Davalynn Spencer is an award-winning journalist who contributes a column to the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys, as well as the Cañon City Daily Record, her local newspaper. She also teaches writing at a community college and often speaks at conferences, retreats, and women’s events. Davalynn’s most recent Heartsong Presents novel, The Rancher’s Second Chance, released earlier this month.
She and her husband make their home in Colorado.
Read a previous interview with Davalynn here.
Let’s talk about The Rancher’s Second Chance (Heartsong Presents/Steeple Hill, August 2013). Please tell us about it.
Laura Bell and her mother moved from their country home when Laura’s father died. Laura left behind not only memories of her dad and their hilltop acreage, but also the rancher’s boy across the fence and all her hero-worshipping, twelve-year-old heart. When she returns a dozen years later after a failed engagement, that boy, Eli Hawthorne III, is still there. Laura moves back into her old family home with no expectations and a deep desire to heal. But Eli keeps showing up outside and in her thoughts. He has his own wounds to deal with, deep scars from his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Scars and identity are themes in the story, as is God’s promise to make all things new if we let Him.
What sparked your interest in writing Western Romance novels?
The first book I wrote was a romantic-suspense with a cowboy/deputy hero and it just came naturally to cast the next book, Rancher, with a cowboy. I fell in love with and married a cowboy years ago, and life has been a rodeo ever since. I don’t know if it was the dark eyes, the cowboy hat, or the smell of hay on his chest when he came in from his part-time job at the feedlot. Maybe it was the combination of those things and his love for the Lord that won me over.
You’re also a writing instructor at a community college. What is the most important thing you feel you can teach your students? What have you learned from them?
Communication is key, and to enjoy communicating is to make it a golden key. I try to instill a love of words by showing students the great oddities, contradictions, challenges, and just plain fun that words offer. A community college is full of people of all ages and backgrounds. Some are fresh out of high school, some are single parents of toddlers, and others are grandparents in their 50s. One thing they all have in common is a dream—they’re working hard to better themselves, improve their situation, and provide for their families. In them I see the determination to not give up, and that encourages me to keep going in my own pursuits.
What role have “detours” played in your—or one of your character’s—spiritual journey?
Serious financial setbacks and family health issues a couple of years ago forced me to evaluate what really mattered in life. Would I trust God or not? I know it sounds cliché, but when one is faced with losing everything, priorities fall into place like tumblers in a combination lock. I really could lose everything, including my physical life. But if I have Jesus, I have hope of an eternity with Him. Yes, I’m preaching to the choir here, but rediscovering this after living all my life as a believer simply reconfirmed my faith. The Lord’s love and grace can never be taken away. On top of it all, He brought my family out of that hard place and met every single one of our needs. His faithfulness is beyond explanation.
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Bacon. I could put on a doggy suit and easily be the mutt that goes wacko for bacon-flavored treats on television commercials. I love crisp, fried bacon. And chocolate-mint-chip ice cream. Just not together.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
I play keys on our church’s worship team and it’s one of my favorite things to do. I love worship music and the Lord has allowed me to play and lead worship for more than twenty years in various settings including women’s retreats and Cowboy Church at rodeos. What a blessing! Give me a guitar or a piano (with my bacon) and I’m in heaven.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I would be easy-listening contemporary Christian music.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I know the answer won’t be high heels because I’m too fond of my cowboy boots. The girl next door fits me best, but I’ve been thrust into the role of strong, female lead a couple of times during physical family crises. Not my favorite place to be, but God’s grace is sufficient. Mysterious? I wish.
When you were here last time, you told us about your dog Blue. Did he inspire the canine character on the cover of The Rancher’s Second Chance?
No, he didn’t, and when my husband saw the cover for Rancher he said he and Blue should have been there, not some stranger with a golden retriever! But Goldie from the book grew in my heart just like the human characters of the story. I’m so glad the cover designers included her in the art work. But I’ll let you in on a secret: one of Blue’s offspring makes a cameo appearance in the book and you can see her on my Pinterest board for Rancher.
Thanks, Davalynn! It’s great to have you back at DivineDetour.
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For more information about Davalynn Spencer, visit her website.
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