Carla Interviews Louise Behiel, author of ‘Christmas on the Run’

Christmas on the Run by Louise BehielHello, I’m Carla Roma and I’m sitting here with author and therapist, Louise Behiel in her office in Calgary.  I’m on the couch. I hope she isn’t planning to psychoanalyze me…I don’t have any problems of that nature. When she sees me looking around and up and down, Louise laughs and reassures me that I don’t have to worry. We can sit in this room without doing therapy. Whew. What a relief.

Carla: So tell me Louise, I see books everywhere in this room, but no fiction. What’s up with that?

Louise: There are a few novels upstairs but mostly they’re on my Kindle.

Carla: (running her hand over some of the books) Some of these look pretty heavy.

Louise: <laughing> Some of them are – both in content and in size.

Carla: So how does a person get from reading these to writing a novella set in Bandit Creek?

Louise: I love reading everything but I always reach for romance when I’m relaxing. So when this series came up, I jumped at the opportunity to join my friends and chapter mates in Bandit Creek.

Carla: So tell me a bit about this book.

Louise: Christmas on the Run is the story of a woman who has to confront the scariest question in the world: “What if everything in your life is a lie?”

Carla: That is a tough question.

Louise: Just imagine that you wake up one morning and all your beliefs about your life are turned upside down, and you realize you might lose the only thing that matters to you. What would you do?

Carla: She runs away and ends up in Bandit Creek?

Louise: Exactly, and as we know, everything happens in Bandit Creek.

Carla: There’s been many other-worldly figures in Bandit Creek.  How about your book?

Louise: Afraid not. This is a book about a vulnerable woman and a wounded man determined to protect her. Together they figure out what matters to them and take the steps to make it happen.

Carla: So the heroine goes from running away to taking baby steps?

Louise: Exactly.

Carla: Sound like some of your couch experience in this one.

Louise: I hope so.

Carla: Is there anyone in this book we’ve met before?

Louise: Of course Jack makes his opinion known, as he does in every book.

Carla: Jack is an interesting character.

Louise: He is. I’m very excited to read more of his story which is the next (and last) release in this series.

Carla: Anyone else in this story that we’ve met?

Louise: There are, but you’re going to have to read the story to find out who it is.

Carla: <laughs> Fair enough. I think I’m going to take my leave before you start asking the questions. I have secrets I don’t want you poking into.

Carla interviews Sandy Kelly, author of ‘Up the Creek Without A Saddle’

Hi, Carla Roma here! I recently spotted Sandy Kelly at a live music bar in downtown Calgary and followed her into the bathroom.

Carla: Sorry, I know everyone is told not to corner a writer in the bathroom, but this is the first chance I’ve had to chat with you when you’re not either up dancing or involved in a conversation with all your friends at the table.

Sandy: Ha! Not to worry… it’s actually publishers and agents you’re not supposed to follow into the bathroom. Writers are pretty much fair game! And you’re right – when I drive in from my little town to enjoy an evening of live music, fine wine and fun friends in the city, I’m rarely sitting quietly alone. Unless I’m in the bathroom, of course!

Carla: What’s the best part for you – the music, the wine or the friends?

Sandy: Hmmm… hard pressed to choose a favourite from that list, but I do love the energy that fills everyone up when they’re enjoying live music – indie music, in particular. My friends and I especially love a jam-session when a bunch of independent musicians come together to share their love of music and originality. It’s magic.

Carla: Is that why you have enjoyed participating in the Bandit Creek series? Is it like a jam-session of writing for you?

Sandy: Absolutely! You take a bunch of independent writers who are working hard on their own craft and then mix them all together to follow their own story lines from the same quirky little town of Bandit Creek. Stir in pretty much every literary genre imaginable, add a hefty dose of talent and a generous helping of support… and you have a perfect recipe for a unique and successful series. It’s magic.

Carla: Your story, Up the Creek Without a Saddle, sounds pretty playful.

Sandy: I consider it a ‘Bandit Creek-lite’! My story is one of the last few in a long and diverse story list. The Banditoes have taken readers on such a journey, from mystery to erotica, from children’s fiction to other worlds. I wanted to create something light-hearted and a little goofy. Up the Creek Without a Saddle plunks a very wealthy young woman into Bandit Creek and into the arms of a handsome rancher who believes he is coming to the aid of a beautiful, but poverty-stricken damsel in distress. The story pokes fun at what happens when a simple misunderstanding brings two people together. And when they start telling little white lies in an effort to stay together.

Carla: Sounds fun – thanks for the bathroom chat. It’s time to hit the dance floor again!

Carla interviews Vivien Harben, author of ‘Thief of Hearts’

Hello, I’m Carla Roma. All you Bandit Creek fans hold on tight because we are racing towards our next release. Just like all the others that have preceded it, Vivien Harben’s book Thief of Hearts promises all the fun, spice and adventure we have come to love from all the Bandit Creek Books. Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Vivien to have a quick chat about her book. Here’s what she had to say.

Carla: Hi Vivien, I’m so glad we have this chance to sit down and chat. Can we talk?

Vivien: Hey Carla, you know we can always talk. In fact getting me to talk is never our problem, it’s getting me to stop that is the challenge.

Carla: (laughing) Too right! Before we get into Thief of Hearts I wanted to ask you what made you want to write books?

Vivien: I have always wanted to write ever since my grandmother used to come and read us bedtime stories. I loved the pictures words evoke in your mind as you travel through any story. In fact I recently found one of my first books, written when I was 5…colored construction paper stapled together with lines of squiggles running neatly across the paper.

Carla: Sounds like a great read!! What was the story about?

Vivien: Well a princess of course!!! Then when I finally tried using letters I started writing fables, the one I finished was “Why Hippo was Green”.

Carla: And so why was Hippo Green?

Vivien: He rolled in the grass of course!!

Carla: Now about Thief of Hearts what can you tell me about where the idea came from to write it?

Vivien: I have always heard the saying “write what you know”. So some of this story comes from very personal experience. I myself was in, survived and overcame a very abusive relationship. It is always a challenge to overcome adversary but to come out the other side still open to and willing to risk loving someone again; well that is real life for me. I wanted something sweet to come out of something dark.

Carla: That is quite intense and remarkable that you can still think that way after what you’ve been through.

Vivien: We should never be defined by the dark hard times we may endure. Rather we should grow from them to try to make our outlook more positive than it was before.

Carla: So how come the hero comes from South Africa? Where’s the connection?

Vivien: I have family that lives there and every chance I get I go back to Africa because that continent draws me like no other. I think I’m still trying to find Harry the Green Hippo! When I can, I like to sneak Africa into my writing just because I love it so much, makes things a little more mysterious too.

Carla: Well you wrote and self-published another book as well. Was Africa in that one?

Vivien: No, Border Passions is an English historical romance. Africa didn’t really fit there. But Bandit Creek? That’s a different story, pardon the pun, isn’t it? After all EVERYTHING HAPPENS IN BANDIT CREEK.

Carla: It certainly does. So Vivien, thanks for your time. I know you have to get back to work.

Vivien: You’re welcome, Carla! It was nice chatting with you.

Carla: So readers, there it is. Our next installment in the Bandit Creek series is ready to roll. Hopefully you too can see the good come from amongst the ashes of something bad. Stay tuned for my next interview and I think we really know after all our books: Everything does happen in Bandit Creek!

Carla interviews Lauren Hawkeye, author of ‘Tempt Me Twice’

Hello, I’m Carla Roma and my latest Bandit Creek interview is with Lauren Hawkeye. I asked her if she needed to put down her knitting needles while we spoke, but she insisted that she could talk and knit at the same time. I can’t complain, since she’s making a scarf for me—and I need it, because brr, it’s starting to get a bit chilly out! Without further ado, here is my interview about Lauren’s erotic romance, TEMPT ME TWICE, available October 15, 2012.

Carla: Tell us a little bit about your book, Tempt Me Twice.

Lauren: Tempt Me Twice is a look at the things people do to make their relationships work. Callie and Austin have hit a rut in their marriage, and this story examines the consequences of temptation.

Carla: Have you always known that you would be a writer?

Lauren: I still don’t know what, exactly, made me pick up my pen for the first time. Looking back now, though, I think the only one who was surprised was me! As a child, I was always that weird kid with her nose stuck in a book while everyone else was on the monkey bars. And I always made up stories in my head about the characters in the books that I was reading—The Bobbsey Twins, Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, and a little later, Little Women and Pride and Prejudice.

Carla: Some of the love scenes in this book were scorching. Is this typical of your books?

Lauren: It’s very typical. Right now I write erotica in both contemporary and historical settings, and the scenes in those books are comparable to what you’ll find in Tempt Me Twice. My paranormals are slightly less hot, but still steamy!

Carla: What does your mother think about the genre that you write?

Lauren: She’s very proud of me. That said, we have an agreement—never, ever will she read one of my books!

Carla: Some of your stories have a HFN instead of a HEA. Why is this?

Lauren: Sometimes when a story reaches its natural conclusion, I just don’t feel like it’s the time or the place for a proposal or a wedding. That’s not how life works. That said, I do try to give the reader some sense of conclusion.

Carla: I hear you have a busy year coming up in 2013. Can you tell us about it?

Lauren: I sure do—I have been so lucky these last few months. The very first book by my alter ego, Lauren Jameson, comes out New Year’s Eve, from NAL Heat. It’s called Surrender to Temptation and will be released in serial format, one section a week for six weeks. I am very excited about it! There will be at least two more books by LJ in 2013. Seduced by the Gladiator, the follow up to my first Avon Red book, will be out in January, and I also contributed a story to an Avon anthology featuring Sara Fawkes and Cathryn Fox, which will be out in June. Then from Harlequin Nocturne I have two Cravings novellas, and a duo vampire paperback with Rhyannon Byrd. Whew! Now all I have to do is write half of those things!

Carla: Whew, is right! And speaking of writing, what do you need to have when you sit down at your computer?

Lauren: Coffee is first and foremost—thought I’m trying to cut down on the caffeine, which means learning to like herbal tea as well. I like to have a candle burning, I’m not sure why. Then I need my computer glasses, my hand cream, eye drops, my Blistex… boy, I’m needy! But without these things I find it hard to focus.

Carla: So your books must be based off of your real life, right?

Lauren: (Shakes head). I get asked this a lot. Um, no, not so much. I do some research, and I read, but mostly I just have a very vivid imagination.

 Carla: Like most authors, you are an avid reader. Which Bandit Creek book has been your favorite so far?

Lauren: I loved Siren’s Song by D.L. Snow, and Bootleg my Heart by A.M. Westerling. Very different stories, but both quality reads! And of course we can’t forget Hard Candy, the erotic version of Jade Buchanan’s Candy Kisses duo. Talk about scorching!

Carla: Indeed! Thanks for the chat, Lauren!

Tempt Me Twice will be released on October 15 at Amazon and Smashwords.

Carla interviews Michelle Pierce, author of ‘Angel Fire’

Hello, I’m Carla Roma and I’m sitting in the living room of author Michelle Pierce, having had a delicious meal of Vietnamese noodles. I’m so full I might fall asleep, but I have a sexy fireman on the brain. *fans self*

Carla Roma: So Michelle, your book features a sexy fireman. What made you choose such a great alpha role for your hero, Jason?

Michelle Pierce: Mostly I knew that my story would feature lots of fire, and I needed a good, life-threatening but heroic job, something that would require the services of a guardian angel.

CR: I can see where that would be one of those professions! How do people get a guardian angel to begin with?

MP: In my story, they aren’t exactly guardian angels, more like fallen heroes themselves. They weren’t always off to save the day, but they die saving someone else. The way that someone is assigned a guardian angel further on is because you have some great destiny or heroic life that entails saving many hundreds of lives.

CR: So if they’re not guardian angels, what are they called?

MP: They’re called Shields. Keira is Jason’s Shield and she’s been working herself to the bone protecting him. She fell for him a long time ago, back in his army days, and now that he’s a firefighter, she’s determined that he won’t die on her watch.

CR: Does Jason know about Keira?

MP: He’s not supposed to know she exists, but when his destiny–and his death–draw near, he starts to see visions of her at perilous moments, which means their time is coming to an end.

CR: So, how’d he take that?

MP: Well, he thinks he’s going crazy, and his boss thinks he has PTSD from being in the military. He’s even gotten a psychiatrist and is taking medication for it, thanks to his visions.

CR: Something really awful must have happened for her to show herself.

MP: Someone is setting fires in Bandit Creek, and they’re not just little fires; they’re getting bigger and are becoming more dangerous, threatening people and their homes. Keira, realizing that Jason can see her, doesn’t trust that Jason will survive. She decides that she’s going to throw all caution to the wind, and reveal herself to him.

CR: Does this freak him out, or does he take it in stride?

MP: He totally freaks. And when she propositions him, to exchange her services for a good time in the sack, he grudgingly agrees to her help. He feels uncomfortable about taking advantage of her, but she assures him this isn’t the case, and he realizes that he’s been celibate for too long.

CR: Now that sounds hot!

MP: I was trying to make this a little hotter than I normally write, and I think I succeeded, and not just because there’s lots of fire.

CR: I think I could handle having a sexy firefighter come save me from a burning building. Know any?

MP: The one I know is taken. And I don’t think Keira would want to share.

CR: Too bad! But I can’t wait to read ANGEL FIRE! It’s out on October 1st, on Amazon and Smashwords.

MP: And just so all your readers know, up until Christmas, I’m donating a portion of my royalties from the book to the Calgary Firefighters Burn Treatment Society. (cfbts.org).

CR: Fantastic! Readers, you can read hot romance AND help out firefighters! Now that’s my kind of book.

Angel Fire will be released on October 1st at Amazon and Smashwords.

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.

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.