Tag Archives: Romance Writers

Dorothy Garlock – Mother Road

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Paving her way to Success

A Talk with Bestselling author Dorothy Garlock

By Jody Ewing
July 17, 2003

Dorothy Garlock

Dorothy Garlock

Author Dorothy Garlock has paved her way to success, though the byways she traveled to get there were not always clearly marked. The route that put her books in print turned out to be as promising as the roads of which she writes.

“My husband wanted to go south with a trailer behind a pick-up like people do,” says Garlock, a Clear Lake resident and veteran newspaper reporter. “So I quit my job and we went down there, but it was so boring and there wasn’t anything to do except shuffleboard and potlucks. So I got this old typewriter and I just started writing for my own pleasure.”

She wrote a whole book that winter, and when they came home in the spring, she keep on writing. Once she’d finished the fourth book, she entered one in a contest for unpublished writers.

“An agent was one of the judges,” she says. “He called and said, ‘Do you mind if I sell your book?’ and I said, ‘No, and I’ve got three more.’ So I sent them and he sold them and I’ve been writing on contract ever since.”

Twenty-five years later, Garlock has more than 45 novels published in 15 languages, making her one of the world’s favorite novelists. Known for romances that feature the backdrop of the Old West, she depicts stories of passion, courage and dreams from America’s heartland.

Mother Road captures the spirit of rural Oklahoma on Route 66.

In her new novel “Mother Road,” she captures the spirit of rural Oklahoma in the first of a series of novels that are set in the 1930s on Route 66, the Depression’s famed road to the Golden West.

Defining Romance

Though Garlock’s books are classified as romance, the author says she didn’t intend to pen romance books. Back then, she says, everything was either fiction or non-fiction. Publishers finally settled on romance, which suited Garlock just fine.

“Most everything in the world is romance,” she says. “Romance of the road, romance of the forest – it doesn’t just mean love affairs.” It also includes the Depression, a major theme in Garlock’s recent works.

When I first started writing about the Depression people would say, “Why do you want to write about such a dark, dreary period?” but we didn’t consider it so dark and dreary because everybody was in the same boat,” says Garlock. “You made do with what you had.”

“Mother Road” finds Route 66 busy with the desperate farmers whose lives have been devastated by drought, and the dreamers seeking a new life in California.

On a hot summer day in 1932, trouble and salvation come to Andy Connors, whose garage serves travelers along the highway. The trouble is major: a bite from a rabid skunk, yet salvation comes in the form of Yates, a stranger whose life Andy once saved. When Yates stays on to help Andy’s family – two daughters and Leona, an unmarried woman living openly with her sister’s widowed husband” he’s soon caught in the turmoil of gossip and threats.

“I have always been interested in Route 66, and people from Oklahoma really idolize it,” says Garlock, a native Texan who says she was “raised in Oklahoma City, married a Yankee and moved to Iowa.” Growing up, her family talked a lot about the Depression. Her books, she says, are aimed at making sure people don’t forget that time.

Advice from Louis L’Amour

Though she’d never written a novel until she retired from reporting, Garlock says ideas were never a problem. Nor has she questioned her craft as a storyteller. Early in her career she met writer Louis L’Amour, who gave her invaluable advice.

“I asked him, ‘What do you contribute to your success?'” she says of the late best-selling western author. ‘He said the fact that he wrote short sentences, short paragraphs and he told as much of the plot as he could in dialogue. And, that if he used a big word and could find a smaller one to take its place, he would put in the smaller word so the reader’s eye would travel fast across each line.”

That advice paid off. With more than 15 million copies of her own books now in print, Garlock is a seven-time New York Times extended list best-seller in mass market. Yet success hasn’t changed the grandmother who responds to all reader mail.

“I realize I’m not a great literary writer,” says Garlock, who admits she has taken only one writing class and wasn’t impressed with it. ‘Some people will write a book and get it published and think they’re the next Margaret Mitchell. I’m just a storyteller and like homey, down-to-earth characters, everyday people who have everyday problems and solve their problems with dignity. I’m not trying to give them a history lesson. I just want to entertain, if for a little while.”

Visit Dorothy’s website at: www.dorothygarlock.com


Dorothy Garlock – Hope’s Highway

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Out for revenge on Hope’s Highway

By Jody Ewing
March 25, 2004

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Hope’s Highway is available in bookstores and with most online booksellers.

It’s quite a motley crew for the road: 23-year-old Margie Kinnard and her bitter, mean-spirited father, a loving couple and their blind son, who has ambitions to sing on the radio, a man whose wife will flirt with anything in pants and a rough-hewn rancher delivering his niece to relatives.

The cavalcade of characters have two things in common – they’re traveling together by a caravan of trucks on their way to California, and they’re targeted by robbers at a campground and later stalked by a homicidal maniac out to get revenge.

It all happens on “Hope’s Highway,” the much-anticipated second novel in Dorothy Garlock’s Depression-era trilogy set along Route 66. It is the national bestselling romance author’s 47th book.

“I really liked writing this one,” said the Clear Lake, Iowa, resident who began her book-writing career 23 years ago. “There’s a woman in the caravan who’s dysfunctional and she causes a lot of trouble. But it’s really Margie Kinnard’s story. You met her when she stopped at Andy’s Station in Mother Road.”

Margie’s dream of going to Hollywood all but vanishes when a conniving boyfriend abandons her and steals her money. Yet help arrives from an expected source – Margie’s ornery, antagonist father who is headed for the Golden State to start his life anew. On their way from Springfield, Missouri to Gallup, New Mexico, they hook up with the others for companionship and protection, but when one of them ends up dead it’s clear a vicious pair is stalking all of them.

Dorothy GarlockA veteran newspaper reporter, Garlock conducts extensive research for her novels and admits to being an avid mystery buff.

“I love reading, and love mysteries,” she says. “I live my story as I’m writing it.”

The mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother also keeps many of her stories alive via recipes from her Old West novels that she posts on her website. In what she calls “food for your imagination,” she presents them just as they were passed among the settlers, and also includes the equivalents of modern measurements.

“Marian Clark’s Route 66 Cookbook is a real good one,” she says of her current trilogy research. “I also have old dated cookbooks, and some of the old Foxfire books.”

The recipes range from Fried Venison Steak to one of Garlock’s favorites – Everyday Cake from Midnight Blue – and posting them on her webpage is only part of accommodating her readers. Even with more than 20 million books in print, Garlock still answers her e-mail and when readers ask, she listens.

“Readers have requested more of the Jones books, so after this [Route 66 series] is finished with Song of the Road in June, I’ll go back to working with the Jones family from The Edge of Town series,” she says. “I do take my readers into consideration, and they’ve picked Jack and Joe Jones.”

Visit Dorothy’s website at: www.dorothygarlock.com.