Good Morning, Kaki! It’s my pleasure to welcome you to The Romance Dish today. Congratulations on the recent release of CHASING THE SUN, the third book in your Blood Rose Trilogy. The Wilkins men and their strong, spirited women from your first two books captured my heart and have me eagerly anticipating Jack’s story. Please tell us what we can expect to find in CHASING THE SUN. (Note: Since conducting this interview, I've read (and loved) CHASING THE SUN. You can read my 5-Star Review here.)
Hi, PJ. A belated Happy New Year to you and your readers, and a heartfelt “thanks” for inviting me to visit on such an auspicious date, 1/11/11. (That must mean something, right?) Anyway, to answer your first question…
In CHASING THE SUN, we find him heading back to the ranch, hoping to convince Elena they’re meant to be together. Instead, he finds the ranch in quarantine because of equine flu that has left millions of horses dead, and their silver mines worthless because of the shift to the gold standard. Then suddenly Daisy shows up with a baby who has eyes like his, debts come due, and the ranch faces ruin at the hands of an old enemy. (Guess who?)
But somehow, as is the custom in romances, the hero saves the day, showing his brothers he’s not a skirt-chasing dimwit after all, winning the woman he was meant to have, rescuing the horses and the ranch, and beating the stink out of a weasel just for fun. A good day all around. The trilogy ends with an epilogue that tells (more or less) where the Wilkins family ends up twenty-five years down the road. (Relax. No one dies who shouldn’t.)
Kaki, you had me smiling and laughing again just from reading your synopsis of Jack's story. I especially enjoyed the "beating the stink out of a weasel just for fun" scene. So well done and heartily deserved!
Check out the gorgeous video trailer for CHASING THE SUN:
American historical westerns were among some of the first romances I read and I’ve always had a special fondness for them. As an author, what draws you to this particular time and place?
They say to write about what you know—not that I’m 140 years old. But I do know the climate, and horses, and I’ve chased a cow or two, and I’m familiar with the mindset of the typical Westerner (which hasn’t changed all that much). And I love it all. So when I sat down to start this trilogy, I wanted to give a (mostly) honest picture of the times and the place and the challenges early ranchers faced, but to soften it with a bit of romance.
You accomplished your goal. I was immediately drawn into the "time and place" in each of the books. Do you plan to continue writing westerns? Will we see any of the Wilkins family in future books or is it time to bid them a fond farewell?
At this point, unless they show up in a short story somewhere, or my publisher requests a follow-up, this is the last of the Wilkins family. I’m sad to see them go—they’ve been a part of my life for a long time. But I do have another trilogy in the works which is also set in the 1870s, but in Colorado this time.
I'm sorry to say good-bye to them too but happy that I can re-visit them anytime I want through your books. (They've all gone straight to my keeper shelf.)
We love call stories here at the Dish. Will you share with us how you got the news of your first sale?
LOL! What a great story! As a fellow non-squealer with shot knees I can certainly appreciate your reaction. And, speaking for myself, I'm so happy you never gave up on the dream.
Do you have any advice for the unpublished authors among us?
Never give up. Love your characters, because if you don’t, how can you expect an agent or editor to? Get all the feedback you can—discard half of it—use the rest. Keep it real (I know, in Romance that kinda defeats the purpose, but try anyway). And remember, no matter how much of yourself you put into your work, industry rejections are not personal. Finally, it’s your story, your voice, your plot—don’t write to please a critique group, an agent, an editor, or a market. Listen and consider…but in the end do it your way, as true and honest as you can make it. And did I say “never give up?” I mean it. Never. Ever.
When you’re not busy writing your own books, what authors do you enjoy reading?
OK, I did read a very few—John Hart’s THE LAST CHILD, Bernard Cornwell’s AGINCOURT, the Texas series by Jodi Thomas, the latest by Julia Quinn and Eloisa James, and about fourteen others I never got to finish. I miss it.
I know what you mean. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to read all the great books out there.
Now for a fun, “what-if” question: Through the magic of our time machine, you have the opportunity to take any ten people (real or fictional) on a camp-out in the old west. Who will you choose and why?
1. My husband, because it would hurt his feelings if I didn’t include him, and because he would tolerate my whining better than the others. Long practice.
2. My daughter, because she’s a great cook and would bring lots of wine.
3. My daughter-in-law, because she’s an excellent nurse and could keep me alive.
4. My son, because he could write about the happenings and make us rich.
5. My son-in-law, because he’s a working fool and has a big brain.
6. Jack Wilkins because he’d be a hoot to hang with. And look at.
7. Brady Wilkins, because he doesn’t mind killing stuff. Like food. And he’d also be fun to look at.
8. Hank Wilkins, because he’d invent needed things. Like a flush toilet. And it would be fun to watch him while he did that.
9. Gerard Butler, because…ah…for research. Yeah, that’s it. (Book 2 of the new series does feature a Scotsman, after all). And he’s always fun to look at.
10. And finally, Cyndi and Janet because they could pray me out of trouble.
ROFL! I may not be on the guest list but I'm coming too. No way I'm going to miss that much fun!
It’s a brand new year, filled with fresh opportunities. What are you looking forward to in 2011?
Staying alive. And finishing this next series. And moving up from almost nearly semi-famous status all the way to nearly semi-famous status. It’s a leap, I know.
Speaking of your new series, what can we expect next from you? Any more books scheduled for publication in 2011?
YES! And thanks for asking, PJ. The new series (Runaway Brides) launches next summer with HEARTBREAK CREEK. This series focuses on four women who head west to make new starts, but get more than they bargained for when they’re stranded in a dying Colorado mining town named…wait for it…Heartbreak Creek! This first book is about a Southern princess, so desperate to escape the reconstruction South, she signs on as a mail order bride to a struggling rancher with a hardened heart and four unruly children. More on that later.
The second book is about an Englishwoman who gives up on her absent Scottish/soldier/husband and comes West on a photographic expedition. Naturally, he comes after her, as any braw Scotsman would. The third is about an almost-bride with a valise full of railroad shares stolen from the almost-groom that she left standing at the altar and who is now hot on her trail with revenge in mind.
I'm marking my calendar now and making more room on my bookshelves!
Thanks again for visiting with us today, Kaki and our best wishes for CHASING THE SUN. Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Thank you, PJ, for inviting me. Visiting The Romance Dish is a great way to start out the new year! For your readers: How “historical” do you want your historical romances (especially Westerns)? Or if you prefer contemporaries, how “real” do you want the setting to be? And HAPPY NEW YEAR, everybody!
Okay everybody, let's hear what you want to read in your books. Is it important for the historicals/westerns you read to be "true to the times" or do you prefer a more "modernized" approach? Is the story more important to you than the accuracy of historical facts? Tell us what makes a good historical/western romance work for you. Or, if you prefer contemporaries, tell us what makes them a good read for you. Kaki has generously offered a copy of CHASING THE SUN to two lucky people who comment on today's blog! (U.S./Canada mailing addresses only)
Kaki will be popping in throughout the day so please feel free to ask her questions about her current trilogy, upcoming trilogy or anything else you'd like to know!