Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I’m an author from southwestern Missouri, but I spent the first couple of years of my life in a small town an hour north of Oklahoma City. Somehow I got stuck with an Okie accent and I really love Green Country. I noticed that a lot of contemporary western romances are set in Texas. I was like, okay, but Oklahoma has its fair share of cowboys, so I decided to set a book series in a fictional town near Tulsa. Now I can’t stop writing about cowboys.
How do you make time to write?
I write in Google Docs on my phone. I basically have a word processor anywhere I go. I’ve been known to write while standing in long shopping lines, in restaurants, in cars, and pretty much everywhere.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. Sometimes I just don’t feel like writing, but I find it’s mostly due to real-life stress or a lack of connection with the characters.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
Specifically contemporary western romance. I used to write historical westerns and even paranormal western romance, but in the last couple of years, I’ve focused on contemporary. When I was 16, I co-wrote a contemporary western romance with a friend. It never made it to publication, but the story stuck with me. In 2017 (almost twenty years later) another friend invited me to write for a boxed set. So I rewrote the first one, changed a bunch of stuff, and now there are six novellas and five novels in my Only an Okie Will Do series. The next novel should be coming out in late July.
How are you publishing your recent book and why?
I publish everything indie. I signed on with a couple of houses a few years ago, but three went under and I couldn’t see eye to eye with an editor at another. I like being my own boss. It’s also opened up pathways for me to learn book formatting. I also have several works published on a visual novel app called Chapters. It’s been a huge learning curve to create visual characters and get the text on there, but it’s really cool to see the stories come to life. And the readers here are so supportive and wonderful.
Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
Definitely an introvert. It gives me a lot of time to write.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent. – Jean Kerr
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Writing isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always fun. It’s full of hardships and disappointment and days of staring at your blank earnings dashboard. But when you touch someone with your words, you know you’re in the right place. Use that to keep going, because if you’re truly meant to be a writer, even after long breaks and slumps and swearing you’re done for good, you’re not done. A reader once told me she was bawling at 12:30 at night over the ending of my book. It moved me to tears because I was amazed that she felt so strongly over my characters. If I’d never gone back to my computer after the last time I said I was done, I’d never have gotten that message, and so many more like it, from readers.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
This is from my first novel in the Only an Okie Will Do series, Cowboy Kind of Trouble.
“Life’s not fair.” He slapped the side of the wheelchair. “So I guess I’ll sit my pathetic ass in the house all day from now on so you can keep an eye on me.”
“Wait. Listen to me, please?” She skirted Cielo and moved swiftly to Will’s side. “I didn’t panic because I didn’t think you couldn’t or shouldn’t go somewhere. I worried because…because I care what happens to you.”
His expression didn’t soften. “Why?”
“For the same reason you care that I’m upset after Ronni texts me. I guess we’re friends and we want each other to be all right.” She didn’t want to admit she was attracted to him. That maybe her concern went beyond caretaker and client. Because if she was honest with herself, before Will, her life had felt a lot emptier.
“Because I’m a paycheck.” He stared past her. “If you let me get hurt or killed, you’re out of a job. Maybe permanently.”
“Don’t say things like that. That’s not it.”
He stared sullenly at the pasture. “Right. Whatever. Go back to what you were doing before I messed everything up. Again.”
“Will Baxter, be quiet.”
“Why should I? I know you’d have told me where to stuff my attitude if you could’ve after the first day you were here.” He avoided her gaze. “I’m the last person you—or anyone—wants to deal with. Just admit it.”
She kneeled beside him and put her hand on his bicep. With a few words, she’d wrecked his confidence. “You don’t know everything.”
His back was straight, shoulders square, jaw tight. “I know the truth when I see it. Maybe we’d both be better off if you left for the day.” His comment stung, as he meant it to.
“You’re throwing up that wall to prove to yourself that you’re not worth me caring about you. Well, you’re wrong, just like you were when I first started coming here. I’m not going anywhere.” She leaned forward, her stomach pressed against the arm of his chair. Her face was inches from his. “I do care about you. More than I should.”
“Why?” His voice was a dry whisper.
“I can’t help myself.” She pressed her hands to either side of his face and pulled him closer. Damn it anyway. She kissed him, throwing the rules out the door once again. He pushed his fingers into her hair, holding her close. As though he was hungry for her kiss. As though he’d given it considerable thought. The same way she had. When she wasn’t dreading more bad news from Ronni, she thought about Will. About how they’d talked. How he laughed.