Author Q&A with Heather Blanton, author of A Promise in Defiance

Today, I'm thrilled to have Heather Blanton on my blog to answer a few questions! Her newest novel, A Promise in Defiance released just two days ago on June 22nd.  Congratulations Heather!

My first encounter with Heather was on her Ladies in Defiance website which have some great posts, including reviews, guest posts, author spotlights and giveaways.  It's such a pleasure to have this talented author here, so I'll get right to it!

JC:  Just Commonly
 Heather Blanton

JC: Give us 5-word spiel on A Promise in Defiance.

Choices have consequences…even for the Redeemed.

JC:  This being Book 3 of The Romance in the Rockies series, how different is it to the first 2 books?

All three of the Defiance books are written like a TV Western—ensemble casts, multiple story lines, and a faith theme. Book 3 is similar in that vein, and it brings a few things full circle back to Book 1. Moving the story like that was really fun. What’s different is the main story line is about two new characters, though all of my old characters are still integral to the plot. This book is a tad more bittersweet as well, with some final good-byes and hints at coming changes.

JC:  Where did you get the idea for A Promise in Defiance?

From Mathew 12:43-45— 43“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first…” 

In Book 2, we see the changes caused by the sisters (in Book1) actually playing out. The town is settling down. Becoming more civilized. But Nature and demons abhor a vacuum.

JC:  Now, we need to know a little about you! If you need to sum up yourself in 5 words, what would they be?

Defiant, resilient, positive, dreamer, friendly

JC:  What's the first thing you do in the morning?

I have a cup of Joe every morning with God, and then one of us hits the gym. Sometimes it’s me.

JC: LOL. Last thing you do at night?
Every single night, I end the day with a reward to myself: a bowl of popcorn and a glass of red wine. This is the signal my duties have ended for the day. The sign has flipped to closed. Mom has mentally left the building.

JC: When do you typically write?

(There are some who would say I haven’t started yet. LOL) I generally get rolling around 11. That’s after I’ve taken the kids to school, gone by the gym, done some grocery shopping, checked/answered email, and checked/answered facebook. After that, everything else takes a number and gets in line because I am writing!

JC: And what's so special about cowboy stories that intrigue you?

I am your typical Southern girl in that I idolize my daddy. I grew up watching Westerns with him, especially Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and everything John Wayne ever made. Daddy told me stories about his earlier days as a Florida Cracker (that’s a cowboy who uses a whip). He could ride, crack that bull whip, and even quick draw. For fun, he used to draw against the sheriff’s deputies in our area. These crazy men would shoot wax bullets at each other! Trust me, it’s painful. Daddy taught me to shoot when I was 5, and I love firearms. Couple all that with the breath-stealing beauty of the West, which I’ve toured pretty extensively, and I was sealed for life as a Western writer.

JC:  How do you do your research?

Carefully. No, seriously, sometimes I research looking for ideas, and sometimes I research an idea I already have. When I travel, I hit museums and historic sights. Before I ever leave home, though, I study the history of the area I’m visiting. This triggers dozens, if not hundreds, of potential stories. I also read historic journals, letters, etc. I just LOVE searching old newspaper archives, which is really much easier now than it ever used to be. Occasionally, I even make an old-fashioned phone call!

JC:  Any funny experience while doing research for a book?

I don’t know about funny, but it is highly ironic. I discovered Doc Holliday was sponsored (which means vouched for) to dental school by a Lucien Frink—an ancestor of mine! My Grandpa on my mother’s side was a Frink. So how about that? The most notorious Western outlaw from the South and my family was a link in the chain of his destiny. That tickles me to death!

JC: Tell us, who is your favorite cowboy, real-life or fiction? OK, I know it's hard to narrow down. How about your top 3.

John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn (True Grit) Mr. Rat... I have a writ here says you're to stop eating Chen Lee's cornmeal forthwith. Now it's a rat writ, writ for a rat, and this is lawful service of the same. (Sorry, I just love that line.)

Tom Selleck as Rafe Covington (Crossfire Trail). I actually watched this movie while I was giving birth to my first son. (Maybe that’s not something a smart woman would admit.)
Nate Champion—the fiery little Wyoming rancher who wouldn’t be pushed around by the big cattle operations. Nate’s murder by the cattle baron’s in 1892 triggered the infamous Johnson County War.

JC: Now for this booknerd, I need some titles. What are your top 3 favorite cowboy novels?

The Virginian by Owen Wister, Johnny Montana by Michael Zimmer, and Ride the River: The Sacketts: A Novel by the great Louis L’Amour.

JC: What are your favorite books in any genre (of ALL time)?

Montana Sky by Nora Roberts. A story about three sisters on a ranch. It actually started the wheels turning that maybe I could write a story about three sisters one day. The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser, a time travel novel about a girl who goes back to Colorado in the 1890’s. Salem’s Lot  by Stephen King, his novel about a vampire infestation. So we have little women, time travel, and vampires. Hmmm. No accounting for taste.

JC:  And, what are you reading now?

The Poacher’s Daughter by Michael Zimmer. A tribute of sorts to the fading Wild West.

JC:  What are you working on now? 

I have a WW 2 novella I am contributing to a collection from Rivulet Publishing and a mail order bride story that will go into a collection with several independent authors. Both will be out in the fall.

Also, I wrote a script for my first book, A Lady in Defiance and it has been perused by some producers in Hollywood like Brian Bird and Mark Headly. Fortunately, the script has garnered some serious interest so now I am trying to decide if I want to accept an offer to be represented and let the agent shop it around, or if I want to work with a professional screen writer and we’ll sell it ourselves. I’m still praying about my next move here.

Wow! That's definitely a whole new adventure! Can't wait to see your works on the screen. Heather, THANK YOU for dropping in on Just Commonly.  Some great picks you have there! And I look forward to A Promise in Defiance.

Heather's stories aren't preachy or cheesy, but she hopes they are heart-warming, realistic, illuminating, and glorifying to God. Like good old fashioned Westerns, there is always justice, a moral message, American values, lots of high adventure, unexpected plot twists, and more than a touch of suspense. 

"I believe Christian fiction should be messy and gritty, because the human condition is ... and God loves us anyway." -- Heather Blanton

TO CONNECT WITH HEATHER: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Logan Tillane carries a Bible, wears a gun on his hip, and fights for lost souls any way he can. Newly arrived in the rowdy mining town of Defiance, though, he has trouble telling saints from sinners. The challenge only worsens when infamous madame Delilah Goodnight steps off the stage. She and the new preacher have opposite plans for the town. One wants to save it, one wants to lead it straight to hell. One thing is for certain: whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap ... and the harvest is at hand.






  1. Thank you so much for featuring Heather. Great questions you got out of her!

  2. I love John Wayne too and I watch True Grit over and over ( the original of course). Your book sounds like one I need to add to my TBR pile. Mary Donnaely is another great writer of western stories.

  3. What a wonderful peek inside the head of Heather Blanton. I have made no secret about the fact that I love this series and I am hopeful that I will be reading her titles for years to come.


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