THE JAMES GANG
April James Gang
Each month, I interview authors or publishing insiders who have some form of "James" in their names or in their books. My April James Gang interviewee is multi-published author Elysa Hendricks!
1. Let's get the most important question asked first: Why James?
I've always loved the name James. It has a regal sound - King James. When our second son was born I lobbied to name him Christopher James. Our eldest son is named Todd Jason, and I wanted a TJ and a CJ. I have a thing for initial nicknames. But hubby won, and he was named Christopher Ryan instead. The nice thing about being the "mother" of book babies is I get to name my characters without any spousal interference. In This Heart For Hire, James is the hero Jake's half-brother. James is his given name, but because he's half-Comanche most people call him Breed. James means "supplanter," which was appropriate because on the eve of Jake's wedding, James stole his fiancée.
2. Tell us about This Heart For Hire.
This Heart For Hire is a gritty, western historical romance. Think Lonesome Dove with a happy ending for the main characters:
A convent-reared innocent and a gunslinger with no memory struggle to survive and find love while crossing the dangerous west Texas frontier.
Abandoned by his father and betrayed by his half-brother and fiancée on the eve of his wedding, Jake Gallagher no longer believes in love. Though he longs to go home, his undercover work for the Texas Rangers keeps him in a lawless Texas border town. Even though it jeopardizes his mission, he refuses to stand by and watch outlaws rape and murder a young woman. Getting shot and losing his memory wasn't part of his plan.
While fleeing from her stepfather's plans to steal their ranch, Christina Goodwin witnesses her brother's murder and is left in the hands of a merciless band of outlaws. Raised in a strict convent, Christina has little knowledge of men or the world, its dangers and temptations. Frightened and alone, she is forced to accept the help of the dark gunslinger who rescues her. Though drawn to Jake's potent masculinity, she hesitates to trust him, fearing her stepfather has sent him to bring her back. Unsure of Jake's motives for helping her, she struggles against him, determined to find a way to avenge her brother's death and regain control of her ranch from her stepfather.
3. Tell us about your current or upcoming release(s).
Her Wild Texas Heart is my latest release. It's the companion book to This Heart For Hire and tells Christina's brother Christopher's tale:
In a lawless west Texas border town, a woman has two choices: death or dishonor. Doctor's apprentice and former Comanche slave, KC O'Connor finds a third--she buries her femininity and longing for love beneath a boyish disguise. But the arrival of an injured greenhorn shatters the shell around her hidden heart.
4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?
As I look back at the books I've written and the ones I'm working on, one theme dominates - self-discovery. My characters all seem to be searching to find themselves. In This Heart For Hire, the hero suffers from amnesia and is desperate to discover who he really is before he can admit to his love for the heroine. In Her Wild Texas Heart, to protect herself, the heroine KC masquerades as a boy; but in doing so, she loses sight of her true self.
5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
Asking me to name my favorite hero and/or heroine from one of my "book" babies is worst than asking which of my human children is my favorite. At least with my human children, I can blame their "bad" personality traits on their father. With my "book" babies, I'm totally responsible for everything about them -- good and bad. Each character I've created reveals a part of me, either a trait that I like or that I dislike or one that I wish I had. If I absolutely had to choose just one character, I'd lean toward Sianna DiSanti from my fantasy, Crystal Moon. She a empathic healer and a person I'd like to be in real life.
6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?
I've always said that I hate writing, but I love having written. While I do love the creative process in general writing is lonesome, hard, exhausting, frustrating work, but the resulting product -- a book -- is exciting, energizing, rewarding, and I get to share it with other people. So what I enjoy most about being an author is writing "The End."
7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you'd like to tell us about?
At this moment I'm waiting to hear the results of the 2012 Silken Sands Self-Published Star Contest. This Heart For Hire is a finalist in the historical category. Her Wild Texas Heart finaled in the Eppie contest when it was published as Rawhide Surrender. My sci-fi romance, Star Crash, won the Maryland RWA Reveal Your Inner Vixen contest. And my sci-fi romance, Star Raiders, was a finalist in the 2011 Heart of Denver Aspen Gold contest.
Here are a few of the reviews I received for Her Wild Texas Heart:
"Her Wild Texas Heart (previously published as Rawhide Surrender) is a romantic tale that takes you into the untamed Wild West, with characters that are brought vividly to life in the descriptive narrative. All of the characters come across as believable in their actions for this time period. There are several side plots that blend smoothly in with the main plot. Her Wild Texas Heart is an adventurous story with light and dark moments. I found it an entertaining read. With every page I turned I became more involved in the story. If you are a lover of Western Historicals I am sure you will find this an enjoyable read." ~ Carol Durfee, Romance Communications
"Her Wild Texas Heart (previously published as Rawhide Surrender) is an engrossing book set in the Old West. I was soon caught up in this story of strong characters -- KC fighting her past and Christopher fighting his present. Some of the details were explicit, more than I needed to know, but didn't detract overall. For lovers of romantic westerns, this is a must-read." 4-1/2 Stars! ~ Scribes World Reviews
"Her Wild Texas Heart (previously published as Rawhide Surrender) gallops into our imagination and lassos our affection for two strong characters and their gritty new love. This book's a lusty silver." ~ Bridges Romance Magazine
8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?
I have a web site (www.elysahendricks.com) and a Facebook author page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elysa-Hendricks-Author/137316289643103). I do guest blogs and giveaways. So far I've resisted the lure of Twitter and other social networking sites. I count on readers who like my books to spread the word to their friends.
9. What is your next project?
I have several works in progress -- a contemporary fantasy romance about a matchmaking cat, a jungle adventure romance, another western historical romance, and several sci-fi romances. In addition, a friend and I have co-authored a humorous women's fiction book called Grannies And Trannies: Vegas Or Bust that we're shopping around to agents and editors.
10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you'd like to impart or a favorite quote?
This one is for any aspiring authors: "There are only three rules to writing fiction. Unfortunately no one knows what they are." -- Somerset Maugham
Marcia James, thank you so much for having me here to visit today. I love to hear from readers and other authors. They can reach me through my web site or my Facebook page.
Thank you, Elysa! My May James Gang interviewee will be sexy model, Jason Aaron Baca, who graces the covers of romance novels, including Lorelei James' Cowboy Casanova!
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