Carla Roma Interviews A.M. Westerling

Hi Carla Roma here, enjoying a frosty glass of lemonade in A.M. Westerling’s garden. It’s a hot prairie summer day and even though we’re in the shade of a couple of huge poplars, I need all the coolant I can get. <winks>

Astrid: <walks up with the pitcher of lemonade and sits down> Ha ha, I heard you Carla! Would you like more?

Carla: <holds up glass>. Yes please. And is it okay if I call you Astrid? A.M. sounds so, um, stuffy.

Astrid: Of course. I’m using my initials because I thought my name would get so long otherwise. <pours lemonade> So this is a recipe from my ancient Betty Crocker cook book. You know, the one I’ve had since I got married. It’s my go to cook book. She has recipes for everything!

Carla: <takes a sip> Delicious, thanks. So let’s get started with the interview. Why don’t you tell our audience how we met?

Astrid: Sure thing. In yoga class. I looked over during one particularly long downward dog and there was Carla looking back at me. I think we were both wondering how much longer we’d have to hang out, so to speak. <laughs>.

Carla: <rolls eyes> Yeah, I remember that class. Brutal. We were holding the poses for way longer than 5 breaths. I think the instructor forgot to count.

Astrid: But we survived. Barely. <grins>. And yoga has taught me to listen to my body, which stands me in good stead with my writing.

Carla: How so?

Astrid: <shrugs> Not to force it. If I’m in the zone, I go for it. But if the writing’s not coming smoothly, I’ll put it away and do other writing related activities, like research, or catching up with social media, or even just read another book. It’s always good to see how other authors do things. And if I absolutely can’t get past it, I’ll go for a walk. That’s always good for inspiration.

Carla: How long have you been writing? And what inspired you to start writing in the first place, anyway? And I’ll have some more of that lemonade, please! <holds out glass while Astrid pours>

Astrid: I first realized that being an author was something I could actually accomplish when I attended a romance writing seminar given by two of our Bandit Creek authors, Louise Behiel and C.J. Carmichael. Shortly after that, in October of 2004, I joined CaRWA and I’ve been following the dream ever since. And the reason I started to write? Simple. I got tired of reading books and thinking “How did THIS ever get published?” <chuckles> I really thought I could do better so I sat down at the keyboard and started. Nike has it right when they say “Just do it”!

Carla: And where did you get the idea for your Bandit Creek story, “Bootleg My Heart”? Interesting title, by the way.

Astrid: I’m a NASCAR fan. My husband and I regularly attend the race in Las Vegas.

Carla: NASCAR? As in left, left straight, left, left straight? Stock car racing? That NASCAR? <grins>

Astrid: <nods> Yeah, that NASCAR. Hot cars and cute drivers, what’s not to like! I’ve wanted to do a prohibition era story every since I discovered the roots of NASCAR lie in the bootlegging drivers of that time. They’d fix up their cars and race against each other to see who was the fastest. And, of course, to get away from the federal prohibition agents.

Carla: Hmm, who knew.

Astrid: Anyway, it’s a fun era. So innocent in a lot of ways yet with a dark side. I plan on writing another story set in that period, especially now that I’ve done the research.

Carla: I can’t wait to read this one! Especially after reading Alyssa’s “Prohibited Passion.”

Astrid: <nods> This story has one of Alyssa’s characters, Patrick Sheridan, the Irish gangster. It was fun working with her to get everything to jive. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading “Bootleg My Heart” as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Carla: Can’t wait!

You can connect with A.M. Westerling at her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

‘My Heart Burns’ Released Today!

My Heart Burns released today! Pick up your copy from Amazon today!

A woman’s got to do what her heart tells her – that’s become my motto. I’m Mackenzie Delaney and I realized that fact – and acted on it – before it was too late. Instead of marrying the man my parents had chosen for me, I answered the calling in my heart and headed west to Bandit Creek to fulfill my dream of being a doctor.

Sheriff Dan Wilson added a twist to my dream. Strong and true, he was intent on keeping the peace in his town – by fighting off bandits and keeping women of debatable reputation out.

He succeeded with the bandits.

He found me more of a challenge.

Let’s just say we came to a compromise.

Read the Excerpt

Carla Interviews Marlene Renee about My Heart Burns

Hello, I’m Carla Roma and my latest Bandit Creek interview is with Marlene Renee. I managed to slide bits of this interview into the scheduled walk breaks during our morning run. (Actually I gasped out the questions.) As we cooled down – and I thanked the Almighty the run was over – we completed the interview about Marlene’s Historical Western, MY HEART BURNS, available August 15, 2012.

Marlene: How are your legs?

Carla: <groaning> Firm as jelly. Bring on the comfy chairs and a stack of pancakes.

Marlene: <grins> Might be a good idea to stretch first.

Carla: Might be. <grins> You stretch. I’ll watch and ask questions. What possessed you to write an historical western?

Marlene: I’ve always been intrigued by that time. Devoured Zane Grey books as an adolescent and thoroughly enjoy movies like 3:10 TO YUMA.

Carla: But those are typical westerns. You’ve got the good guys, the bad guys and the protagonist is a male. In MY HEART BURNS you switch things up a bit.

Marlene: True. Mackenzie Delaney, my protagonist, is female. And she tends to follow her heart rather than listen to the dictates of society.

Carla: Like defying her father and striking out on her own. She’s a female doctor in 1887. What prompted you to incorporate that element into the story?

Marlene: I admire strong, independent women – trailblazers. I thought it would be fun to pick an unusual occupation for a woman during that era.

Carla: But in the untamed West? Mackenzie could have blazed her trail in her hometown Chicago instead.

Marlene: True. But leaving what she knows to head West is life-changing for her.

Carla: How life-changing?

Marlene: <cheeky grin> We could run again tomorrow. I’ll let you in on the ending after we’re done.

Carla: <Laughs> Thanks, I’ll pass on the run. But give me some hints about Mackenzie’s life-changing events.

Marlene: Well, everything she owns is stolen, a bandit wants to kill her, the Sheriff wants her to leave town . . .

Carla: <rubs her hands> Hmmm, a robbery, death threats – sounds intriguing. But the Sheriff wants her to leave? Isn’t he the love interest?

Marlene: He is. But they reconcile after she operates on his backside.

Carla: And? <pauses> You’re not going to give the full reveal are you?

Marlene: <looks up at the sky> I’d really enjoy another run tomorrow.

Carla: <laughs> Not going to happen. I’d really enjoy hearing about the Sheriff’s backside.

Marlene: You certainly can – just remember August 15.

Carla: I’m on it!

You can connect with Marlene on Facebook and on Twitter.

‘The Ghost and Christie McFee’ Released today!

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of ‘The Ghost and Christine McFee’ today!

When Christie McFee reads about the gold hidden at the bottom of Lost Lake, she decides to put some adventure in her life by diving for treasure. But when she meets Gaven St. Michel, the Divemaster on La Bonne Aventure, she starts to think that treasure can be whatever you want it to be.

If only Christie could figure out how to deal with the two ghosts who are haunting her—one of them wants her help, and the other wants her dead.