Stephanie & I are so pleased to have Kaki Warner join us today as our special guest to answer a few questions about herself and her latest release “Open Country.” She also graciously gave us some books to give away! One lucky winner will get a copy of her latest release “Open Country” while another lucky reader will get a copy of both “Open Country” AND “Pieces of Sky.”
Just become a follower of this blog by using the “Follower” link to the right and you are automatically entered to win! You have until June 1st to sign up!
And without any further ado, heeeeeeeeeeeere’s Kaki!
Question: Tell us something about the new heroine Molly in Open Country. How is she different or similar to Jessica from Pieces of Sky?
Answer: With Jessica, it’s all about appearances. She has firm ideas of how things should be and how people should behave…until Brady teaches her that what’s proper might not always be what’s right. She’s a lady, and even if she’s ordering someone from her home, or digging in the rose bed, or being propositioned by Brady in a cemetery, she does it with class. In contrast, Molly, although highly intelligent, is also socially inept, awkward, and more introspective than emotional. Having lived her life by her father’s expectations, she hasn’t had a chance to explore who she really is. But with Hank’s patient understanding, she gains confidence so that when faced with a terrible choice, she’s able to make her decision on her own terms. As for similarities between the two ladies? Both are kind, loyal, loving and empathetic, and each is strong enough to look her man in the eye and call “Bullshit” when he’s wrong. Euphemistically speaking, of course.
Question: What are your favorite things about Hank?
Answer: His brains, his dry sense of humor, and the way he manipulates Brady with silence. I also appreciate that he has size and strength, but doesn’t make an issue of it. And I admire that he’s as devoted to the family as Brady is, but is not as heavy-handed about it, and he accepts people as they are, rather than trying to mold them into his idea of what they should be. Plus, he’s really hot.
Question: Was Hank’s story easier or more difficult to write than Brady’s story?
Answer: Good question. And hard to answer. Brady is so dynamic and out-spoken and hardheaded, he almost wrote his own book. But he can also be a pinhead and a pain in the behind. Hank was a bit more subtle since he’s a thinker rather than a talker, and is less prone to call attention to himself—which means I had to show his characterization through action and the reactions of those around him, rather than through dialogue. I guess I’d sum up the brothers this way: If I were stuck on a desert island with one of them, Hank would be my best hope of rescue, assuming I’d want to leave. If I wanted someone to teach me how to saddle my own horse, then chase me around the pasture—that’d be Brady. And if I wanted someone to go adventuring with and make every day a delight—I’d go with Jack.
Question: What made you decide to write an 1860’s western set in New Mexico territory?
Answer: It’s a uniquely American time in our history—soon after the Civil War and just when the railroads were expanding into the west. Wide open spaces, unlimited possibilities, cheap land, the myth of the cowboy. For those with the courage to prevail against an unforgiving land, hostile climate, and a pretty extensive array of predatory animals and humans, the rewards were great. Besides, I grew up in the southwest, and I know a lot more about cows and horses than a London ballroom, or werewolves and vampires.
Question: The Blood Rose Trilogy wraps up in January of 2011….so, what’s next on your plate?
Answer: A series set in Colorado in 1870 about four women stranded in a dying mining town…and the lucky men who fall into their paths to be well and neatly snared. It’s a fun group of characters, including black and white half sisters (don’t ask), an English photographer, a con artist, a railroad developer, a rancher, a Scottish Earl-in-waiting, a Cherokee Dog Soldier, and various other odd folk along with a stray cougar and maybe a buffalo. And horses. You can’t have a western without horses.
Question: What is your favorite part about your job?
Answer: Pretending to be a nearly almost semi-famous author so I can convince my husband to cook for me. That, and getting email or blog comments from readers. Writers work in a vacuum, sitting like drones in front of their computers, agonizing over momentous decisions like further vs. farther. Unless we hear back from readers, we have no idea how our work is being received in the real world. Agents and editors are paid to be nice to you (sorta), but readers will tell it like it is. Knowing someone cares enough to go to the trouble to write a comment…that’s the biggest thrill for an author. But then, I haven’t heard yet from Oprah or the Pulitzer committee, so that could change.
Question: How long have you wanted to be a writer…and what finally made you take the leap to become a published author?
Answer: I didn’t even think of becoming a writer until twenty-five years ago (see below) right after I read a terrible book and thought, “Hey, I can do better than this crap.” And why not? I‘m a reasonably intelligent person with a BA in English, so how hard could it be? Ha.
Question: Name some of your favorite authors.
Answer: I have a ton of them in all genres, from Jodi Thomas, to Eloisa James, to Julia Quinn, to Bernard Cornwell, Dean Koontz, Lee Child, Ken Follett, Nelson DeMille, Sara Donati, Rosemary Rogers, Michael Crichton (what a loss), Larry McMurtry, Robert B. Parker (another huge loss), Kimberly Fisk, and many others I can’t think of right now.
Question: What are you currently reading?
Answer: Book 3, CHASING THE SUN, (for what seems like the billionth time), so I can make my final edits before it goes back to copy editing, then on to production. Once that’s done, I have to get back to Book 1 of my new series, which is due to my editor shortly. When I’m creating, I don’t read other authors’ work because I’m afraid it might influence my own writing (I’m pathetically suggestible). But once I get down to editing, then I’ll probably pick up one of the five unfinished books on my nightstand and try to complete it before I’m caught up in my own stuff again.
Question: Explain, if you can, how it felt the first time you saw your work in print.
Answer: It was gratifying—better than typing “THE END” on the last page, or getting “the call”, or receiving the first advance check. This is a crazy business, and these are difficult times for the publishing industry. So there was always that tiny, last niggling doubt in the back of my mind that the publisher might decide not to spend further money on an unknown. It happens. But when I held my first copy of PIECES OF SKY in my hands it was like, “Wow! Finally! A real book with my name on the front.” I almost cried, and I never cry. But then, twenty-five years is a long time to wait. Which leads me to your next question…
Question: I’m sure getting your work published has been a very long and stressful journey…how supportive and encouraging has your family been throughout?
Answer: My poor children grew up watching me struggle with writing. They were always supportive, even if they didn’t know exactly why I was taking writing classes, and going to critique groups, and entering contests, and saying, “Someday, when I’m published…” My husband encouraged me by periodically upgrading my computers, building me an office, and now that we’re both retired, doing most of the cooking (which might account for the weight gain…but hey, as long as I don’t have to do it, right?). They all had more faith than I did, because several times during the twenty-five years since I started PoS, I have thrown up my hands in frustration, boxed everything up and sent it to storage, and gone back to living a real life as a wife, mother, daughter, surly employee, whatever. But the voices in my head never completely died out and the characters never left me entirely alone, and time and again, I’d dig the boxes out of storage and give it one more try. Now finally, here I am, a nearly almost semi-famous author and twenty-five year overnight success. Better late than never, right? So if there are any struggling, aspiring writers out there reading this, the best advice I can give you is NEVER give up. EVER. I’m proof there should always be hope.
Thank you so much, Lisa and Stephanie, for inviting me to visit today and for your kind support. It’s a thrill to be in on the ground floor of such a beautiful new website. I wish you all success and look forward to watching you grow.