In 1874, Ivy Steele’s deafness is more than a handicap. It’s a disease. Surrounded by a family that doesn’t understand her, she’s learned to cope and find solace where she can. Then, the unexpected happens. Her aunt dies, and her uncle sends her away to rejoin her father’s family in Montana.Left to fend for herself, after the companion hired to escort her abandons her, sixteen-year-old Ivy faces continual hardship and danger. Several men see an unaccompanied Ivy as a flower ripe for the picking, and things only get worse when masked men hold up their stagecoach.
Barely scraping through, Ivy makes it to Montana with her nerves shaken and what little money she has in her boot. Expecting a peaceful if not affectionate welcome, Ivy finds herself in greater hardship than she’s ever known.
Surrounded by a stepfamily that hates her, and flung into a life where hearing is vital, Ivy finds solace in a handsome cowboy named Remy. But things with her new family are not what they seem. And Ivy is about to find out that the danger she faced on the journey west, has followed her to Montana…
Bethany Swafford dazzles with her stunning young adult debut, introducing a strong heroine, the hardships of frontier life, shocking twists, and a slow-burning romance that will leave you wanting more.
Third place winner of the 2018 Rosemary Award
Name / Pen name & little about yourself:
My name is Bethany Swafford. My first published book was released in 2012. Before that, I wrote heaps and heaps of fanfiction, so I’ve actually been writing for nearly seventeen years now. I love listening to music while I do just about anything. And I have three cats who love to sleep on my laptop when I’m trying to write.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
t sort of crept up on me. I have always been a voracious reader, and when I was young, I would read instead of doing what I was supposed to do: Chores, school work, etc. My parents would regularly take my books away as punishment. My loophole became that I could read anything I wrote. Writing became a habit after a while, even when I wasn’t being punished. Now I can’t imagine not writing.
What genre are your books? and what made you write in that genre?
Most of my books are Regency Romance books. (My Hands Hold My Story is actually my first time writing a different time period.) I wanted to write in this genre because I love reading it. From the first time I read Pride and Prejudice and then the works of Georgette Heyer, I wanted to be able to add my part to the fiction of the time period.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I wrote my first book in November 2011. I was 23 yrs old at the time. It was the first time I outlined the plot before I wrote. (Most of my fanfiction stories were me freestyling and working out the plot as I went along.) It was the hardest and most fun thing I’d ever done.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Everywhere! Music, conversations, the plots of other stories. One of my stories resulted from me having a day where everything went so wrong that it was funny thinking back on it and then I wondered how many things I could make go wrong for a character.
How long does it typically take you to write a book?
About a year from start to finish, give or take a few months. Many times I have the first draft completed through NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month every November), but then rewrites and edits take much more time and effort.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
At this point, I have 7 completed books, although only two are available right now. My favourite is one that I am hoping to rerelease in the next couple of months, A Chaotic Courtship. I drew on my personal family experience to build my characters and I love rereading it.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you overcome it?
I do get writer’s block. I find the best way to overcome it is to step away for a short time, and when I come back, I read through what I have written. Usually, I find some detail that wasn’t working for me. Once I change it and follow it through to where I was stuck, I can continue the story without a problem.
Have you done any collaborations with other writers?
Not yet. A member of my online writing group and I would love to co-write a book at some point, though.
What do you think of reviews?
Honestly, I love them! Even when the reviewer has something negative to say, I can learn how to improve in the future. I always use reviews to judge whether I will enjoy a new book or not.