1 I’m pleased today to feature western romance author, Andrea Parnell.
1 Welcome, Andrea. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.
When I was a child my parents nailed an old saddle to a sawhorse. I spent hours at a time astride my imaginary horse, pretending I was riding the range in the old west and chasing bad guys. Each Christmas I got cowgirl duds and cap pistols. Today I’m still a cowgirl at heart and even though I sold my saddle long ago, I still spend hours every day imagining adventures in the Wild West. I’ve published three western romance novels.
2 Why did you decide to write romance? What is the appeal?
I’m a romantic. There isn’t a cure for it. I write romance because the stories are about everyone and for everyone. Romance can incorporate most every other genre and there are so many genres I like and want to do. My ten books are primarily historical and all could be tagged romantic suspense. As for western romances, that’s where my imagination started.
3 Do you have any writing quirks?
Plenty. Most I won’t mention but I often begin by writing the last page first then looping back to page one and writing my way to the end.
4 Which comes first, the idea or the characters?
The idea shows up first, usually triggered by an object or event or something I’ve read doing general research. With an idea formed, a character shows up claiming ‘that’s my story’ and soon it’s like a casting call. Other characters appear and bring more dimension to the original spark.
5 Tell us a little about your writing style? Do you plan and plot your stories, or do you just plow through them?
I’m a fitful writer, that is to say I write in fits and spurts. My ideal is to be perfectly organized and clock “x” number of words a day and have a neat desk. I’m a combo writer as well. I do some planning and some plunging. My planning consists mainly of outlining a story arc to be sure I include all the structural elements I want. I do a fairly extensive character chart on primary characters and that gives me most of the conflict. Secondary characters tend to show up unannounced. Always fun.
6 Can you tell us a little about your current work, Delilah’s Flame? Is there a story behind the story?
We are very conscious in present day of the impact a traumatic event has on a child. I wondered how a child in the old west might have fared having witnessed a horrible crime done to a loved one. And if the child were a girl, what would she do about it? If she is feisty and determined, she might seek revenge, her way. And that is Lilah Damon’s story in Delilah’s Flame set in California in 1859.
7 What sets your heroine Delilah apart from all the other women in your hero’s Tabor Stanton life? Why is she perfect for him?
She isn’t. And that is what puzzles Tabor. He is at first attracted by her beauty but senses she is out of place in the world in which he finds her. She is too refined, appears to be a woman of means, all wrong for a saloon singer traveling from place to place. There is a mystery about her and he wants to know her secret.
8 How did you come up with the title Delilah’s Flame?
Delilah has a theme song she uses in her act. The title is a phrase from her song. The song is a warning to someone in the audience, though that person never knows until it is too late.
9 Can you give us a little background on your hero Tabor Stanton, that’s only in your author notes, and not found in your story? What inspired you to create this character?
Characters surprise us. Tabor once traveled to Japan as a naval officer before turning to ranching. The experience is part of who he is but doesn’t factor into the story. Tabor is inspired by my cowboy ideal, the tough good guy who loves his horse and the girl.
0 Can you give us an excerpt of your novel?
In this excerpt Tabor Stanton wakes up in jail following his first encounter with Delilah.
A cloud of uneasiness darkened Tabor's face. "Just what is it I'm supposed to have done?"
"You ain't supposed to have done nothin', cowboy," Marshal Walsh Peregrine barked. "I got a signed deposition on my desk says you did draw a gun on a lady and threaten to kill her. Maybe would have if her hired man hadn't got you." His eyes bulged as his anger mounted. "We don't take to a man mistreatin' a lady, or to a man welshin' on a bet."
"Delilah," Tabor mumbled as a line of her song echoed mockingly in his mind? ‘If you love Delilah there's a terrible price . . .’ He was finding out what that price was.
"I see you ain't denyin' it," Peregrine growled.
"I sure as hell am denying it." Tabor stood and grabbed the bars, too mad now to feel the pain. "The lady whacked me with a sherry bottle while I was in a vulnerable state. She also cheats at poker."
Peregrine grabbed Tabor by the shirtfront and jolted him against the bars. "Watch your filthy mouth, Stanton. Miss Delilah ain't the kind of lady to compromise herself with the likes of you."
"Lady, my eyetooth."
Peregrine shoved. Tabor hit the wood-framed bunk like a cannonball. "Now, don't go makin' me madder, Stanton." Peregrine's eyes threatened to pop out of his head. "Wouldn't take much for me to make you a permanent resident of the Yuba City jail."
Tabor groaned and heaved himself to his feet. He wisely avoided approaching the bars again. "Does that mean you're not holding me long?"
"It means I ain't holdin' you permanently," Peregrine responded. "Six or eight months ought to be enough to make a better man out of you." He started to leave.
"Wait a minute, Marshal," Tabor called, for the first time realizing the severity of his situation. It wasn't going to be easy to reason with the marshal, not after that redheaded witch Delilah had worked a spell on him. He'd have to think of something. Meanwhile Curtis down at the livery would be expecting him to come for the Admiral. "I need to send word to the livery about my horse," he said.
Peregrine stopped at the door, turned, and grinned. "You ain't got no horse. Miss Delilah took ‘her’ horse with her."
I hope this excerpt tempts you to spend a few hours with Delilah and Tabor between the covers of Delilah’s Flame. Reviews are welcomed. Links are below.
1 What else do you have in store for your readers?
Devil Moon, a western historical romance is next for e-release along with Guns and Garters, a novella, which ropes my western characters into a joint adventure with plenty of bullets and petticoats.
I invite everyone to download Dark Prelude, a free novella, and look for my Gothic novels, Dark Splendor and Whispers At Midnight, available for Kindle and at any ebook store.
I love hearing from readers. Visit me at any of the sites below.
Andrea Parnell's blog: AndreaParnell.com
Amazon page: Amazon