Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Interview of Author Kathleen Rice Adams
Latest Book: Prodigal Gun
Buy Link: http://amzn.com/B00PJEEKCG
A Texan to the bone, Kathleen Rice Adams spends her days chasing news stories and her nights and weekends shooting it out with Wild West desperados. Leave the upstanding, law-abiding heroes to other folks. In Kathleen’s stories, even the good guys wear black hats.
Q: What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?
A: I get up at 5 a.m. every weekday and write for a couple of hours before the day job interrupts. Depending on when I finish with the day job, I also try to write a few hours in the evening, assuming I’m not mentally exhausted.
I don’t strive for a certain word count. Instead, I work at a scene or chapter until it’s as good as I think I can make it at that moment. The process is a byproduct of spending so many years as a journalist. Reporters don’t have the luxury of endless revisions—they must get copy right the first time. Old habits are difficult to break.
Q: How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
A: Probably more than I’d like to admit, although building characters who are me in disguise is never my intention. Most authors can’t avoid incorporating their own perspective, personality, values, and experiences into the characters they create.
Q: How do you choose names for your characters?
A: I realize this is cliché, but characters usually provide either their first or last name; sometimes both. I do, however, keep a list of potential characters names and their meanings, just in case someone in the Character Protection Program prefers to remain anonymous.
Q: Covers. Ever get one you wish you could change?
A: I’m lucky in that regard: Livia Washburn Reasoner, who creates all the covers for Prairie Rose, does and exceptional job. All of us who are published by Prairie Rose and its various imprints have an uncommon amount of input into our covers. You cannot imagine what a blessing that is.
Q: Give one advice tip to an aspiring author.
A: Listen to critical feedback—positive and negative—but never ignore your own heart. You know your story, your intentions, and your writer “voice” better than anyone else. Only if your work satisfies you will it satisfy readers.
Q: If you could give a younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?
A: Quit threatening to write fiction “someday.” Do it now. Nobody lives forever.
Q: What genre would you like to try writing that you haven’t yet tried?
A: Alternate history with elements of steampunk. A story has been percolating in the back of my mind for some time now, so I may try that genre soon.
Q: Any part of a book that drives you crazy as you write: beginning, middle, or end?
A: Usually the ending. No matter how much I think I know where a story is going, it surprises me every time. Generally, I believe I know the beginning and ending of a story before I start writing, but somewhere in the middle things dart off in an unexpected direction.
Q: Out of your entire backlist, which book has the best opening line? What's the line?
A: I’m quite fond of the opening line from the short story “Peaches”: The bare limbs of the peach trees reached for the sky as if someone held the small orchard at gunpoint.
Q: How many stories are swirling around in your head? Do you keep a mental list, a computer file, or a spiral notebook filled with the ideas?
A: As soon as a story begins swirling in my head, I start a computer file for it. Right now nearly two dozen story ideas inhabit their own sub-folders in a much larger folder called “books.” Some sub-folders contain nothing more than sketchy thoughts; others contain elaborate outlines or copious notes. Some of them are already on a tentative mental schedule for short stories, novellas, or novels.
Q: What is your favorite holiday and why?
A: Any holiday that gives me a day off from the day job is a good one. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d choose Thanksgiving. I love to cook, and Thanksgiving provides the perfect excuse to go wild in the kitchen.
Q: What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?
A: Although I’m a “genetic Texan” (my family has been ranching, teaching, and preaching in Texas for many, many generations), my immediate family moved twenty-one times before I graduated from high school.
I’m a disabled veteran. Like my father, I served in the U.S. Air Force. He served thirty-five years; an injury cashiered me at the ripe old age of twenty-one.
Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: In addition to writing fiction, I dreamed of becoming an actress. As a young adult, I actually won several awards as a member of community theater troupes. Acting wasn’t a “respectable profession” when I was a kid, though, so I opted to find another career.
Q: Favorite food.
A: Anything Tex-Mex.
Q: Favorite happy memory.
A: I harbor too many of those to pick just one. The one that made the biggest impression, I think, was a family trip to the Grand Canyon when I was a young teen. I was awestruck…and amused by a sign posted at the edge of a sheer cliff that plunged several thousand feet to the bottom of a gorge: “No parking beyond this sign.”
Q: Favorite drink.
A: I’m a Texan. The national beverage of Texas is iced tea.
Q: Hot summer days or chilly winter nights?
A: Hot summer days. I’ve seen enough snow, sleet, and ice to last several lifetimes.
Q: What is the top thing on your bucket list?
A: Finish as many novels as I can. I should have started this odyssey when I was much younger.
Q: If you could have a super power, what would it be?
A: The ability to converse with plants, animals, and inanimate objects. Everything has a voice. Most of us just can’t interpret the language.
Tell us where to find you: website(s), publisher’s page(s), blog(s), Facebook page(s), etc. List them all!
Publisher’s website: http://prairierosepublications.com/
Petticoats and Pistols: http://petticoatsandpistols.com/
Prairie Rose Publications: http://prairierosepublications.blogspot.com/
Sweethearts of the West: http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com/
Western Fictioneers: http://westernfictioneers.blogspot.com/
Widowed rancher Jessie Caine buried her heart with the childhood sweetheart Yankees killed on a distant battlefield. Sixteen years later, as a Texas range war looms and hired guns arrive to pursue a wealthy carpetbagger’s agenda, Jessie discovers the only man she ever loved isn’t dead.
At least not yet.
Embittered by a brother’s betrayal, notorious gunman Calhoun is a dangerous man, come home to do an unsavory job. A bushwhacker’s bullet nearly takes his life on Jessie’s land, trapping him in a standoff between the past he tried to bury and the infamy he never will. One taste of the only woman he ever loved puts more than his life and her ranch in the crossfire.
With a price on his head, a debt to a wealthy employer around his neck, and a defiant woman tugging at his heart, Calhoun’s guns may not be enough to keep him from the grave. Caught between his enemies and hers, Jessie faces an agonizing choice: Which of her dreams will die?
Wrapping an arm around an upright beam, Jessie scanned the dark windows, imagined a mourning wreath on the door. The Eights had seen too many losses, yet she loved this old place. For more than half of her thirty-one years, the house had been her sanctuary—especially in times of death and misfortune. Shoving away from the beam, she clicked the latch and stepped inside.
She had barely cleared the jamb when an arm cinched her waist and yanked her backward into a wall of solid muscle. Her hat tumbled to the floor, and Jessie’s throat seized around an audible gasp. A choked grunt escaped whoever held her as a leather-gloved palm clamped over her mouth.
A bristly jaw scraped her temple. “Not a sound.” The stranger’s raspy whisper bore traces of whiskey and tobacco; they overrode the sweat and trail dust clinging to the rest of him. Another scent lay beneath—sharper, metallic. Blood?
The rasp came again. “Lose the gun. Now.”
Heart pounding a hole through her ribs, Jessie nodded. With slow, careful movements, she unbuckled her belt and lowered the Remington to the floor.
The man relaxed his grip enough for her to squirm. When her elbow dug into his side, a breath hissed between his teeth and he turned her loose. Fool. She was no helpless waif or half-grown boy.
Jessie whirled to face a broad expanse of chest; tipped back her head, then farther, seeking features within the shadows of a hat pulled low to hide the stranger’s eyes.
He kicked the door shut and backed against the wall. With a halfhearted flick of his fingers, he knocked up the black hat’s wide brim...
...and Jessie stared into the face of a ghost.
Her heart skidded to a stop.
That wasn’t the voice of a ghost. Deeper than she remembered, the whiskey-smooth tone rolled over her like fog.
Her knees nearly buckled. Disbelief vaulted from her lungs in a single, incredulous breath. “Mason?”
He didn’t answer—just watched her without a shred of emotion. How could he be so composed, so distant? Sixteen years, and he could manage only two words?
She shut her mouth and returned his unflinching gaze. Deep grooves marked the outer corners of haunted eyes and echoed matching trenches between the dark slashes of his brows. A grayish cast infused the depths of weathered skin beneath days-old stubble and the wave of warm-molasses hair pasted to his forehead by a thin veneer of sweat.
Her gaze inched down the tall, lean frame, scraping the sharp line of his jaw, shoulders wider than she remembered, and a deep chest that didn’t belong to the boy she had known. Her meandering stopped where one arm crossed his body and his hand disappeared inside the open front of a dusty range coat.
Jessie’s gaze swept back to his face.
Some brief sensation flirted with his angular features but never claimed them. Pain. He drew a ragged breath before he spoke again. “Where’s Will?”
The voice sounded thinner this time, less sure, but her husband’s name darted through Jessie on a hot stab. Three years hadn’t dimmed her memories of an extraordinary man...or the guilt.
And neither had sixteen. Mason.
The longcase clock at the foot of the stairs ticked once for every three of Jessie’s heartbeats, but neither rhythm marked the passage of minutes as Mason matched her stare. Funny how time came to a standstill when truth intersected a lie. A monumental lie.
The mantel clock chimed. Jessie jumped on the first note. By the eighth, she remembered how to speak. “You’re...dead.”
Anything else you’d like to add?
The dedication to Prodigal Gun reads “For Lee, my most steadfast supporter and best friend. I wish you could have stayed.” My other half of twenty-three years died a few months before the novel was published. That’s why 100 percent of royalties earned by the book are donated in his name to charities benefiting animals and the hungry. The donations will continue as long as the book exists. It’s one small way to honor his memory.