Delighted to welcome Linda Bradley as a guest writer today, sharing her research for her books in the Montana Bound series. Also there is an FREE offer on Maggie’s Way on BookBub and details of that later in the post.
Montana Bound by Linda Bradley
Montana Bound is more than the name of my book series telling the story of a middle-aged Midwestern woman finding her way.
When I began writing Maggie’s story, I knew she’d encounter a sprawling ranch alive with horses and cattle, a place much different than her suburban Michigan home. A faint childhood memory of being in the back of a 1972 Buick station wagon staring into the blue Montana skies prodded me to embed the beautiful land into my work.
My first research trip took me to Gallatin Gateway, Montana. My twenty-two-year-old son was my travel companion and just as eager for the adventure. We chose Bozeman as our destination, then packed our bags. I knew I had to ride with the wranglers, experience a chuck wagon, and explore the land to connect with its history and the hearts of my characters.
When my son and I arrived, it was close to midnight. We had no idea of the terrain on the hour drive ahead of us. When I’d called ahead to confirm our stay at the 320 Guest Ranch, the receptionist assured me that the animals would all be sleeping at that hour, and the drive was easy. I chuckled to myself thinking about mountain roads and deep gorges. As the door of the plane opened, the aroma of sage drifted in, and I knew I’d chosen somewhere special to write about even though its beauty was blanketed in darkness.
As we drove away from the airport, the eyes of a bobcat shone into our headlights, then it scurried into the tall grass. Without hesitation, I rolled down the windows and listened to the stillness. The rambling sound of a river running wild was the music we traveled to. My nerves settled, and the drive was peaceful. I knew if I had the courage to navigate the unknown road ahead, Maggie would surely find her happy ending, too.
In the morning, mountains dotted with Quarter Horses and wildflowers welcomed us. I couldn’t wait to meet the people who’d share their knowledge and experiences with me. Sure, I’d done some reading about the land, Montana demographics, and history, but no article connected me to its rich life like the wranglers I met along the way and the excursions on horseback. Talking to the trail guides and wranglers taught me more than I ever expected. The conversations seeded a personal foundation, much more meaningful than any book or article.
Image Linda Bradley
I’d inquired about the cattle in Western Montana and was informed that most cattle lived in the eastern part of the state due to the terrain. One wrangler I chatted with tipped his hat and said, “But you’ll find the Ancient White Park on the other side of this mountain ridge.” Our trip didn’t allow time to make the trek, so I booked another trip the following summer and stayed at the B BAR Ranch where the cattle thrive. I didn’t realize there was such a breed and quickly grew fascinated by their Celtic roots. They were brought to the states prior to World War II as a preventative measure because Nazi troops were expected to invade. After being herded to different parts of the states and Canada, the cattle found their way to Montana.
Their migration and hard road to survival prodded me to cast them as the 617 Ranch’s main staple. For me, the history of these great heifers parallels the struggles of humanity. They symbolize strength and pure intention.
Researching Montana was more than an opportunity to learn about the setting in my Montana Bound Series. The trek brought me closer to my characters. While discovering their roots, I learned a few things about myself. The experience was much like reading a great book. I was hooked. I wanted more blue sky, more sunshine, more adventures on horseback, more huckleberry jam, more wildflowers, and more tales about the men who planted rosebushes in the hills to mark their treasures of gold.
Not only was my main character, Maggie Abernathy, Montana Bound, so was I.
Image Linda Bradley.
©Linda Bradley 2019
About Linda Bradley
Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments, thus creating avenues for readers to connect with her characters.
About Maggie’s Way
Middle-aged, Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.
One of the reviews for the book on Goodreads
Maggie’s just been hit with a summer full of middle age life’s worst surprises: breast cancer, finding out her the love of her life husband is gay, divorce and a needy seven year old whirlwind moving in next door. On top of all of this Maggie realizes that she has compromised her own dreams away and now is time to figure out what she wants while battling cancer and being tired from radiation treatments. This is not a depressing read, it’s actually a romance novel with a probable happily ever after. There is another book that continues Maggie’s journey that I haven’t read yet, but this one feels complete
The book is FREE at Book Bub until July 2nd: https://www.bookbub.com/books/maggie-s-way-by-linda-bradley?ebook_deal
Also by Linda Bradley
Read all the reviews and buy the series: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Bradley/e/B00JUIS2FS
And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Linda-Bradley/e/B00JUIS2FS
Read more many reviews and follow Linda on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6498473.Linda_Bradley
Connect to Linda
Linda would love your feedback and questions.
Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure you have enjoyed visiting Montana as much as I have, and I hope you will take up the offer for Maggie’s Way.