract?’ I was already so fed up with the dang thing, and engrossed in mss.2, I was too numb to react any other way than to tell my daughter, who was really excited.  So her excitement for me rubbed off, and then I was really thrilled. 
What drew you to write romance?
I don’t know that I was specifically drawn to write romance but they are definitely the stories I imagine.  I like having happy endings, I like having a beginning, middle and an end, and I don’t particularly go for this modern thing of leaving a story hanging inconclusively.  And, of course, I like to think of people overcoming the odds to be together and fall in love. I mean, who doesn’t like a good love story?
What’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you? 
I call it ‘the tyranny of the clean white page.’  Usually I have the beginning and the end figured out, can even write the last scene prior to anything else—and I recently read that author John Updike is the same.  But that middle bit, that getting from A to Z, is difficult.  I’m a pantser and my characters write the story themselves so I never really know what’s going to happen and at times that white page just looms and torments me.
Ooo! I hear you, sister! :) Has anything coincidental happened in the real world while writing one of your books in terms of the characters, scenes or world you’ve created? 
Oh, this is so funny LaVerne; I’m so glad you asked me this. The very first full length mss I wrote, way back in the 70s—which I actually never showed to anyone because I ended up feeling it was too unbelievable—was about a modern day British Prince who falls in love with a commoner.  Well, duh…guess what?  LOL.
LOL - you're so right Andrea! Maybe you should dig out that old manuscript again? What are you working on right now? 
Well, it’s a double romance—two for the price of one, folks!  It’s Texas Hill Country meets the Hamptons, and ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ mixed with ‘Crazy Heart.’ It’s about the relationships between parents and children as well as the relationships between men and women, and it’s about letting go of the past and facing our fears, the lies we tell ourselves just to get by each day.  But it’s also about finding love where—and when—you least expect it. I know that’s clich├ęd but it is…
Latest news?
I’m going to be doing a signing at the Loveland Museum and Gallery in Loveland, Colorado, USA on September 14th.  They are having an evening called “Historical Loveland by Book” and there’ll be several authors there so anyone in the area please do come by and say hello.
That sounds so exciting! Wish I could be there to cheer you on :) Where can we find you and your books? 
PLEASE go check out my appearances page for other interviews and guest blogs at and buy my books at
And LaVerne, thanks so very much for having me.  I greatly appreciate it—this is probably about as close to being in New Zealand or Australia as I’m likely to get in the next few years!
It was my absolute pleasure Andrea. Just make sure you let me know when you're in town! :)
Now, if that cover wasn't enough to entice you (and can I just say, wowsers!), let me tease you with the blurb and excerpt for this fantastic looking story. I'm off to go buy mine now... ;)
When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society --and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life...
Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.
Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order. The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?


The two men looked over at Jesse who was leading his own horse into the stable, anger etched in every muscle of his face. Joe nodded toward the chuck house and they followed the others in to leave Alex alone when Jesse came out.
She was starting back to the main house when Jesse grabbed her arm and turned her around. “You ever do that again,” he said in a voice she had never heard, intense in its anger, rage just below its surface, “I swear to God, Alex, I’ll...I’ll take you over my knee and give you a lickin’ once and for all.”
“How dare you!” She shook him off. “How dare you talk to me like that! How dare you! Who the hell do you think you are?”
Jesse jabbed his finger at her to emphasize he meant what he was saying. “Who do I think I am?”he snarled back. “Who do I think I am? You ever, ever take a gun off me again and point it at someone, you’ll find out who the hell I think I am. You know that coulda gone off? You know you coulda killed someone? I told you—out there yonder—I told you, you never point that thing at anyone less’n you mean bus’ness.”
“I did bloody well mean business! They were destroying that horse. Furthermore, I knew, and you knew, and they both knew, there wasn’t a shot under the hammer. You taught me that, didn’t you? So there was no chance of an accident!”
“That don’t matter none. You coulda pulled the hammer back twice. Way you was, you were nothin’ better’n a loose cannon, Alex. You ever do a thing like that again—”
“You’ll what?” She shook with her rage as tears pooled against her will. “I apologized to them both and they accepted my apologies. It’s none of your concern—”
“None of my concern! You pulled my gun! You ever do that again— Don’t you walk away when I’m talkin’ to you!”
She turned back to him after a few steps. “You’ll what? You’ll what, Jesse? What will you do? I want to hear it! Say it again. What will you do?” And she stood there in the evening darkness, facing him down, wearing him out like she’d faced down the stallion.


  1. Evening ladies! Or is it morning for you in NZ,LaVerne? Well, here in NC it's just after eight and I'm glued to my computer while hubby watches little league baseball on TV.

    I think I'm having more fun!

    Great interview, LaVerne. And Andrea, I wrote my first story in one of those black and white speckled notebooks too, followed by tons of spiral notebooks that I eventually burned in the fireplace so my older sister wouldn't read them aloud and make fun of me. My dad couldn't figure out why there were so many wire metal springs in the ashes when he cleaned out the fireplace. lol! I was 13, so I guess I bloomed a bit later than you did. :-)

    Looking forward to having you on my blog next Friday!

    1. Oh, Lilly--that's so funny, I'm trying to picture those metal springs in the fireplace!Thanks so much for stopping by--NZ is great, isn't it?

  2. Hello ladies, you learn a new thing every day! I enjoyed the interview and send my warmest wishes to both! PS not sure when I'll ever make to NZ either, but would love to go sometime.

    1. Thanks so much for those good wishes, Nancy. It's always good to hear from you. I should think Scotland to New Zealand is a pretty long flight, but thanks for coming by.

    2. You'll have to visit me if you do make it to this part of the world Nancy! Andrea is so right though - its a very long flight - but well worth it ;)

  3. Boy, a writer at age 6. I'm sure your work has changed a lot since then. Recently found a few manuscripts I wrote 40 years ago (I won't say how old I was other than a little older than when you started) and marveled at what I knew -- and didn't know. Congratulations and best wishes for your continued success. Helen
    Helen Henderson
    Stories that take you to the stars, the Old West, or worlds of imagination. The journey begins at First stop for adventure and romance: Dragon Destiny and Windmaster Legacynew fantasies from Burst Books (

    1. That would be cool to re-read your younger self's work Helen! What a revelation :) Thanks so much for stopping by!