I know by reading my books you might not believe this, but I love a good western. Grew up reading, and watching them. Don't know what happened to me, though. I guess that bite of the radioactive vampire is the reason I write paranormal romance instead of westerns. So when I got the chance to sit down with debut Western Romance author Paisley Kirkpatrick, I jumped at the chance.
Well, I put on my Lone Ranger outfit from the third grade costume contest and jumped on my trusty steed, Mr. Horsey, and headed down to saloon to kick back and pick this amazing author's brain about her new release, Paradise Pines: Night Angel and what inspired her to throw on a pair of chaps and write off into the sunset.
Jmo: Belly on up to the bar and have a shot of rockgut, Paisley. Watch your step, that spittoon looks a bit dodgy.
PK: Evenin'. The place is a bit crowded, isn't it? Let's mosey on over to that quiet table in the back.
Jmo: So, while you wipe that bit of ick off your shoe, tell the readers about Night Angel? Man, this rock gut has a kick to it.
PK: I chose the fictional gold rush community of Paradise Pines to set Night Angel. The story occurs after the boom, when down-and-out miners searched for a way to make money. Instead of returning home, they stayed in towns that sprung up during the gold rush.
Hero Declan Grainger owns a high-class hotel in Paradise Pines. He loses his heart to a high-spirited poker player when she arrives in town searching for a new life. Amalie Renard, who also performs as saloon singer Lily Fox, turns the town upside down with her vibrancy. She is looking for a way to have a stage of her own, not a box to stand on in one of the town's saloons. Declan provides jobs for the townsfolk by building Amalie's music hall while he continues his nightly jaunts through abandoned tunnels anonymously leaving the downtrodden food and supplies. Amalie is puzzled why the Night Angel gives to others, but takes from her. She draws Declan into her scheme to discover the identity of the mysterious man. Declan has enough on his hands finding workers for the building renovation after the town's self-righteous preacher demands his congregation not support the music hall, but goes along with her scheme to protect his identity.
The challenges they face take them from the California Sierra Mountains to the hustle of a booming San Francisco. Could Amalie's lack of trust in herself and Declan steal her dream? If she faces the mistakes she made in her past and relies on a new self-confidence through the love Declan offers, she can have all she desires.
Jmo: What first drew you to the Old West? Even though, you've probably been asked this a thousand times already, who were some of your influences?
PK: I grew up watching the television show Gunsmoke. Gathering in front of the TV on Saturday night became a family ritual. My favorite character was Festus who referred to his earlobe has a hangy-down part of his ear. Ever since then we've always done the same. Isn't it fun to remember those days when life seemed simpler? Heroes were easy to define. Who didn't admire the Long Branch Saloon owner, Miss Kitty? Saturday mornings gave us Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, Gene Autry, and so on. We had an array of cowboys to worship. I guess the seed was planted deep because writing about the western hero seemed to always be the right thing for me.
Jmo: Do you mentally cast your books when you're writing? I know I do it while writing, and a lot of other authors do it too. Once we establish you're as crazy as the rest of us, tell us who would be playing who in the Night Angel movie.
PK: I did have a certain hero in mind when I developed Declan Grainger. My hero is a Scot and nobody but Gerard Butler could fill this hero's rather large boots. Honestly, Gerry was my guiding light in developing this character who stole my heart from the beginning.
Jmo: With Paranormal Romance pretty much dominating the Romance world, why do you believe readers still have a love for Westerns?
PK: Westerns seem a staple in most personal libraries. As you know, paranormal is a bit over my head, but since several friends who are great writers work in this category I am reading more of this genre. It's a mystery to me why people choose a particular genre. Personal taste I suppose.
Jmo: A lot of people consider Westerns just Westerns, but they're really closer to Historicals. Even though the genre is deeply ingrained in our society's view of itself, a lot of history has passed since the late 1800's and today. That said, how much research do you put into your books? How hard is it to dig up information about the Old West?
Jmo: From a personal standpoint, what is the most interesting part about this time in America history? What jumps out and grabs you and refuses to let you go?
PK: It's the adventure of pursuing a dream, finding those shiny gold nuggets at the bottom of a gold pan. Of course, disappointment came with the excitement. More walked away without the riches, but they tried. They took a chance. Isn't that what life should be about? We take a chance with our writing. When we succeed, I'd say it was like finding that first nugget.
Jmo: Every author has their favorite type of character to write. So what is yours? The White Hat? The Black Hat? Or Bob Hope in "The Son of Paleface"? I'm partial to Don Knots in "The Shakiest Gun in the West" myself.
PK: Honorable heroes are my favorite. They have to have grit, but treat a lady with respect and give an honest day's work.
Jmo: I couldn't let you go without asking the ultimate question when it comes to Westerns. John Wayne or Clint Eastwood? Know our friendship hinges on your answer.
Jmo: Paisley, one last question and I promise to unhogtie you from that spittoon. If at this very moment one man could come riding up on a white stallion to ride you off into the sunset, who would it be? Know your marriage hinges on your answer.
PK: Hubby Ken and I have been married almost 44 years, and since it was love at first sight, I would always choose him to ride up on a white stallion. He'd probably prefer walking, but a large horse would be nice.
Jmo: Thanks for stopping in and jawing with me a spell. I hope you have had as much fun as I have. Don't worry. I'm sure that chew juice will come out with a little vinegar and warm water. But, before you take off for the hills, be sure to let our readers know where to find you on the internet and a buy link for Night Angel.
Sweethearts of the West http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com/
Scandalous Victorians http://slipintosomethingvictorian.wordpress.com/
Voices from the Heart http://voicesftheart.blogspot.com/