12 Days of Pioneer Christmas, Day 7: Lauraine Snelling & The Cowboy's Angel

The author of more than 80 inspirational titles, Lauraine Snelling was happy to join A Pioneer Christmas Collection with her novella, "The Cowboy's Angel."

Lauraine knew the collection's name and envisioned a story about a baby born at Christmas while its father was missing on the prairie, not far from the area she often writes about south of Fargo, ND.

"I set that in the thinking hopper and started the “what if” game, my first line of defense in creating a new story. What if a young, pregnant woman with a little boy is keeping the homestead while her husband drove off to get winter supplies in their only wagon drawn by their only mule?

"What if he has not returned? Hmm.

"So who is the hero? A cowboy traveling from a spread in Texas to save his boss’s ranch in western Dakota Territory? How does he find the family in distress? The rest flowed after I understood the skeleton."

A Pioneer Christmas Collection gave Lauraine an opportunity to fulfill a dream.

"I have loved angel stories forever and wanted to write one," Lauraine said. "Christmas is an ideal time since the entire Christ story is one miracle after another. So often God uses an unlikely person to be blessed by His emissaries---angels. Voices soften when a person shares an angel story from their family. The wonder of it makes my heart leap."

Lauraine's character is reflected in the people she writes about. Like them, she has a "dogged determination to finish something one has started, especially [in their case] when a new life dream is to own free land that cost lives, blood, tears and faith.

The hero ran into trouble during "The Cowboy Christmas."

"My cowboy’s quandary was how to help someone in distress when he was already on a mission for his boss. He is a problem solver and a true hero, willing to sacrifice for others. Besides that baby wrapped her little fingers around his heart and would not let go."

"The Cowboy's Angel," however, provided her with a few surprises. "I had planned a different ending," she laughed. "I love it when stories take on a life of their own and go on their own way in spite of the author’s supposed plans."

Lauraine usually includes themes of forgiveness and  trusting God in spite of what is happening in her stories, but a variation on those themes revealed itself in the writing of "The Cowboy's Angel."

"I did not intentionally put in "The Cowboy’s Angel"  our inherent questioning of “why did God do what He did?” It's part of trust because if you believe there is no God, how can you blame Him for what happens? But we try to do both [trust  in God and yet blame Him for what happens] when times are the hardest.

"Fear is another symptom of lack of trust, but how can one not be fearful out on the prairie when left alone, pregnant and with a small son who depends on his ma alone now that his pa is gone? Only God can heal that kind of fear."

Lauraine's "Blessings series have produced a small cottage industry in Drayton, ND--the town closest to where her stories are set. They've even built an authentic sod house there, but she concedes "the thought of living in that confined space makes me shudder. I really do not like to be cold."

Still,as the descendent of a long line of hard working, adventuresome people who emigrated to North America from Norway, "farming is in my blood and I write about farmers every chance I get."

As to her confidence in managing as a pioneer? "I love living close to the land, just not as close as they were forced to do. I am extremely grateful to live today. I love hot running water, electricity and I have a love/hate relationship with my computer. I’ve never been a really good typist and the idea of hand writing novels? Hmm, rather not."

Her Norwegian heritage contributes much to the Snelling family's Christmas traditions. "Placing the angel on top of the tree always makes me pause, both because our angel has been in our family for many years and because of the significance. Angels came to announce not only Christ’s birth but deliver many messages. Since God is the same today as forever, why would He stop sending angels in our time?"

For more information on Lauraine Snelling, visit her website at www.laurainesnelling.com

Don't forget the giveaway, one here and one at Anna Urquhart's blog!

12 Days of A Pioneer Christmas

Monday, August 19 12 Days of Christmas Introduction
Tuesday, August 20 Cynthia Hickey on cynthiahickey.blogspot.com
Wednesday, August 21 Kathleen Fuller on www.kathleenfuller.com
Thursday, August 22 Michelle Ule on michelleule.com
Friday, August 23 Marcia Garver on Yielded Quill
Saturday, August 24 Shannon McNear on www.shannonmcnear.com
Monday, August 26 Lauraine Snelling on michelleule.com
Tuesday, August 27 Kathleen Fuller on www.kathleenfuller.com
Wednesday, August 28 Vickie McDonough on www.shannonmcnear.com
Thursday, August 29 Anna Urquhart on The Silent Isle
Friday, August 30 Michelle Ule on Colonial Quills
Saturday, August 31 Michelle Ule on michelleule.com

Sunday, September 1

A Pioneer Christmas Collection Release!!

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