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Former Bucks resident explores the history of cowpunchers
AN American author with strong ties to south Bucks has revealed how she immersed herself in English and US history for her debut book.
Andrea Downing, 64, moved to these shores when she was 20 to study at university but ended up staying for a "very, very long time".
The former Coleshill and Chalfont St Giles resident, who has an English-born daughter who went to Maltman’s Green School in Gerrards Cross, has delved into the history books and made an interesting discovery which sparked the idea for first book, Loveland.
It tells the tale of the daughter of a British Duke in 1886 who is sent to stay on his western America ranch, where she falls for a cowpuncher.
Andrea, a former teacher in Derbyshire, said: "I read a lot of history and was interested to discover the large number of cattle companies owned and managed by British aristocrats post American civil war.
"Many 'remittance men' - younger sons of the aristocracy - were coming over to make their fortunes in the American west, much the way they were going to India or South Africa or where ever. "So the idea for the story started with that, but I'm a terrible romantic so it evolved into a romance and I have always loved the west; even when we lived in the UK most of our family holidays were taken on ranches.
"I guess I’m just a cowgirl at heart." But despite her US roots, the language and terminology aspect of the writing process proved to be a challenge for Andrea, who began scribbling stories in her school books as an eight-year-old.
Andrea says she stayed in Britain so long - 40 years in total - that she even "developed a penchant for tea-drinking, a tolerance for rainy days, and a deep knowledge of the London Underground".
She added: "My vocabulary is basically British English and it's very different from American English, even now despite the influx of US television etc.
"So I had to be very careful. One can't have cowpunchers speaking like Brits. So I immersed myself in memoirs of the period to get the speech patterns and words correct and read a lot of histories of the period.
"Then I visited Loveland to see what the landscape was like and make sure I got that right. But it's the language that was most important.
"There were things like what coffee did they drink? So I had to get brand names of the period. "Finally, there was the winter of 1886/7, which is pivotal - this proved to be the end of open range and marked the end of the huge cattle companies. I found it all fascinating and I hope the reader does too."
Loveland by Andrea Downing is available to buy from Amazon and all good book shops. Go to http://andreadowning.com to read more about the author.
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