I'm not so sure I had a choice. Socrates is rather pushy, you know. When I first set out to write this book, I was trying to write for the market, but characters have a tendency to see the market in their own ways. Socrates, for instance, thought he should be the star. He's a performer and quite a handsome mule, so no reason not to. Besides, he made me laugh. He's rather persistent when he wants something, even having his own email, blog, Facebook, and Myspace page. His next goal is to get his own Hollywood Star.
Tell us a little about your background and why this book is so authentic.
I grew up in southwest Idaho where rodeo is extremely popular and lots of people there participate in the sport. Fast forward many years, and our family became friends with Jim O'Keefe, a retired rodeo clown and bullfighter. So I've been a fan my entire life, even dabbled in barrel racing myself, and then the extensive discussions I had with Jim on every aspect of bullfighting, cowboy protection, and clown entertainment just made me need to write this book.
Jim's claim to fame wasn't a mule, it was a moose, believe it or not. But another famous bullfighter and rodeo clown named Leon Coffee did have a mule, and the two of them were hysterically funny. That man was truly astonishing--he could make anyone laugh, but then the next minute he's risking his life by putting his body between a beat-up cowboy and a 2,000-pound bull. He was incredibly athletic, and a heckuva good entertainer.
I never did see Jim O'Keefe perform, so I actually based a lot of Brody's fancy moves on Leon, but then all the particulars, like how to get a cowboy released when he's "hung" on the bull rope, that sort of thing, came from Jim. He explained things two or three times until I understood. To tell you the truth, I don't think anyone who hasn't stood in front of a charging, snorting bull can understand. These men are beyond gutsy.
So everything in the book is made up, as are the characters, but the actual rodeoing scenes are based on the real deal, all the way from the Grand Entry, to the dance after the show.
This book is a drastic departure from FAERY SPECIAL ROMANCES, which was ten short stories, from medieval to futuristic. What exactly do you write?
My genre is lighthearted romance, and I don't care if it's fantasy, western, or Mesopotamian. Same with my reading. If you make me laugh, I'll buy your books for life. Why? Because I think laughter is the second most important thing we do each day--the first being hugs. Laughing while hugging is even better yet! My goal is to put a few hours of sunshine in your life, a few hours when you don't have to think about the bills, the kids, the mother-in-law, or any of the bazillion stressful things that can bog down our world. Laughter feeds your soul in a way nothing else can.
How have your books been received?
Very well. DOWN HOME EVER LOVIN' MULE BLUES has received PNR Staff Top Pick from ParaNormal Romance, and won the TRS 5-Heart Sweetheart from The Romance Studio. FAERY SPECIAL ROMANCE has finaled in several contests. One story, "Faery Good Advice," won the 2006 PEARL Award, and another story, "The Duchess and the Dirtwater Faery," finaled in the 2007 PEARL. FAERY SPECIAL ROMANCES was also the Fall 2007 NOR Award winner for Best Print Sci-fi/Fantasy Romance.
So is your next story more like DOWN HOME EVER LOVIN' MULE BLUES, or like FAERY SPECIAL ROMANCES?
Neither. I'm currently writing a dragon-shifter, then I'm writing a pirate story, and meantime I'm working on a series that I'm writing on spec. So every project is completely new and different to me (yes, I have a short attention span), except they all are light in tone, all are romance, and all have a guaranteed Happily Ever After.
Speaking of short attention spans...
Yes, yes, I know. It's time for the contest!
Any commenter this week will be eligible to win an autographed copy of FAERY SPECIAL ROMANCES, along with a DOWN HOME EVER LOVIN' BLUES T-shirt. Plus, my sister is a shopaholic so you never know what else she'll throw in the box. Good luck!
And where can readers contact you?
Here are links for my Webpage, Contest & News Group, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and IWOFA.
Thanks for inviting me to be Unusual Historicals' featured blogger today. I'm really happy to be involved with such an informative blog--I look forward to each day's post because there's always new and fascinating information.