The Wait Is Almost Over
After years of breathing life into Emily and Caleb, they are finally ready to take the leap into the literary world in my debut novel, Till My Last Breath. As Betty D. might say, “It’s been a bumpy ride.” Still, during all this time, I never fell out-of-love with my characters.
My story took its first breath as a challenge at a writer’s conference in Seattle in 2013. The first draft was written over a two-week vacation. Then, it sat untouched on the shelf in my home office for far too long. I’d pull it out, take a look at it, and unwittingly repeat the famous Margaret Mitchell quote from Gone With the Wind, “I can’t think about that today, I’ll worry about that tomorrow.” All-the-while, Emily, and Caleb waited patiently in a three-ring binder for their lives to unfold on paper. I could only dream that at some point, I would be able to type these words, “The End.”
This is where their story begins . . .
“Emily Sweeney, MD, is a vibrant young trauma physician at a major Seattle medical center who is tragically taken from the comfort of her 21st Century life. Suddenly, dropped into the 1880s unforgiving frontier, she is determined to survive, or die all over again. Using her knowledge and skills as a physician, she struggles to save a stranger in the desert hills of the Arizona Territory. In the end, can she return to her previous life and leave behind the man she’s come to love?
Caleb Young, a once-prominent Boston attorney in 1880, is haunted by his past filled with lies and deception. Hoping to outrun his demons, he willingly leaves his privileged life behind. Heading straight into unforeseen trouble, he is shot for revenge and left to die in the desert hills. Now, dependent on a beautiful woman who appears out of nowhere using her hands and heart to save him, will he finally have a reason to live.”
Two lives forged out of truth and trust, can their love survive, or will it take its last breath?
Why did I choose Arizona for the setting of my story?
I’ve been asked that several times. In the beginning, I really didn’t know why. Having been to Arizona many times, I realized that I chose the 1880s Arizona Territory because of its grittiness and raw beauty. Men and women who lived during this time, amongst the barren yet picturesque panorama, struggled daily to survive the hardships, lawlessness, and often unforgiving landscape. It was that survival instinct that drove my character’s story forward.
Author Quotes about “Till My Last Breath”
Kathleen Morris, Award Winning Author of Lily of the West. “Till My Last Breath checks all the boxes: a western with action, adventure, and great characters, including upright heroes and evil villains, but most of all, the passionate tale of Caleb and Emily, time-crossed lovers who defy history itself to be together. An entertaining page-turner from Deborah Swenson.”
Julia Bricklin, Multi-Award Winning Author of The Notorious Life of Ned Buntline, A Tale of Murder, Betrayal, and the Creation of Buffalo Bill. “I love all the characters” and “I love that Caleb reminds me of the Jack Reacher character in Lee Child’s books – a loner, but sure of where he wants to be and when!”
In early 2018, I found a quote by author Richard Bach that read, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.“ Well, I never considered quitting, I was just dragging my feet with that nagging self-doubt that writers sometimes face. Then I asked myself, “What do you really know about writing fiction?” Back then, my answer was, “Not much.” But that didn’t stop me when later in 2018, I attended what would be my first Women Writing the West Conference in Walla Walla, Washington, led by then-President, Carmen Peone. It was three days of getting to know amazing women and listening to the stories behind their writing careers and learning more about the craft. It was here I met Krista Rolfzen Soukup, with Blue Cottage Agency, who would become my friend, cheerleader, and publicist. Attending the conference was the nudge I so desperately needed. The once dormant, yet creative right side of my brain, was screaming to get back home and finish Till My Last Breath.
To say it has been easy, absolutely not. It has been a very long journey to get to this point. I have many people to thank for their support and encouragement, especially family and friends, including my beta readers Jean Pennington, who told me to ‘Cowgirl-up and finish the book’ and Pam Nelson. Along the way, I have learned so much about the skills of writing, formatting, editing, re-writing, re-editing, and various forms of publishing from very knowledgeable and encouraging writers, like Julia Bricklin, Jane Little Botkin, and Kathleen Morris. Editors Anne Victory of Victory Editing, and Denise McAllister. And, Kelly Lydick of The Story Laboratory.
Expected Release date: Fall, 2020.
Stay tuned for the cover reveal.
Thank you, and please feel free to leave comments. I look forward to reading and answering them. Subscribe below to my Newsletter.
Photography by D.Swenson