An award-winning writer and frequent conference speaker, Shirley Raye Redmond has 27 books and over 400 magazine and newspaper articles. Most of her children’s books are nonfiction on American history topics. Even her novels, including Rosemary’s Glove and Stone of the Sun, have a strong emphasis on history. She’s been married for 38 years and has two grown children, an adorable 9-year-old grandson and a “silly” Scottish terrier named Duncan McPiddle.
Welcome back to my blog, Shirley. Please tell us about this sweet romance.
I love my opening sentence: “She’d witnessed a murder—or so she’d been told—and nothing would ever be the same again.” It sets a tone of intrigue, don’t you think? Finding out that she witnessed her own father's murder is a shock, but when April Cortes receives a letter from the grandmother she hasn't seen since she was five, she knows she must make peace with her past. The mysterious summons to her grandmother's sprawling Arizona ranch is irresistible. Collie Cortes relates the family's ancestral history, including the legend of the Stone of the Sun, an ancient Aztec heirloom that was stolen at the time of April's father's death.
Collie also confides that someone—maybe someone on the ranch—is trying to kill her. April hates to believe it's anyone she's growing close to, but she has already lost too much at this ranch and has no intention of letting anything end her new relationship with her grandmother. She will not drop her guard—not even for the handsome Del Spurgeon. If she does, she might not be around to ensure her grandmother's safety.
Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?
When visiting my parents in Arizona some years ago, they took me to see a reenactment of the shootout at the O.K. corral in Tombstone. The gunfire was loud and the injuries appeared realistic. One gunman was stretched out on the roof of a building across from where I stood. He aimed his rifle and shot one of the re-enactors in the street. I thought to myself at the time what a clever way to actually murder someone—during a reenactment when the spectators would be expecting to see people “die.” No one would realize until the killer had escaped, that the “dead person” was not acting!
You’re right. No one would even know. What kind of research did you do for this book?
I did some research on the conquistador Hernando Cortes and his Aztec mistress so that I could come up with a believable back-story for the heirloom, the Stone of the Sun, and I’ve spent considerable time in Sierra Vista, Arizona, where the novel takes place.
I think it’s interesting when authors add real life situations to their stories. Did you put real experiences in this book?
Oh, yes. Everything April does in Tombstone—touring the Wells Fargo
Museum, drinking a sarsaparilla and riding a stagecoach—I did when I was there. And the scene that takes place in Ramsey Canyon while April and her grandmother are watching the hummingbirds actually happened when my mother took me there.
I hope your readers will read the novel and enjoy it. If your readers have any questions or comments, they may contact me at my website at www.shirleyrayeredmond.com. I’d love to hear from them.
Thank you, Shirley, for this great interview. This book sounds very intriguing.