My fellow Wild Rose Press author, Bess McBride, has stopped by for an interview today and to share a look at her new contemporary romance from The Wild Rose Press. Hi, Bess, and thanks for being my guest! Tell us a little about Jenny Cussler’s Last Stand.
My current release, “Jenny Cussler’s Last Stand” is available exclusively at Amazon Kindle for the next two months until wide release to all online bookstores and print on February 1, 2013. Inspired by real-life events, it is the story of a the romance between a European-American urban woman and a traditional reservation Native American man, the difficulties inherent in their cross cultural relationship, and how they find that true love really does conquer all. It is set on the Yakama reservation which lies on the slopes of volcanic Mount Adams in the Cascade Range of Washington State. I attended a cultural awareness camp there for veterans, and fell in love with writing a romance complete with sweat lodges, ceremonial drumming and dancing, pow wows, and the beauty of the wilderness.
Blurb: Social worker Jenny Cussler has a number of Native American veterans in her caseload and is attracted to their culture. When given the opportunity to attend a weeklong awareness camp on a reservation high in the mountains, she is eager despite the distance from her established city life.
Clint Hastings, a presenter at the camp, has no intention of straying outside his race for a relationship. But this perky redhead captivates his attention and constantly needs rescuing — when she’s not rescuing him from the clutches of the woman he managed to evade a year ago and who’s back stalking him again.
Clint soon loses his heart, while Jenny is charmed but realizes how little they have in common. In the real world away from the mountain, there might not be a happy-ever-after ending. Is she ready to trade her pavement-bound existence for the reservation? Or would he be willing to give up his chosen lifestyle?
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
My next book, “Forever Beside You in Time” has been contracted by The Wild Rose Press. It’s a time travel story about a young woman, Aurie, who travels to the United Kingdom for a tour and travels back in time to 1902 England. She falls in love with her rescuer, a newly-betrothed Edwardian gentleman who finds he cannot turn his back on her. The story is set in 1902 London, Bath, Stonehenge, and Llandudno, Wales, as Aurie runs away from her rescuer and onto a ladies-only tour of England and Wales. Hopefully, it will be released in 2013.
How do you come up with ideas?
All of my ideas come from location. I am always inspired by location, place, atmosphere—usually somewhere I’ve lived or visited. I’ve traveled ever since I was born, and I see my stories as celebrations of the places I’ve loved—a way to show them off.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Storytelling. Sometimes for me, I take different characters from my own history (perhaps old romances), and give everyone a happy ending. I enjoy the solitude and total immersion into the story. And most of all, I enjoy typing furiously to keep up with a character or characters who take me in a completely unexpected direction. I know it’s my subconscious, but it often seems like the characters come to life and create their own story, leaving me to document it for them. J
Where do you start when writing? Research, plotting, character, or…?
Characters, but in my case, the major character is almost always the location. I pick a location that I love or where I’ve lived and develop a story to celebrate that place. Then the characters fall into place, and they dictate what sort of book it will be—whether time travel, contemporary, ghost, or suspense.
What is your favorite memory from childhood?
Collecting seashells on the beach near my home on the northern coast (the Caribbean Sea) of Venezuela. I grew up in an American community established by the oil camps to support workers in the oil industry. I roamed the beaches, collected shells, documented and labeled them, and set them up in my bedroom for display. I also used to climb cliffs and hide little treasures in the caves above the beach. It was idyllic with temperatures at around 78 degrees every day of the year.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
Holding my granddaughter in my arms. Other than that, my favorite place in the world would be the above-described town of my childhood, which although it still exists, would not really exist to me as an adult.
Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
I assume my parents as we had books in the house. My sister had the Nancy Drew mysteries, and my brother had the Hardy Boys mysteries. I read all of them.
Who influenced your decision to become a writer?
Truthfully? A social worker I had to see on two occasions as a troubled teenage girl. Her therapy was to have me write the “story of my life.” When I turned it in, she read it, and at our next session, she told me she thought I had talent and that I should write. I think now that was her form of encouraging me to pursue a safe hobby, but I was inspired. As my bio states, that was the summer I locked myself up in my room and began my pirate time travel to the beloved Caribbean of my youth. I never finished it, life came up and it was time to return to school. But…. J I officially started writing for profit in 2006 when I took a break between jobs, and submitted some stories to magazines. I also received my first romance novel contract at that time. I’ve been writing ever since. J
“My name is Clint Hastings, by the way.” He reached out to shake her hand before he opened the passenger door. She slid into the gray cloth-upholstered vehicle.
“Not Gray Eagle or Running Bear?” she asked.
He paused and leaned on the open door for a moment with a grin. “Nope. Looks like I’ve got some white folks in the woodpile somewhere.” He chuckled.
He crossed around to the front of the vehicle and climbed in to hear the end of her laughter. The sound lightened his heart.
“So what’s your name? Sacajawea?” He stuck his keys in the ignition and started the car.
“Not likely. I’m probably the only white person you’ll ever meet who doesn’t claim to have a drop of Indian in them. My name is Jenny…Jenny Cussler.”
Clint turned to her with a start. “Custer! Custer?”
Jenny gasped. “No, Cussler, not Custer. No, not Custer. Oh, geez, that would be weird.”
“I heard you the first time. I just thought I’d tease you a bit. Custer isn’t such a popular name in Indian country.” He adjusted the air conditioner, and cool air swept into the car. He moved his vehicle into position behind the last of the government vehicles.
“So what kind of name is Cussler, anyway?”
“Irish, I think. What about Hastings?”
He glanced at her in surprise. Her eyes continued to twinkle.
“Ummm…white, I think.” Would she laugh again—that warm sound that suddenly made him think this week would be fascinating? There it was! The laugh…coming from somewhere deeper than her throat. Her dark-lashed eyes crinkled at the corners.
Your Bio: A little bit about me: I made my first serious writing attempt when I was 14. I shut myself up in my bedroom one summer while obsessively working on a time travel/pirate novel set in the beloved Caribbean of my youth, but I wasn’t able to hammer it out on a manual typewriter (oh yeah, I’m that old) before it was time to go back to school. The draft of that novel has long since disappeared, but the story is still simmering within, and I have high hopes of finishing the adventure one day soon.
I was born in Aruba to American parents, and I lived in Venezuela until my family returned to the United States when I was 12. I couldn’t fight the global travel bug, and I joined the U.S. Air Force at 18 to “see the world.” After 21 wonderful and fulfilling years traveling the world and the birth of one beautiful daughter, I pursued my dream of finally getting a college education. With a license in mental health therapy, I worked with veterans, and I continue to work on behalf of veterans. I write romantic suspense, contemporary, light paranormal/fantasy and time travel romances, and I currently have nine novels published with another one under contract.
I can be contacted through my website at http://www.bessmcbride.com.