Shannon Taylor Vannatter – Story Behind the Story – Part 2 of 3

Shannon here: Ever wonder where author’s get their ideas? Rodeo Song started as a long ago dream inspired by Michael Bolton. Comment on any post dated April 7 -11 to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: April 19th, 11:59 pm central time.

Michael BoltonGarrett Steele inspiration

Booksigning 11Rodeo Song coverBack in Michael Bolton’s heydey, I attended one of his concerts. I was in love with his gravely voice and the passion he put into his love songs. The stadium was built with the arena at the bottom and the lobby at the top with a dozen or more doorways into the lobby. My friend, her husband, and I were in the nosebleed seats at the side of the arena.

During the intermission, we noticed a commotion in the lobby. We watched each doorway until we realized Michael Bolton was running around the lobby and a crowd of women were chasing him. He came into the arena and ran to the other end from the stage where he sang Georgia on My Mind on a smaller stage for fans seated at the back of the arena.

That night, I had a dream. You know how dreams are—even though I was married, I wasn’t in the dream. In the dream, I was in the lobby. He came running by, grabbed my hand, and took me onstage where he sang Georgia on My Mind. I grew up in Georgia, so it fit.

I thought the dream was funny, so I told my husband and all of my friends, family, and co-workers. Years later, when I started writing, I realized that dream could be the beginning of a great book. I wrote it in 2000. In the book, he had dark hair, was a rock star with a bad reputation, and there was a suspense element with a stalker. To add a twist, the heroine didn’t like him and only went to his concert as a favor to a friend. That seemed more interesting to me than if she was just a fan.

The book got around eight rejections. By then, my rejection count had surpassed 200 on seven different books. Though I’d gotten a book published through Print on Demand, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted.

In pursuit of a traditional publisher, I joined two writers’ groups, attended monthly meetings, and went to every writing conference within driving distance. In the process, I realized suspense wasn’t what I wanted to write and turned to straight romance. I eventually found American Christian Fiction Writers, attended their national conferences, joined, and joined a critique group through them.

Nine and a half years later, I got my first contract and my debut novel released in 2010. Four books later, Harlequin took over Heartsong Presents and I got to continue my Texas rodeo series. I was brainstorming ideas and thought, hey I could strip the suspense element and make the rock star a country star.

By then, I knew fiction had to make more sense than real life in order to keep the reader reading. If the reader stops to think—that wouldn’t really happen—the author has ruined the reader’s enjoyment. I had to figure out why my heroine would go on stage with a country star she didn’t even like.

Because they were high school sweethearts. And she still had feelings for him, so she used her friend as a reason to attend his concert when deep-down she wanted to see him again.

My editor liked the concept and my dream came true—in a fictional sort of way. I still write down interesting dreams just in case I need them for a book.

Note: I also had to figure out why my country star looked like a rock star. Midway through the story, he tones down his image and gets a haircut. So that’s why he has short hair on the cover, but that’s a whole other blog post you can read:

About Shannon: Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/award winning author. She lives in rural central Arkansas in a town with a population of around 100, if you count a few cows. Shannon writes inspirational contemporary romance and it took her nine years to get published in the traditional market.

Shannon hopes to entertain Christian women and plant seeds in the non-believer’s heart as her characters struggle with real-life issues. Their journeys, from ordinary lives to extraordinary romance through Christ-centered relationships, demonstrate that love doesn’t conquer all—Jesus does. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family and doing craft projects. Learn more and connect: Website:, Facebook:, Goodreads:, Pinterest:, Twitter:

About the book – Rodeo Song (Book 6 in the Texas Rodeo series):


But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna—and his cowboy past—far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna’s life. But, once burned by love, Jenna must guard her heart against the captivating singer. 

Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he’d be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he’s found what he was looking for all along…right here in his hometown.

Purchase Links:

Mardel            Deeper Shopping            Amazon            Christian Book          Harlequin

Come back April 11th for an excerpt from Rodeo Song!

Follow my blog tour where I’ll be talking more about Rodeo Song and giving away lots of copies:

April 1 – ACFW Arkansas –

April 3 – Ausjenny –

April 5 & 6 – Barn Door Book Loft –

April 7, 9, & 11 – Inkslinger Blog –

April 8 – Arkansas Authors –

April 10 – Lena Nelson Dooley –

April 10 – Jennifer Slattery –

April 15 – Cherie Burbach –

April 16 – Deborah Vogts –

April 17 – Ane Mulligan –

April 21 – Kimberly Rose Johnson –

April 21- Goodreads – Heartsong Presents Q & A –

May 9 – Kristena Tunstall –

May14 – Ginger Solomon –

9 Responses to “Shannon Taylor Vannatter – Story Behind the Story – Part 2 of 3”

Leave a Reply

Featuring Recent Posts Wordpress Widget development by YD