Monday, February 14, 2011
Valentine's Day is a special day, so today I bring you an interview with a special lady - author of romantic tales, Kristie Leigh Maguire.
I first met Kristie at The Spinning Wheel - a virtual bookstore and coffee shop on the discussion boards at Amazon.com. Kristie is the proprietor - readers and writers come together and chat in this virtual world. There is a fireplace, bookshelves galore, a coffee pot, and comfy sofa and a loft where some of the wilder patrons have been known to throw popcorn over the balcony to bounce off the heads of others. It is all in good fun - even if the popcorn isn't real! And there is a porch with a swing, and a path to a pond. But mostly why people come to the spinning wheel is to meet and share with others who love to read and/or write.
And Kristie Leigh Maguire made it all happen. She's there every day jumping into discussions and scheduling authors for virtual readings. She's an amazing woman with a load of her own stories to tell, and that's why I'm so excited that she's joined me for an interview today as well as agreed to share an excerpt of her romance, Second Chances.
Karen: Welcome to Fiction for Dessert, Kristie!
Kristie: Thanks so much, Karen! I appreciate you having me here at Fiction for Desert. What a lovely name for a blog.
Karen: When did you first start writing?
Kristie: Reading has always been my passion but I was a late bloomer to the world of writing. When my husband and I were living in Japan in 1997, I found that it was very difficult to find books written in English. Remember this was before e-books became so popular and available with the click of a mouse from most anywhere in the world. Since I couldn’t find books to read, I started trying to write my own books. I had no idea what I was doing. I’ve never taken a writing class in my life but I have read all my life. Because romance is what I loved to read, romance is what I wanted to write. Trying to emulate some of my favorite romance authors didn’t work for me at all. Fortunately, I soon discovered my own writing voice and a passion for writing that equaled my passion for reading.
Karen: What do you like about writing romances in particular?
Kristie: Love is the spice of life and is what makes the world go round. I like telling a good love story. It takes me out of the everyday world of troubles and woes and makes me feel good.
Karen: How do you formulate an idea for a new book? Do you write off the cuff, or do you plan intensively before you begin?
Kristie: Sometimes the idea of a character comes first; sometimes the idea of a storyline comes first. With my Desert Heat and Cabin Fever books (Affairs of the Heart series), the characters came first and then I developed the storyline. With my Second Chances book, the idea of the storyline came first and then I developed the characters. It just depends on what sparks my imagination.
I write off the cuff. How can I outline when I don’t know where the story is going to take me? As the story goes along, my characters take on a life of their own. Sometimes my characters don’t want the story to go the way I originally thought it should go. If I try to force them to go in a direction they don’t want to go, my writing becomes stilted and doesn’t flow well. Usually at that point, I throw up my hands and just let the story flow according to what the characters want. OK, take me away to the funny farm now because I sound totally crazy.
Karen: I know you’ve traveled extensively abroad – do you draw from your overseas experiences when you write?
Kristie: Not directly but my overseas travels have made me who I am today so I suppose indirectly it does.
Karen: I know that one of my favorite aspects of writing, is developing characters. Do you find that as well, and if so, do you have a favorite character or two?
Kristie: I love developing characters. My all time favorite character is Marcie Treyhorne in my Affairs of the Heart series (Desert Heat and Cabin Fever). Marcie is a feisty steel magnolia. She is fun and flirtatious but not easily intimidated. She won’t take no for an answer, or at least not easily.
Karen: Do you think you might try writing in other genres? If so, do you have anything planned?
Kriste: I have written a memoir/travel book based upon my overseas travels. The title is You’ve Got Mail from Japan. Other than that, I don’t know if I will ever write in any genre other than romance. I do have a few ideas in other genres floating around in my head but I don’t know if I will ever act upon them. I have learned to never say never though so who knows? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Karen: Tell me a little bit about The Spinning Wheel and why you started it.
Kristie: The Spinning Wheel is a thread I started at Amazon’s Kindle Discussion Group. I created it as a safe haven for authors and readers. We are now on are second generation of The Spinning Wheel (Amazon has a limit of 10,000 posts to each thread).
The Spinning Wheel is located in a lovely old white brick building on the main street of Amazon Kindle Land. The navy shutters framing the double windows on each side of the door creates a nice contrast to the mellow yellow lettering against a sea foam green background of The Spinning Wheel sign over the door.
Inside we have rows and rows of books on shelves with pots of ivy and geraniums scattered around. The scent of mulled cider candles combined with the smell of homemade oatmeal cookies and coffee drifting through the air creates an enticing aroma that is hard to resist.
Miss Daisy, the resident cat, loves to curl up and snooze on the top bookshelf. Ralph, the resident dog, likes it best in front of the potbellied stove in the corner. It always seems cold on that side of the room so we keep the fire burning all the time. Feel free to wander over and warm yourself and throw a log on the fire if it needs it. Across from the potbellied stove is the lounge area with enough comfortable easy chairs for everyone to have a place to sit, relax, and enjoy a good book. There are so many books just waiting to be read. Open your mind. Explore new possibilities. Think beyond what has normally been your comfort zone. If you aren't up to exploring new genres, we are bound to have something you will like on our shelves. The possibilities are endless.
Karen: How can people find The Spinning Wheel?
Kristie: Go to: http://tinyurl.com/SpinningWheel2 … or if we have completed TSW2 by the time this is posted, just go to the Main Kindle Discussion Group and look for the thread with The Spinning Wheel in the title.
Karen: Would you be willing to share an excerpt from one of your books with our readers?
Kristie: In honor of Valentine’s Day, I would like to tell everyone about my sweet contemporary western romance, Second Chances. I got the idea for this book when a friend of mine told me about an ad she saw in her local paper: “Free wedding dress. Worn only once by mistake.” My imagination caught fire trying to figure out what was behind that simple little ad in the newspaper.
Description of Second Chances:
Jane Porter’s dreams of marrying Mike Farley, the handsome cowboy who lives on the neighboring ranch, are shattered when Mike suddenly marries a redheaded stranger he met at the Wild Horse Saloon in Casper, Wyoming. After Mike stomped all over Jane’s heart with his cowboy boots, can Jane ever trust her heart to a man again?
Mike Farley marries beautiful Samantha Jo Smith after a whirlwind courtship with no thought to Jane Porter, his childhood sweetheart and the woman everyone in Fremont County thought he would marry one day. Mike soon learns to regret his hasty marriage to Samantha. Can Mike win back Jane’s heart even though he had shattered it into a million pieces?
Longtime friends and neighbors Jim Porter and Liz Farley turn to each other for support after the unexpected death of their spouses. Will Jim and Liz’s friendship turn into something deeper even though they both feel they have had, and lost, their chance at love?
Is it ever too late for love? Is it ever too late for second chances?
Set in rural Wyoming, Second Chances is a sweet contemporary western romance that will warm your heart. One reader stated, “I read it through in an evening, and felt as if I had spent that evening with ‘salt of the earth’ folk.” Another reader said, “I loved the double, no triple, second chance. It was a very sweet ending.”
Excerpt from Chapter 1 after Samantha finds out that Mike is going to marry Samantha:
Jane slapped Mike so hard it rocked him backwards, leaving an angry red welt in the shape of a handprint across his handsome face. Mike threw up his hands to ward off Jane’s angry blows but he knew he had it coming. Jane had every right to punch his lights out.
“Why am I the last to know you’re going to marry somebody else? You could have at least had the decency and enough respect for me to tell me first before everybody on God’s green earth knew about it!”
“I’m sorry you had to find out this way, Jane. I didn’t know Mom was going to hightail it over and tell your dad before I could tell you myself. I was going to come over and tell you this morning but she beat me to it. I wish she’d mind her own business and keep her nose out of mine.”
“Mike, you’ve never even gone out with anybody but me. Who is it? Who are you marrying?”
“Her name is Samantha Jo Smith. I met her when I was at the Wild Horse Saloon a few weeks ago when I went to Casper to stock up on supplies.”
“You’re going to marry some floozy you met in a bar a few weeks ago when for years you’ve led me to believe we’d get married? Have you been lying to me all these years? Did you ever have any intentions of marrying me?”
“I haven’t been lying to you all these years. I did intend for us to get married one day but I never counted on meeting Sammy Jo. She came into my life like a devil’s twister and turned it upside down.”
Jane’s beautiful brown eyes filled with tears as she looked at the man she loved, had loved all her life, trying to understand what he was saying. It was as though he was suddenly spouting Greek. Nothing he was saying made any sense to her.
“I never wanted to hurt you, Jane. You’ve got to believe me.”
“You can’t marry her, Mike. You can’t possibly love somebody you just met! You love me! I know you do. We’ve been going steady since I was twelve and you were thirteen. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?”
“I don’t really know how all this came about. Me and Sammy Jo getting married I mean. I don’t remember actually saying the words ‘Will you marry me?’ but she must have thought I did because the first thing I knew she threw her arms around me and said yes. Now the date is set. She’s already bought her wedding dress.”
Jane gasped, her face going pale. She sank down onto the steps and put her head in her hands. Even though she had never fainted in her life, she felt as though she were going to now.
Mike sat down on the steps beside her and gently stroked her back.
“Look at me, Jane. Please.”
Jane raised her head but she couldn’t look at Mike.
Mike turned her face towards him, his black eyes looking into her teary brown ones.
“I’m a man of my word, Jane. I asked Sammy Jo to marry me even though I don’t remember saying those exact words. I have to stick by it. Can’t you please try to understand?”
“No, I don’t understand it! I simply can’t.” Jane sniffed back the tears that threatened to clog her throat and spill down her face. “What about me? I know I don’t have your engagement ring on my finger but for years you’ve led me to believe we’d get married one day.”
“I know I did, Jane. I’m sorry. I never meant for something like this to happen.”
“Mike, I’m begging you not to do this to us. Don’t throw away our future like this. We’ve never dated anyone else but each other since we were old enough to know there was a difference between boys and girls. My whole life has been wrapped around you. What am I supposed to do if you marry someone else? I can’t even picture my life as anything but being Mrs. Mike Farley.”
“I don’t know but I am going to marry Sammy Jo. I have to, Jane. A man’s word is his bond.”
“But you don’t know anything about her, Mike. She’s a complete stranger.”
“It’s true we’ve known each other only for three weeks but Sammy Jo’s not a stranger to me. Being with her is the most exciting thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
The tears in Jane’s eyes disappeared, burned away by white-hot fury. She jumped up, tossing the single heavy brown braid that almost reached her butt over her shoulder and glared at Mike.
“Are you talking about having sex with her?” She hit him. “Damn you, Mike Farley! If you don’t think having sex with me was exciting enough for you, then whose fault is that I’d like to know! All I know about sex is what you and I learned together. I was a virgin when we first made love down on the banks of Badwater Creek. I was only fifteen! I’d never been with anyone else but you and didn’t know a thing about how to do what we were doing except what you showed me how to do. Now you have the nerve to tell me that our lovemaking wasn’t exciting enough for you. If you didn’t like what we were doing, then you could have shown me how to do something different. I’m not such a prude that I wouldn’t have experimented.”
She hit him again.
“You lousy son-of-a-bitch!”
Mike caught her hands and held them.
“Jane, I never meant for this to happen. It just happened.”
“Just happened? Things like that don’t just happen!” she shrieked. “You could have kept your damned pants zipped! Even if you didn’t have enough self-control to keep from poking it to her, you sure as hell didn’t have to ask her to marry you!”
Jane struggled to get loose from Mike’s iron grip to no avail.
“We were supposed to get married, Mike. We were going to live the rest of our lives together. You and me! Not you and some floozy you met in a bar, for crying out loud.”
“Jane, I know I’ve hurt you and for that I’m very sorry. Can we still be friends?”
Jane looked at Mike as though he had lost his mind.
“Friends? I don’t want to be just your friend, Mike! If I’m not going to be your wife, I don’t want to be anything to you. You can go to hell. I never want to see you again.”
“Jane, please don’t be this way.”
“Let go of me, damn it!”
Mike let go of her hands and Jane turned to leave.
“I’ll never set foot on Double F Ranch again not even to see Liz. If she wants to see me, she can come over to my house. And don’t you ever come over to the Double P Ranch again either. I don’t want anything more to do with you.”
“Jane, we live on adjoining ranches. Our families are tied too closely together for us to avoid each other. Your dad is like a father to me and my mom is like a mother to you.”
Jane laughed bitterly.
“You should have remembered that before you asked Ms. Floozy to marry you. If I catch you ever stepping foot on my ranch again, I’ll take the shotgun and fill your ass with buckshot!”
“You are a bastard and a poor excuse for a man, Mike Farley! I hope you catch some kind of venereal disease from Samantha Jo Smith.”
Karen: That was wonderful – thank you so much for joining us here today and sharing. Do you have a website where people can learn more about you and your works?
Kristie: Of course I do. (smile)
Facebook Fan Page: KristieLeighMaguire
Sizzling Hot Romance and Other Genres (blog): Sizzling Hot Romance.
Thank you so much for having me, Karen. It has been my pleasure. (smile)
Karen: You can purchase Second Chances at Amazon.com for just $2.99.
Other books by Kristie Leigh Maguire: