1. What made you decide to have your story settings in the old west? What about the old west appeals to your muse?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a love and a fascination for the old west. Many Sunday afternoons, I watched John Wayne westerns with my dad, and primetime television shows such as The Big Valley and High Chaparral. But western television shows disappeared and primetime soaps became the rage. (I was a big fan of Dallas and Knots Landing.) It wasn’t until after I was married that a friend introduced me to romance novels. Then I found western historical romance novels. The stories were filled with entertaining plots, hunky cowboys, stagecoaches, horses, sprawling ranch houses; everything I adored about Big Valley and High Chaparral was right there in black and white. Sometimes, I couldn’t read fast enough. When I decided to try my hand at penning my own novel, I began with contemporary romance, but soon turned to writing westerns on the advice to either ‘write what I know or what I love’. I combined both, because there’s just something about cowboys, outlaws, sagebrush and the old west that speaks to my heart.
2. What has been your favorite location to visit on your travels?
New York City and Santa Fe, New Mexico. NYC has it all; food, shopping, theater and the Yankees. For me, a great day in NYC is to stroll down Fifth Avenue and window shop, and get a hotdog with the works from the street vendor. Santa Fe takes me back to a time when life was hard yet simple, when men were men and women were women. The scenery in and around town relaxes me and calls to my muse, begging for another story to take shape. When I visit Santa Fe, I enjoy walking around the square, the yummy Mexican food and touring the old churches.
3. Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do to get
back into writing?
I do suffer from writer's block, usually when I can't get a scene to come out right or when I can't figure out what is the next course of action. The best way for me to overcome either problem is to clean the house. Dusting, vacuuming, mopping the floors; mundane, physical labor helps clear the clutter from my mind and get the thought process back on track. Many times, I’ll run for a sticky note to jot down something before I forget.
4. If you could meet one of your characters in real life who would it be
and why that character?
Buck Grayson, my hero in Zanna’s Outlaw. Though he is ornery and stubborn, Buck is also a lot of fun. I had the best time writing his character, and hanging out with him for a day would be a real eye opener as to what life was truly like for a notorious outlaw.
5. What has been your favorite book to write so far?
No Luck At All, because the characters did all the work. Originally, Creel’s character took up most of the story, but when I went back to do the rewrite, Racine screamed for attention. She was the one whose story needed to be told the most. Once I put her in the forefront and began almost from scratch, writing her and Creel's dialogue, mannerisms and journey to everlasting love came easy.
6. I've heard more than one author say that her characters told her the
story and then she just wrote it down? Do your characters talk to you, and
if so, do you sometimes find yourself about to write one thing, and the
characters telling you to write the scene a different way?
My characters don’t write the story from the get-go. Usually, I have an idea of what I want the story to be about and what will happen in the story, but then, I start writing and the characters ‘speak’ to me and take me in a completely different direction. Which is fun. I do like to be surprised, and that was evident when I rewrote No Luck At All and let Racine take over.
7. If you could do one thing differently on your road to publication, what
would it be, and why that one thing?
I would have joined a writing group sooner than I did. I used to work full-time outside of the home. Then I got pregnant and became a stay-at-home mom. Taking care of a baby and a home and two dogs and a hubby is a lot of work, so I took time off from writing. (This was during the time when home computers became a must and everyone was getting connected to the internet and email.) A few years after my son was born, I had the privilege of meeting one of the authors I greatly admired. I told her about my writing and she suggested I join a romance writing group, but I waited. My husband was going to retire from the Air Force and we were going to move. I didn’t want to join a group and then have to quit within a year. Had I known back then what I was missing, I would have joined immediately and then joined another group where I live now. Writing groups not only teach you how to write, how to send out your work to agents and editors, and the business side of the industry, they offer a wealth of friendship and support. To this day, I am truly thankful to the ladies of Pikes Peak Romance Writers for all they taught and shared with me.
8. Which authors inspire you the most?
Judith McNaught for her flawless voice. Johanna Lindsey for her Malory family saga. (I love a good family saga, hence my being a big fan of Dallas). Linda L. Miller for everything western.
9. What are your top three favorite free promotions tips?
Interviews on The Romance Studio's main page, Blogging on Goodreads, and Facebook.
Readers want to learn about authors and the books they write. Each of these sites allows me to give excerpts from my books, as well as background about me and how I manage a career writing western historical romance. Plus, these sites give me an opportunity to meet people and make new friends.
10. What are your favorite top three paid promotions tips?
Cover ads on The Romance Studio's home page, Cover ads on Coffeetime Romance emails, cover ads with Heartfelt Promos.
I have been working with Holly at TRS and Karenne at Coffeetime for years. Both are fantastic ladies, always going out of their way to help me. Their sites allow readers to see my covers, and readers like a good cover. And now I have found you and Heartfelt Promos and have added you to my list of keepers. I highly recommend all three of these sites, as their costs for promotion are low and the overall quality of the sites is fantastic.
Thank you so much for this opportunity, Regina. I look forward to many more years of friendship.
Me too, Julie! Thanks for visiting with us today!