Love, not just blood, bound a family. This past year had taught her how badly
some people treated their blood. Nothing could ever destroy the love an actual
family. Their hearts connected them, and those bonds were more robust than
anything in the world.
-- from Not Without a Fight.
Isn’t that beautiful? I am pleased to welcome Rebecca Lange, author of Not
Without a Fight, Plane Crash, and The Heavenly Bodyguards series. Rebecca,
thank you for joining us.
Before we dig into your latest book, won’t you tell us about yourself? I enjoyed
checking out your website and for some reason, I’m particularly interested in a
certain Scottish wedding…
That particular wedding was unique. But first, a little more about myself: I was born and
raised in Northern Germany. My mother’s parents escaped East Germany before the
wall came up, and my dad’s family was already living in West Germany. (In fact, my
grandmother - my dad’s mom - was born in the house she still lives in. She is 92 years
old now.) I love reading, music, writing, acting, watching chick flicks (especially
Christmas romance movies), and sharing funny and uplifting posts on social media. My
husband and I have been married for over 16 years, and we have two boys (15 and 13
years old). We also have a cute little Yorkie.
Now about that “certain Scottish wedding” (this is the short version)… I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both my husband and I were missionaries for our church. My husband was a missionary in Germany (we didn’t meet, though), and I was a missionary in Scotland.
My husband met a girl from Scotland on his mission. When I went on my mission a few
years later, I met that girl’s mother in Scotland. Right at the beginning of my mission, my
grandfather passed away from cancer. Since that was hard for me, and I was still
struggling with the language, that mother would call her daughter in Germany whenever
I visited her to speak to someone in my language. A friendship developed, that friend
got married right after I came home from Scotland, she invited both my husband and me
to her wedding, and that’s how we met.
That's a very sweet story and a truly lovely way for you and your husband to have met. Lucky you to have stayed in Scotland! I've never met anyone who visited that country and did not love it. How much would you say your travels have influenced your writing?
My first novel, “Heavenly Bodyguards – Trainee in Action,” starts in New York, but most
of the story happens in Scotland. I purposely used Scotland as the setting for my story
because after living there for 19 months, I love that country, the accent, and so many
things, and I used a few of my own experiences as part of the story. I mention the
Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo, and that’s because I was able to go twice. It is such a
cool event, and I was blessed to go both years I was there. I also talk about a castle and
loch ness. Even though I was never able to visit that area as a missionary, my husband
and I went on a trip to Scotland after he returned from his Iraq deployment. We made
sure we saw the highlands as well. It is such a beautiful country.
I am living in Germany right now because my husband works as a civilian for the
military. We also wanted to live closer to my family for a few years. Before we moved to
Germany, we lived in San Diego for 12 years.
I find it interesting that you choose to write in English rather than German, especially when you are living in Germany! What made you decide to do so? Are your books also published in
After serving my mission in Scotland and learning the language (and then living in the
US), I decided to write my books in English since there is a bigger audience for it out
there. I am fluent in both languages and tried to find a literary agent or publisher, but
when I kept getting rejected, I decided to do it independently. Being German comes with
a certain amount of stubbornness, and well, I was blessed with a lot of it. I hope to
publish my books in German one day, but since I have to do everything myself, I don’t
have the time right now. I had friends and relatives ask me to publish my books in
German, but I can only do so much. I used to have an editor, but she had to quit for
personal reasons. Now I am even doing my editing. I know it isn’t as perfect as it would
be with a traditional publisher, but I think it is pretty good considering that English is my
second language, and I am relying on two grammar programs and myself.
From what I’ve read about your books and from your latest one, "Not Without a
Fight", which I’m in the middle of reading, it is clear that while there are plenty of
joyful elements in your books, they are not lightweights. They cover serious
topics. Please, tell us your process, how you choose your topics. Then, I will
leave you free to tell us about Not Without a Fight.
I am pretty passionate about the topics I pick. I have covered abuse and bullying in my
stories, dishonesty, believing and trusting in God, racism, and human trafficking to raise
awareness. I think these things must be discussed even if it isn’t a comfortable topic.
Yes, my books are fiction, and certain issues make a book more dramatic and
suspenseful, but these things happen in real life. The reality of these topics is not fiction.
I addressed spouse abuse, for example, because I have a friend who went through that.
She told me one night what was happening to her and asked me to inform other friends
so they would know what was going on when she had reached the point of getting away
from her husband. He was such a nice guy for everyone to see, but not behind closed
doors. It was interesting to see how people reacted to my email. Most friends were
super supportive and thanked me for letting them know because now they could be
there for her. I did get two replies, however, that surprised and hurt me. They told me it
was not my business to share such details with other people and that I had no right to
get involved. I emailed them back and told them that I had every right since my friend
specifically asked me to do that and that we can’t ignore a problem just because it might
be uncomfortable. I never told my friend about it, but she found out much later and
apologized to me that I had become a target. I told her that she didn’t need to be sorry
and that I hadn’t told her about it so she wouldn’t feel bad. Now, I am not sharing this
because I think I am such a good person. No. I am sharing this to clarify that doing the
right thing isn’t always easy and might even cost us friendships, but we can’t look the
other way when someone is mistreated, especially when that person asks for help.
It must have been a very hard, very painful time -- scary, even. But I agree with you. We cannot turn away from those in need just because it would be easier for us to do so.
Let's talk about "Not Without a Fight". It’s the perfect name for this story, by the
Thank you for thinking it is the perfect name. I was wondering for a while if it was, but I
couldn’t think of anything else. “Not Without A Fight” is a story I originally wrote for
myself. It was a lot different and written in German. When I saw the many posts about
US Marshals rescuing children and women from human trafficking, I felt I should write
about that and research how it was back in the 1800s. The problem has existed for a
very long time; the same goes for spouse abuse. Although it is getting talked about
more often now, we still can do better. Today’s radical feminists like to paint a picture of
men that isn’t true or real. I tried to bring across that evil, but many good men exist, and
we shouldn’t shame the entire gender for the evildoings of a few. I believe that standing
up for our rights is essential. Women in the 1800s had to fight for fairness and better
treatment, but sadly, many feminists nowadays take it to the other extreme and are
demanding to be above men. I don’t condone punishing people for something from the
past that had nothing to do with them.
I am also a believer in romance. While women must know how to stand up for
themselves and can fight their own battles, there are times when we will need help, and
it is not a bad thing. Men and women were created differently for a reason, and we
should celebrate the differences. I believe that men and women can be playful without
being inappropriate. I think friendships between men and women are possible when both
are willing to see it as such. Not every man who is flirtatious and playful has
inappropriate thoughts in his mind. I think we often forget to enjoy life and not take
everything so seriously.
Thank you. That is beautifully expressed and also very interesting, especially considering the characters in the book. I have to say, I find Hazel, the heroine, uncommonly stubborn and opinionated. Wow. Of course, she needs to be strong. Please, tell us more about her. Did you enjoy writing her character?
I may or may not be uncommonly stubborn and opinionated myself. ;) I am not admitting
to anything here, but I like to use some of my character traits to better relate to my
heroine’s. Stubbornness, sass, outspokenness can be a wonderful and even important
thing as long as it is used for the right reasons and not to hurt another person.
I did notice that you have a Christmas novella coming out this holiday season. So exciting!
I hadn’t planned on releasing another book this year, but as I am such a fan of
Christmas and romances and recently have become somewhat of a fan of regency
romances, I thought I would get a little out of my comfort zone and give something new
a try. I don’t want to be known for just one specific genre, but be a bit adventurous.
Clean Young Adult Fiction will be my thing, but I am exploring the sub-genres a little.
The novella is about a young woman who fights her father when he tries to marry her off
to a man twenty years her senior. After a heated argument, he agrees to a compromise.
She has a month to find true love and accept a proposal. Let’s just say this heroine is
another rather strong-willed young lady. ;)
It sounds wonderful! Before we go, is there anything else in the works?
Yes, there is. I have two more novels in the making. One at least should be released in
2021, perhaps both. “Grandfather’s Will” is leaning towards the suspense-thriller genre
with humor, romance, heartbreak, and drama.
Something to look forward to!
Rebecca, thank you for joining us today and for the excerpt from "Not Without A
Fight", which follows.
Thank you for having me. It was an honor to be part of this interview.
Excerpt: NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT
1. This isn't Fair!
“Pa, you wanted to see me?” Hazel asked as she entered her father’s office before stopping in her
Uncle Ted, what are you doing here?” She jumped into her godfather’s arms, and he gave her a loving hug.
“It is so good to see you again, Hazel. You are getting more gorgeous each time I see you,” he said as he ran his hand across her cheek. The young woman blushed and stepped back.
“Ted is here for legal matters. I asked him to put my will together, so my family is looked after in case of my passing.”
“I don’t like it when you talk like that, Pa,” Hazel responded while her beautiful lips turned into a pout.
Her father grinned. “I am not sick, and I am not planning to die. It has to be done, though, and why not now, while I am healthy as a horse?”
“Hilarious, Pa.” Hazel rolled her eyes.
“Let’s sit, shall we?” George pointed to the chairs across his desk, and everyone took a seat. “Ted, I discussed this matter with Helen, and we both agreed that Hazel should be the one who inherits the ranch. I am aware I should leave it to a male heir, but I want Hazel to take over the ranch since I don't have one. She loves this place more than anyone and has been my right-hand helper ever since she learned to walk. She is fair and honest, and I know my family and ranch will be in excellent hands with Hazel in charge.”
“You seriously want me to take over the ranch, Pa?” A beaming smile spread across Hazel’s face, and her eyes lit up like the sky during fireworks.
“We all do. Haven has no interest in running a ranch, and Brenna wants to be a school teacher when she finished school.”
“George, may I say something?” Ted interjected as he scratched his neck uncomfortably.
You never have to ask, my friend.”
“As much as I would love to put Hazel as your heir into the will, it isn’t possible. The law states that a woman can’t own or inherit land or a business. That means any male related to you can fight her on it and would win.”
Hazel let out a frustrated gasp and glanced at her godfather with furrowed brows. “That is unfair!”
It is, I agree, but the way it is.”
“So what am I supposed to do? Sell my land because I don’t have a son?” George crossed his arms, his eyes squinted, a sign that he was not pleased.
“It doesn’t have to be a son, just a male relative or even friend.”
“The only living male relative I have is my younger brother Russell, and he doesn’t care about my ranch.”
“What does Russell do now?”
“He took over my father’s bank in Sacramento. I am sure he would love to get his hands on this place to sell it and make more money. I didn’t work this hard for him to destroy it.”
“Don’t worry, Pa, I won’t let that happen, ever.”
“There isn’t much you can do, Hazel. Once your father passes away, Russell can sue anyone who inherits this place. As the only living male relative, every judge will agree with his case.”
“But I am his closest relation. I am his daughter and should take over the ranch. I can run this place just as well as any man can. Isn’t there anyone we can fight on this? This isn’t right.” Hazel pressed her lips together and squinted her eyes. The smile from before was gone.
George smirked. He was aware of how headstrong and determined the 20-year-old could be.
“It isn’t right, but those who make the laws don’t care about fairness or what’s right.”
“Uncle Russell has no claim to this place. He only visited us once and made it clear what he thought of country-living and running a ranch. There is no way in he…”
“Hazel!” George interrupted with a warning growl in his voice, raising an eyebrow.
Ted turned around, hiding his grin.
“Okay, fine, I won’t say it, but there is no way I will let anyone take the ranch away from us. I am ready to take over the ranch. You taught me how to hunt, shoot a gun, and how to use a knife. I am good at archery. Girl or not, I can run this place.”
“I understand you and your feelings, Hazel. I do,” Ted replied, offering her an understanding smile. “My daughter Marianne is going through a similar situation right now. She wants nothing more than to follow her dad’s and brothers' footsteps in becoming a lawyer. But, no matter how many universities we’ve contacted, the answer is always the same: She can’t do it because she is a woman. Martin and John have tried their hardest to change the law, but this is a men’s world, and women don’t have a say in legal matters.”
“But why won’t they at least give women the chance to do those things? They wouldn’t stop being women by owning land or getting an occupation they love.”
“The most used excuse at the moment is that women aren’t strong enough to do certain things or not smart enough. Overall, they wouldn’t have an issue with one or two women trying out new things. However, they are afraid that more women would want to follow their lead and discover that they are smarter than men want them to believe. They want to keep women where they think they belong: in the kitchen and house. I disagree with that. Marianne is as smart as a whip, and she can out-debate anyone in any circumstance. The same goes for Hazel.”
“We need to fight for our rights then. I am not willing to step back and let my uncle destroy this ranch and sell it to someone who does not understand and appreciate how much hard work Pa and Jackson put into this place.”
“Fighting isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’ve tried suing for discrimination so my daughter would have a fighting chance, but I didn’t even get the case to court. The judges block everything that has to do with women getting more rights.”
“I am not giving up that easily. Hazel still needs to learn about business and management, but hopefully, we will find a way for that. I want her to inherit my ranch, and that’s it.”
Hazel’s eyes lit up again, her facial expression softening. She loved her father more than anyone. He never stood in her way of following her dreams.
George Buchannon and Ted Burton defined genuine friendship. They had grown up on the east coast in the same neighborhood in New Haven, New England, and had gone to the same schools. As a four-year-old boy, George had rescued Ted from drowning one day, after a few older boys had pushed him into a lake. George didn’t know how to swim, but he jumped into the lake, anyway. He held on to a tree branch hanging above the water. He then used his belt as a fishing pole so Ted could grab it, and George could pull him towards the shore and then out of the water. They had been best friends ever since.
George moved west before the big gold rush, even though his father wanted him to get into the bank business and take over his bank. But George had no interest in that. His dream was to own a ranch and live out in the country. Neil Buchannon was close to disowning his oldest son, but his wife reminded him he didn’t want to take over his father’s business either.
When George ended up in the Oregon Territory to follow his dream, his father supported him and moved his family west. They relocated to Sacramento, and Neil Buchannon opened a bank there. Several years later, Russell took over the Buchannon bank. Neil was grateful that he had listened to his wife. She made him realize that family should always come first, and different ideas and passions shouldn’t destroy the loving bonds.
Ted finished his studies at the University of Boston before following George to the west coast. He opened his office as an attorney in Salem and became George’s legal right-hand arm. He always made time for his best friend, no matter how busy he was. When the twins were born, George made Ted Hazel’s godfather.
If you are serious about trying to change the law and make Hazel your heir, we should wait with your will. As of right now, I must put your brother as the one inheriting your ranch. Once written, I have to contact the person who inherits your land. If you don’t want Russell to get his hands on it, it wouldn’t be wise to make it official now.”
“But what if something happens to me before the law changes in favor of women?”
“You can write a note in which you allow me to write your will as discussed, and we can ask Jackson to be a witness and sign it. Your signature is the most important, though.”
“What would happen if I get married before Pa passes away? Can you put me as the heir then?” “Yes, but your husband would get everything and can do what he pleases with this place.”
“Are you serious?” Hazel asked as she clenched her jaw, her eyebrows drawing closer together.
George grinned when he saw the familiar pout return.
“Yes. Until the law changes, even a widow has no rights. A widow can inherit her husband’s land, but as soon as she marries again, everything will fall into her new husband’s hands. She can’t pass on ‘her possessions and property’ to her children unless she has a son. If she dies and has daughters, they will get nothing, and the property and possessions will get auctioned off.”
“Wow. I am appalled. Is there no justice for women?”
“No. Once a woman marries, her husband is in full control and can do with her as he pleases; before that, her father. Many women get beaten and abused by the men in their life, and nobody is there to protect them. The law does nothing on their behalf.”
“So if you aren’t lucky enough to have a wonderful and loving father and later husband, the men in your life can do whatever they want to you?”
“Yes. Most violent fathers marry their daughters off to someone like them, so they will never know the difference.”
“That is horrible. We are human beings too, and should have the same protections and rights as men.”
“I agree you should, but many men don’t think that way and believe that women don’t deserve to be treated as equal.”
“They should reread the bible. God gave Eve to Adam as a helpmeet, not a slave. He created Eve out of Adam’s rib so they could work side by side as equals. Sure, we have different responsibilities and are different in several ways, but Eve completed Adam. We are supposed to be companions to our spouses.”
“You have a great understanding of the scriptures. That might help you change the world; change the thinking of many.” Ted gave her a side-ways hug, and she smiled.
Perhaps her godfather was right. Maybe it was her mission to fight for women's rights and remind everyone that God created men and women, and both are on this earth for a reason. Maybe she was sent to this earth to help people realize that being treated fairly and equally did not mean they were the same. Being different wasn’t bad, but being treated differently because of your race or gender was wrong. Hazel knew she could embrace being a woman and loving her role given and still taking over her father’s ranch. Now she had to make others see it that way too.
“Hazel, you realize it won’t be easy, right? The men out there will not roll out a red carpet, and they will not let you step into their world without a fight.” Haven squeezed Hazel’s hand.
“I am aware of that. I know it will be difficult, perhaps even dangerous, but someone has to step up to the task and change the world, so women and girls get to choose what they want to do in their lives.”
“And why does that someone has to be you? You can’t even vote, Hazel,” her sister interjected while shaking her head.
“So what? Perhaps that will get changed too.” Haven sighed. Her sister was so strong-willed sometimes, it drove her mad.
Keep me away from the wisdom that does not cry, the philosophy that does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children. – Gibran Khalil Gibran