Please tell the readers about yourself and the books you write?
Where to start with information about myself. First of all, I will admit to being a hopeless romantic. I’ve been reading romance novels since I was twelve or thirteen and would read them at night under the covers with a flashlight. I also grew up on a steady diet of syndicated Westerns (The Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, The Sisco Kid, and others), mixed in a healthy dash of John Wayne western movies, seasoned the diet with a weekly viewing of the Cartwright family on Bonanza, and added a side dish of Lassie. All of those influences created quite an impression on me—so much that I remember telling my parents I was going to live somewhere in the West, have horses and collies. Well, I don’t live in the West—YET—even though the DH and I own 36 acres near Medicine Bow, Wyoming just waiting for us to put a house on it; I have two horses, and I raise and show collies. And, when I decided I was going to be a romance writer, it felt as natural as breathing to write Western romances. It was where I grew up, figuratively.
Tell us about your latest book. Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
My latest book is actually my first published book. The Devil’s Own Desperado is a western historical romance and I have to admit that the hero is fairly near and dear to my heart. He’s got a very tough exterior, but inside he’s about as tough as a toasted marshmallow. The heroine is a gritty little thing. As to anything new in the works, my second book is on the desk of my editor at The Wild Rose Press. The working title is Gossamer Dreams and is the story of Dr. Archer and Rebecca, two minor characters from The Devil’s Own Desperado. And, I’m polishing up the novel I started for NaNaWriMo.
What inspired you to write The Devil’s Own Desperado?
I have to laugh with this question. I was eyeball deep in writing the critical introduction to my master’s creative piece (and for anyone who complains about writing a synopsis, try writing a critical analysis of the book you’ve just written, being sure to incorporate your literary influences and literary criticism for the chosen genre) and Colt walked in, fully formed, hand in hand with Amy. He insisted that I tell their story. It’s rather hard to tell someone with a Peacemaker strapped down low “No”, so when I would hit a wall with that critical introduction, I worked on their story. I can’t honestly say any one thing inspired me to write this story, other than those two characters arriving fully formed.
How do you describe your writing style?
I write by the seat of my pants. I have a general idea of where I need the characters to go and I know how the story has to end, but everything else is up for grabs. That being said, before I start writing, I do create a very large file for each character, including a detailed back story. I think I write a lot more on the backstory and often less than 1% will ever make it into the final version, but because I do such a detailed backstory for each character, I know how they will react.
When writing who is in charge you or your characters? How do you deal with bossy characters?
I’ve always said that my characters are in charge. I’m just along for the ride. I also bargain with bossy characters, promising them that I will tell their story if they allow me to finish whatever project I’m working on. Usually, that works. It didn’t with Colt and Amy, and it didn’t when I started a new novel for NaNaWriMo. This was another case of characters arriving fully formed in the midst of my edits for Dr. Archer and Rebecca’s story. I had to put the edits up for Gossamer Dreams and get the rough draft done for the new couple.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
That would be a toss-up between making the time to write (having two horses, a kennel full of show collies who need regular and routine coat maintenance, and raising a seven year old grandchild eats up a lot of time) and self-promotion. However, any writer knows that the time has to be made to write, and in today’s market, a writer who doesn’t do promotion is setting him or herself up for failure.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?
The most surprising thing I learned was just how hard it is to write a love scene. There were times when I felt like I was writing stage directions. I also had to rework those scenes numerous times, so that they didn’t read stilted, stiff (no pun intended), or completely choreographed.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
WRITE! Don’t stop writing. Finish that book, send it out, and start on the next one.
Now for a fun question, what is in your TBR pile?
Shades of Gray, by Jessica James. I read Noble Cause, which is the shortened version with a happier ending of Shades of Gray and just loved Noble Cause, so I had to put the original version in my TBR pile. I’ve also got several books by my fellow Wild Rose Press authors in that pile: Caller of Light, Trail of Hope, Wilda’s Outlaw.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? Was your family and friends supportive?
Remember I said I used to read romances under the covers as a young teenager? I knew then, but never really got serious until I literally threw a romance novel across the room in disgust (I have a history major undergrad to go with my English master’s degree and had found a third historical inaccurancy in less than ten pages in that novel) and announced to an empty room that I could write as well. My husband has always been incredibly supportive of my writing habit, which is why The Devil’s Own Desperado is dedicated to him.
Who (if anyone) has been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
There are a couple of people who have been instrumental in inspiring me. The first one I have to mention is Ellen Recknor, who I met years ago in an AOL chatroom (and, yes, I know I’m showing my age with talking about the AOL chats). Ellen never let me give up when I was getting so many rejection letters I could wallpaper my home office with them. She kept pushing me to keep sending material out. Ellen also trusted me enough to beta read The Incredible Kid Donovan before she sent it to her agent. I admit, I laughed outloud when I read that novel. Another person who has inspired me as a writer is Aaron Morales. Aaron was a member of my master’s committee and he is one of the brightest, edgiest Latino writers today. He is just so incredibly talented. His writing cuts deep with his manner of crafting a story.
What are you currently working on? Anything you can share regarding your current Work in Progress?
I’m currently polishing up the novel I started for NaNoWriMo, which is a historical romance, but it’s not a Western—per se. The hero is a former Confederate cavalry officer, and the heroine is a teacher. They end up together when they meet on a train heading west. She’s running from a murder charge and he isn’t sure if she’s guilty or not.
Don’t forget to give us links to your website etc.
Lynda is giving away a hardcopy of The Devil’s Own Desperado to a random commentor… Giveaway ends May 31st