I’m delighted to welcome T.J. Kline for an interview and a look at her contemporary western romance, The Cowboy and the Angel.
Hi, T.J., so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about The Cowboy and the Angel.
The Cowboy and the Angel is the second book in the Rodeo series. This one focuses on Derek Chandler (from Rodeo Queen) and Angela MacCallister, a reporter doing an expose on the treatment of rodeo stock. They are both out to discredit the other but the sparks that fly between them ignite more than ire.
Reporter Angela McCallister needs the scoop of her career in order to save her father from the bad decisions that have depleted their savings. When the opportunity to spend a week at the Findley Brothers ranch arises, she sees a chance to get a behind-the-scenes scoop on rodeo. That certainly doesn’t include kissing the devastatingly handsome and charming cowboy Derek Chandler, who insists on calling her “Angel.”
Derek has a rodeo to run and a chip on his shoulder. He has no time for the fiery woman who is clearly hiding something. But for some reason he can’t keep his hands off of her. Their connection is instant and explosive, but Angela’s secrets could threaten his family, and Derek needs to prove that he’s not the irresponsible kid brother anymore.
When the rodeo dust has settled, will the Cowboy and his Angel allow themselves to give in to the attraction that threatens to consume them both?
What inspired this story?
The entire Rodeo series is inspired by my own experiences and involvement with the sport of rodeo, horse training and cowboys. I spent so much of my youth at rodeos and riding that I wanted everyone to share that same experience.
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
The Cowboy and the Angel just released on Aug. 5th and the third book in the series, Learning the Ropes, will be available Sept. 30th. I just finished a novella in the series which will tentatively be out in February 2015. Right now, I’m beginning a new contemporary romance series with the same small-town, western feel.
What are your writing goals for this year?
Every January, I sit down and write out my goals for the year. This year, my goal was to have 4 complete novels written and edited, ready for sale. Right now, I just finished number 4 and I’m planning on writing at least another 2 before the year is out.
How do you come up with ideas?
I get asked this a lot and I never have an answer that helps people understand. It’s not some mystical, magical process. I don’t think it is for any writer. Like everything else, I believe the more you write, the more your brain is wired to invent new plot lines and stories. Characters pop up when you least expect it, but your mind is constantly moving, creating and devising new ideas to write about, so it becomes easier. They aren’t all winners but there are always some worth pursuing and you learn to cultivate those.
Can you share with us “the call” story?
I have a slightly different “call” than most people who are picked up by a publishing house. I have been writing for a long time but never focused on it until I decided to take part in NaNoWriMo in 2012. I penned Rodeo Queen and saw that Avon was taking NaNo submissions and would let you skip the slush pile. I polished my manuscript and sent it in, never giving it another thought and not telling anyone. In fact, so much time went by, I nearly forgot about the submission. In April of 2013, I had an email from an editor at Avon telling me she would like to discuss the manuscript with me. After speaking with her, I signed the contract and the rest is history. (And, yes, I still do NaNo each November. What can I say? I’m a superstitious sort of cowgirl.)
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Tough question because there is so much I enjoy about writing…I think it’s the ability to create a world of my own making, both good and bad. In real life, there are so many circumstances that are completely out of our control but when I’m writing, I control it all. I get to decide the reaction of each character and what will happen next. I guess it’s sort of like playing God with imaginary people (or like a Sims game) but in my world, hope and love always win.
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
I start with plotting and characters. I usually have the ideal main characters in mind for the story and develop them as I go. I do plot skeletal points of the story around the characters but I know the main points I need to hit from the beginning. Research is something I do as I’m plotting and, later, as I write because I don’t want to waste time researching something that might be pulled from the plot entirely. That said, I do have a historical western I wrote years ago that required A LOT of research, both before and during. It’s time consuming and you can easily get sidetracked. I’m in awe of historical writers who turn out books quickly when there is so much research involved.
What is the best thing about being an author?
Getting to work in my pajamas and drink coffee all day, every day. J Actually, there is nothing better than the feeling I get when someone reviews my book (or reads it and emails me) and I can tell they “got it.” Some people don’t and that’s okay. But when someone else does…it’s like a new mom being told her baby is beautiful. You can’t help but beam rainbows and light all day.
What one thing would you change about your writing career?
I’m an impatient person. I want it all and I want it now. The one thing I’d change is to be further in my career faster – a best selling author NOW. But, the realist in me knows that it’s worth the wait and the work so I continue to strive toward that goal, knowing that consistency always pays off.
Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?
I usually get up before everyone else in the house, have a cup of coffee and write first thing in the morning for an hour and then again mid-morning through early afternoon. It’s quiet in the house and I can focus on my characters and the story completely until everyone gets home. Evenings are practically impossible for me to find time to write unless I’ve sent everyone off to bed and stay up late (but I do that too).
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
There is one scene where Derek is showing Angela around the ranch and they stop to have lunch at a small lake on the property. It really shows Derek’s playful, flirtatious side and Angela beginning to thaw her icy shell she shows everyone. It was a fun scene to write and really heightened the chemistry between the characters.
How do you balance writing and everyday life?
Our house is a busy, chaotic mess. I have three teens (two boys who play football for different teams and a daughter getting ready to head off to college). I usually meet myself at the door coming and going and our schedule is constantly in a state of flux so I have to be extremely greedy about my writing time and fight the things that would distract me (Facebook, phone calls, non-urgent emails).
I also reward myself with things I like to do for meeting deadlines (visits with friends, a night on the town, a new outfit.) One of the things I learned was to set a word goal for each day and make it something I could actually do consistently. I keep a daily tally and usually go far about the daily goal.
Do you listen to music while you write? What are you listening to now?
I listen to music at times. It can help me get into the mood of the story. However, I also love to sing and more often than not, I find myself singing instead of writing. That’s when I’ll usually change up my playlist or add new songs I don’t know. Right now, I have my playlist on Spotify if you want to take a peek: Rodeo Playlist
Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
My mother and my grandmother were avid romance readers. I started reading very early, not long after I began to talk, and tried to read my mother’s romance novels (or at least pretend I was reading them). My grandmother had an entire closet filled with shelves of romance novels.
What don’t most people know about you but you would like to share?
That my husband was my high school crush. We dated a little back then but he was the only guy I ever dated to break up with me. We stayed good friends throughout but I always had a crush on him (he was HOT!) After high school, we kept in touch and later decided to try dating again. It was a matter of always having the right person but now it was the right time.
These are few of my favorite things:
- My family (ALL of big family)
- My fur-babies (All three dogs, three cats and two horses)
- Coffee with whipped cream (YUM!)
And now T.J. has a question for you all: What is the one thing you’ve always wondered about cowboys or rodeo (or horses) that you never knew who to ask?
Don’t forget to check out T.J.’s Rafflecopter giveaway.
Here’s a sneak peek of Derek teaching Angela to saddle a horse:
Angela took a deep breath and reached for what looked like a torture device. She cupped her palm around the metal piece the way he did and put it against the horse’s lips. The stubborn animal stood there, unmoving, ignoring her attempt entirely.
“Come on,” she muttered, pushing the metal bar against the animal’s mouth just a bit harder. Still nothing.
She glanced over her shoulder at him and saw he was trying to hide a smile. “Try putting your thumb in the corner of her mouth, right here.” He slipped his thumb into the corner of the horse’s mouth and she immediately opened her mouth. “See?”
“Ew.” Angela wrinkled her nose. “You said not to get my fingers in her mouth, that she’d think they were a carrot,” she pointed out, grimacing as she pushed her thumb into the wet corner of the horse’s mouth.
The animal immediately started chewing on the metal bar. “Pull it up over her ears now.” Under his watchful eyes, she lifted the bridle over the horse’s ears carefully. “They don’t have teeth right there, so you’re safe. You did it.”
Angela stepped back and admired her accomplishment. “I did, didn’t I?” She patted the animal’s neck. “We might become friends after all.”
The horse tucked her head against Angela’s stomach. She was almost touched by the sweet, trusting gesture and reached to pet the horse’s neck. The animal flipped her head, knocking Angela backward off her feet. Strong arms circled her, caught her, and lifted her back onto her feet even as Derek’s chest vibrated against her back with his deep laughter. Embarrassment flooded her face, coloring her cheeks as she realized his arms were pressing against her breasts. So far, the only good coming from this lesson was how often his hands were ending up on her.
“Are you all right?” Derek felt her tremble and the laughter died in his throat. This wasn’t the way he’d hoped this would go. This lesson was quickly turning into a disaster. “Angela?” He turned her to face him, his hands on her hips.
“I’m fine,” she said as she looked up at him. Laughter bubbled from her throat and he decided in an instant that he loved her laugh. She tossed back her head and let the humor of the moment overtake her. “Either you’re a horrible teacher or I’m the world’s worst stu—oh!” She squealed as Honey flipped her nose into Angela’s lower back, throwing her into his arms again.
He caught her against him, his arms encircling her, but this time the mirth died in his throat as their bodies pressed together. He felt his desire ignite like a wildfire, his jeans suddenly becoming incredibly uncomfortable. With her breasts pressed against his chest, her soft curves molding against him, and the silken skin of her shoulders under his fingers, he inhaled deeply, enjoying the sweet scent of her. None of the women he’d held had ever tormented his senses and scattered his logic like this one.
“Maybe that’s enough ground work for one day.” His fingers slid over the satin skin of her upper arm.
Derek forced himself to step away from her, hating that the movement was almost as painful as if he was tearing a limb from his body.
This is bad.
Derek knew better than to allow himself to fall for any woman as dangerous to his family as this one. He needed to keep his mind focused on the task at hand, which meant showing her that her theory about animal abuse was unfounded and escorting her from the ranch as quickly as possible. He took a deep breath. The churning desire made it difficult to keep his hands off of her. He shoved them into his pockets, shifting awkwardly.
“Let’s get you into the saddle and we’ll work on the basics in the corral before I take you out.”
You can buy T.J. Kline’s books at:
Rodeo Queen at Amazon.com
The Cowboy and the Angel at Amazon.com
Bio: T.J. Kline was bitten by the horse bug early and began training horses at fourteen as well as competing in rodeos and winning several rodeo queen competitions but has always known writing was her first love. She also writes under the name Tina Klinesmith. In her spare time, she can be found spending as much time as possible, laughing hysterically, with her husband, teens and their menagerie of pets in Northern California.
You can find T.J. at:
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