Give us the good stuff Paisley and tell us a little about yourself.
I live in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California with my hubby of 43 years. We raised two daughters and now that he is retired, we get to travel every now and then, my favorite destination being Scotland. For thirteen years I was president of country singing artist Kevin Sharp's fan club. It gave me the opportunity to spend time in Nashville and stand on the stage of the Grand Old Opry and watch Kevin entertain.
What is your favorite non-writing pastime?
I love to make quilts and give them away in memory of my daughter. Putting together the brightly colored pieces of fabric gives my muse time to create. I've mostly made baby quilts, but once I learned how to put photos on fabric I started designing personalized book cover quilts as well as many with family photos, favorite entertainers, and places. My hobby has also rolled over into putting photos on tote bags and pillow cases as well. Some of my creations are used in raffles to raise money for charities.
If you had to sum it up Night Angel in 30 or less words, what would you say?
A poker-playing saloon singer tangles with the mysterious Night Angel. She steals his heart the night he robs her the first time.
Do you have a favorite character in Night Angel? Who and why?
The hero, Declan Grainger, is my favorite character in Night Angel. He's a charming Scottish hotel owner who pays tribute to his foster parents by giving anonymously to the downtrodden townsfolk. The story is set in a gold rush town that has fallen on hard times after the excitement died away. He travels through tunnels at night to leave provisions to those in need.
What message do you hope readers take away from the book?
I learned something important writing this book -- trusting my instincts. My heroine doesn't trust hers. She runs when the going gets tough instead of facing the consequences. Because of her lack of trust in herself and the man who offers to make her dream come true, she almost loses everything she's ever wanted.
What is your favorite scene in Night Angel?
My heroine in Night Angel attended high tea at one of San Francisco's high society matron's mansion in a too-tight corset. When the strings burst, the buttons popped off her bodice and flew across the room, leaving her 'glory' exposed.
Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?
I don't need quiet to write. In fact, silence unnerves me. I used to work next to a loud office printer and learned to shut out my surroundings. I suppose it's comforting to hear the noise and know I am not alone -- even if it is the television.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Night Angel is part of the five-book Paradise Pines Series. The first three books center around the adventures of the Benjamin sisters and the last two bring five cattle-ranching MacGregor brothers to the community. I enjoy following the lives of characters after a book is finished. Writing a series keeps them in my life for a while longer.
What do you have in store next for your readers?
Marriage Bargain, the second book released in the Paradise Pines Series, is Darrah Benjamin's story. She is the middle sister who has bitter disappointments to deal with. Humiliation forces her on a wagon train journey west and into a marriage of convenience.
What has been your greatest pleasure or personal success as an author?
After 22 years of writing, I feel validated as a writer being after being offered a publishing contract for not one, but five stories. In my case, my dream arrived in a great big box.
Does where you live or have places you’ve been influenced your work?
We live in the area where I set my stories. I have loosely based my town of Paradise Pines on the gold rush community of Placerville (known as Hangtown and Dry Diggins during the 1849 gold rush). This place is a virtual treasure trove of history. I have ventured inside a gold mine, walked through abandoned tunnels zigzagging under Placerville, visited beautiful Victorian houses that dot the hillsides around town, and even poked my head into one rock building that housed a bordello and one that still exists a saloon over 150 years after the gold rush ended. My imagination goes crazy visiting these survivors of the olden days. The old Cary House Hotel, built in 1857, is my prototype for Chaumers Hotel in Night Angel. It's still haunted, and yes, the day I took pictures, I encountered one of the two ghosts who did not want me using the elevator.
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
Amalie Renard, my heroine in Night Angel, has always been my favorite heroine, which surprises me because in the other two Benjamin Sister stories she is a trouble maker. In her story, I learned what caused her jealousy. Now she has my full support and respect for her previous 'bad girl' actions.
Do you believe in writer’s block? Has it ever happened to you?
Oh, yes, I definitely believe in writer's block. It happens from time to time and is so annoying. I have a failsafe way of getting my muse talking again. I'm not sure if the characters are soothed by the music or start talking to get me to turn it off because they are tired of it. I am relentless when I turn on Phantom of the Opera.
Is there a book you’ve ever read more than five times? Which book and what drew you back to it?
Kathleen Woodiwiss' Shanna is one of my favorite books. It's the story that got me reading historicals, writing historicals, and loving to read. The hero and heroine work so well building the sexual tension in this book that I hate to put it down once I start reading it. Oh, to be able to write like that talented woman...
Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers today?
I have found the writing community a great place to be part of. If I had my life to live over, I wouldn't change a moment of it, even knowing it would take me 22 years to be published. My dream was to write a story. The rest has been the frosting on top.
I love that last bit! Thank you so much for joining us today Paisley!
Sassy Amalie Renard, a poker-playing saloon singer, shakes up Paradise Pines, a former gold-rush mountain community by turning the saloon’s bar into her stage. Her amazing voice stirs the passions of the hotel owner, a man who anonymously travels tunnels at night providing help to the downtrodden as the mysterious Night Angel. Declan Grainger agrees to subsidize the building of a music hall to fulfill Amalie's dream, but a bounty for her arrest could spoil his plans. Distrust and jealousy stir flames of malice and revenge threatening to destroy their town. Drawing from past experiences, Declan and Amalie turn to each other to find a way to save the community.
Different colored bottles of whiskey and beer reflected in the mirrors along the wall behind the long wooden bar. Perfect. That's where she'd start her evening.
She slipped off her cape and handed it to Declan. His appreciative gasp brought a smile to her lips. Having men ogle her appearance was hardly new. She'd learned early to use her looks to her advantage. The way Declan's eyes heated with appreciation when he cast a glance at the deep cut of her décolletage reminded her how good it felt to be a woman.
"Now you'll see who I really am."
Declan grabbed her arm. "Don't let them forget you're a lady, Amalie."
She cast him a wicked smile. "The name's Lily Fox. Believe me, honey, Lily's no lady."
She approached a couple of gamblers and leaned over slightly to give them full effect of her daring dress. "Would you mind helping me, gents? I have need of your table for a moment."
The men jumped to their feet in unison, their cards forgotten. Amalie took the nearest man's outstretched palm, stepped onto a chair, over their cards and up onto the long wooden plank bar.
"Good evening, boys." She strutted along the length of wood, avoiding whiskey glasses and kicking away eager hands.
The saloon girl stopped caterwauling. The room went still. She had everyone's attention, just the way Lily liked it.
"Get down, young woman. This ain't no place for you to prance about," the barkeep snarled in outrage.
Ignoring the scowling face with the handlebar mustache, she kicked up her heels. Adding a dance step, she pranced back and forth the length of the makeshift stage. Lily reveled in the whistles and disregarded the uncouth remarks. She was in her element. "My name is Lily Fox and I'm here to entertain you tonight."With the flick of her hand, she caught the attention of the stunned piano player. "Play something quick and lively, will you, honey?" She glanced around the room of excited faces and turned on her brightest smile.
Connect with Paisley at http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com/