History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

03 December 2007

Welcome, Joyce Henderson!

To The Edge Of The Stars
by Joyce Henderson
Available Now!

The instant attraction Kalen Barrett felt for Taylor Savage terrified her. But each time she glimpsed the promise of passionate fulfillment in Taylor's heated eyes, she came a little closer to losing control, but he�always held back the words she longed to hear. If he would only give her his heart, she would follow him�body and soul---TO THE EDGE OF THE STARS

"The tough and the tender fill this heartwarming yet gritty love story. The grit comes from the sexy, tough hero; the tenderness from the strong-willed heroine; and the reality from the well-drawn backdrop. Readers will take to this tale like a newborn calf to its mother."
--4 Stars RTBook reviews

To The Edge Of The Stars is set in Central Texas, 1870. How did you become interested in this time period? What you love about it?

I've always wondered about the interaction between Comanches and whites of that era. I want to believe that mating, or "hooking up" in today's terminology, wasn't always the result of raiding and rape; that half-breed births may have been the result of attraction, at least occasionally!

My great- grandparents migrated to that area in 1900. I visited the old homestead many times, even after my marriage in 1952 when my husband was stationed in San Antonio.

My husband still remembers the dinner my great-aunt cooked on the still-in-use woodstove. The outhouse was still in use, as well. A little aside to that. My great-grandmother wasn't any bigger than a minute, but she raised twelve children on that 60-acre farm. Grandma Bond was stubborn as the day is long. When she was about 75, she had an indoor bathroom built in the house, but the day before all the plumbing was to be hooked up, she went in the room for some reason and banged her foot on the commode. Until the day she died--and out of pure spite, I think--she wouldn't let anyone finish that indoor bathroom because her foot never healed (diabetes), and she was wheelchair bound the rest of her life. She died at 93.

I have a sneakin's hunch my stubborn streak may be inherited, and not just because I'm a Capricorn. :-)

What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around?

I wouldn't have wanted to live then: the dirt, no air-conditioning :-). There's not much that I have trouble plotting around, I fly in the mist, but I do have to constantly check my verbiage that was in use or not in use in that day and age. I wanted to use the word "psychosomatic" to describe a secondary characters blindness, but my editor deleted it. The word was in use, barely, and she thought it sounded too modern.

What sparked this book? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head?

An historical event, you might say. Not too far in the past, only 1968 or '69...the death of a child from being kicked by a horse.

And living!

I've always had a rich imagination and lived several lives--as many writers do--before I settled on writing fiction. I married 11 days out of high school, lo those many years ago, and still married to the same hero! A mother by age 18, I was a stay at home mom while hubby, after discharge, went to college (I typed all his papers! I have a PHTC certificate from UCLA).

Bob worked in the aerospace industry while we were headed to the moon. He worked on the LEM project, Lunar Landing Module; the retro rockets that kept Neil Armstrong from crashing on the moon. Then we owned the ranch and I worked part-time in offices as a bookkeeper, then secretary treasurer of our own corporation. I was a part-time manager in a international cosmetics firm for 35 years, and didn't settle on writing until I was 49 years old!

Did you have to do any major research for this book? Did you stumble across anything really interesting that you didn’t already know?

I have probably read one hundred books about the era. As for the horses aspect of my stories, we owned horses and a working ranch for about 20 years in Southern California. What I come across that I may not remember or know, medications come to mind, I can research to find out...usually on the web.

What/Who do you like to read?

I read everything, but in the Old West subgenre, I love, love, LOVE Kathleen Eagle's and Pat Potter's historical work. Cassie Edwards and Leigh Greenwood have been around for a long spell, and recently I've read Karen Kay and Cindy Holby. Of course, Nora's no slouch in historical work. :-)

Care to share a bit about your writing process? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you write multiple drafts or clean up as you go?

I've always been a pantser (fly in the mist) until recently. My agent insisted I write a proposal for TO THE EDGE OF THE STARS, which meant a synopsis, and that, to a degree, is plotting. I see scenes in my head, so I write the whole thing at once. That's not to say I don't have to edit, usually twice.

I work with two critique partners who are superb. What one doesn't catch the other one does. :-) Both are English majors, both taught school, one high school literature, the other 7th and 8th grades, and honors students. While I do hold a certificate from the Newspaper Insitute of America, I am really a graduate of the "school of hard knocks" rather than "Ivory Tower" education, so my critique partners keep me on my grammar toes. None of us write the same sub-genre, and we are able to critique without disturbing one another's voice.

What are you planning to work on next?

I am 250 + pages into my next story about a full-blood Comanche and a white woman and their desire to wed, but of course that is frowned upon by both her people and his.

After I finish that, TO THE EDGE OF THE STARS has a blind secondary character, and the one I'm working on has a mute secondary character. I may write the mute's story next.

Or...I could write the story of how the secondary character became blind.

Or...I have a mini time travel in mind. By that I mean, from now back to the mid 1850's.

Or...I wrote a rough draft of a deaf heroine that I might fish out and rewrite. I liked her story. Although, when I wrote that story, I didn't know how to write fiction.

As I said, my imagination runs wild, and I like what I do. It's the best job in the world. I'm sitting here right now in my Bullwinkle long tee shirt that I wear as a robe. Where else could you shuffle into your office in slippers?

Check out my web site, which I created myself--ugh--and keep up after a fashion. www.joycehendersonauthor.com


Blogger Colleen Thompson said...

Your books sound wonderful! Best of luck with the new release!

5:40 AM  
Blogger Risa said...

Great book! Fantastic website! You are an inspiration. Can't wait to see you at your book signing.

5:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your work, and look forward to reading the new book!


6:55 AM  
Blogger Josephine Damian said...

Hello Hoydens! Love your banner and the cool stuff pictured there.

Had to stop by to give a shout out to my RWA chapter member.

Joyce, welcome to the wonderful world of bloggers!

I must say, I've learned a good deal more about you here than I'm able to at out hectic chapter meetings, and my respect for you as a writer has grown even more.

Interesting that you said writing the synopsis first and being a semi-plotter as opposed to a total pantster is one thing what helped you get published because that's my game plan for my next novel.

Good to "see" you here, Joyce, and of course I'll see you in person on Saturday.

12:03 PM  
Blogger doglady said...

I am so excited to read this!!! I will be 49 at the end of this month and I didn't start seriously pursuing writing until this year. I am thrilled to know that someone else has done the same. What an adventurous life you have lead! As a proud member of the Creek and Cherokee Nations, I appreciate your efforts to explore the relationships that in all likelihood did exist between white and Native American inhabitants of the same wilderness. My mother is FBI (full-blooded Indian!)and she loves to read Western romances with a hefty dose of Native! One of the members of my crit group is an aspiring western romance novelist. What advice would you give her about the genre?

12:04 PM  
Blogger Tracy Grant said...

Great interview, Joyce and Kalen! I love how you were able to draw on elements of your family history, Joyce. Having plotted the book out more for your agent, did you then find it easier or harder to write with the synopsis as a road map? (As someone who has to lay my books out on index cards, I'm in awe of writers who can plot as they go :-).

1:32 PM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

Welcome, Joyce and thanks for a great post. A hot hero on a good horse is ALWAYS of interest to me!

Best, Kathrynn

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been off to Tai Chi and other pursuits so I'm late getting back to see who stopped in. This blogging is new to me.

Josephine, writing the synopsis didn't help me get published. I was already published. My agent wanted to sell from proposal rather than the finished book.

doglady, my hybby and I had "run away from home" when we moved to Florida. I didn't want to continue with the cosmetics industry, so that's when I looked around and decided I could write one of the romance books as well as anyone. HA! It took me 20 years, but by gum, I got 'er done. :-)

As for your crit partner... The business is tough. Write a lot of emotion and make the premise a little different if possible. It's like many agents and editors have said, "Write (pick a book title, any title) Call of the Wild, only different.

Tracy, that one family story is just one of a million in my down-home folks history. Did I tell you my mother and her sister married brothers? Or how about my widowed grandmother and her oldest daughter married brothers. Tthat song I'm "My Own Grandpa" must have been written with my family in mind.

When I say I'm a panster, I really am, even when forced to write a synopsis and a few chapters for a proposal. I already know pretty much where my story will go when I set my fanny in the chair and type Chapter One. I see scenes in my head, but I do have to get to know my people as I go along. And occasionally, folks pop up that I didn't know were there until they appear in a scene. I've got fella in the one I'm writing right now who showed up out of the blue, and my crit partners say I MUST write his story. So I will, eventually.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Joyce said...

Ok, now I'm anonymous. I told you I don't know how to blog, Kalen.
:-) I'll sign it, JOyce Henderson because I don't have a clue how it will come out in the comments.

6:20 PM  
Blogger Kalen Hughes said...

Hey Everyone! The only benefit to being home sick is that I can access our blog. LOL!

This is the first book I've encountered where the heroine and I share a name. I'm sure this is more common for all the Elizabeths and Marys out there, but for me it's highly unusual. Kind of like the first time I saw my brother's name in a book (Niall).

1:18 PM  
Blogger Kalen Hughes said...

No worries, Joyce. You'll catch on. *grin*

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Joyce said...


You probably forgot that I mentioned the name coincidence when I first saw your name in eNotes. Taht was before I'd sold this book, too!

I came across a Vonda on one of the lists, which is also an unusual name and is my oldest daughter's name.

Isn't it nice to have a not-so-run-of-the-mill name?

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Joyce said...

Not sure how long I'm featured front and center. Before I'm shuffled off to the archives, I wanted to say a big thank you to Kalen Hughes for inviting me a few months ago. It's been fun.
Thanks to one and all for the well-wishes.

7:39 PM  
Blogger marieconley3 said...

I have the Dorchester book club. So I've already read it. Though I had a couple of issues with this book. It did the impossible. Made me cry.

I thank you for writing a truly poignant book.

9:15 PM  

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