Today we are interviewing our own Marie Patrick, Historical Romance Author and writer for Happily Ever After Thoughts. She is giving away a copy of TOUCH THE FLAME.
Alexis: Hi Marie, it's such a pleasure to be able to chat with you about the latest developments in your career. I know you have been busy. Can you tell us what's new on the romance novel front?
Marie: Well, a lot, actually. I have two-not one, but two-books coming out in February 2013. A SCANDALOUS WOMAN from Whiskey Creek Press and A GOOD MAN FOR KATIE from The Wild Rose Press. I have recently learned though that A GOOD MAN FOR KATIE will be available on Amazon long before the actual release in February. I’m rather excited about that!
Alexis: And that release date is looking like next week! That is exciting! Your westerns are always so much fun. Can you tell us a bit about A GOOD MAN FOR KATIE?
Marie: Here's the short, sweet version: When Chase Hunter rode into Crystal Springs, Arizona Territory, with his guns tied down around his thighs in gunslinger fashion, he was labeled an outlaw--a title he allowed to remain while he tries to discover who stole the army’s rifles and killed his brother…if he can keep the new schoolteacher, Kathryne “Katie” O’Rourke from stumbling into the middle of it all.
Accused of being a thief’s accomplice, Kathryne journeys to Crystal Springs and her sister, hoping to escape the scandal she left behind. She has a history of falling for the wrong men and vows to stay away from them, but that promise is hard to keep, especially when Chase comes to her rescue time after time.
Katie can’t help falling in love with Chase, but will she risk another scandal to stand up for him? Can the wrong man be the right one?
Alexis: I've read A GOOD MAN FOR KATIE and I loved it! Can you tell us how you come up with your ideas. I mean, we have a secret tunnel, some unsolved murders and even a runaway coach ride!
Marie: Thank you, Alexis. I’m so glad you loved it. That makes me feel really good. How did I come up with the idea? I visited a museum. It’s the Pioneer Living History Museum and well…the place made a profound impression on me. I’ve always loved history, but this place just…I don’t know…made me see it, feel it, taste it, hear it (rather like what Gettysburg did for me). I saw a schoolhouse and the teacherage beside it and well…I sat on a bench in front of the chapel, just staring at this schoolhouse, and played the “What if?” game. One thing led to another and before long, I had the story, the characters, the place…all in my head (and jotted down on the little notebook I carried even then). This story was written way back in 1989, when I didn’t know a darned thing about writing (but thought I did). After many rejections, I actually used the manuscript to start a bonfire BUT I was still in love with my hero, Chase Hunter (and really, who wouldn’t be? He’s a good guy). And then, he started talking to me, asking me to tell his story (again) but to do it right this time, so I did. The runaway coach? I’d heard, after taking classes on plotting and characterization and everything else under the sun, one wanted to start a story with action….what better action than a runaway coach? It’s our first glimpse of our spunky heroine and our devilishly handsome hero and wouldn’t you want someone like him to save your life? I would. The secret tunnels and unsolved murders? I’m a big fan of murder mysteries and haunted mansions with secret passageways. Simply had to incorporate my love of such things into my story.
Alexis: I see, so we can expect that what we find in your romances are a lot of things that you like :-)
Makes sense. Which brings me to Sarge. Okay, I'm totally in love with him, yes, but you must know dogs very well to have portrayed him so realistically and yet given him his own character.
Marie: I love dogs. I’ve had them all my life and have them still. I simply cannot live without them. Growing up, my mother preferred small dogs (like terriers and cocker spaniels). I prefer the bigger breeds and have had German Shepherds for the past 30 years (well, Shadow was a Chow/Lab mix but still a big girl). Sarge is a combination of all the dogs I’ve had. His protectiveness came from Maggie, who wouldn’t let anyone she didn’t know come near me or my son without her being right there. His playfulness came from Sadie, who would stick out her paw as you were walking by and try to trip you (and yes, she and her sister would actually look like they were laughing when she did it). His sweetness and love of children? Definitely Sheba, who loved to chase bubbles and steal baseball caps. His intelligence? Well, that’s a combination of all of them (from Maggie right on down the line to the two girls I have now, Daisy and Schatzie).
Alexis: Your love of dogs definitely comes through with Sarge. Since you have so much experience in that arena, I hope we get to see another dog in a future work :-)
Your heroine Katie has quite a bit of spunk, even when everyone turns against her, and the reader can't help but cheer for her. Can you tell us a little about how you develop these tough, lovable characters.
Marie: I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but Katie developed herself. The more I wrote, the more she spoke to me and when I wrote something wrong about her, she was pretty quick to put me in my place. Chase did the same—pretty much told me who he was and how I should portray him. That seems to be how it’s been happening for me lately. I write and I get reprimanded by my characters who tell me “I would never do that! How could you even think it? Fix it!”
Alexis: LOL. I guess that begs the question of who is really in charge ;-) So are you a morning or night writer? Panster or plotter? Need music or silence?
Marie: I’m definitely a morning writer. I write before work so from 4:30 to 6:00, that’s my time (well, the dogs keep me company and just hang on my every word….they think I’m brilliant). I used to think I was a plotter and to some extent I am, but I’ve learned of a new definition, which is puzzler, and that’s what I am. I need a plot (or at least plot points) but I’m capable of writing chapters 1, 2 & 3 then jump immediately to the epilogue or some other chapter in between. Sometimes, I write the epilogue first, which can be exciting as I already know how the story will end. Music or silence? Neither. I don’t need it quiet to write, but seldom do I listen to music (because if I do, I’ll want to sing along and then, I’ll want to dance and then….well, it’s just not a good thing and we can forget about writing at that point). Background noise or even the television does not bother me at all….I can drown out anything when I’m deep in a story. Ask my husband. He’ll tell you that the house could fall down around my ears and I won’t hear a thing.
Alexis: Lucky for you, living in Arizona, the chance of a tornado taking the house down is slim :-) I can definitely see where the humor in your stories comes from. What can we expect next from you? Do you have any new releases coming or a work in progress?
Marie: What’s next? I’m working on a Civil War story right now but I have a treasure hunt story I’m busy submitting and of course, there will be more westerns because you know, I just love my westerns!
Alexis: And we love them too! Thank you so much for letting our readers know about A GOOD MAN FOR KATIE. I really loved this book and now I can't wait for A SCANDALOUS WOMAN to come out in February so we can do this again.
Marie: And thank you for having me and I look forward to visiting again. It’s so exciting to talk writing and books with people who love writing and books (I have found that strangers will walk away from you if you try to tell them about a story so I try not to do that anymore).
Alexis: Too funny :-) For a chance to win Marie’s TOUCH THE FLAME be sure to leave a comment for her. Winner will be announced on Wednesday. Check the side column for your name.
For more information on Marie’s Romances go to http://www.mariepatrick.com/
Alexis: Check out this great excerpt from A GOOD MAN FOR KATIE
Fear made Kathryne O’Rourke’s palms damp and her heart thunder in her chest. Time had lost all meaning since the stagecoach started its bone-jarring race over the rutted road. She swallowed hard to ease the dryness in her throat and tried once more to get the driver’s attention.
“Mr. Simmons! Please—” She never finished yelling the words as the coach hit another bump. The impact of hard wheel meeting harder rock bounced her from her seat. She landed on her backside on the filthy floor and bit her tongue. The coppery taste of blood filled her mouth.
A word her father said all the time popped into her mind. She didn’t allow herself to say it, however appropriate it might have been. Instead, Kathryne pulled herself back into the seat with the help of the leather strap nailed to the side of the carriage, but the vehicle swerved again and slammed her against the wall. The right side of her body exploded with pain.
She tried again to get the driver’s attention, but doubted he could hear her over the thundering of the horse’s hooves. She pounded on the ceiling nonetheless, but only succeeded in hurting her already bruised knuckles. Red splotches made ugly stains on her white gloves.
“Mr. Simmons—” Her words were replaced with a sudden “oomph” as she found herself sprawled on the floor of the coach once more. Gold-rimmed glasses askew on her face, she fought back the tears.
The careful coif she’d twisted her heavy locks into earlier this morning came undone and tumbled to her waist. Shiny hairpins settled on the floor of the stagecoach. She pushed her hair out of her eyes and fixed her glasses.
I’m going to die on a lonely mountain road in Arizona Territory. The thought popped into her head and wouldn’t be stopped as a kaleidoscope of family and friends she’d never see again flashed through her mind.
“No, I’m not!” Anger replaced the paralyzing fear in an instant.
She gave in and uttered General Galen “Fighting Irish” O’Rourke’s favorite word as she climbed into the seat though she knew she’d be safer on the floor.
“Mr. Simmons! Stop this coach!” she yelled, hoping he’d hear above the rattle of the wheels but the coach kept up its speed and swayed from side to side, tossing her about as if she were a rag doll.
With trembling fingers, Kathryne grabbed the stiff cloth covering the window. The wind tore the shade from her hand. It shredded before breaking free of the small nails that held it in place. Her gaze met sheer rock wall. Rust- and sand-colored stone rose up who knew how high. Spiky branches of the hardy bushes that clung to the rock poked through the window and scratched her cheek, almost knocking her glasses off her face.
The stage scraped against this stone wall with such force, Kathryne flew to the other side of the coach and banged her head on the seat. Fresh pain assailed her as she crawled to her knees, grabbed the windowsill, and pulled herself up. Already in tatters, the window covering fluttered in the wind and ripped free as soon as she touched it.
With nothing to impede her vision, she saw the tops of wavering piñon trees and the sharp drop off between the edge of the dirt road and nothingness.
Oh, dear God!
To save her own life, she’d have to jump…or be killed.
She took a deep breath, unlocked the door and pushed it open. The door slammed against the side of the stagecoach and echoed in the canyon below.
“You’re a general’s daughter, Kate. You don’t have to die this way.” The roar of the horse’s hooves drowned out her voice. Dark brown earth littered with rocks sped beneath her and made her more lightheaded than she thought possible. Everything swayed and grew fuzzy—the treetops, the dirt road beneath her, the blue sky above.
“Take my hand!”
He appeared out of nowhere beside the stagecoach though he didn’t look like her idea of salvation. From his black hat to his solid black clothing to his ebony steed, he resembled every bandit, every outlaw, every desperado she’d read about in the books she loved so well. The dull glow of the pearl-handled pistol in the holster added to the illusion and yet, she wasn’t afraid of him. In all reality, Kathryne was more afraid of dying on this high mountain road than of this handsome stranger.
And then he was gone. But only for a moment.
“Take my hand!”
“For pity’s sake, stop the horses!”
“No time,” he yelled over the rattle of the stage. His eyes never left her face as he extended his hand. “Trust me.”
The trimmed black goatee and mustache on his face did not inspire trust—he looked wicked enough to be Satan himself—however, the kindness in his soft gray eyes gave her hope.
Alexis: Don't forget for a chance to win a copy of TOUCH THE FLAME, another great western by Marie Patrick, be sure to leave a comment :-)