Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has sold more than 1.5 million books and is the author of the popular series Wyoming Sunrise, The Lumber Baron’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

In this interview, Mary talks about the second book in her A Western Light Series, titled Toward the Dawn.

FF: Toward the Dawn is the second book in your A Western Light Series. Can you share a little about the story with us?
This second book was fun to write. Two of the group who went west on a wagon train find it doesn’t suit them (that’s a polite way of saying living in the wilderness is driving them both crazy!) They have to get out, and a man and a woman can’t just be riding out of the remote canyon together. A marriage of convenience comes up, and they set off to return east.

FF: Can the novels in this series be read as stand-alones?
The books stand alone, although there are secondary characters in each who also appear in the other books of the series. Still, Toward the Dawn can certainly be read on its own.

FF: The female protagonist, Kat, is running from something. Can you give us a crash course on where we find Kat at the start of Toward the Dawn?
Kat is trapped in a remote Idaho canyon, snowed in for the winter, along with everyone else. Her irritation at being stuck there grows with each passing day, even though she’s in a beautiful place with good and kind people.

FF: Kat finds herself—and her future—tied to Sebastian Jones. What do you think readers will enjoy most about this unlikely pairing?
Kat and Sebastian both got into trouble in their past, and ever since then they’ve become very solitary people, mainly because they each hold a big secret. They are sassy and in danger and trying hard to be brave, all while they’re falling in love. I think readers with love Kat and Seb.

FF: If you had to choose, what is one of your favorite things about Kat’s character? What about Sebastian’s character?
Kat’s father is a doctor. She worked at his side where she picked up a lot of medical skills. She is great in an emergency, and not just medical emergencies. Seb spends too much time with his inventing. He’s got so many ideas bubbling in his head, and it was fun to create a character who is dedicated to being open to all ideas when it comes to his inventions. He looks at the world differently from most people, and I had a great time bringing that out of him.

FF: You’re known for writing “romantic comedies with cowboys.” How has this brand and its enduring appeal continued to find you new fans over the years?
There aren’t many people writing what I write. This made it hard at the beginning to find readers, but now that I’ve been at it for a while, the old readers seem to trust me, while the new readers keep turning up.

FF: What do you think it is about a marriage of convenience that fascinates many readers, even today?
What Kat and Seb express to each other while they’re deciding about marriage is that they share honesty, faith, respect, and kind hearts. Add in they found out they liked kissing. They hope true love will follow.

FF: What are you most excited for readers to experience as they pick up this novel?
I think Kat and Seb deciding they have got to get out of the canyon is funny, and it makes the story start out with laughter. I hope readers follow along with the fun.

FF: What aspect of this story did you enjoy writing the most?
I liked researching the rights of the mentally ill during this time period in history. I liked researching possible things for Seb to invent. I really liked writing about two people falling in love.

FF: What are you working on next?
Into the Sunset, book three in the A Western Light Series, will be released in October 2024. This novel includes the exciting conclusion that will bring all the heroes from all three books together for a final confrontation with the villains who have been plaguing them.

Toward the Dawn
A Western Light Series #2
Mary Connealy
Bethany House
Genres: Historical Romance, Western/Frontier Romance
Release Date: June 18, 2024

ISBN-10: ‎0764242660
ISBN-13: ‎978-0764242663

Book Summary:
Kat Wadsworth and Sebastian Jones never imagined their lives would entwine so closely. Forced to flee on a wagon train from a vengeful uncle and an unknown gunman, they live in a hidden canyon with the family that rescued them. But as days turn into months, they each have separate reasons for wanting to escape back into society, and the best way to the independence they desperately crave might be through a marriage of convenience.

However, settling into their homestead in Cheyenne, Wyoming, reveals a different reality for Kat. Her new husband becomes consumed by his inventions, leaving her feeling lonely and isolated. And just when they think they’ve left the danger behind, a mysterious attacker lurks in the shadows, threatening the new life they’ve built.

Together, can they confront the perils from their pasts to forge a future with hope and the promise of love?


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About The Author

Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.