SPOTLIGHT ON LAURA DRAKE
|LAURA DRAKE AT RWA14- SAN ANTONIO|
Laura, thank you so much for joining Book Obsessed Chicks. I became a diehard fan of yours after reading the Sweet Spot last November after Barnes and Noble bookseller, Cathy Genna recommended it to me. I was very excited to meet you at RWA14 in San Antonio and I congratulate you on your RITA win for The Sweet Spot
Thank you so much for having me, Kimberly! It’s a funny story, how I met Cathy. I was at the RWA National Conference in Atlanta last year. I was waiting in line for a publisher signing and she was in line ahead of me. She turned around, read my name tag, squealed and hugged me. I read her nametag and squealed – she was the RWA Bookseller of the year! We both had a fangirl moment, and hers was my very first! True to her title, she went up and down the line, telling everyone that they just had to buy my book because it was wonderful! Sigh. I love Cathy.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a city girl from Detroit, who finally made it to the country this year. We realized a lifelong dream, retiring to Texas! I’m working on my drawl and trying to find a handbook on how a Yankee can survive in Texas. I’m loving it, but it’s sure different than life in Southern California – even the plants here can kill you!
Tell us how the Sweet On a Cowboy Series came to be.
They were born out of my love of the sport of professional bull riding. I know, weird obsession for a city girl, but my husband took me to a rodeo when we visited Texas years ago, and I fell in love with it. I was so excited to find that bull riding was on TV every weekend! Since then, I’ve been to three world finals. I’d broken by leg in a freak fly fishing accident a week before one of them (don’t ask) but there was no way I was missing it! Turned out, the handicapped waiting area was right in front of the rider’s locker room . . . SCORE!
What are you currently working on?
Just yesterday, I finished the next book in my Widow’s Grove small town series I write for Harlequin’s Superromance line. In a week, I leave for my annual fly fishing trip. Please don’t tell me to break a leg!
Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be?
Deep down, yes. But I didn’t have the guts to try until I was in my late 30’s. Authors were much smarter than I! But when I had an idea that wouldn’t leave me, I finally sat in front of the computer and wrote it, more to get it out of my head than anything. I figured, if it sucked, I could just hit delete at the end and be done with it! Of course, by then, it was too late. I was hooked!
Who was your favorite character to write and why?
No fair! That’s like not only having a favorite child, but admitting which one it is in public! Well, if I have to (sorry, Char, Bree, Katya, Priss…well, you know who you are) but it’s probably Sam, from Her Road Home. She’s a biker chick, running from her past with a whole lot of baggage in the saddlebags of her vintage Vulcan motorcycle. She was my very first character – the one who wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote her. And yes, authors are weird about that. Their characters a real to them. I feel like I could drive to Widow’s Grove and visit Sam and Nick in their restored Victorian on the hill.
Do you have any role models? If so, who?
Oh, another tough one! Probably my mother, who, in spite of being dealt a tough hand, sailed through life with her head up, and more class and grace than I’ve seen in any other woman. She reminded me of the quote from Ann Richards: “After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”
What was your favorite part of the RWA2014 Conference?
You’re kidding, right? WINNING THE RITA! The Sweet Spot won the award for the Best First Book, and Nora Roberts presented me with the award! I still feel like I’m going to wake up, roll over and tell Alpha Dog, “I just had the very best dream.” Seriously, this stuff does not happen to me!
Who are your favorite authors?
Oh you ARE making it hard, because I know you don’t want a five page list! Okay, I’ll try to be brief: Ayn Rand, Stephen King, Jodi Piccoult, Barbara O’Neal, Anne River Siddons, Pat Conroy . . . Okay, I’ll stop. Oh, and Herman Wouk. Wait! Rosamunde Pilcher. And Larry McMurtry. And . . .
What is next for you?
I have my fingers crossed, because I have a Women’s Fiction with Romantic Elements out on proposal. It’s about a woman bull fighter (not the red-cape kind, the PBR kind). I so want to finish writing that book. It’s a sister-story and I’m in love with the main character!
What would you like readers to know about you?
That I LOVE to hear from them! Right now, I’m hanging out at the Western Romance Café (as I know you are too, Kimberly!) It’s a site on Facebook I began as a place for Western Romance readers to hang out with their favorite authors and connect with others who love the genre. Here’s the URL: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WesternRomanceCafe/
Thank you so much, Kimberly, for having me today – and thanks for all you do for authors!
Katya Smith returns to the states from her tour of duty in Khandahar, where she was injured in a suicide bombing that claimed the life of a fellow soldier. She didn't return by choice, the bombing made that decision for her. Katya mostly recovered from her exterior wounds, but it's the wounds on the inside that are taking a toll on this fiercely independent and strong willed woman. Katya's beloved Gypsy grandmother passes away leaving her bereft and confused. A short visit with her cool appearing parents shows her she doesn't belong in their world. Through a friend, Katya gets a lead on a job working as a medic for the PBR (Professional Bull Riding). Hopefully this job will help Katya alleviate some of the flashes of terror she gets after the bombing and help her get over her PTSD so she can return to active duty as a medic for the military in Afghanistan.
Cam Cahill is an aging bull rider trying to find out what to do with himself after his impending retirement. Nothing seems to fit and he's not ready to pack it all in, even if his body is telling him otherwise with all the aches and pains he deals with on a daily basis. The handsome bull riding champion bides his time while he watches the up and coming cowboys begin to take over. After a disagreeable run in with a seemingly prejudiced Katya at an event, Cam can't decide if the eclectic beauty will suit as a medic on the PBR trail.
Once they get to know each other better, Cam realizes there is so much more to Katya than her appearance.
Once Katya proves to be an effective PT and worthy of being the medic she was hired to be, she begins attracting a following of riders who are quite taken with the gypsy's homemade curatives and her knack for easing their aches. When Cam gets closer to Katya and finds out just where she comes from and what she's been through, he not only gains a respect for her for what she's already done for his colleagues, but also for what she has done for her country. The two who were skittish of each other at first begin to form a bond that Cam realizes he wants to solidify, but Katya can't let go of the past and still wants to make amends for things that she believes were her fault, but were in fact out of her hands.
Once again Laura Drake has me riveted by her story. I love her characters. Katya seemingly a fish out of water around the bull riders, bucks it up and fits right in once she lets her guard down, She also sees a future for Cam with his retirement and tries to give the stubborn athlete a way to be useful and still enjoy his life once he hangs up his spurs. Katya is a woman with so much honor and loyalty ingrained in her and her quest to get back to Khandahar is trying. PTSD is no joke and this woman deals with the effects on a daily basis, but her quest clouds a possibility of a future with Cam, for as much as she cares for the cowboy, she feels the need to make up her failures to her military brethren. The subtle changes in the medic/soldier to the PBR medic are an amazing journey and highly recommended by this lover of Western Romance. Grab SWEET ON YOU by Laura Drake by the horns and enjoy this incredible ride. You won't be sorry.