Saturday, March 23, 2013

VERNA CLAY, an amazing western writer

 Please Welcome Verna Clay today. 
I met Verna through a western site and was surprised to find she is a prolific writer of old west stories and romance with many books to her credit. 
I've asked her to appear on my blog today and she kindly agreed.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised, also. Please read on.
My interview with Verna

Lorrie, thank you for inviting me to your blog site; I love connecting with readers!

 When and why did you begin writing?

 I have always had an interest in writing, but other than creating stories for my high school English class, I didn't become serious about it until my late twenties. At that time, I tried my hand at song lyrics, poetry, and children's stories. I even won an honorable mention in a song lyric competition.

 However, because my children were small and I worked full time, as well as attended night school, I didn't have the energy or time to continue writing. It wasn't until I had an empty nest that I gave it another try.

 For a long time, I had toyed with an idea for a sci-fi fantasy before finally putting words to paper. I was diligent about writing every day…for about a week. After that, it was a struggle. Then, I made a pact with myself to write something daily, even if it was just one sentence. After a few months, lo and behold, I had a novella. I submitted the story to several publishers, got rejects, but one day opened an email with an acceptance. Needless to say, I was stoked. It took about a year before the ebook was published, but in the interim, I completed another story that was accepted by the same publisher, and two more accepted by another publisher.

 After those books were published, I began researching self-publishing and decided it was something I wanted to try. Now, twelve books later, I'm so happy I did.

 Do you have specific writing habits? What genre(s) do you write, and why?

 Most definitely. I write a minimum of a thousand words a day (four pages), seven days a week. If I'm aiming for a 60,000 words, I spend about two months writing and another month editing and refining. Of course, for my novellas, the timeframe is less. I can sometimes complete a novella in two months.

 My first stories were in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. After that, I tried contemporary westerns, which I loved, and created a series called Romance on the Ranch. Next, I dived into historic westerns, and loved that equally as well. After completing the Unconventional Series, I decided to start another historical western series (Finding Home), but with the added aspect of in-depth research. The first book, Cry of the West: Hallie, incorporated research on the Oregon Trail and also research on steam ships. And I must say it was challenging, but great fun. I am currently writing the second book which I have entitled Rescue on the Rio: Lilah. The Rio Grande River and surrounding area is now my research project.

 How do you decide the titles for your book(s)?

 Titles usually just pop into my head and I build a story around the title.

 Are there messages in your novel(s) that you want readers to grasp?

 I try to add a life lesson in all my stories. For example, Candy Kisses, the fourth book in the Romance on the Ranch Series, deals with bullies, and also the old adage: Don't judge a book by its cover. Other books have dealt with grief and loss, forgiveness, judgment, etc. Of course, the main component of all my stories is romance.

 Are experiences in your books based on people you know, or events in your own life?

 My characters are a blending of observations of many people. The same goes for events. I'm always observing and fusing what I see into my stories. However, the names of some of my characters often reflect the names of family or friends. It amuses my family and friends to unexpectedly find their names used in a story.

 If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

 I think Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a brilliant writer. She has mastered the romance genre and captivates you with her stories.

 What book(s) are you reading now?

 I have been reading a series called Vampire for Hire by self-published author J.R. Rain. The books are not my typical reading, but the synopsis was so intriguing I had to try them. Totally entertaining! I have also just downloaded Bev Pettersen's latest novel, Horses and Heroin. She writes great mystery/romance.

What are your current projects?

 Currently, I am writing the second book in the Finding Home Series which is Lilah: Rescue on the Rio.

 Quirky Questions:

 Favorite coffee or tea frou-frou drink.

 I love coffee drinks. Doesn't matter what they are--hot, cold, blended. Of course, along with the drink, I enjoy the atmosphere of kicking back at the coffee shop.

 Have you ever seen a UFO? Explain.

 Yes! Years ago, my husband and I were traveling through Arizona and saw some illuminated objects shaped like pencils descending through the clouds. Objects with mass would have sped downward rapidly because of gravity, but these things moved super slow. Finally, we couldn't see them anymore because of the cloud cover. It was really cool.
Ha, ha, ha, that was fun, Verna. I have to say you really put your nose to the grindstone writing all these books. What discipline you have. Can you lend me some?
Let's see the cover on the book you'd like to tell us about today.

In CRY OF THE WEST, recently widowed Hallie Wells is facing a difficult situation. The sudden demise of her husband after selling their farm and just about everything they owned to travel west on the Oregon Trail, has left her stranded with an eight year old son. Dare she ask Cooper Jerome, recently returned from the War of the States, if he would put his life on hold for, say, five months to drive her wagon; and that doesn't include his return trip. At this point, she's out of options.


"Mr. Jerome, would you be interested in driving my wagon to Oregon? I would pay you well."

Cooper blinked, forcing himself to look away from the pleading in her eyes. "Uh, well, ma'am..." He glanced back. She looked like she was about to cry. "Uh, ma'am, now that would take me away from my place through planting season and harvest, and longer." He dreaded her expression if he flat out refused.

"I would pay you whatever you would make during harvest and more." She blinked and brushed at a tear that kept welling up in one eye. "Mr. Jerome, I'm desperate. I have no home. I have no husband. I have no family to turn to. I have a young son to care for. And I have very little time to prepare before departure. The wagon train leaves the end of April. Believe me, if I were capable of driving the oxen myself, I would do so. But, as you can see, I am neither large, nor strong. I fear I would kill myself and my child. Besides, I doubt the train master would even allow me near the team after he saw me crack a whip." She gave a pathetic smile at her attempt at a joke.

Cooper forced his eyes away from hers and glanced down the street at the big SALOON sign. He wanted that drink. Stalling for time, he removed his Stetson, slapped it against his thigh, replaced it, scratched his neck, and finally met her gaze again. "Give me some time to think about it."
Oh my, this looks like a goody. Give us a buy site for this one.
Wherecan we find more of your books, Verna?


Verna's website

Readers, I peeked at Verna's Amazon page. She has many out that I'm sure you will enjoy. Take a gander at these.
Verna’s amazon page.
I don't impress easily, Verna, but I am impressed with all the books you have out.

And thank you again for being on my blog today. I wish you much success with your books. Keep them coming.

Readers, we love comments. Please leave yours for Verna, my brand new friend who I hope will come back soon for another visit.






  1. Oh, Verna, would that a title just pop in my head and then I write the story to go with it! You definitely know your story line before you write it. Lorrie asks interesting questions, but the UFO made me gasp. You answered it so well and you weren't even flustered!! Congratulations on your prolific and disciplined writing career.

  2. Oh Verna, you have such eye-catching covers for all your books. And this one looks fantastic. Both the excerpt and all.

    Thank you so much for agreeing to appear on my blog today. It's wonderful to have you.

  3. J Q: I'll never forget seeing the UFOs. We pulled to the side of the road and just watched, trying to make the sighting fit into what it logically could be. It never did. UFOs shaped like pencils! LOL. You had to have been there!

    Lorrie: First off, thank you for inviting me to your blog! It's been a pleasure connecting with you. And thank you for the compliment on my book covers. I agonize over the covers as much as the stories. The "Kisses" and "Shapeling" series' covers were designed by the very talented Elaina Lee. The most recent covers I did myself because I love the whole book writing process. I want to experience it all. It took awhile, but I finally figured out how to design a cover in Microsoft Front Page. Now, I happily try my hand at creating them. If I'm not satisfied, I know Elaina can design exactly what I want.