Today my guest is Denise Eagan with her new release,The Wild Half. This is the follow-up to her previous books, The Wild One and Wicked Woman. You can find Denise at her website, her blog, on Twitter, or drop her an email!
1. At any given time do you work on only one story at a time and maybe plot out the next one or are there many ideas racing around your head?
Many stories, always racing. I used to try to only work only one at a time. However, in the last couple of years I’ve started to jump around. I think this is because some of my books are now interlinking, so switching characters doesn’t jolt as much, and the time periods and settings don’t jolt either. Or it’s because my kids are older, so I’m not getting pulled every which way anymore.
2. Is there a genre you haven't written in but would like to? Or wish you could write in?
I made one attempt, over 20 years ago, to write a contemporary series romance. I thought it would be easy and I could just dash it off. Wow, was I ever wrong. No dashing, not easy. But I did love writing it. After that I tried historical and really, really liked it. The research fascinates me, and I find that it’s easier for me to sink into a different world when writing. Lately, though, I’ve had a couple of ideas for a contemporary romance, and one for one that is more of a serial killer story with a strong romantic element. I’m not sure that that one would have a happy ever after ending for the hero and heroine. We’ll see. It’s at least a couple years off, regardless.
I’ve also had ideas for stories that might actually be better as--can’t believe I’m saying this!--screenplays. Because breaking into romance writing isn’t harder enough, right? Sadly, the difficulty doesn’t stop the ideas from being there, so I might have to write them no matter how daunting the challenge, and how miniscule the possibility of financial return. Sometimes characters and plot and story are all there, and you don’t have a choice but to write it. It haunts you until you get it on paper. Happily I’ve only felt a slight nagging sense of--we’ll call it duty--towards these stories, but sometimes things build until the nagging is a yelling. We’ll just have to see.
3. Do you add an element of romantic suspense in your stories? (can be skipped for this interview)
Absolutely. I could not possibly write a romance without suspense. I’m always telling my husband and friends “no dead body, no romance.” And if you’ve got a body, there’s always some kind of mystery surrounding it, and thus the suspense. I grew up reading Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. To me romance novels are always linked to some kind of danger.
That said, though, the dead body in my books is sometimes in the past, and the characters have to deal with what happened before the book starts. Sometimes there’s only the threat of a dead body. And sometimes several people die during the course of the story. It depends.
4. Say you have unlimited funds: What kind of writing office/cottage would you create for yourself?
Ooooo, I’d have a cottage. On the ocean. With a balcony or patio overlooking the ocean, where I would sit every morning and drink my coffee and eat chocolate pastries while dreaming up all sorts of wonderful plots. With murders. I love the paradox of dark death against the quiet, peaceful setting of the ocean. Let me see, what else. . . A big, roll top desk, which I would probably never use because I write in a comfy chair with my laptop literally in my lap. But I want the roll top desk anyway. It’s writer ambiance. Obviously I would also have a big comfy chair that will fit my laptop and a big comfy sofa in case I get sick of the chair. A coffee pot. A small fridge for cheese (to go with crackers for snacks—in my fantasy world none of this is fattening). And somewhere nearby a Jacuzzi for when the words don’t come, because sometimes water inspires me.
5. If you could turn your novel into a TV show, which novel or series would you do? Where would it be set? Network TV (ABC, NBC, CBS), Cable (AMC, BBC, Lifetime) or Premium Cable (HBO, Showtime, Starz)?
Probably a premium channel, maybe Lifetime though, just because of the nature of the content. There’s a lot of explicit sex in the book, and it needs to be there. It’s very important to the character and plot development. If you take it out like you would have to on network TV, you’d lose half of what the book’s about. See the problem is that when I started this book many years ago, I didn’t know there were rules to writing romance novels. I wrote what came to me and I didn’t hold back on the plot or, by extension, the writing. There’s some pretty dark elements to this book. I won’t say more than that, because I’m afraid I’ve ruin it for new readers.
6. Finally, tell us about your latest release!
So. . .okay, it’s set in Colorado 1876. It starts at a ranch, and the hero, Rick, is a cowboy, and the foreman of the ranch. That makes it a Western, and I did read a lot of Louis L’Amour to help me with the “feeling” of the West at this time. On the other hand, I read a lot of psychology too, because a lot of the plot surrounds the emotional and psychological difficulties of the heroine, Lilah. In that respect, and the fact that there are bad guys and secrets, the book is also Romantic Suspense. Basically, it’s Western Romantic Suspense. There isn’t any category for that. Did I mention that I kind of ignored the rules when writing this book?
Here’s the blurb:
Lilah Martin is a hunted woman who has roamed the West for three years, staying one step ahead of men who are trying to kill her. Fear is her only friend; staying alive is her only goal. Then she lands a job at the Bar M, a prosperous and well-protected ranch in Colorado, where she finds friendship, sanctuary and a life that is almost normal. Or so it seems until she falls prey to the wildly seductive and dangerously inquisitive Rick Winchester.
A former outlaw, Rick has spent five years searching for distraction from guilt over his wife’s death. He finally finds it in the simmering sexual attraction between Lilah and him, and the dark intrigue surrounding her. But the more he delves into her secrets, the more of a mystery she becomes, until, frightened, she flees the Bar M. Determined not to lose this woman, Rick races after her, catapulting them into a clash of wills, which can only end in the discovery of a deadly secret locked away in Lilah’s mind. A secret that could make them both rich. Or get them both killed.
And here’s an excerpt. At this point, Rick is in full pursuit of Lilah, determined to establish a hot, no-holds-barred, brief and uncomplicated affair with her. Lilah is just as determined to avoid it. Both are about to lose, Lilah to seduction, Rick to the concept of “uncomplicated.” It’s Sunday, Lilah’s escaped the ranch and she thought Rick, for a quiet picnic by herself. He, however, has followed her.
Lilah grabbed her book and dropped it in the basket. Afterwards she stood and, catching Rick’s eyes, tugged a little on the blanket, silently requesting he move. Shrugging, he stood and watched her fold the blanket. She tossed it over the basket and without a word, turned and walked to the stream.
He followed her. She stopped. “What are you doing?” she demanded.
“Joining you,” he said, smiling down at her. “As your self-appointed guardian it’s my duty to escort you back to the house. Women roaming the woods are fair game for love-starved cowboys, too.”
She scowled. “Something I imagine you have intimate knowledge of.”
Rick chuckled. “Why, I reckon I’ve been love-starved once or twice. How else would I know that—”
“I need protection,” Lilah finished. “You don’t think I believe all this balderdash do you?”
Grinning, he shook his head. “Nah. You’re too smart for that.”
“Then why say it?”
“To make you angry. You know Lilah, there are only three times I’ve seen the ice in your eyes melt. When you smile, which is just about never. And when you’re angry. Then they flash emerald green and the corners tip up, ever so slightly. Beautiful.”
Quite suddenly it was difficult to breathe. “And the third time?”
He lifted an eyebrow. “Third time?”
“You said there were three times. What is the third occasion?”
His eyes twinkled, and he gave her a mischievous grin. “Oh, darlin’, I think you know already,” he drawled, lowering his voice so that it hummed along her nerves.
When he touched her. A shudder shook her body as his eyes grew even hotter and his grin widened to a sinfully seductive smile, promising pleasures beyond her comprehension. She tore her gaze away. She must leave—run.
“Stay, Lilah,” Rick coaxed wickedly. “You know you don’t want to spend a pretty day like this locked in your room.”
Her heart jumped.
She’d return to her room, wait half an hour—
“I’ll be watching the house, you know, in case you should leave.” He paused and leaned toward her. “And I can be very, very patient.” He made the word sound passionate, desirable. “Of course,” he continued, straightening, “you could whistle for that demon horse of yours. You’d be long gone before I could mount up and follow you.”
“I could.” And never learn about patience.
The shadow of victory darkened his eyes. “But you won’t, because that would be cowardly. After all, what is there to fear?”