Meet Texas Trails Series Author Vickie McDonough

Hello Fiction Fans,

Our acquisitions Editor Deb Keiser interviewed Texas Trails author Vickie McDonough. She wrote Long Trail Home, book 3 of the 6 book series, and you can look for it in November.

Tell us about yourself. Who is Vickie McDonough?

I’m a wife of almost thirty-six years, mother of four grown sons (one married) and grandma to a smart, feisty five-year-old girl. I’ve lived in Oklahoma all of my life except for a year when I was newly married and my husband and I lived on a kibbutz in Israel. I’ve always been a reader and loved Christian fiction when it came on the scene back in the 1980s. I never dreamed then that I’d one day write a book, especially since English was one of my least favorite classes way back when I was in school.
Besides reading, I love traveling, watching movies (especially romance and adventure ones), and gardening. I am currently serving as the national treasure for the American Christian Fiction Writers group.

You’ve had 23 books published. How do you come up with new and fresh ideas after writing so many books?

Ideas come from everywhere—a line in a movie, something I read in a book, a newspaper article, asking “what if?” question.
Coming up with the initial story idea isn’t usually too hard, but fleshing it out and developing it so that it’s different from my other books can be challenging. That’s where brainstorming with my critique partners is a huge help. Each person sees situations from a different angle and offers a different perspective, which helps me come up with new predicaments for my characters.

How do you balance family with writing?

Fortunately, my boys are all grown, although several still live at home. When I have pressing deadlines, it’s every man for himself. We eat lots of take-out and the house isn’t as clean as normal, but guys don’t care too much about the house, as long as their belly is full. My husband often works long hours too, so it works for us.

What’s a typical writing day like for you?

There is no typical day. I try to start writing or working on edits by ten a.m. but it varies. I’m primary caregiver to my mom and also babysit my granddaughter most weeks, so I have to work around time with them. On days when a deadline is looming, I may work until the wee hours of the morning, taking breaks to read emails, take my puppy outside, and to grab a meal or snack. 

Long Trail Home is the third of six books in the Texas Trails series. Texas Trails is unique in that it features three different authors. How did you connect with fellow authors Susan Page Davis and Darlene Franklin?

Our agent was the one who thought up the idea of three authors working together on a series and brought the three of us together. Sue and I have worked on several projects together before and were already friends. I knew Darlene online and from a writers’ group that we’re both members of. The three of us got together online and brainstormed different ideas for this series and came up with the generational story of the Morgan family that incorporates tidbits of Texas history.

What were the special challenges of writing a series with other authors?

Each of us had our own ideas for the series, and at one time or another, had to compromise to make it all work. It was a give and take situation, but I think the end product turned out fabulous and that readers will love it.

What did you enjoy most about writing Long Trail Home?

I enjoyed writing Annie’s spunky character, but I think I liked even more seeing Riley heal from his internal wounds and find love. I have a son who is a soldier in Egypt, so I suppose that’s why I enjoyed seeing my fictional soldier make peace with God and find love.

Your heroine lived at the Wilcox School for the Blind. Was that a real facility?

No, it was strictly fictional. Originally, I’d planned to use the actual Asylum for the Blind in Austin for my story, but when doing additional research I discovered the school closed during the Civil War and didn’t reopen until several years later. In fact, George Custer used that building for his headquarters when he was stationed in Austin. 

Riley Morgan faced several big losses and was angry with God for a time, but renewed faith in God helped him to move on. Has there ever been a time in your life where you had to cling to your faith?

Yes, there have been several times. During the past three years, my husband has been laid off four times and has gone months without a job. I could have gotten upset and worried all the time, but I chose to trust that God would take care of us and open another door. Even though my husband was off work so much, we never got behind on our bills or went without the things we needed. PLT! Sometimes trusting God comes down to making a choice to just do it, and then to keep doing it.

What’s next for the Morgan family?

A Ranger’s Trail by Darlene Franklin is the fourth book in the Texas Trails series. Here’s the blurb: When Leta Denning’s husband is killed by the German mob at the beginning of the Hoo Doo War, she vows to seek vengeance on his behalf. William Meino “Buck” Morgan, one of the Texas Rangers called in to quell the violence, has ties to one of the German families. Will Leta’s quest for vengeance keep her from discovering love the second time around?

Well, now that you have met all three of the authors for the Texas Trails Series, pick up books 1 and 2, Lone Star Trail, and Captive Trail, and keep an eye out for number 3, Long Trail Home in November.

  1. I love your book cover, Vickie! Actually I love all three of them, Darlene’s and Susan’s. They did a terrific job. I have to say that your comment about caregiver to your mother and babysitting your grandbaby was very encouraging. I’m keeping my grandbaby at least once a week and am dealing with aging parents. It’s encouraging to know you can write as many books as you do with what you have on your plate. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I am reading this book right now and it is so good. Love the characters.

  3. This book sounds wonderful, Vickie! Can’t wait to read it!

  4. Thanks, Debbie! I’m glad to know you like the cover. I think they turned out great, and I’m anxious to see the ones for the second set of books. You can do it all–write, caregiving, and babysitting. It takes some heavy leaning on God and encouragement from friends at time, but it can be done.

    Thanks, Margaret! I’m glad you’re enjoying the book. And as you know, your one of those friends I lean on them most.

    Thanks, Janet! I think readers will love this series.

  5. I read the manuscript of The Long Trail Home, and it is a wonderful read. You’ll want to read it.

  6. Thanks, Lena! I so appreciate your endorsement.

    • Carol Cox
    • August 25th, 2011

    Vickie, I’ll second Debbie’s comment about the cover. It’s beautiful, and I can’t wait to read the book!

  7. Sounds like a good series.
    Will definitely be looking for the book.

  8. Can’t wait to read this, Vickie. The cover is so good. I’ll look for it.

  9. Vickie, I am so excited about your new book! The whole series sounds wonderful. I love the concept of having three authors take on two books each. Best of luck to you!

  10. Vickie, You’re such a good writer. You deserve every success. Cheers, Jackie King

  11. Congratulations, Vickie, on 23 novels published! Riley sounds like a fascinating character. I’ve just started reading Western romance and I will have to get this.

  12. The story sounds great. I love wounded heroes who have to deal with tough stuff from the past. Writing a series with two other talented authors sounds like it’s been a lot of fun.

  13. Awesome book, and I love the cover!!

  14. I, too, read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course Waco is very close to my heart and Vickie did a great job portraying the town in her time period. I love the cover. This is a great series, and you don’t want to miss it.

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