Ask Mrs. M – Part 5

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So many more great questions came in after the “Ask Mrs. M – Part 4” that I have answered them in this brand-new post. Enjoy! Sara M. compiled them into one long email so I would not have to hunt for them. She even included the fan who asked the question! Yay! Thanks, Sara!

1. How did you come up with all the horses names/breeds? -Tori H

I used Google to find out about the different breeds and picked ones I thought looked like they would belong to rich ranchers. The names? I took some from one of my favorite books, Little Britches. Chad’s horse is “Sky,” short for “Sky High,” which is one of the cowboy’s horses in the book. Young Ralph loves Sky High.

2. What made you want to start a blog? -Tori H

I have had a blog since about 2009. Before then, I was part of the It was hosted by the Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I had never blogged before, but my publisher, Kregel paid for an ad about Long Ride Home and they told me it went up on HomeschoolBlogger. I thought, “What is that?” So I went over there and found it really fun. AND . . . since it was all about homeschooling, it was the perfect place to connect with other homeschooling families. (It looks nothing like it does now. Now it doesn’t look quite as friendly.) I learned how to blog and how to use HTML to redesign my site. AND, I found tons of blogging kids who knew more about HTML than I did! They loved redesigning my blog over there. I also first taught writing classes on I would post a lesson and then a link to the PDF file for the character charts, etc. One time, I had over 2,000 downloads for an uploaded chart. It could not even be hosted on the blog. I had to host it on a “free” hosting site. Yes, this was in the olden golden days. So, that was how I started. Some years later, HomeschoolBlogger went “off line” and suggested we all do our own blogs on WordPress. I found it way too hard so I started a couple of blogs on Blogger. This is one of my early blogs: Suzy’s Scribbles >> I have not posted on that blog for 8 years. When Blogger stopped emailing notifications for new posts, I dumped it and went to WordPress. Since I now had my official Circle C website with WP, I finally knew how to use it. That was almost two years ago.

3. What made you start writing? -Tori H

My fourth grade teacher taught a unit on Astronomy, and I fell in love with outer space and started imagining flying to Mars (my favorite planet at the time). So I wrote a bunch of outer space stories. Here two for your laughter and entertainment (The kids on offered to type up the hand-written stories so I could post them. Yes, I loved HomeschoolBlogger. *sigh* Here are two of my space stories from long, long ago, originally hand written. That is why they are so short. Click the images if you want to read them.

4. Do you personally own your own horse? -Tori H

I do not, but my daughter owns five horses and I can ride them if I want. Two are “in foal,” however, and it’s been so rainy and cold that nobody wants to ride these days. We stay in CA about six months so that’s when I can ride.

5. Where did/do you get inspiration for the Goldtown books?  -Annie

My husband and I went up and down the “49ers” highway. There is a reason it’s called Highway 49 (named after the gold rush). It twists and turns way up in the foothills and even gives my stomach twirls. My daughter hates that road because of the drop offs. She will go all the way down to the Valley, and then up again to a town to avoid Hywy 49. All the old Gold Rush mining towns are there. Columbia is great! I took this picture of that town, which Kregel used as the background on the cover of Badge of Honor, the first Goldtown book.

6. When do you think the next books will be available for purchase? -Annie

When you ask about “next books,” do you mean Circle C books or any books? I’m working on Goldtown Adventures #5 right now (halfway finished with 20,000 words under my belt!) If you are asking about Circle C books then I have no idea. The GT books are due to my publisher fall of 2023. They will be available for purchase about 9 months later.

7. When Daniel comes to memory ranch, he gets Shasta out of the barn when it’s on fire, but he dies in the fire. How come? Why did he go back into the barn? -Tori

Good question. Andi and Riley would love to know the answer to that, but no one will ever no for sure why he was not able to free the horse yet stay behind. My own idea is that just as he freed Shasta, a flaming beam fell on him and trapped him (I got that idea from a friend’s book called Jubilee. Her name is Katy Pistole. Hey, I think I will ask if she wants to be interviewed!!! She has an awesome set of books for readers. The first books is called The Palomino.

8. Do you play an instrument? -Anonymous

I play the piano. I can read music and play the hymnal songs. But “use it or lose it” and I don’t have piano any longer so I would be very rusty on a piano now.

9. What’s your middle name? -Anonymous


10. Did you ever dream of publishing when you were younger? -Anonymous

No, quite the opposite. I have never had any desire whatsoever to see my stories published. If it wasn’t for the Lord God Almighty, you would not be reading the Circle C books now. He used others to “kick” me into getting published, and that’s the truth.

11. Why isn’t The Dangerous Decision first in the CCA? -Anonymous

That is a good question. Since I was not looking to publish, I just wanted to write another story. For some reason, LRH took place in the spring, and DD was set in the fall. When I was writing for myself, it didn’t matter which one came first. But when I had been nudged into submitting, I had to make a decision as to which one to send to the publisher as my “launch” title, and I thought LRH had a bit more of an air of mystery and drama than DD. And I wanted to make a good impression.

12. Do you know Spanish? If so when did you learn it? -Anonymous

Yes. I learned Spanish while ministering alongside my missionary friend, Donna L., when she and her family returned home from ten years in Mexico. We had a lot of Hispanics living on the Enumclaw Plateau, mostly farm workers and dairy milkers (different from what the orchard workers in Eastern WA and here in California). I especially bonded with one young woman, Nila (yes, I named my Nila after her). She had four children and I tutored one of them in the third grade and helped him catch up. I taught these women English, and they taught me Spanish. And I am not too proud to say that I learned a lot of Spanish from watching Plazo Sesame while walking on my treadmill every day (Sesame Street totally in Spanish). And I memorized Scripture in Spanish and lots and lots of kids’ church songs in Spanish, like this one: “He aqui, he aqui, a la puerta yo estoy, toc, toc, toc . . . Si alguno oye mi voz . . . y me abre, abre, abre la puerta, entrare.” (“Behold, I Stand at the Door”)

13. Where did you get the name “Taffy”? Did you make it up? -IloveAndiCarter

I thought a palomino looked like pale taffy candy, so I made it up.

14. Why did you make Taffy die? -IloveAndiCarter

I was looking for a dramatic, intense story, and it just came to me in the natural course of writing. I wanted a mean cousin character, and that was the meanest thing I could think of Daniel to do. (The whole forgiveness theme came later.) A writing teacher once said, “Create the best hero/heroine that you can think of and then put him/her into the very worst situations.” This was the worst thing I could think of.

15. Who did Jack get married to? -IloveAndiCarter

I have no idea. He is a minor character and I have enough trouble thinking up who the Carter boys marry. LOL

16. What happed to Andi’s friend Bethany? -IloveAndiCarter

Same answer as above. 🤩

17. Which Is your fav brother and sister in the books? -IloveAndiCarter

I like Justin best. And I like Andi best.

18. How did you get the ideas for your books? Like did you use prompts or use real life scenarios or something like that? -Tori

Both prompts from watching The Big Valley and also from real life scenarios. If I needed an idea, I’d watch an episode and then say, “Hey, I can do something different to make it a lot better!” Maybe one day I will share which episodes and how I changed them in a Peek Behind the Curtain post.

19. What is your favourite breed of horse? -Stephanie

That would be a quarter horse. Favorite color? Palomino

We might get a foal like this, since this is one of the foals the sire, Rubicon, has fathered.

20. Are you more of a cat or dog person? Do you have either? -Stephanie

CATS hands down. I do not like dogs. I’ve never had any good experiences with dogs. I’ve had cats most of my life. We had a German Shepherd as kids but mostly it was always cats in my life. 😻 My daughter and family have . . . 15 cats. They love cats too. Yes, they are fixed (except the two new younger ones, but they will go soon). I took home two of these kittens two years ago. There are 8 kittens still nursing from their mother, Angel!

There were so many questions that I answered half of them in this post (part 5) and will address the rest of them (and any other questions I receive) in a later post. This was fun!

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

21 thoughts on “Ask Mrs. M – Part 5

  1. When you get a book back after it’s been published, do you ever wish you could change your wording, a paragraph etc.
    Also, do you ever wish you could add something?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In both book series (Goldtown, and Circle C.) you have a parent die. In Goldtown Jem’s mother, and in Circle C Andi’s father. Was that on purpose or did it just happen? If it was on purpose, did you have a special reason, or did the idea come from a true-life experience? Thanks!


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