Friday, November 2, 2018

Nine Years and Counting - - Kaki Warner (2011)

In 2010, I discovered new Western Historical author, Kaki Warner and proceeded to fall in love with every book she's written. This is a Q&A with Warner from January 11, 2011, celebrating the release of Chasing the Sun, the third book in her award-winning Blood Rose Trilogy. Janga and I reviewed several of Warner's books over the years, many of them receiving 5 stars. Click here to read our reviews. 

Today's Special - - Kaki Warner

I am so thrilled to be hosting Kaki Warner today.  I've fallen in love with American Westerns again through her Blood Rose Trilogy about the three Wilkins brothers from the New Mexico Territory.  Though Kaki now lives in the Pacific Northwest, she grew up riding horses in the Southwest and her love of that land comes through in her wonderful books.  She is also a proud graduate of the University of Texas. (Hook 'em Horns!) Several years ago, she and her husband left the city and moved to a cabin overlooking the scenic Methow Valley. Kaki now spends her time gardening, hiking, reading, writing, and soaking in the view from the deck with her husband and floppy-eared hound dog. ( I especially like the writing part.)  For more information about Kaki, visit her website, sign up for her newsletter, read her blog, "like" her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
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…

CHASING THE SUN is Jack’s story—the youngest Wilkins brother. At the end of the first book in the trilogy, PIECES OF SKY, he is leaving for San Francisco in pursuit of his childhood sweetheart, hoping to marry her and travel the world once she recovers from surgery on her crippled hip. When the operation proves unsuccessful and Elena decides against marriage, Jack numbs his broken heart with alcohol and a young saloon singer named Daisy, then sails for the South Pacific. No one hears from him until the end of Book 2, OPEN COUNTRY, when he writes to say he’ll be home in a year. Not much of a writer, our Jack.
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?

There wasn’t a lot of squealing and hopping up and down, I’m sorry to say. I’m too old to squeal, and my knees are shot so I don’t do much hopping nowadays. And anyway, I sort of expected the phone to ring. Let me explain: a few weeks earlier, I had signed on with a great agent (Nancy Coffey), who is an absolute pro with years of experience as an agent and editor. She said she could sell it. I believed her. And even more important, I believed in the book (the first in the trilogy, PIECES OF SKY) because, after all, I had been writing on the thing off-and-on for nearly twenty-five years. So when the call finally came, I mostly just sat there, blinking and nodding and listening, as if a lifelong dream hadn’t just come true, while thinking, well, it’s about (expletive deleted) time. Not very exciting, but there it is.
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?

Don’t make me laugh, PJ. Since I sold PIECES OF SKY to Berkley in late 2008, I have had to write three more books, come up with a proposal for a new series, promote books I and II of the Blood Rose Trilogy, tackle a website, write e-newsletters, design book teasers, shine with brilliance on blog-tours, cringe through book signings, and write my own blogs. Read other authors? Seriously?

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! 

Do you enjoy western historical romances? Tell me about some of your favorites. One randomly chosen person leaving a comment on today's post before 11:00 PM, November 3 will receive a package of books. (U.S. only)


  1. I love anything by Carolyn Brown and Jodi Thomas. I loved the Blood Rose trilogy by Kaki Warner. Happy Anniversary.

  2. I cannot rem the names but Lorraine Heath's cowboy series, Destiny, etc and the series with Lorraine and other authors where the grandmother has each grandkid perform a task.

  3. I love variety and can think of Carolyn Brown and Kat Martin as two favorites.

  4. Western Historicals are meaningful, profound and give me great enjoyment since they speak to me of that era and the individuals struggles. Leigh Greenwood's novels.

  5. Rosanne Bittner's westerns are captivating. Western romance historicals are unforgettable and special.

  6. I do like western historicals. Over the years I have enjoyed books by Linda Lael Miller, Linda Broday, Jodi Thomas, and Cheryl St. John. Two comfort reads on my shelf are Springwater by Linda Lael Miller and Tall, Dark, and Texan by Jodi Thomas.

  7. I haven't read a western historical in a while - some of my favorites were Linda Lael Miller's McKetticks (some were historical & some contemporary) and Linda Howard had an early series Lady of the West.

  8. I haven't read them in a while but I've recently discovered those of Amy Sandas and really love them. I'm also enjoying a cowboy series by Stephanie Rowe.

  9. Kelly, I love Carolyn Brown's humor and Jodi Thomas is always a win for me.

    Patoct, Lorraine Heath is such a wonderful writer.

    Catslady, I love Kat Martin's romantic suspense books but I first fell in love with her writing through her historicals. Some really good stories there.

    Petite, I have yet to read Leigh Greenwood. Any title you'd recommend?

    Traveler, have I ever told you all about going back to my little hometown to visit my brothers and discovering Rosanne Bittner and I grew up less than 5 miles apart?

    Cheryl, I love LLM's Springwater books!

    Di, LLM's McKettricks were favorites of mine too. I think I read the entire series - historical and contemporary!

  10. I do enjoy western romances. Lorraine Heath and Jo Goodman have both written several that I enjoyed. Most recently I fell in love with Jo Goodman's A Touch of Frost. Loved the humor.

  11. Giddy up cowboys!!! I am a big fan of Roseanne Bittner and Linda broday

  12. I have not read any west. historicals.

  13. LLM of course, Cynthia Woolf and Caroline Fyffe.

  14. Love Linda Lael Miller's The MacMettricks entire series. I also reread Khaki's Runaway Brides. Carolyn Brown and Jody Thomas as well.
    Carol Luciano
    Lucky4750 at aol dot com

  15. I have never read any.
    Nat's Mama (Karen T.)

  16. I’ve read very few western historical romances (Thomas, Brown, Miller.) Maybe I need to try some more!