Category Archives: Author Feature

Tule Author Q&A: Gerri Russell discusses historical romance vs contemporary!

Gerri Russell stopped by to talk about the fourth book in her All the King’s Men series, A Laird and a Gentleman!

 

What kind of research did you have to do for A Laird and a Gentleman?

The entire All the King’s Men series was very research-intensive. There wasn’t a lot of information readily available about the witch hunts in Scotland outside of academic papers. Fortunately for me, there was a lot of interest in academia about that very subject and the time period involving King James VI. In addition to the history of witches and King James, I also had to research the Isle of May, shipping routes in the 16th century, the Firth of Forth, Celtic mythology, volcanic eruptions in Iceland, sheep, auras, influenza outbreaks in history, Ravenscraig Castle, and Clan Sinclair.

 

Bricked Building Near Body of WaterCan you describe the land of Ravenscraig?

One of the best parts of writing historical fiction set in Scotland is that I don’t really need to make things up because Scottish history is so vibrant all on its own! Ravenscraig Castle plays a leading role in A Laird and A Gentleman but I didn’t have to alter its location or history to make it fit into my story. Ravenscraig Castle is located beside Ravenscraig Park on the eastern outskirts of Kilcaldy. Ravenscraig was originally built as a residence for James II in 1460. When James died, his widow, Queen Mary of Gueldres, resided in the west tower. But Ravenscraig’s time as a royal residence was short-lived. When Queen Mary died, the castle was granted to the Sinclair family.

The castle itself is a spectacular two-tower structure. It sits on a bluff overlooking the Firth of Forth. The area around the castle used to be miles of rolling green landscape broken up by fields of heather. The parklands below the bluff are still protected to this day and are part of the Fife Coastal Path (part of the North Sea trail.) Views from the castle to the south and east, over the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh and as far as Bass Rock, are breathtaking.

 

You write both historical and contemporary romances. Do you have a favorite? What is the biggest difference when writing?

I love writing romantic stories of any kind, and asking what I like to write best is like asking which of my children I love more. 😊 I will admit that I have a special place in my heart for historical romances set in Scotland. I am more in tune with the language and the way the characters think and act in history than with those of the modern age. You would think that contemporary romance would be easier to write, but for me they aren’t. I really have to work at them!

 

Woman in White Shirt Sitting on Green ChairIf you could spend the day with Cameron or Mariam, who would you choose and what would you do?

I would love to spend the day with Mariam! And if I could bring her into my world, I would want to be a good friend to her and take her to the dentist to get her teeth cleaned, and then to the doctor to get a few immunizations. That is the one regret I always have for my characters is that they really didn’t have access to dental hygiene like we do today, and while there were some very notable medical advances in the 16th century, people still died from many of the things we take for granted. Then, when Mariam and I were done with all of that, I would show her some very “magical” things like running water, lights, cars, the internet, and ice cream!

 

What are you currently reading?

The books I’m reading right now are Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates and The Boyfriend Project, by Farrah Rochon.

 

About the Author

Gerri Russell is the award-winning author of historical and contemporary novels including the Brotherhood of the Scottish Templars series and Flirting with Felicity. A two-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award and winner of the American Title II competition sponsored by RT Book Reviews magazine, she is best known for her adventurous and emotionally intense novels set in the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Scottish Highlands. Before Gerri followed her passion for writing romance novels, she worked as a broadcast journalist, a newspaper reporter, a magazine columnist, a technical writer and editor, and an instructional designer. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and four mischievous black cats.


Tule Author Q&A: Nola Cross talks about psychic abilities!

New Tule author Nola Cross dropped in to talk about the first book in her Burlesons of Texas series, The Cowboy Comes Undone!

 

Welcome to Tule! What is one thing you can tell our readers that no one else knows about you?

Most people don’t know that I’m a late bloomer. Although I had wanted to be an author since childhood, I wasn’t published in book length until my fifties. Having a special needs child in mid-life (surprise!) meant putting my writing dreams on hold, but I’ve never regretted giving my son my full attention. Don’t give up on your dreams!

 

Assorted Tarot Cards On TableWhere did you get the inspiration for The Cowboy Comes Undone?

I’ve always had an interest in psychic phenomena, which I realize is kind of “out there”. I thought it would be interesting to watch a character struggle with learning how to deal with a sudden psychic gift, and to explore the ways that gift might impact relationships with other people.

 

How do you relate to Jade and Cash, and how do you hope readers will relate to them?

As I wrote their story, these characters really came alive for me. I began to think of them as real people. I developed a huge crush on Cash (don’t tell my hubby), and I came to really admire Jade for the way she handled her challenges. I would hope my readers would feel the same. (Come on people, Cash is SOOOO yummy.)

 

Beige Sand With Hear EngraveIn The Cowboy Comes Undone, your heroine Jade has psychic abilities. If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?

I had to answer this question on another forum and my answer remains the same: I’d like to be able to heal people who suffer from disease or injury. Not in a showy way, but quietly, so they would never know it was me who helped them.

 

What are you currently reading?

 Right now I’m reading The New Normal by Tracy Brogan.

 

About the Author

Nola began writing before she even started school and won her first writing contest at the age of nine. It’s always been her dream to be an author, and in recent years she’s been blessed to be living that dream. Her stories focus on emotion, spirit, and true love, stories she hopes her readers will relate to and want to read more than once. Small town America is her favorite fictional setting.

Nola lives with her husband and youngest son in a comfortable old fixer-upper in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, in southwest Washington state. She loves to connect on social media with readers, authors and other friendly folks.


Tule Author Q&A: Paris Wynters discusses Mongolian characters and marriage of convenience!

New Tule author Paris Wynters dropped in to talk about the first book in her Navy Seals of Little Creek series, Issued!

 

Close Photography of Grilled Meat on GriddleWelcome to Tule! What is one thing you can tell our readers that no one else knows about you?

Like my character Taya, I can’t cook my way out of a wet paper bag. For example, I was cooking burgers and walked away from the BBQ. Well, when I went out back to let my dogs out for their last potty break for the night, they were sniffing around the BBQ. Yup, forgot about the burgers for six hours. Needless to say they were inedible and I wasted an entire tank of gas. Seriously though, if you come to my house and I am not ordering, eat first.

 

In Issued, your heroine Taya enters into the military’s spouse-matching program as a way to start over. Would you have ever considered joining this kind of program?

Haha, I’ve thought about it. I think it would be interesting and something that I wouldn’t dismiss, even if I find it a bit terrifying to leave NY and my family and friends for something new.

 

Issued features many mentions of Mongolian culture. Why was it important for you to include these pieces?

Being multi-racial (my mother is Mongolian and Russian, my biological father is Latino), it was something I wanted to write about. It’s part of who I am and haven’t found many books that feature Mongolian main characters, especially in contemporary stories.

 

Woman Wearing White Wedding Gown Holding Hands With Man While WalkingThis is a fun marriage of convenience romance. What drew you to this trope? What’s your favorite trope to write?

I have a lot of friends and family in the military. Military marriages always fascinated me, and there’s always the saying that if the military wanted you to have a spouse, they would have issued you one. That’s partly where the concept came from. But the other part was I always wanted to read romances about the home lives of these men and women, something other than a romance during a mission.

 

What are you currently reading?

Currently I am catching up on some John Scalzi books that have been on my TBR (The Consuming Fire is the one I am reading right now) along with The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey. I’m a big sci-fi reader.

 

About the Author

Paris Wynters is an adult romance author repped by Tricia Skinner at Fuse Literary. She lives on Long Island (in New York) with her family, which includes two psychotic working dogs. Paris is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago.

Paris and her son are nationally certified Search and Rescue personnel (she is a canine handler). She is a huge supporter of the military/veteran community. When not writing, Paris enjoys playing XBOX (she is a huge HALO fanatic and enjoys FORTNITE), watching hockey (Go Islanders), and trying new things like flying planes and taking trapeze classes.


Tule Author Q&A: Leslie Marshman talks strong female characters!

Leslie Marshman dropped in to talk about the second book in her Crystal Creek Mysteries series, The Goode Fight!

 

Sam Goode is such a strong female character. Where did you draw inspiration for her?

I’ve always enjoyed books and TV shows that feature strong women. Authors like Lisa Gardner, Jayne Ann Krentz, Karin Slaughter, and so many more have written series with strong female protagonists. TV shows like Homeland, Alias, The Killing, Castle, Rizzoli & Isles, all feature women who kick butt for a living. Admiration for those characters helped me to develop Sam’s inner strength to become a Texas Ranger (our equivalent of a state bureau of investigation), and to succeed in that androcentric career. I’ve heard that authors put themselves into their characters, especially in their first books. The only part of me in Sam is her determination. The fearlessness and in-your-face attitude is all her.

 

While this is a mystery, there is some romance with rancher Clay Barnett. What song would be in the soundtrack to Clay and Sam’s love story?

Always on my Mind by Willie Nelson would, without a doubt, be their soundtrack. Sam and Clay fell in love when they were kids, and that love survived more than a decade of separation and betrayal. It isn’t always going to be all roses and rainbows, though. They each have their own issues to deal with, and neither of them is necessarily good at maintaining relationships. But no matter what happens, they’ll always love each other.

 

How did your experience differ when writing book two from book one?

Goode Over Evil was the first book I’d ever written. It had been living in my head for a while, and there was no deadline when I wrote it. By the time I sent it to my agent, it was done. 

With The Goode Fight, I learned to write to a deadline. Dealing with that pressure was difficult, but it also taught me discipline. And I already knew my characters, which allowed me to delve further into their issues and relationships and become more immersed in the town of Crystal Creek itself.

I’d originally planned on having different main characters in each book, secondary characters from the previous books. But my editors and I decided to go forward with Sam as the primary protagonist throughout the series. I was about a quarter of the way through The Goode Fight when we decided this, so it was a good learning experience for me in being flexible and changing directions. I’m thrilled with the final result.

 

Tree Tunnel at DaytimeIs mystery your favorite genre to write? How did you get into it?

Mystery and suspense have always been my favorite genres to read, so I naturally gravitated to them when I started writing. I’d studied criminology in college, and had considered becoming a criminologist until I learned it might mean collecting hair from drains. (Yuck!)  I’m obsessed with true crime shows and podcasts, and I’m fascinated with the psychology of serial killers. But it was when I read Lisa Gardner’s The Perfect Husband that I said to myself, “I want to write books like this someday.”

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading Down the Darkest Road by Kylie Brant, book two in her Cady Maddix Mystery series. A Darker Truth came out on June 1, and I’m catching up so I can dive into the newest one. I also just finished Find Her Alive, by Lisa Regan. Her Josie Quinn, and Brant’s Maddix, are both perfect examples of the strong female protagonists that I love to read and write about.

 

About the Author

Award-winning suspense author Leslie Marshman is (finally) putting her psychology degree to good use, getting inside the heads of her characters and figuring out what makes them tick. She writes novels that feature kick-ass heroines, the heroes who love them, and the bad guys who fear them.

Leslie called Denver home until she married a Texan without reading the fine print. Now she lives halfway between Houston and Galveston and has learned to embrace the humidity. Her household includes two miniature poodles named Harley and Davidson, and a three-legged box turtle named Stumpy.

If she’s not at her computer making things up, you’ll probably find her camping at a lake, a fishing pole in one hand and a book in the other.


Tule Author Q&A: Michelle Beattie talks Last Stand, Texas and tropes!

Michelle Beattie dropped in to talk about the third book in her Tangled Up in Texas series, Cowboy Wild!

 

Orange Wooden House Surrounded With Green TreesWhat has been your favorite part about writing a story in Last Stand?

Texas!  I’d always dreamed of going to Texas and was lucky enough to visit San Antonio on a writing conference and get a small sense of the state.  I loved everything about it.  As for Last Stand itself, I like small towns.  I like the history of this one and the fact you can “see” it in the outside walls of the saloon.  That walking the streets you can feel the history.  Also, I’m from a small town. I’m very familiar with the feel of them, so Last Stand was a perfect fit.

 

How is Cam different from his brothers, Dallas and Gage? How is he the same?

Well, Cam is the wild child.  He’s the fun one.  He has a cocky swagger and a cheeky grin.  He’s definitely lighter than Dallas and Gage, at least on the surface.  His smiles come easier.  But where Dallas and Gage are more confident in who they are, Cam actually is less.  And has felt less, which is why he hides behind his smile.  He is similar to his brothers in that he has the  same work ethic as Gage and Dallas, and the loyalty.  Despite his wild ways, you can count on Cam, same as all other Granger men.

 

Photography of a Man Riding HorseCowboy Wild is fun opposites attract romance. What drew you to this trope? What’s your favorite trope to write?

I loved the idea of a cowboy and a city girl.  Of a man whose education is the land and the animals versus the college educated woman.  I thought it would make an interesting dynamic.  Especially when the city girl isn’t as city as she might appear.  Although her parents are, which puts a big strain on Cam and Kara’s relationship.

I’m not sure I have a favorite trope to write.  For me it’s all about the characters.  First I think of them and who they are and from there I decide on which trope suits them best.  So I don’t start with “I’m going to write a secret baby.”  I’ll start with “I have a man who’s solid and dependable.  Rock of the Earth.  What’s the best way to challenge him?” and go from there.

 

What is different about writing historical romances vs contemporary romances? Which one do you enjoy more?

Historicals are harder, for sure.  Research is harder because you can’t just call up a pirate or a sheriff from the 1800’s to ask questions.  And cell phones!  So many times I wished my historical characters had them!  LOL.  I enjoy both genres.  I really like the pluck it took to survive in the pirate days or on the western frontier.  I love the chivalry and how sometimes the female seemed more cherished than she is today.  But it’s definitely easier to write about current times and clothing and they can sure get from one place to another a lot faster!

 

Black Kindle Tablet On Grey Floral TextileWhat do you want readers to take away from this book?

I’m not necessarily after them taking away deep meaning.  What means more to me is did you like the characters?  Were you able to relate?  Are they characters that, by the time you’ve read the book or series, feel like family?  I always strive for that.  For a story you can get lost in and love so much you’ll want to keep it and reread it one day.  That’s the take away I want.  Have I done a good enough job that you’ll come back to it one day as though you’re visiting an old friend?

 

What are you currently reading?

So, continuing on with my last answer, I am currently rereading a Maisey Yates book, Part-Time Cowboy.  I love to reread books that I’ve enjoyed and I have 2 large bookshelves for just those books.  With Covid-19 I’m not going into bookstores, and as I do prefer a hard copy book, I’m going to reread her Copper Ridge series then likely go back to Nora Roberts.  I have shelves of her books.  I’ll likely read her Inn of Boonsboro trilogy.  I do love a man wearing a tool belt!

 

About the Author

Award-winning author Michelle Beattie began writing in 1995, almost immediately after returning from her honeymoon.  It took 12 long years but she achieved her dream of seeing her name on the cover of a book when she sold her novel, What A Pirate Desires, in 2007.  Since then she’s written and published several more historical novels as well a contemporary.  Her pirate books have sold in several languages, been reviewed in Publisher’s Weekly and Romantic Times.  Two of her independent self-published works went on to win the Reader’s Choice Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest.

When Michelle isn’t writing she enjoys playing golf, reading, walking her dog, travelling and sitting outside enjoying the peace of country life.  Michelle comes from a large family and treasures her brothers and sister as well as the dozens of aunts, uncles and cousins she’s proud to call family.  She lives outside a tiny town in east-central Alberta, Canada with her husband, two teenage daughters and their dog, Ty.


Tule Author Q&A: M.A. Guglielmo discusses fallen angels and Persian folklore!

M.A. Guglielmo stopped by to talk about the second book in her From Smokeless Fire series, Soul to Steal!

 

Soul to Steal is a fantasy novel with jinns, fallen angels, magic and mythology. Where did you get the inspiration for the world you’ve created?

The central story that inspired me to write the From Smokeless Fire series is the legend of Harut and Marut, two fallen angels who complain so much about human immorality that they are sent down in human form to experience temptation firsthand. After failing at resisting sin in spectacular fashion, they’re punished by being hung by their feet inside a cursed mountain, where they bestow magical knowledge on humans brave enough to find their prison.

 

How did your experience writing Soul to Steal differ from book one, Summoned?

In a word: time. Although Summoned wasn’t the first novel I finished and edited, it was the first I published, and I had more time for feedback from different beta readers, as well as working out plot issues by myself. The timeline for Soul to Steal was shorter, and I had to make tough and fast decisions about cutting out scenes, a few minor characters and restructuring some plotlines. Luckily, I had awesome editorial backup to help with the process! 

 

Jo is attacked by a magical bird from Persian legend. Can you explain the legend?

The Simurgh is a fantastical bird from Persian folklore, with the size and strength to carry away elephants. In the Persian epic the Shahnameh, Zal, an infant with white hair, is thought to be a devil and is left on a mountain top to perish. The Simurgh finds and rescues the baby, then raises him as her own. He eventually returns to the human world and uses the magical feather she gave to perform a cesarean section on his wife, saving both her and his son, who grows to become a great hero of the epic. An ancient tale with surgical technique—I love it!

 

What do you want readers to take away after reading this novel?

Although the story has many entertaining fantastical moments, I think in the end Soul to Steal is about relationships and love, whether in a family or a romantic dynamic. In the story, both Zahara and Jo come from family backgrounds that cause conflicts with the people they love, and they have to bring together former enemies in order to save themselves (and everyone else!) 

 

You work by day as a neurosurgeon. When do you find the time to write and where do you do it?

Finding time with both work and my family is a huge challenge—there’s no doubt about it! Luckily my two daughters are a huge help around the house and supportive of my writing. My dog and cat—not so helpful. I often use the month of November (when the writing event NanoWriMo takes place) as a boost to new writing. I don’t really have a fancy spot to write. Instead, I plop on my couch and put a pair of noise-cancelling headphones after dinner and try to get some words on the page.

 

 

 

What are you currently reading?

I love novels which feature Middle Eastern myth and legend, and I absolutely adore the The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A, Chakraborty. Her heroine is a 13th century Egyptian con artist who is pulled into the palace intrigue and warfare of the jinn world. There’s a wonderful love triangle that has me on the edge of my seat for the final novel, Empire of Gold. Another fantastic stand-alone novel is The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson, a beautiful historical fantasy based on a Sufi tale about the Simurgh. Can’t recommend these books highly enough!

 

About the Author

Born and raised in Rhode Island, M.A. Guglielmo is the proud mother of two wonderful daughters and works as a neurosurgeon in an academic practice. Drawing on her life-long love of imaginative fiction, she writes stories based mostly on Middle Eastern and Southern European mythology and legend.


Tule Author Q&A: Barbara Dunlop loves opposites attract romances and dogs!

Barbara Dunlop stopped by to talk about her new sweet romance, Kiss Me in the Summer!

 

Kiss Me in the Summer is such a sweet opposites attract romance. What drew you to this trope? What’s your favorite trope to write?

Opposites attract is high up there on my list of favorite tropes. I also love writing fish out of water stories, because there’s so much opportunity for funny conflict and misunderstanding. I like to toss my characters into the unfamiliar so I can really see what makes them tick. I also like writing stories that naturally lend themselves to comedy. There’s nothing better than a fun write that can turn into a fun read. 

 

Black Long Coat Medium Dog on Grey Concrete PavementDogs play such a big part in this story. Are you a dog person?

We’ve had two Bernese Mountain dogs over the years. They were both amazing pets, smart and loyal, but very different from each other. Our first was a people dog, wherever we went, no matter the adventure, he was game to do it with us. Our second felt the homestead was his special responsibility. Our house is in the middle of a forested acreage. We could try to take him for a walk, but half a mile or so from the house he’d give us a look that said: “Keep going if you must, but I’ve got a job to do.” He’d head back home, and we’d find him on guard when we got back.

 

How do you relate to Laila and Josh, and how do you hope readers will relate to them?

What I really liked about Laila is her refusal to let life get her down. She’s a go-getter, willing to look seriously at her own shortcomings and try to do something about them. She often fails, because she has both strengths and weaknesses, but she generally gives it her all. I was drawn to Josh’s patience and kindness. He accepts people the way they are without judging them. He’s loyal and dependable. Those are two of the things that have kept him in his small town and appreciating the little things in life.

 

What was your favorite scene to write and why?

I loved writing the scene where Laila and Butch first connect. Butch might be a misunderstood mutt, but he sees better than the people what Laila needs to overcome her fears.

 

 

 

 

What are you currently reading?

While we’re all staying home, I’ve been re-reading some classic comfort favorites by Lisa Kleypas and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Right now, I’m in the middle of Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas.

 

About the Author

Barbara Dunlop is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty romance and romantic comedy novels. She is a four time finalist in the prestigious RITA award and has had her work optioned for film and television. The first book in her acclaimed Match series, An Unlikely Match, was a number one bestseller on Amazon.


Tule Author Q&A: Karen Foley loves Last Stand!

Karen Foley stopped by to talk about the second book in her Riverrun Ranch series, Counting on the Cowboy!

 

Field of Texas BluebonnetWhat has been your favorite part about writing a story in Last Stand?

I fell in love with the town of Last Stand after I read The Lone Star Lawman by Justine Davis. This was the first book in the Last Stand series and she really set the stage for all the subsequent books. I loved being able to incorporate some of the Last Stand businesses and characters into my own story. I also really enjoy working with the other Last Stand authors. They are absolutely the nicest, warmest group of writers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Before I began writing my Riverrun Ranch series, I made a special trip to Texas Hill Country so that I could get to know the area and hopefully give the books more authenticity. I visited the region during peach season and ate more than my share of peach cobbler while sitting outdoors, surrounded by fields of wildflowers.

 

Your story is very animal-heavy, with Luke as an ex K-9 handler and Jorie a wildlife rehabber. Do you have a soft spot for animals? 

I do! I work on a military base and I have so much admiration for the K-9 handlers who help process the incoming visitors at the gate. The bond these soldiers have with their canine partners is really unique and special. I love watching them work together; they have absolute trust in each other. I also live within walking distance of an animal rescue center called Sweet Paws. On certain days, volunteers walk the dogs around the neighborhood, or just drop in to cuddle the cats. I am retiring from my day job this summer and one of the first items on my retirement agenda is to volunteer at the rescue center as a dog walker/cat-cuddler! I can’t wait!

 

controlled farming, cultivation, gardeningImagine: You’re feeling uninspired and you’ve sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

When this happens, I take a break. I actually find cleaning the house or gardening to be helpful in working through writer’s block. While I mindlessly push a vacuum or pull weeds, I’m actively thinking about the storyline and asking, “What if…?” This usually does the trick, but if I am still not able to create, I curl up with a book by a favorite author and just immerse myself in reading. This always refills my creative well!

 

 

 

Food Presentation In A PlateIf Luke cooked Jorie a meal, what would it be and why?

Luke is first and foremost a Texan, born and bred on a cattle ranch, so it makes sense that his favorite meal would include a good piece of steak or a burger. He can grill either expertly. For Jorie, he’d cook a juicy ribeye steak, accompanied by grilled sweet potatoes and a grilled zucchini salad with a lemon-oregano dressing (do you sense a theme here?). He’d pair it with a delicious red wine from a local vineyard, and follow it up with a fresh peach cobbler (although he would likely pick that up at a local peach orchard). He’d do anything to keep his lady happy!

 

 

What are you currently reading?

I write contemporary romance, but I love to read historical romance. Right now I am reading The Art of Theft, the fourth book in the Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas. I’ll probably be up all night because it is SO GOOD!

 

About the Author

Karen Foley admits to being an incurable romantic.  When she’s not working for the Department of Defense, she loves writing sexy stories about alpha heroes and strong heroines. Karen lives in New England with her husband, two daughters, and a houseful of pets.


Tule Author Q&A: Leigh Ann Edwards discusses the land of Highgard and writing!

Leigh Ann Edwards stopped by to talk about the fourth book in her Vikings of Highgard series, The Norse Conqueror!

 

Book Opened on White Surface Selective Focus PhotographyAll the books in your Vikings of Highgard series are impressively lengthy. Do you plan out the book in advance? How detailed do you get?

All four books in my Vikings of Highgard series are very lengthy. I’ve always loved reading really long books, therefore writing long books seems to just come naturally. My last series, The Irish Witch series was seven books about the same characters so that allowed plenty of time to tell the characters’ detailed story. With my Vikings series it’s mostly one hero and heroine’s story per book, so the books ended up longer than I expected. 

I tend to plan out the beginning of each book, the main plot, the characters, a few major events, and the ending. (Although I find the endings sometimes change drastically from what I originally planned.) From there, I develop the secondary characters and subplots. Often backstories and new ideas happen along the way. As many authors say, the characters seem to develop a voice and take on a life of their own.

 

The heroine in The Norse Conqueror is a mother. Did this change how you approached her character?

Vora, the heroine of The Norse Conqueror, is a mother to adult children. This did change how I approached her character. I wanted her to sound a little wiser, with life experiences. However, she’s only thirty-seven years old so she’s still a young woman. It was a little more complicated developing Vora’s character because I’d already written the first books about her daughters. Vora was forced to leave them when they were only children, but they never knew the whole truth. Having created their varied and complicated perceptions of their mother, it was interesting to then write it from Vora’s perspective. It answered a lot of the questions building in the previous books. 

 

Green Grassy HillWhere did you get your inspiration for the lands of Highgard and Modir? 

My inspirations for the fictional worlds of Highgard and Modir came from places I’d fallen in love with when I travelled or envisioned when reading other books. When I wrote about Highgard, I imagined beautiful Ireland with its lovely green landscapes, castles, and temperate climate. Of course I added a few peculiar creatures, distinct landmarks and the very unusual aspect of Highgard’s sky having two moons. I didn’t want Highgard to be anything like Asgard from what I’ve read or seen in movies, for Asgard always seems futuristic to me. 

There isn’t as much detail about the world of Modir in my story as it is only mentioned in the last book. Because not much remains of that world, I envisioned silent, deserted ruins of an ancient civilization, crumbling buildings overgrown with vines and very few Modirian people or creatures living there any longer.

 

Where and when do you get most of your writing done?

I tend to write in a few different locations–sometimes at the kitchen table as the large windows offer preferred natural light. Other times, I write in my bedroom…it’s a little quieter and more subdued. I’m a reiki master and rent a space for doing reiki. That room is decorated whimsically…it’s almost magical, so I do go there to write also. I’ve tried to write outdoors, but I use a keyboard with my laptop so it isn’t easy dragging that along. Plus when I’m outside, my two very large dogs assume I’m out there to play with them. Living in Canada also prevents writing outdoors for better than half the year. It’s mid-April and we’re still experiencing unseasonably cold temperatures, lots of snow and bitter winds. Occasionally, the part of the story I’m creating dictates where I decide to write.

I like to begin writing first thing in the morning, but if the words are really flowing, I’m quite happy to write all day long. I used to write through the night sometimes, but now my older eyes now prevent that. With everything that’s happening with the COVID-19 virus, I have a lot more time to write. I must remind myself to move around, go for a walk, etc. I’m lucky my husband is home now as sometimes I get so lost in my story I forget to stop to eat. I never write in the evenings or on Sunday afternoons.

 

What are you currently reading?

When I’m writing I don’t read the genres I love best which are paranormal romance, time travel or fantasy. I don’t want to be influenced by other authors’ storylines. Right now I’m reading Family Secrets by Shawn McGuire. It’s the first of the Whispering Pine Mysteries series. It’s a modern day mystery set in a quirky little town of Wiccans. I’m really enjoying it.

 

About the Author

Since she was a child, Leigh Ann Edwards has always had a vivid imagination and lots of stories to tell. An enthusiastic traveler and author for over twenty years, her adventures in Massachusetts, Ireland, and the UK inspired The Farrier’s Daughter and its sequel novels in the Irish Witch series. Edwards adores animals, history, genealogy, and magical places—and Ireland is filled with many magical places. She lives with her husband and two cats in the lovely city of Edmonton, Alberta.


Tule Author Q&A: Charlene Sands discusses she-sheds and reunion romances

Charlene Sands stopped by to talk all about her new Last Stand, Texas, book, One-of-a-Kind Bride!

 

 

How do you relate to Taylor and Coop, and how do you hope readers will relate to them?

First of all, let me thank you for inviting me on the Tule Blog. I’m honored to be here to talk about my new Tule release! 

I hope the readers relate to the fact that sometimes romantic relationships don’t work the first time around. I developed these characters first as a young boy and girl and we learn a great deal about them in just those few early pages. It’s how I saw them, as kids first, creating a bond that wouldn’t fit perfectly until their later years, after they’d both been through some trying times. But I think, both Taylor and Coop are uplifting types, Taylor determined to keep her promises, a loyal, sweet friend, a talented designer. And Coop, coming home to Last Stand, giving up his successful high-profile job, to raise his daughter and help his father, all to create a loving family unit. I may be biased, but I can’t help love these characters. 

 

Man Holding Clapper BoardIf your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

Oh, that’s an easy one! As you might guess, I’m a big fan of Hallmark movies and series so my picks for Taylor Preston is Meghan Ory from Chesapeake Shores.  She’s got that classic beauty and grace, like Taylor, but she also has a fun, goofy side. And Jesse Metcalf as Coop, would be perfect.  I can see Jesse being the rugged carpenter, tool belt and all, but he’d also be a great father to his eight-year old daughter Cassie. 

 

 

One-of-a-Kind Bride is such a sweet reunion romance. What drew you to this trope? What’s your favorite trope to write?

Well, you caught me on this one, because reunion stories are my favorite stories to write!  There’s something special about two people who’ve lived a good deal of their lives apart, only to come together and find love again.  A widower sure has a lot of struggles, especially if he’s raising a young daughter. Coop’s first priority is to make sure she doesn’t get hurt in any way. So, I love that protective side of Coop.  As for Taylor, she’s come back to Last Stand temporarily, determined to fix her life and keep the promises she made to her mother. The last thing she ever expected was to fall for her one-time best friend, a guy she dumped on her last summer in Last Stand.   

On a side note, I fashioned Coop’s eight-year old daughter Cassie after my two eight-year old granddaughters, Everley and Kyra. It was fun to think, what would Everley say in this situation? What would Kyra do? So, I dedicated the book to those girls, because they were my inspiration for young Cassie.

 

Brown Wooden Commode Near GrassYour characters are building a she-shed in the novel. What would you put in your she-shed?

Well, the obvious answer is books. And I would line the walls with shelves of books and enjoy the sunshine beaming into the windows as I read peacefully, with no interruptions. Doesn’t that sound nice? But I’m also a big movie buff and have a collection of old movies, Clark Gable, Doris Day, Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, to name a few. So, by night I’d love to make it into a screening room, where I could invite my best friends over for a girls’ night of movies and junk food!

 

What are you currently reading?

 I’m reading and enjoying Jane Porter’s newest novel, Montana Cowboy Romance. I love romance the best, but I also read other genres, like Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing.  I need a book that catches me from the beginning and doesn’t let go! 

 

TO WIN THIS BEACH GIRL NECKLACE, COMMENT YOUR ANSWER BELOW: WHAT WOULD YOU PUT IN YOUR SHE-SHED IF YOU HAD ONE? (US only)

GIVEAWAY CLOSED: CONGRATS TO GIRLFROMWVA

 

About the Author

Charlene Sands is a USA Today Bestselling author writing sexy contemporary romances and stories set in the Old West. Her stories have been honored with the National Readers Choice Award, the Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Award and she’s a double recipient of the Booksellers’ Best Award. She was recently honored with Romantic Times Magazine’s Best Harlequin Desire of 2014. Charlene is a member of the Orange County Chapter and Los Angeles Chapter of Romance Writers of America.

When not writing, she enjoys great coffee, spending time with her four “princesses”, bowling in a woman’s league, country music, reading books from her favorite authors and going on movie dates with her “hero” husband. Sign up for her newsletter at www.charlenesands.com for new releases and special member giveaways. Charlene loves hearing from her readers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

*Bold, strong, heart-melting heroes… and always real good men.*