Interview with the heroine from A Cowboy's Heart by Brenda Minton:
1. Willow Michaels, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I don’t think it is the most interesting, but obviously what people notice, is that I’m severely hearing impaired. I contracted meningitis as a child and have since suffered progressive hearing loss. I, personally, think the most interesting thing about me is that I raise bucking bulls in a sport dominated by men. And I do it quite well, I think.
2. What do you do for fun? Taking my bulls to large events is fun for me. My aunt Janie goes with me. We have friends who participate, so it is a chance to catch up with them, or renew old acquaintances. Old acquaintances like Clint Cameron. I never expected my aunt to run into him at a smaller bull riding event. I really didn’t expect him to be better looking at 31 than he was at sixteen. My mistake.
3. What do you put off doing because you dread it? Going to the doctor. Doesn’t everyone. The art of avoidance. I’m a pro. But there are some things that you can’t avoid. Silence is one of them.
4. What are you afraid of most in life? Life in a world of complete silence. Sometimes I take off my hearing aids, to condition myself to that world, because I know that is what I’m facing in the future. I’m so glad that I have faith, and that I’m not alone in the silence. God is always with me.
5. What do you want out of life? To be strong. To be strong in my career. To be strong in my personal life. To be strong in my faith.
6. What is the most important thing to you? My faith. My family. My friends. I know that seems like a ‘right answer,’ but it is true. I know what it is like to be alone, to face situations without someone close to you, and to face them without God. And now I know what it is like to have faith, to have people.
7. Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read? Westerns with a touch of romance. I love cowboys, but don’t tell that to the cowboy living down the street from me. I love strong men, and strong women. I love reading stories with characters who conquer their fears and their problems. Yes, for me it is always a good western that hooks my attention. And magazines. I read Quarter Horse Monthly and The Bull Riding World.
8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Who wouldn’t change something if they could? I would change my hearing prognosis, my other physical problems, things that happened in my past, and my insecurity. But if I fixed those things, I would have nothing to work through, no mountains to climb, nothing to make me strong.
9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? A dog. She works cattle and she’s very sweet. I also have a bull named Dolly. I have quite a few bulls, but he’s special. I started my program with him and he’s a little bit of a pet. Don’t tell the bull riders who get thrown from him on a regular basis.
10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? I think you know the answer to that if you saw what I like to read. I’d go to the old west and watch cowboys at the beginning, when rodeo was a way to spend a little time off. Bull riding started on those ranches, in dusty corrals, a challenge between cowboys. It’s still that sport, a challenge between cowboys. They don’t really compete against one another, they compete against the animal. And all too often, the bull wins.