Thursday, June 23, 2016

Charlene Raddon, author of Western Historical Romance

My guest today is Charlene Raddon, whose stories are written to keep the Old West alive. Her first serious attempt at writing fiction came in 1980 when a vivid dream drove her to drag out a typewriter and begin writing. Her career began on a high note as a Golden Heart finalist. She’s been writing ever since. 

Because of a love for romance novels and the Wild West, her primary genre is historical romance. At present, she has five books originally published by Kensington Books and now with Tirgearr Publishing. 

In May, 2016 Charlene became an Indie, self-publishing her ebooks with new covers. Charlene also designs book covers and other graphic materials for authors.

Today, Charlene is sharing with us how she did her research for To Have and To Hold. She'll be giving away two copies of the eBook so be sure and leave a comment with your email.

From Charlene:
The research an author does and how she uses it can make or break a book. I love finding and using details from my research. Details that bring a story to life.With To Have and To Hold, I had help, a friend who had been born in a dugout at the entrance of the canyon and knew the area well. Not Deception Canyon, the location of my story, but the real one I used as the setting—Nine-Mile Canyon in eastern Utah.
Nine Mile Canyon

Nine-Mile is a fabulous, high-cliffed, twisted, rugged slit of a canyon that runs forty miles to dead-end at the juncture of Nine-Mile Creek and the Green River. Fremont Indian ruins and petroglyphs abound there. It is a country of sagebrush and sandstone, carved and shaped by water, and inhabited by the native people who lived and died there as well as the pioneers who later settled the land.

My husband and I traveled the length of the canyon, exploring the side-shoots, the rock formations, the petroglyphs, and ruins. As we drove and hiked and explored, To Have and To Hold formed in my head. What better location for a tough, strong-minded woman to be abandoned with her two small children?

Tempest Whitney made a poor choice in husbands. Skeet Whitney was handsome but also weak. A gambler and a dreamer, not a doer. After a flashflood had washed away their cabin, he took what money they had, went for supplies, and never came back.

Left alone, Tempest did the only thing she could; rebuild. She used what materials were available; bits and pieces of the ruined cabin, a shovel, and the dirt of an old embankment above the water—a dugout, gouged out of the earth like a badger hole. All while caring for two youngsters. Not easy. Tempest was tough. She had to be.

The hero, Buck Maddux, found Skeet dying of a bullet wound received while robbing an Army payroll wagon. Out of kindness, Buck stayed until Skeet took his last breath, moments before the posse arrived and arrested Buck as an accomplice.

Released from prison two years later, Buck keeps a promise to make sure Skeet’s widow and family are all right. He receives a poor welcome. Tempest has had enough problems with her neighbor, Jonas Creedy. She doesn’t need more from a stranger.

Another shot of Nine Mile Canyon

Buck prepares to leave the canyon but hears Jonas Creedy brag that Tempest is about to become his bride. None of Buck’s business. But he hates the idea of a woman like her being ground under the thumb of a bully like Creedy. Nor can he forget the sweet faces of Tempest’s little daughter and impish son. His decision to interfere brings him in a lot of trouble, but also love, and joy.

My friend told me of a small flagstone shack supposedly built by miners under attack by Indians. They sheltered in the hut and hid their gold nearby. It has never been found. How perfect, I thought. Buck and Tempest need that money to save her homestead. Naturally, it wouldn’t be easy. Not with Jonas Creedy gunning for them. 

The only town that exists in Nine-Mile Canyon is inside my head, and in my book.  Building a story from your imagination is like constructing a house out of toothpicks. Some fall and you have to start over, maybe several times. Some picks just don’t fit. But in the end, when it all comes together, you want to celebrate as if you’d built the Empire State Building.

Writing is a labor of love, and I thoroughly enjoyed creating Deception Canyon and peopling it with indomitable characters like Tempest Whitney and Buck Maddux. I hope my readers enjoy it as much as I did.

A woman without a prayer . . .

A widow with two children, Tempest Whitney has had to mortgage everything to repay the money her husband had stolen. But even as she struggles to hold onto her Utah homestead, a scheming rancher buys up her debts, demanding she either get off his land or marry him. Then a dark-haired stranger shows up, claiming to be her dead husband . . .

A man without a past . . .

Buck Maddux spent two years in jail for a crime he didn't commit. Now a deathbed promise has brought him to Tempest's homestead. A man without roots, he doesn't plan to stay—or to feel so fiercely protective of this feisty beauty he saves from a hated marriage of convenience. Suddenly, Buck years for a home, a family, a lasting love. But what can he offer Tempest? The surprising answer lies in the forbidding canyons of an ancient Anasazi tribe, where fortune and danger await—along with a passion more precious than gold…

Buy on Amazon. And the story of Buck’s missing half-brother, Whip Kincaid can be found in Charlene's book, The Scent of Roses.

Keep up with Charlene on her website, Facebook and at Silver Sage Bookcovers.


  1. Thank you so much, Regan, I appreciate your support.

  2. Hi Charlene--
    Thank you for sharing your research methods and approach behind TO HAVE AND TO HOLD. The setting is compelling, different, and the challenges Tempest and Buck face seem insurmountable (which always makes for a great story).

    1. Kristin, always so faithful and supportive. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  3. I have always enjoyed Historicals and Westerns in particular. As a child I watched classic Western films with heroes like Shane or Cheyenne Bodie. I later turned to books, for example those of Rosanne Bittner, highlighting the plight of the native American Indians, and Elizabeth Lowell.

    The genre seems to capture many of the best elements in romantic fiction with rugged heroes and strong heroines all set within stunning landscapes. I'm always on the look out for new authors and Charlene Raddon sounds another interesting one to explore!

    Thanks for visiting Charleen and for the fascinating introduction to your work.

    1. Quantum, I so appreciate your comment. Roseanne Bittner and Elizabeth Lowell have been great influences on me. I love their work. I would love to send you a book if you will provide your email address, please.

  4. Kristin and Quantum, you are Charlene's winners--Congratulations!--but we need your emails for your prizes. Please contact me on Facebook or send me a message at so Charlene can send you your book!