23 November 2008

Guest Blogger: Tracy Garrett

Continuing our mini-theme of guest posts by Kensington authors, this week we're welcoming Tracy Garrett who writes delicious westerns! Her newest is TOUCHED BY LOVE:


Jaret Walker is a loner, a gun for hire with a heart of ice. He's never had anyone to call his own, and he likes it that way. But when a promise made to a friend leads him on a ride through the desert and to remote Two Roses Ranch where he meets Isabel Bennett, the woman he's supposed to protect, all he can think of is making her his. She's the kind of woman a rough-riding cowboy like him can never have. But her hot gaze tempts him like no other woman has before...

The moment Isabel Bennett lays eyes on Jaret Walker, she remembers the dreams she's denied for so long. She's sworn never to marry. It's the only way to protect her ranch. But when Walker rides into her life, she decides to let herself taste what she's giving up--a passion that burns through her with each kiss—and a desire that won't be denied...

Tell us about your new western historical romance, TOUCHED BY LOVE.
Touched by Love is set in south Texas in 1847, when the state was still young and wild, and only the strongest survived.

What inspired you to set your books in Texas?
I'm fascinated by the differences within the state itself, from the salt marshes on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to the unbelievable rock formations of the Big Bend area. I set one story in Jack County, square in the middle of green trees and salt flats, on the old Butterfield stage coach road. Touch of Texas, my debut novel is set in the Davis Mountains in far west Texas, a dangerous part of the state in the 1800s, plagued with Comanchero raids, horse & cattle theft. When, during my research, I found there had been limited and unsuccessful gold mining in those mountains, my story was born.

TOUCHED BY LOVE, my second Zebra Historical, which was released this month, is set in the White Horse Desert on what is now the King Ranch. Before the technology existed to drill water wells, there was only one source of fresh water in that entire area, and it runs through the King Ranch. I played 'what if' and came up with the horse ranch, Two Roses, run by Isabel Bennett, a single woman with dreams and plans and the will to see them realized.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy most when you write?
That is a toss-up between the research and creating the characters. Getting to know the characters is such fun, but I can get lost for hours while researching a historical detail for a story. More than once I've gone looking for a specific bit of information, read something I found interesting, and went off on a tangent for several hours, only to realize I never found what I was looking for to begin with.

Western historical romances are starting to make a comeback in the market place. What is it about the western that appeals to romance readers?
There is something about a loner--that man who lives and works alone for weeks or months at a time--that seems to tug at our protective instincts. A cowboy, lawman, gunslinger, it doesn't seem to matter what they do, we love the dark, handsome heroes. The resurgence of westerns at the movies and on TV is encouraging evidence: "Deadwood," 3:10 to Yuma, Seraphim Falls, Tombstone, Missing, Appaloosa. If the reading public follows the trend set in Hollywood, westerns could be appearing on shelves with a lot more frequency very soon.

What is your next project?
Another western historical, this time telling the story of Wolf Richards, whom readers met in TOUCH OF TEXAS. Wolf is so tortured and guilt-ridden, I had to give him his happy ending. His heroine is a "Calamity Jane" type, as far from Wolf's idea of what a "perfect woman" should be as I can make her.

If you're trapped in a snowstorm, which cowboy do you want trapped with you?
John Wayne or Sam Elliot or maybe Marshall Matt Dillon--he always got out of trouble and still remembered to tip his hat to a lady.

What are some of your favorite western romances by other authors?
Texas Destiny by Lorraine Heath, Only Love by Elizabeth Lowell, and The Man From Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller


Oh, you want a copy of this one, don't you? If only for that cover! Leave a comment or question for Tracy, or tell us your favorite cowboy from books or movies. A winner will be drawn a week from today from among the comments we receive. Good luck!