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Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini
Publisher: Mill City Press (Nov 17, 2015)
Category: Historical Fiction, Romance, Pioneer Woman, Strong Female Character, Western
Tour date Mar/Apr, 2017
Available in Print & ebook, 560 pages
Description of Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini
IN THIS EPIC TALE of love, loss, and redemption, the year is 1861, a time when women are expected to be married by a certain age. At 26, spinster Emily Wainwright has no reason to believe her sheltered life will ever change—until the charming Samuel Todd unexpectedly crosses her path.
Samuel yearns to homestead and start a family in Oregon, but he first needs to find a wife. Blinded by Samuel’s good looks, and grasping at her final chance to have a husband and children, Emily accepts his marriage proposal. However, Samuel is not the man she thought he was, and her marriage becomes a cold, cruel prison, offering her no solace amidst the hardships of farm life.
When Samuel dies and a second chance at love and happiness arrives in the form of farmhand Cole Walker, Emily must overcome her bitter past—or risk losing Cole and the life she has always dreamed of having.
Praise for Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini
“All of Righettini’s characters are well-rounded, in particular Emily herself, whose personal growth throughout the novel is richly detailed and memorable.”-Historical Novel Society
“This novel is about second chances and the courage needed to take them. The most compelling aspects of The Blue Hour are not the vivid, expansive descriptions of life on the vast (and seemingly never-ending) Oregon Trail or the well-drawn characters who dance (and often trudge) between hardship and hope. Instead, the brightest lights burst forth from nuanced moments tucked throughout the story.
Read this book if you want to immerse yourself in the wilds of western America in the 1860s or get lost in the even denser wilderness of love and loss. Maybe this recommendation needs to be simplified even further – read this book. It’s exhilarating to root for a character who is trying to navigate uncharted territory and make the greatest discovery of all.”-Underground Book Reviews
“The Blue Hour is one of the finest historical novels I’ve ever read. You will love the author’s writing and the detailed historical references. The characters are vividly portrayed, and I felt as if I knew them well. Long after I’d finished reading, I still thought about the story. It’s part adventure, part love story, and part survival. Highly recommended.”-Ann Creel, Author
Interview with the Author
What initially got you interested in writing?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to write. I was that kid in school all the other kids hated because my compositions were always up on the bulletin board. Creative writing was my favorite – give me any prompt and my imagination would go wild. I was simply crazy for words: reading, vocabulary, and spelling – all of it was pure fun for me (and helped make up for my struggles in math).
How did you decide to make the move into being a published author?
I had a draft of The Blue Hour that I’d been revising for years, and I decided to take the plunge and enroll in a writing workshop where I could share my work. I was understandably nervous: I’d taken a short story writing class in college that was so brutal – not even about my work, but about someone else’s – that I didn’t show my serious writing to anyone for almost thirty years. But I marshalled the courage to read the opening chapter from my book at the workshop. When I finished, the room was silent. Then the teacher looked at me and said, “You need an agent.” She also recommended I get the manuscript professionally edited first.
I hired a freelance editor who gave me terrific feedback and helped me shape the story – I cut out huge chunks, and wrote a completely new ending. Then I spent a year querying approximately seventy agents. Two read the full manuscript, and one read a partial. All three were enthusiastic about the book, but for various reasons declined to take on the project. By this time beta readers, a writing teacher (and published author), an editor, and three agents had read the book, or large sections of it, and given me positive and encouraging feedback. Not one had said the book was bad or unfixable. In fact, the comment I heard most often was that they couldn’t put it down.
Since I wasn’t getting any younger, I decided that rather than continue with agent queries, I’d take the step to self-publish. My husband and I spent several months researching the field and chose Mill City Press, mainly for their reputation for guiding authors through the publishing process, and for their marketing assistance. It was an expense, and involved a huge learning curve, but I have no regrets. I’m glad I took the plunge and I wouldn’t change a thing.
What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?
Having been a teacher, I love it when readers say they learned something they didn’t know before, especially if it’s some fascinating little detail that I’ve obsessed over. But I don’t set out to educate anyone other than myself. My primary goal is to inspire with a story of obstacles overcome, whether those obstacles are imposed from the outside, or come from within. But I also know that you can’t educate or inspire someone who isn’t engaged, so I do my best to tell a gripping story that keeps the reader turning pages, wondering what happens next. In other words, I write a book that I’d want to read.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
I love that I’m learning something new every day, either tidbits about the story I’m working on, or about the craft itself. Writing stretches my intellectual and imaginative muscles. As a crossword fanatic, I enjoy solving the puzzles it presents. I love fitting the pieces together, mulling over structural and narrative possibilities, devising solutions to problems. I’m a thorough, deliberate, but also highly imaginative thinker, which drove directors crazy when I was doing theatre, but which makes writing a good fit.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
It’s most challenging on those days when I’ve had a setback – maybe it’s a rejection of a submission I’d been especially hopeful about; or a criticism that hurt more than usual. I’m used to critique: I worked for forty years as a singer and actress before taking up writing seriously. But even on my best days I have to work hard at maintaining a thick skin, and things do sneak through. Those are the days when doubt creeps in. I just have to keep writing and remind myself that this too shall pass. Recently I went back and looked at some things I wrote on a “bad” day, and I honestly couldn’t tell the difference from the stuff I wrote on the “good” days. There’s comfort in that.
What advice would you give to people want to enter the field?
I think balance is key. Balance writing with other work, and balance work with rest and re-creation. Balance the solitude of writing by spending time with friends and loved ones. Read as much as you write. Keep submitting and querying, but don’t forget to keep living and learning.
And within the practice of writing, balance fiction with non-fiction. Experiment with personal essays, blog posts, poetry, and playwriting. I’ve found that keeping a number of different projects going assures that, if at any given time something isn’t going well, something else is. I can then focus my passion and energy in a positive direction, instead of flailing away unproductively at something that isn’t working.
What ways can readers connect with you?
Glad you asked!
I can be reached through my website and blog at http://vickirighettini.com/. I also have author pages at: Facebook: http://bit.ly/2lHPUqZ;
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1UtgcEu; and Twitter: https://twitter.com/VRighettini
I love hearing from readers, and I personally respond to every message I receive.
About Vicki Righettini
Vicki Righettini is an award-winning, nationally produced playwright, and her recently-published historical novel, The Blue Hour, was a badge winner and Pitch Perfect Pick at Underground Books. Originally from Los Angeles, Vicki lived in Oregon for over twenty years, where she developed an abiding love of the land and the Oregon way of life. Before turning to full-time writing, she worked for forty years as a singer/actress and performing arts instructor. Her blog, Between a Book and a Hard Place, focuses on the ups and downs of the creative process (http://www.vickirighettini.com). Vicki lives in San Diego with her software-developer, Jeopardy!-champion husband, and the world’s shyest cat.
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