Monday, July 12, 2010

Journey to the Seasons of the Tallgrass by Deborah Vogts

 Today I have a special guest, Deborah Vogts, who is the author of Seasons of the Tallgrass series from Zondervan.  Deborah Vogts and her husband have three daughters and make their home in Southeast Kansas where they raise and train American Quarter Horses. As a student at Emporia State University studying English and journalism, Deborah developed a love for the Flint Hills that has never faded. In writing this series, she hopes to share her passion for one of the last tallgrass prairie regions in the world, showing that God’s great beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.


Journey to the Seasons of the Tallgrass 

by Deborah Vogt
 In April 2008, I received “the phone call” from my agent, Rachelle Gardner, that Zondervan had made an offer on the Seasons of the Tallgrass, a contemporary romance series set in the Flint Hills of Kansas—a place I dearly love. My long-held dream had finally arrived—my prayers had been answered. But the story didn’t begin there…it began many years ago when I attended Emporia State University and took a summer course called Flint Hills Folklore.

 Along with classroom study, we took field trips into the heart of the Flint Hills and visited with old-time ranchers, schoolmarms and post-mistresses. It was such a delightful experience, especially our drives into the pastures. We would get on these back roads and drive over pasture guards into the open range. We would travel for miles without seeing another car or even an electric line—just pure, native prairie. That summer, I fell in love with the Flint Hills and it has stayed with me all this time, finally culminating in the contemporary romance series, the Seasons of the Tallgrass.



 My first book, Snow Melts in Spring, begins when a horse is terribly injured. Right off, I had to know technical terminology and had to create a scene that was accurate and believable. To get it right, I contacted a handful of veterinarians, asked them a bunch of detailed questions all the way down to possible accident scenarios, which would create the type of injuries required for the story. I even shadowed one small animal vet for a day in order to get a feel for what a "day in the life" might look like for my character who was also a vet.

My hero in this book is an NFL quarterback, so I also had to know something about football. For this research, I went to the children's section of the library and checked out an armload of books. I also watched a lot of football games on television and asked my football-loving friends and family hundreds of questions--all so I could write two or three scenes with authenticity.


On one of my many road trips into the Flint Hills, my husband and I stayed at the Clover Cliff Ranch, a Bed & Breakfast owned by Jim and Joan Donahue. This place became the basis for the McCray's Lightning M Ranch.






 For Seeds of Summer, which released the end of May, I learned about the Miss Rodeo America competition because my main character, Natalie Adams is a former Miss Rodeo Kansas and first runner up Miss Rodeo America. My research for this story included visiting with those at the Miss Rodeo America headquarters, as well as interviewing and questioning the current MRA at that time, Miss Amy Wilson, Miss Rodeo America 2008.






The highlight of this research occurred when I met and visited Amy at her home in Colby, KS. Amy was a joy to work with and is such a lovely person. My visit to her home was an unexpected blessing, as she shared some special moments from her time as Miss Rodeo Kansas and then as Miss Rodeo America.

I learned that Miss Rodeo America has a host of sponsors who shower their queen with lovely gifts, some of which include: a wardrobe of Wrangler Jeans, Justin Boots, Bailey Hats, fully tooled Court’s Saddle with custom Miss Rodeo America conchos and an official Miss Rodeo America trophy buckle from Montana Silversmiths. Accompanying the perpetual Miss Rodeo America tiara made by Landstrom’s Original Black Hills Gold Creations, Amy was given a wardrobe of matching jewelry. These items, along with other prizes were presented to her throughout her reign.

To see some pictures of these items, please visit my blog post HERE.

Crystal again:
I love this series and invite you to pick up both books so far. You won't be disappointed. I loved hearing how Deborah went about gathering her research, as well as seeing how she was inspired to develop these stories.




Seeds of Summer by Deborah Vogts
Zondervan, ISBN 978-0-310-29276-0, Christian Romance, $10.99.


When opposites attract, sparks fly--like an electrical malfunction. That's what happens when former rodeo queen Natalie Adams meets the new pastor in Diamond Falls. A heart-warming contemporary romance set in the Flint Hills of Kansas where a former rodeo queen abandons her dreams in order to care for her deceased father’s ranch and her two half-siblings, only to realize with the help of a young new pastor that God can turn even the most dire circumstances into seeds of hope.

Spanning the Seasons of the Tallgrass, each story in this series reveals the struggle of the people who live there and the dreams they have for the land until they come full-circle in a never-ending cycle, just as man comes full-circle in his understanding of God.


Visit Deborah at her web site: http://deborahvogts.com
Or her Country at Heart blog: http://deborahvogts.blogspot.com 

5 comments:

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Crystal & Deborah -

Wow! I enjoyed reading how Deborah conceived and produced these books.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Shawna Williams said...

Deborah, this sounds like a wonderful series. Sounds like you had fun researching the books too. Congratulations to you, and God bless.
Shawna

Jo said...

What a great series. I enjoyed reading the interview.

Blessings,
Jo
ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

Deborah Vogts said...

Hi Crystal! Thanks so much for having me on your blog. The research for this series has been such fun. Many blessings to you & your readers!

Jan Marie said...

What a great interview! Thanks for providing an overview of what goes into the research necessary in order to make a book believable and accurate.

Deborah and Crystal, may God bless both of you as you continue in His service.