Where Did You Get That Story Idea?

This Time Forever - screen

Cleve Black Horse won me a lovely golden statue.

rita_award

This is the RITA Award, given annually in several categories by Romance Writers of America.  THIS TIME FOREVER won for Best Single Title Contemporary Romance in 1993.  Yes, that would be coming up on 20 years ago, but I would say it’s a book that stands the test of time.  And to prove it, the book has just been reborn.  Terrific new cover, wonderful new publisher—Bell Bridge Books, of course—and three new formats—e-book, audio, and trade paperback.  We made a few editorial tweaks, but no wall phones have been traded in for cellular, and Cleve is still a Vietnam vet.  We discussed updating a few gizmos, my editor and I, but setting is an integral part of this story, and while I think its appeal is pretty timeless, I know that one change would have led to another, and we would have ended up with a different book.  And we’d lose this one.

THIS TIME FOREVERon sale now in e-book, audio and trade paperback formats—is the story of a down-on-his-luck cowboy who is sent to prison for a murder he didn’t commit and an ER nurse who’s on the jury that convicts him.  The idea came from a story a good friend told me of her experience on a jury.  It was a murder trial, and she was quite young, and the accused was an American Indian.  She felt that the evidence was circumstantial, and she held out as the only “not guilty” vote, but eventually she caved.  She was the only one, so maybe she was missing something, maybe she was naive, maybe, maybe.  But it haunted her.  The man served two years before the real murderer turned up.

Okay, so what if…

What if the juror crossed paths with the prisoner again?  What she found out she needed something from him?  A crime and a courtroom setup has the emotions and the conflict built in, but bring in a tense relationship—bigtime approach-avoidance—and you have the makings of an unusual romance.

Set in Bismarck, Mandan and Fort Yates, North Dakota, this is a story in which setting is almost a character.  I was living there when I wrote it—had been for many years—but research into the courts and the penitentiary was extensive.  I’ll have to tell you about my prison visits sometime.  There were editors who felt that the idea couldn’t work, that Cleve and Susan would spend too much of the book apart.  They were wrong.  When the two aren’t in each other’s face, they’re in each other’s head.

I’m so glad Bell Bridge Books is giving new life to this book.  It’s been out of print for years, which means there aren’t that many used copies left, and I still get notes from readers who say they’ve hung onto their copies and read it several times.

The Prologue begins with an owl’s call, and I hear one outside in my woods right now.  Cleve doesn’t like that sound much, but I do.  I’ve always been a night owl.  Best time to hunt for stories.

Is there a book you keep around for the occasional re-read?  Tell us about it.  What draws you back to a story for another reading?  I’ll draw one name among today’s commenters and e-mail that person a $5.00 Amazon gift certificate. 

THIS TIME FOREVER is available in print now at Barnes & Noble and will soon be for sale there for Nook.

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About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in American Indians, book release, giveaway, This Time Forever, cowboy. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Where Did You Get That Story Idea?

  1. loisgreiman says:

    That IS a beautiful cover, K. And a beautiful story. So glad it’s back.
    After reading Tolkein’s work for 40 some years, I still like to re-read it. In fact, my children are now reading it to their children.

  2. Beautiful cover, Kathleen!

    I love Tolkein also. Our boys loved Kon Tiki when they were in grade school, and I read that to them over and over, along with the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. Books I’ve kept to re-read include Paradise, which I’ve read many times; Slow Heat in Heaven by Brown, and all of Georgette Heyer’s Regencies.

  3. I loved this book, and have re-read it over and over. The cover (of the original) grabbed me as i was walking by, so i bought it and went home and starting reading it immediately. I re-read books for various reasons. I’ll here about something that will remind me of a story in one of my books, so I’ll read that book, then i will read everything else I have by that author. I like the new cover too, very nice. I think I’ll buy the ebook, and maybe I’ll buy the paperback too!

  4. ellie says:

    The book which is memorable and a re-read is Rebecca. Memorable and unforgettable. Covers are so important and yours is a winner.

  5. michelehauf says:

    My favorite reread is The Three Musketeers. It never gets old, and I always discover something new in it.

  6. Quilt Lady says:

    Love the cover. I don’t think I have a favorite reread. If I reread something it is usually a western. Right now I am rereading one of Kaki Warner’s books because I got the next one in the series. I use to reread a lot of Constants O’Banyon’s books but I have her books stored away and hardly ever get them back out.

  7. I have two top favorites that I reread regularly. The Last True Cowboy – by Kathleen Eagle , and Jackson Rule – by Dinah McCall. These two speak to my heart like no others.

  8. MaryC says:

    So many favorite rereads – they take me back to the time I first read them and offer a sense of comfort.
    Lovely cover – can’t wait for it to be available for the Nook.

  9. Kylie Brant says:

    The one thing I lost when I started writing was 90% of my reading time :( I used to have books that I’d read over and over again. Can still quote long passages of To Kill a Mockingbird :)

  10. Nicole says:

    I have a few books that I like to reread. It’s funny, I will go to read just a favorite passage and I usually end up reading the entire book again. One of them is Fire and Rain. Both story lines within it are very touching.
    Great cover, I love it!

  11. Marjorie Harper says:

    Broomstick Cowboy is one of my favorites by Kathleen Eagle, I re-read it at least once a year. I hope it is re-issued. She does such great research for her novels. I’m an RN and as an emergency room nurse, (40 yrs ago before ER Docs) I delivered a baby or 2, I have never picked up a mistake. It’s also a great love story that includes children and their comments are perfect and believable. The interaction with the assorted farm animals is so realistic, I can almost smell the farm smells.

    • Thank you, Marjorie! BROOKSTICK COWBOY was reissued by Harlequin in 2010 in a
      2-fer with DEFENDER–paperback and Kindle http://tinyurl.com/ab2vxk9
      It means so much to me to hear from a nurse saying that I got a medical scene right. The heroine in THIS TIME FOREVER is a nurse, too. I had good resources, friends in the medical field.

  12. bn100 says:

    I’d say the characters and writing.

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