This week I’m talking with romance author and fellow barrel racer, Stephanie Berget. Nothing like talking with a gal that enjoys the need for speed and a little hot romance!
Tell me about your family.
I was born and raised a city kid with an overwhelming love of horses. I was lucky enough to marry my cowboy sweetheart and have a wonderful daughter and two terrific sons. My folks are still trying to figure out where the love of horses came from. I think it was a gift from my maternal grandfather. He was a sheriff in North Dakota and a horse gypo.
What type of stories do you write & how many books have you sold?
I write stories about cowboys, mostly rodeo cowboys, and the women who love them and also contemporary romance. My first book is titled Sugarwater Ranch and is set in the central Oregon ranching country. The hero, bullrider Sean O’Connell, isn’t a very nice guy at the beginning of the book. But as his life is falling apart, Catherine Silvera, a woman battling her own demons, helps him learn that riding bulls isn’t the only valuable thing in his life.
You can find Sugarwater Ranch here:
Amazon Sugarwater Ranch
Barnes & Noble http://buff.ly/1de9PRo
Evernight Publishing http://buff.ly/GNYivD
Tell me about how you got into riding horses and what accomplishments you’ve had with them.
When I was 15, after years and years of whining, my parents gave in and bought me a horse. They knew nothing about horses and neither did I, but I fell in love with barrel racing and rodeo in general. I was lucky enough to live near some of the best trainers in the country, Larry and Kay Davis, and they generously gave their time and expertise to help me learn. I’ve had many horses, but three were really special and helped me become a better trainer.
Ruff’s King Tut was a little sorrel gelding with a great big heart. Ruff was born on our place and I won rodeos sanctioned by the Idaho Cowboys Assn and the Northwest Rodeo Assn on him. If I turned him loose and opened the trailer door, he’d load himself. Guess he loved to rodeo as much as I did.
Arnold was a big, high-powered chestnut gelding that my husband bought to team rope on. He ran barrels and poles like a champ and went on to take a young girl to the National High School rodeo.
The horse that stole my heart was a brown mare named Suzy’s Last Flight, or as we called her, Olive. Olive’s sire was Dinner Flight. Many of his colts were born to barrel race and Olive was one of the best. She liked to pin her ears back and act like a bad-ass, but she didn’t have a mean bone in her body.
How do horses fit into your stories?
In Sugarwater Ranch, Sean works with a spooky blue roan colt that he calls Roany Blue Pony. The cowboy may have some problems in his life, but he is a natural horseman. The desire to understand the colt helps him to understand himself and the world around him better.
Where do you get the inspiration for the characters in your books?
Mostly I wake up during the night and have an idea for a character. In Radio Rose, I woke up thinking about what Betty White would be like if she chain-smoked and was a real grouch.
Then, as I write, they introduce themselves to me and tell me what they want to do in the book. As the book evolves, more characters show up and demand my attention.
Besides writing and riding, what are your other interests that most people may not know you have?
Wow, writing and riding take up most of my time, but I love playing with my grandkids and watching football. Go Broncos!
What are your two most important pieces of advice for a new writer?
#1-Finish the Book! You can’t sell it unless you finish it. #2-Write what you love.
You can visit Stephanie’s blog and keep up with her progress on her series!
I’ve got a couple days before my next interview so I thought I’d share some news in the meantime.
Solstice Publishing is releasing my debut romance novel, Lost Betrayal, on March 5th on Amazon in Kindle format. This is a modern western romance with a few flames thrown in. Check out my Facebook to find out the buy link and keep up with news on my next book. You can also follow me on twitter.
UPDATE – Lost Betrayal was released a little early! You can download it on Amazon.
Probably one of the biggest things that is important to me in writing this type of book is authenticity. If nothing else, when it comes to horses this book is the real deal. I eat, sleep, breathe horses. You can’t talk to me too long without it wiggling into the conversation somehow. I’m not one of those starry eyed horse women that think all horses are my friends. I’m a woman that rides colts, loves working the most difficult horses even when I get bucked off, and that is always striving to see how far they can go. I do my own feeding, saddle my horses, and clean my own stalls….well, when my husband is running short or time or we’re at a show.
By the way, to give you some background on the book, it took me ten years to write Lost Betrayal. I got the idea years ago after watching the news about a really bad tornado. The last couple of years have spurred me on as we had some devastating tornadoes closer to home in east Tennessee, northern Georgia and Mississippi.
One fact that haunts me more than anything is that in a disaster large animals are often the last to be rescued. Anyone can rescue a person or a small animal. Not just anyone can rescue a thousand pound animal that’s scared to death that can’t be reasoned with. It takes a certain set of skills that are not that common. Also, people and small animals get more press time than anything so their needs are met quickly. Large animal needs often go unmentioned to the general public but they’re just as important.
If you’d like to see the book trailer, here’s the link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urkSTWnMNr0
Here’s a little bit about the book –
THE FUTURE OF THE RANCH HANGS IN THE BALANCE
Sage is just getting her life back together when a tornado touches down and destroys her family ranch in northern Georgia taking her hopes, her dreams, and the very horse that the ranch’s future hinges on. An ex rodeo cowboy with a past, Garrett has sworn off rodeo and the last thing he needs is entanglement with a woman on a wild horse chase but there’s too many unanswered questions, such as how a horse could stay gone so long.
Refusing to believe her horse was killed in the storm and refusing to give up on the ranch, Sage begins the journey of rebuilding her life once again and searching for the horse that to her, holds the past, and her future. Garrett’s past and a malicious betrayal jeopardize her efforts. Is she strong enough to push past the hurt and the lies in order to get back all she holds dear?
Here’s the book cover!
Next week I’ll be talking with western author, Tell Cotten about how ranching and writing. In the meantime you can read about his newest book, Cooper on his blog. I’ll also be interviewing romance writer, Stephanie Berget about barrel racing and her books. You can check her out on her website. So stay tuned! Can’t wait for you to find out about these folks!
This week I’m chatting with good friend and fellow author, Elle Marlow. A debut author, Elle has sold eight romance books in as little as five months! Just think – this little cowgirl is only getting started!
Her style of writing is sassy and honest. Her characters come to life and her stories are ones that you just can’t put down because you love them so much. It’s clear she writes from her heart and gives all of herself in her writing. You’ll see what I mean in her interview.
Where are you from and what is your family like?
Yuma Arizona. Growing up my family did a lot of hunting/fishing/camping and in the summer horseback riding in the white mountains of Arizona. I’m the youngest of five girls. My father used to say he was going to grow broke buying Barbie dolls and feminine hygiene products. LOL
Tell me about your horses and how they fit into your life.
We have three. Right now, they are only being used for occasional pleasure rides. Last two years we were riding in gymkhanas and that has come to a halt in our area so now we are all getting fat and lazy. I’m hoping to start up again very soon. We have Three Can Sam, a Rocket Wrangler bred gelding, Mr. Purple who is the best darn kid rope horse ever, and Poprocks who just carts me around very slowly around a set of cans.
How do horses fit into your writing life and your stories?
Darn near every book I write features at least one horse some place. I can’t imagine life without them and I seem to find a way to put them in the books.
How did you get started writing and why?
I grew up reading romances that were left sitting around the house; my mom is a big, big reader. I thought, “Hey, I can do this!” So I started writing in my early twenties and haven’t stopped.
What is your method for writing and where do you get your story ideas?
I am character driven. I like strong personalities in my characters and I’ll start writing with an idea in mind but I’m telling ya, those strong characters take over immediately. Sometimes I’m even surprised where a book will take me. Wait till Unraveling Sky comes out in July with Front Porch Romance. I didn’t write that, THEY did. They are wild people in that book.
You’ve sold how many books in as many months? Is it 6? I can’t keep up!
*Cough, cough* Eight.
Tell me about the books you’ve sold so far.
As of yesterday, I sold eight. The Gambler’s Passion, Pour Me, One Hundred Horses, The Dust Garden, Top Brass, The Shaman’s Song, Josey’s Mountain, Unraveling Sky.
The Gambler’s Passion
One Hundred Horses -Coming out at the end of Feb. Please look for it on Amazon!
The Dust Garden -Coming out in March
Top Brass -Coming out in April
The Shaman’s Song– Coming out Spring time/summer time
Josey’s Mountain – Coming out in June
Unraveling Sky-Coming out in July
Which one is your favorite and why?
Tough one. That’s like picking out your favorite kid. Hmmm…Pour Me makes me laugh because Carly is so feisty and so is the little girl in it…One Hundred Horses feels like an epic to me like Dances With Wolves. Top Brass, well, I fell in love with the strip club that is spoken of in this and Dalton Stanton…He’s just yummy. Josey’s Mountain is kind of me and my husband in a book… I can’t… I can’t give you a favorite…And little Avery in The Shaman’s Song is so sweet while her hero is so loyal…. nope, can’t give you a favorite!
What are you plans for your writing and your riding this year?
I am through submitting and now will focus on all these edits for all the releases and concentrate my efforts for So You Think You Can Write for Harlequin in the fall. I’m addicted to Harlequin contest. It’s like an awful addiction.
I just want to get me and my horse in shape this year. We need to spend more time together and become gelled as a team.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
I would read your favorite author’s books and pay attention to detail. Writing classes are great but even more so, becoming involved in online groups help tremendously. I highly suggest Harlequin’s boards for a wealth of info.
Thank you for letting me visit on your blog today. I appreciate all the support you show to me and other authors. You are a class act and I hold you in the highest level of respect.
Thank you everyone! ~Elle Marlow
You can keep up with Elle at www.Ellemarlow.blogspot.com and on twitter at @ElleMarlowWrite