Tule Author Q&A: Justine Davis did barrel racing like her heroine!

Justine Davis stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the fourth book in The Raffertys of Last Stand series, Cowgirl Tough!

Where did you get the inspiration for Cowgirl Tough?

When I started the Raffertys series, I had very little idea what the last book would be about. I knew I wanted a cowgirl, because by the usual standards Cody, although he grew up on a ranch, wasn’t that much of a cowboy. He could ride because he grew up riding, and he’s always ready to pitch in when necessary, but his gadgets are his first love, and his biggest challenge thus far was making them useful in ranch life. I thought the contrast might be fun, and as it turned out, it was!


How is Cody different from his brothers, Keller, Chance, and Rylan? How is he the same?

It’s not just that he’s a tech genius that makes him different, that’s as much a matter of timing and mental knack as anything. The main reason he’s different is that as the youngest brother, he was also the youngest when their military father was KIA. His brothers were all teenagers, while he was only nine. That made a tremendous difference in how he handled—or didn’t handle—the loss. But their mother, Maggie, truly rules the roost, and her unfailing love and dedication to both her family and the ranch that is their heritage shaped Cody, and fostered the loyalty to his brothers and the ranch that guides him.


How do you relate to Britt, your heroine, and how do you hope readers will relate to her? How do you relate to Cody?

As a one time barrel racer myself—albeit nowhere even near as successful!—I felt truly connected to Britt. I understood her passion for the sport, the exhilaration of a good run, and most of all the horses. I hope that comes through in the writing, especially to those who perhaps aren’t familiar with the thrill of riding a thousand-pound animal full tilt through a cloverleaf pattern around objects that give you a new appreciation for shin guards. 

As for Cody, I’m also a bit of a tech fan, although only in certain areas and only as a consumer; coding (sorry Cody!) is beyond me. I have flown a drone, and was in awe of the image from the high-res camera. I also have the same capacity Cody does of getting so wrapped up in a project that everything else falls by the wayside!


This is your second Last Stand series. Can you share how you manage to write stories in a town with so many different authors writing their own characters?

It’s probably a bit easier for me since thanks to Tule I had the good fortune to be deeply involved in the creation of Last Stand as a location. I love the Hill Country anyway, so I was delighted when Tule wanted to build this community. Having been in on the ground floor as it were, I feel as if I could find my way around if I ever was magically plopped down there, since I helped choose much of what’s there, especially the Main Street/common areas. I called on my law enforcement background to help create the traffic accident that was instrumental in launching the series for the foundation authors, so I’m fully invested in Last Stand. That said, it’s wonderful to work with some great authors, where you can send out a question and get helpful answers on characters, places, or anything else you might need to borrow! 


What are you currently reading?

While my Regency binge continues, Eve Gaddy’s Texas Cowgirl, set in neighboring Whiskey River (where I also “lived” for a while) jumped the line. I just finished it, and besides the great main couple, I adored the relationship between the hero and his lovable grandmother. Also just finished Margaret Mayhew’s I’ll Be Seeing You, and as a bit of a WWII buff, I loved the story of a woman trying to find her father, a Yank stationed in England during the war. Until I decide what’s next fictionally, the current read is something I’ve been slogging through for a while; the owner’s manual of a Cessna 206H. Ah, I love research…


About the Author

USA Today bestselling author of more than 70 books, (she sold her first ten in less than two years) Justine Davis is a five time winner of the coveted RWA RITA Award, including for being inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame. A fifteen time nominee for RT Book Review awards, she has won four times, received three of their lifetime achievement awards, and had four titles on the magazine’s 200 Best of all Time list. Her books have appeared on national best seller lists, including USA Today. She has been featured on CNN, taught at several national and international conferences, and at the UCLA writer’s program.

After years of working in law enforcement, and more years doing both, Justine now writes full time. She lives near beautiful Puget Sound in Washington State, peacefully coexisting with deer, bears, a pair of bald eagles, a tailless raccoon, and her beloved ’67 Corvette roadster. When she’s not writing, taking photographs, or driving said roadster (and yes, it goes very fast) she tends to her knitting. Literally.


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