MK: You’ve had the opportunity to work on some anthologies with other great authors, most notable being the “Give Me a Texas Ranger” Anthology
LB: When collaborating, I have to consider the direction the other authors’ stories are going and making sure that my story meshes with theirs. Especially when all our stories are set in the same town with the some of the same events. For instance, in GIVE ME A COWBOY all the stories take place in Kasota Springs, Texas during a four day rodeo. I had to not only make sure I had each rodeo event on which day but also get the layout of the town down right. Also, we use some of the same secondary characters so I had to get those right. Then in A TEXAS CHRISTMAS we went back to Kasota Springs during a blizzard in 1887. When I’m writing a single title historical I can put whatever I want as the story unfolds.
MK: How much of your upbringing in the southwest influence your writing?
LB: I’d say a lot. I like to write what I know and having grown up and lived in the southwest I know the terrain, what plants and animals are there, and what the weather is like. Also how the people in this part of the country talk. It sure cuts down on the amount of research.
MK: “Two brothers…one woman…and a secret that can destroy them all”…what gave you the idea for your book Redemption?
LB: I was sitting in a writing workshop at a Romance of America conference. The class was about taking a character that has such an overwhelmingly difficult past and making them heroic. The idea formed of taking a heroine who just escaped from a life of prostitution and helping her find the redemption she’s desperately seeking. Then to make matters worse for her, I brought my hero to the town who knows of her past and threatens to tell if she doesn’t break off her engagement to his brother. I hope the story shows that no matter what you’ve done, a person can redeem herself if she really wants it bad enough and that secrets always find a way of coming out.
MK: Do you have a favorite character in The Cowboy Who Came Calling? Who and what do you like best?
LB: I totally related to Glory Day, my heroine of the story. She’s such a strong determined character who has to face not only putting food on the table for her mother and sisters and saving their farm from being taken by the bank but also the fact that she’s losing her eyesight. At the time I wrote this story I was struggling with declining eyesight myself. It seemed no matter what the doctors tried nothing was stopping the progression. I poured all my fears and struggles into Glory’s character. And it made the story one of my best. It won the National Readers’ Choice Award for best historical.
MK: I’m a fan of Texas Ranger movies, but I haven’t had the pleasure of reading a book based on them. What interesting tidbit have you learned about the Texas Rangers from writing these books?
LB: I learned that their first badges were made from Mexican five peso silver coins. They were made by some of the men who formed the Texas Rangers. But few of them wore a badge pinned to their shirt because they reflected sunlight and gave away a ranger’s position. Official badges weren’t issued to the rangers until 1935.
MK: What a fun fact! What has been your greatest writing challenge since becoming published?
LB: Staying published. With so many writers to fill such few spots, it’s very difficult. And the western romance field is even tighter than the other genres. I have to make sure that I write the very best book I possibly can.
MK: What has been your greatest pleasure since becoming published?
LB: Getting to meet so many fun and interesting people. I love hearing from fans who take the time to write me. I like knowing that something I write touches someone in a special way or makes them look at life a bit differently.
MK: Who or what has most influenced your writing?
LB: My upbringing without a doubt. I know what it’s like to be dirt poor. When I was born in the late 40’s, my parents and three older siblings lived in a tent. They’d just come out of the depression and had little to their name. My daddy was a bootlegger and my mother washed and ironed clothes for other people and sometimes cleaned their houses. But I always knew that no matter how little we had I was deeply loved. The majority of my stories are about prideful people who have to scratch and claw to survive. I think those kinds of stories resonate with readers.
MK: You’re a regular contributor to the wonderfully named Petticoat & Pistols blog. What can a reader expect to read from you on the blog and when can they find you there?
LB: I’m very proud to be a part of a website that promotes and supports the western romance genre. I blog the third Tuesday of each month. Most of my blogs feature little-known people and facts that I run across from my research. I get excited when I stumble on a good blog subject. Then of course, I blog about new book releases I have. I urge everyone who likes to know what life must’ve been like in the old West to come visit us.
MK: What is your favorite non-writing pastime?
LB: Geneology. I love researching my family tree and discovering where I came from. There’s a deep satisfaction that comes when I unearth a person or fact that I never knew about and I can say, “Aha! So, that’s where my red hair and stubbornness comes from.” And in fact, I’ve gotten story ideas from doing genealogy.
MK: What do you have in store next for your readers?
LB: I’m currently working on an inspirational romance that is at present uncontracted. This is a bit different for me, but I’m excited about this new writing direction. The joy of writing is even stronger these days.
And while we don’t have any more anthologies in the works, we’re not ruling out that we won’t return to them at some point.
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