Saturday, July 24, 2010

How Do You Do the Research Needed for Your Book? See What Deborah Vogts Has to Say...

We're pleased to share Deborah Vogts with you in the next few days here at the blog. Deborah and her husband have three daughters and make their home in Southeast Kansas where they raise and train American Quarter Horses. As a student at Emporia State University studying English and journalism, Deborah developed a love for the Flint Hills that has never faded. In writing this series which you will learn about this week, she hopes to share her passion for one of the last tallgrass prairie regions in the world, showing that God’s great beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.

Journey to the Seasons of the Tallgrass
by Deborah Vogts

In April 2008, I received “the phone call” from my agent, Rachelle Gardner, that Zondervan had made an offer on the Seasons of the Tallgrass, a contemporary romance series set in the Flint Hills of Kansas—a place I dearly love. My long-held dream had finally arrived—my prayers had been answered. But the story didn’t begin there…it began many years ago when I attended Emporia State University and took a summer course called Flint Hills Folklore.
 Along with classroom study, we took field trips into the heart of the Flint Hills and visited with old-time ranchers, schoolmarms and post-mistresses. It was such a delightful experience, especially our drives into the pastures. We would get on these back roads and drive over pasture guards into the open range. We would travel for miles without seeing another car or even an electric line—just pure, native prairie. That summer, I fell in love with the Flint Hills and it has stayed with me all this time, finally culminating in the contemporary romance series, the Seasons of the Tallgrass.

My first book, Snow Melts in Spring, begins when a horse is terribly injured. Right off, I had to know technical terminology and had to create a scene that was accurate and believable. To get it right, I contacted a handful of veterinarians, asked them a bunch of detailed questions all the way down to possible accident scenarios, which would create the type of injuries required for the story. I even shadowed one small animal vet for a day in order to get a feel for what a "day in the life" might look like for my character who was also a vet.

My hero in this book is an NFL quarterback, so I also had to know something about football. For this research, I went to the children's section of the library and checked out an armload of books. I also watched a lot of football games on television and asked my football-loving friends and family hundreds of questions--all so I could write two or three scenes with authenticity.

On one of my many road trips into the Flint Hills, my husband and I stayed at the Clover Cliff Ranch, a Bed & Breakfast owned by Jim & Joan Donahue. This place became the basis for the McCray's Lightning M Ranch.

For Seeds of Summer, which released the end of May, I learned about the Miss Rodeo America competition because my main character, Natalie Adams is a former Miss Rodeo Kansas and first runner up Miss Rodeo America. My research for this story included visiting with those at the Miss Rodeo America headquarters, as well as interviewing and questioning the current MRA at that time, Miss Amy Wilson, Miss Rodeo America 2008.

The highlight of this research occurred when I met and visited Amy at her home in Colby, KS. Amy was a joy to work with and is such a lovely person. My visit to her home was an unexpected blessing, as she shared some special moments from her time as Miss Rodeo Kansas and then as Miss Rodeo America. [Insert picture of Amy Wilson]

I learned that Miss Rodeo America has a host of sponsors who shower their queen with lovely gifts, some of which include: a wardrobe of Wrangler Jeans, Justin Boots, Bailey Hats, fully tooled Court’s Saddle with custom Miss Rodeo America conchos and an official Miss Rodeo America trophy buckle from Montana Silversmiths. Accompanying the perpetual Miss Rodeo America tiara made by Landstrom’s Original Black Hills Gold Creations, Amy was given a wardrobe of matching jewelry. These items, along with other prizes were presented to her throughout her reign. To see some pictures of these items, please visit my blog post HERE:

Seeds of Summer
When opposites attract, sparks fly--like an electrical malfunction. That's what happens when former rodeo queen Natalie Adams meets the new pastor in Diamond Falls. A heart-warming contemporary romance set in the Flint Hills of Kansas where a former rodeo queen abandons her dreams in order to care for her deceased father’s ranch and her two half-siblings, only to realize with the help of a young new pastor that God can turn even the most dire circumstances into seeds of hope. Spanning the Seasons of the Tallgrass, each story in this series reveals the struggle of the people who live there and the dreams they have for the land until they come full-circle in a never-ending cycle, just as man comes full-circle in his understanding of God.

Visit Deborah at her web site:  Or her Country at Heart blog:

We also have a reflective thought from Deborah for those who stop by.  Take a moment to add your name to the drawing. We'd love to hear from you.

Each time I drive out into the Flint Hills, my heart soars, and I’m touched by God’s presence in the simplicity of that rolling prairie. Write about a favorite place that warms your heart.

We want to say congratulations to Ann Lee Miller of Gilbert Arizona! Your book is on its way, Ann. Hope you enjoy it as much as we got to enjoy hearing from Deborah.


  1. I hadn't really thought of bringing up a memory of a special place to write about or add to my WIP. Yours sounds heavenly. Best wishes.
    jancline at ymail dot com

  2. Your books sound amazing. I, too, share an interest in the prairie, but not at a personal level as you do. The setting of a series I'm working on now is the Blackfeet Indian reservation which is located just east of the Rockies where the vast prairie of Montana begins. Someday I hope to visit there. BTW, my blog is entitled "The Country Author".
    May God bless your writing.

  3. a wonderful posting...thanks for sharing...deborah's book is on my 'wishlist.' thanks for the chance to read it :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  4. Hi Shirley. Thanks so much for having me on your blog so I can get to know your readers. Blessings to you all. :)

  5. Linda Strawn: I not only consider her books sounding amazing but simply are amazing!!
    I have only read the first book but have publicized it around me as well as on the internet. I have become a good friend thru Facebook and e-mail for quite a long time and just considered her someone that I would read her first book and then see how things went. Well, they went well! Would love to read the Seeds of Summer and that is the next thing on my list. Talkig about a nice place to be.. my grandpa used to sit me in a field of daisies when I was very young and that stayed with me forever. It was such an erhereal feeling to look in the sky at the clouds and then look across at the cloud of daisies. Wonderful warm feeling.

    bubbys gammaw at peoplepc dot com

  6. Thank you for the wonderful interview and all the research/hard work you put into writing this book. Often when someone reads a book, a reader does not often think of all the hard research that's needed in order to provide an accurate portrayal of the background and characters. I look forward to reading your books.
    cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

  7. Okay, now I want to take a road trip to the Flint Hills.

    Put my name in the pot to win a book,

    A J Hawke
    ajhawkeauthor at aol com

  8. A place that I love to enjoy is close to home. Here in the Smoky Mountains, there is a place called Cade's Cove that I love to visit and still my heart before God.

    Please enter me in this giveaway!


  9. you are an amazing author deb...i love to enter the town where i grew up...

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  10. Just a comment to all. Deborah is having difficulties with her back. Please join me in keeping her in your prayers. I know she will appreciate that.
    Thanks so much.

  11. Who knew there was a Miss Rodeo America? Not It! Great post. Thanks, Shirley! Thanks, Deborah!

    aprilmarieg at gmail dot com

  12. Good post.
    My favorite place I think is in the field by my house. I can walk alone there and think about everything. If I was still a little girl I would probably lay back in the weeds and fall asleep and dream. I did that a lot.
    Janice Ian

  13. I loved your book, Deborah, and thanks for letting the Packers win one.

  14. My hometown of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. I haven't lived there in over 30 years, but it still feels like home.

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