Today I’m interviewing Lynda J. Cox. Her book, The Devil’s Own Desperado is a western historical romance and was released for Kindle through Amazon’s KDP program in September and will be available for all formats and in hard copy on January 11th, 2013.
Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
The book for Colt Evans and Amelia McCollister is a western historical. Amelia is raising her two younger siblings, forced into being a parent when her parents were murdered. She’s resigned herself to that role and to probably never marrying. She’s not necessarily opposed to guns but she doesn’t carry a lot of love for the weapons or for those who live by the gun, so when a wounded gunslinger wanders onto her homestead, she’s very torn. Part of her wants to turn him away but her conscience and upbringing won’t let her. Colt Evans, though he’s deadly accurate and blazingly quick with a revolver, is a very reluctant shootist. He wants to hang the hardware up, but he’s a realist. He knows he has a past and that past is well armed. He knows that most men who live by the gun stand very good odds of dying by the gun. Add in a younger brother infatuated with gunmen and the lore of the shootist, a little sister so traumatized by being a witness to her parents’ murder that she won’t speak, and an over-protective marshal, and you’ve got The Devil’s Own Desperado.
Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?
Western historical romance is any romance set in the wide open spaces of the American West, usually any time after the American Civil War (or, depending on which side of the Mason-Dixon line you fell on, either geographically or politically—The War for Southern Independence or The War of Northern Aggression) until about 1890. Most often there are cowboys in this genre but the days of the cowboy that we know from Hollywood were very short because by the very early 1880s, barbed wire was already sectioning off the American West. There are stock characters to be found in the genre: the drifter usually embittered by his experiences in the Civil War (as most of the cowboys were veterans of that war), the wall-flower school marm, the harlot with a heart of gold, the cattle baron, the gunslinger with a dead soul and a frozen heart…and you won’t find a one of those in this novel. I prefer to write in the western historical romance genre because it’s a place that I’ve very comfortable.
How did this story come to be?
The Devil’s Own Desperado wasn’t supposed to be written when it was. I was eyeball deep in writing the creative project for my master’s degree, and struggling to write a critical introduction (minimum of 25 pages with at least 15 sources) to the same. If you think writing a synopsis and blurb is difficult, try writing a scholarly paper on the influences that shaped your work, where that work fits into other published works within the same genre, and what is new or unique about your work. At one point in the middle of that semester, Colt Evans walked into my subconscious—fully formed—and he was hand in hand with Amelia. He demanded that I write their story and he wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. So when I wasn’t pulling my hair out with that critical introduction or the creative project itself, I was writing Colt and Amelia’s story.
Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold?
Actually, yes. I had my creative project finished which is a fantasy romance and I have three other manuscripts in varying stages of completion—from one sitting on my editor’s desk to one in just rough draft form. Other than my master’s project, those three manuscripts are all western historical romances and are set in the same small town where The Devil’s Own Desperado takes place. Characters introduced in Colt and Amelia’s story have their own stories to tell.
What is your writing routine like?
I try to set aside at least three hours a day to write, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. I often find that I’m writing for hours on end when I can’t get those three hours in. Before I start writing, I do a quick review of the manuscript, figure out where the characters are going in the next couple of scenes, decide who has the most to lose in that scene, and start writing. I don’t write from an outline. The one time I did, I discovered I had put so much creatively into the outline that the story itself was flat and lifeless. Now, I just let the characters “tell” me where we’re going.
Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing?
Oh, my…I think it would just be seeing my name on the cover of a published book. All those hours spent dreaming of seeing that, all the hours spent writing, and sending out queries, getting ever so close…to finally see my name on the cover of a book that is published by a real publisher, not self-published—and there is NOTHING wrong with being self-published, but I had set the goal of being published by a more traditional publisher.
Are you a member of any writing organizations and, if so, have they helped?
I’m a member of RWA. While I’d like to join my local RWA chapter, I frankly don’t have the time. Between teaching full time, raising our grand-daughter (she lives with us and is truly the light of my life), taking care of critters (two horses, chickens, cats and collies), and showing those collies, I really don’t have time.
What character is most like you or least like you?
I don’t think any of them are like me or not like me. I try to let my characters be their own persons, but if you’re going to press me for an answer, I’d have to say that the marshal is the most like me. I’m incredibly protective of those I love and care about. For a while, there was a Facebook picture that pretty much summed me up. It said, “I’m easy-going but mess with my dogs and I’ll break out a level of bad on you that will make your nightmares seem like a happy place.” That would also go for my family and friends.
What most inspires you in life?
Oh goodness. I find inspiration everywhere: in stories of the underdogs, in nature, in watching my grand-daughter grow into a self-assured, beautiful young lady.
What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m working on an idea that I started for NaNaWriMo (and it’s not even close to being finished). And, I’m looking forward to the upcoming show season with the collies. I’ve got a young male who has really come into his own and we’re going to be campaigning him, hopefully into the top ten.
He's everything she fears…
Wounded gunfighter Colt Evans stumbles onto a remote homestead never expecting to find compassion. But beautiful Amelia McCollister is like no other woman. Suddenly, his dream of settling down with a wife and home is within reach—but only if his past never comes gunning for him.
She's everything he dreams of…
Amelia had to grow up fast after outlaws murdered her parents, leaving her to raise her siblings alone. With a young brother who idolizes shootists, she dreads having a notorious gunman in her home. But as Colt slowly recovers, he reveals a caring nature under his tough exterior that Amelia can't resist.
Just when Colt starts to believe he can leave the gunfighter life behind, his past returns, bringing danger to them all. Can a shootist ever hang up his hardware? Or will their dreams disappear in the smoke of a desperado's gun?
A little bit about the author
I earned both my B.A. in English and history and M.A. in English from Indiana State University. I’m an adjunct instructor of English, teaching mainly freshman composition. Growing up on a steady diet of John Wayne Westerns and the television series Lassie, I’ve incorporated those influences into my life. My historical romance novels are set in the Wyoming Territory and when I’m not writing or teaching I can be found on the road to the next dog show. I love to talk books and can be reached at email@example.com.
“Colt. My name is Colt,” he interrupted.
She froze for a moment near the stove. “I would feel very forward to address you by your given name, Mr. Evans.”
His laughter boomed through the room. Amelia whirled. His head was tilted back and the strong cording of his throat stood out in relief. “Amelia, you didn’t have a problem taking care of me while I was unconscious and naked as the day I was born, but you think it would be forward to use my given name. There is something that doesn’t add up there.”
She twisted her apron between her hands, staring at the floor. A moment later, Colt caught her chin in his palm and tilted her head to him. She hadn’t heard him cross the floor. Her breath caught in a mingling of fear and some nameless anticipation.
“My name is Colt. Try it, Amelia. Colt.”
Amelia’s skin burned with the light touch of his fingers and her heart hammered against her breastbone. She wet her parched lips.
“It’s a simple name, really. Four little letters. Colt.”
Her throat was frozen. She was falling into the depths of his gray eyes. The pad of his thumb brushed along her lower lip. The butterflies returned to her stomach and that curious ache renewed. She shook her head, freeing herself of his gentle hold. She staggered a step away and broke the spell.
How can my readers buy your book?
Readers can go to the publisher’s home page after January 11, 2013 and find The Devil’s Own Desperado at http://www.thewildrosepress.com or it is currently available on Amazon (for Kindle only) at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Devils-Own-Desperado-ebook/dp/B009KA3ORW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1353864507&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Devil%27s+Own+Desperado. After January 11th, it will be available in all formats.
You can find more information about Lynda J. Cox and her book, The Devil’s Own Desperado by visiting her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LyndaJCox or her blog at http://lyndajcox.blogspot.com
Just a few fun questions to answer if you don’t mind.
1) What’s your favorite movie?
You’re going to make me pick just one?
2) What is your favorite season?
They all have their good points and bad points, but I like fall the best.
3) What is your favorite thing to eat?
A rib eye steak, medium rare, smothered in sautéed mushrooms and onions.
4) Who is your favorite author to read?
J.K. Rowling. I admit it, I am a Potter-head.
5) What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Wyoming. Anywhere in Wyoming.
6) What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
It’s not advice, but I have this on a sign hanging over my desk. It’s a quote from John Wayne that says “Courage is being afraid but saddling up anyway.”
7) Coke or Pepsi?
Thank you for allowing me to interview you here at Heart of Romance. Good luck to you in your future!!!