Wednesday, May 21, 2014

5 Secrets (What No One Knows About My Book)

Our guest author today is Heidi M.Thomas, who is going to share some tidbits about the writing of her book that no one knows--until today.

Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a working ranch in eastern Montana. She had parents who taught her a love of books and a grandmother who rode bucking stock in rodeos. Describing herself as “born with ink in her veins,” Heidi followed her dream of writing with a journalism degree from the University of Montana and later turned to her first love, fiction, to write her grandmother’s story.

Heidi’s first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, has won an EPIC Award and the USA Book News Best Book Finalist award. Follow the Dream, a WILLA Award winner, is her second book, and Dare to Dream is the third in the series about strong, independent Montana women.

Five Secrets About ‘Dream’ Series
1.Not too many of us can say we had a grandmother who competed on bucking stock in rodeos, but I can. Olive May “Tootsie” Bailey grew up riding alongside four brothers, naturally imitating what they did. Many women in the early 1900s did the same work as their fathers, brothers or husbands out of necessity. When the men got together for an impromptu contest to see who could rope the best or stay on the back of a bucking steer, bull or bronc the longest, some women said, “I can do that too.” My great aunts did not enjoy riding, but my grandmother was the tomboy in the family. I knew she loved riding more than anything else in the world, and we were able to spend time together on horseback.

2.In 1911 my great-grandparents, Charles and Ada Bailey, moved to Montana from Coeur d’Alene Idaho, after an expansion of the Homestead Act in 1909. They homesteaded about fifteen miles north of Cut Bank. That land is now owned by a Hutterite Colony (a religious group similar to the Amish or Mennonites).

3.My grandparents’ first home when they were married was a leased property between Cut Bank and Sunburst. When I began researching my first book, I went looking for that ranch. The only thing I know was that it was “the old Davis place under the rims.” After running down a number of leads, I finally located it, and to my delight, found the house still standing, although it was being used as a cattle shelter.

4.Although I never considered myself a “cowgirl,” I grew up on a ranch and rode my strawberry roan to help my dad gather cattle for branding, doctoring or shipping in the fall. I was never “horse crazy,” probably because it was part of the ranch chores I was required to do, but I did enjoy riding. I never aspired to rodeo, however, preferring not to try to ride an animal that was going to buck me off. I consider myself an “urban cowgirl,” now because as Dale Evans said, “Cowgirl is a state of mind.”

5.I share a common thread with my grandmother, which made it somewhat easier to write about the 1920s through the 1940s in my series. My parents moved onto a ranch and into a homestead house near Sand Springs, Montana in 1952. We had no electricity until I was six years old, no indoor bathroom until I was in high school, and our nearest neighbor was five miles away. We raised our own grass-fed beef, had a vegetable garden, and I started first grade in a one-room country school with four students total. I lived in a dormitory during the week to attend high school in the only town in the county, which was 35 miles away, without bus service.

Blurb from Dare to Dream:

Dare to Dream is the third novel in the “Dream” trilogy. Montana cowgirl Nettie Brady Moser has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles on the journey toward her dream of being a professional rodeo rider. In the 1920s she struggled against her family’s expectations and social prejudice against rodeo cowgirls. During the Great Depression, marrying Jake Moser and then raising their son took priority over rodeos. And then she was devastated by the death of her friend and mentor in a rodeo accident.
In the spring of 1941, Nettie Moser, now age 36, is regaining her heart and spirit, and she is determined to ride again at an event in Cheyenne, Wyoming. To her dismay, the male-dominated Rodeo Association of America enforces its rule barring women from riding rough stock and denies her the chance to ride. Her fury at the discrimination can’t change things for women—yet.

Based on the life of the author’s grandmother, who rode rough stock in Montana in the 1920s, this sweeping rodeo saga parallels the evolution of women’s rodeo from the golden years of the 1920s, producing many world champion riders, and shows its decline, beginning in the 1930s and ending with World War II in 1941.

To Buy Dare to Dream go to:!order-books/c71

You can find Heidi at:
My website:
My blog:
Thanks for checking out Heidi and her secrets. If you have any comments or questions, Heidi will be around to answer them today.
And don’t forget to check back next Thursday to find out even more author secrets about their book. 


  1. What a great post about your family's history. I love that your grandmother dared to defy the norm. :) I wish you all the best

    1. Thank you, Melissa. My grandmother and the women of that era were definitely ahead of their time!

  2. Wonderfully informative post, but so disheartening about Rodeo Assn. of America willingness to crush the dreams of women eager to ride rough stock. Life without passion isn't living, it is just existing. Dreams should be nurtured not destroyed.

    1. Yes, it was a difficult thing, especially when those women had worked so hard to achieve what they did.

  3. Great post...thanks for sharing your family history!