|Author Devon Matthews|
Please help me welcome fellow author Devon Matthews to the blog. Devon and I met through Jacquie Rogers and her Western site on Facebook and are both members of the Cowboy Kisses blog.
Caroline: Tell our readers where you grew up and all the private, personal details we long to know.
Devon: I was born and lived the first few years of my life right here in Southeastern Kentucky. When I was in 4th grade, we moved to Ohio and that’s where I lived until I married and moved out into the big, wide world. I’m the eldest of five children. I’ve always been considered a bookworm and enjoyed my alone time with my book friends and my imagination. To this day, my siblings think I’m the odd duck in the bunch. After living all over the country, I’m back in Kentucky. I’m very happily married to my personal hero. We have a grown daughter and son, who still live at home with us.
Caroline: Aren’t we lucky to be married to our Heroes? Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
Devon: Need you ask, Caroline? LOL! Actually, I started out being a very eclectic reader. I read everything I could get my hands on. Then, in the ‘70’s, I went into a western phase and read every book at my local library written by Zane Grey and Louis Lamour. It wasn’t until the mid ‘80’s that I happened across my first romance and, guess what, it was a western historical. I was hooked! Up to that point, I had played around with writing. It was only when I started reading western historicals that I knew exactly what I wanted to write. Two of my very favorite historical romance authors are Maggie Osborne and LaVyrle Spencer. Sad days when they retired.
Devon: My favorite way to relax is to just do nothing. Sit on the back porch with hubby and Molly, our dog, and watch the birds, rabbits and squirrels, and talk. We have a gorgous view of open fields with cattle, and there are nothing but hills in the distance. It’s very relaxing. I also paint, crochet, and quilt. I love quilting. Love the feel of the fabric beneath my hands. It makes me feel connected to the past when I used to sit by the fireplace during the winter and watch my grandmother, mom, and aunt quilt around an enormous frame that was suspended from the ceiling.
Caroline: We had a dog named Molly, a sweet golden lab who lived to be at least sixteen. And Hero and I love watching the birds and small small creatures come to our birdseed feeders. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?
Devon: My favorite quote, or at least the one I live by, would have to be the one from a Bob Dylan song, “I live in hope.” Go figure.
Caroline: Good quote, and probably something we each do. How long have you been writing?
Devon: I started writing when I learned cursive during second grade. At first, I wrote little poems. Eventually, they grew to be epics. Then I started writing stories that never ended, they just kept going. When I think about that now, it’s no wonder my first completed romance manuscript ended up being 170,000 words. That first romance was nearly 15 years ago. Eventually, that whopper of a manuscript got culled down to 92,000 words and became my first published book.
Caroline: Wow, that was a whopper of a book. Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
Devon: Several years ago, hubby turned our dining room into my private writing room. I spend a lot of time in here. It’s my sanctuary, my cave. In here, I’m surrounded by books and other favorite things. I have old bridles and western art hanging on the walls. I have a brass spittoon that actually came from the old western era and a statue of John Wayne that I talked the salespeople at the Houston Trunk Factory in Houston into selling, even though he was only for display with their luggage. He’s been standing guard over my writing for the past 27 years. I write on my PC because the large screen gives me more of the big picture. I do have a laptop, but because the keys are so close together, when my fingers get to flying, I end up with gibberish. I prefer total quiet when I write. Any noise, a tv in another room, people talking, or even music pulls me out of my imaginary world.
Carolien: Devon, I feel the same way about my PC and laptop. And I have my daughter’s former bedroom for my pink cave. Are you a plotter or a panzer?
Devon: A little of both. I started out being a total pantser. My published book, ANGEL IN THE RAIN, started from a single recurring image I had of a woman standing in the desert with long blond hair blowing in the wind. Then, a mysterious stranger on a dark horse would ride up and literally sweep her off her feet and onto the horse with him. I ran with that image and built around it until I had the entire story. It worked out but, these days, I leave nothing to chance. When I conceive a story, I know the beginning, middle, and especially the ending. The rest, the in-between parts, I leave fairly loose. I don’t like planning everything down to a gnat’s patoot because I like to leave the door open for those nice surprises that often pop up during the writing process.
Caroline: That makes you a plotzer. ☺ Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?
Devon: No, so far I’ve never used a real person or historical event as a main focus in my writing. I even invent fictional towns for my main settings and set them down in terrain I’m familiar with. That way, I can give my imagination free rein.
Caroline: Right, and that’s why I have trouble when asked who I’d cast as my hero and heroine. They are unique and in my head and don’t compare to living people. Do you set daily writing goals? Do you get a chance to write every day?
Devon: I’m a daily word count junkie. I keep charts to track my daily count. I’m a bean counter by nature, so it’s a comfort thing to watch the numbers grow on paper. I wish I wrote every day. It’s seems a contradiction to the word count junkie thing, but I’ve always been a binge writer. I’ll write like someone possessed for days on end, until I exhaust myself, then I’ll go as long as weeks sometimes without writing a word. My newest goal is to break that habit and write a manageable number of words *every* day
Caroline: Daily writing is a good habit, but life does interfere, doesn’t it? What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
Devon: Enjoyment. Plain and simple. My goal is to provide entertainment and to leave my readers with a good, warm feeling when they’ve read the final page.
Caroline: Me, too. What long-term plans do you have for your career?
Devon: Very honestly, the only plan I have right now is to finish the next book. And then the next one and the next. If I can do that, then we’ll see how it goes. I would love to have a career at writing. I would love to someday be named as someone’s favorite author. That’s as close to long-term as I can get right now. ☺
Caroline. Those are good goals. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
Devon: Currently, I’m up to my eyeballs in a western historical romance titled “My Wild Texas Rose.” Here’s what I plan for the back cover copy:
Rose Barrett left her home five years ago, taking with her a secret that tore her family apart. Now, she’s back to confront her brother, whose disastrous debts have endangered their survival. Faced with losing her home forever, she turns to the one man who can help her save it—handsome, headstrong Trey Delaney, her father’s former right hand man.
Trey has no choice but to play along with Rose’s plans or he’ll lose his own birthright. With their adjoining ranches legally tied, if her place goes, his goes with it. Together, they must defy her brother, and defeat an unseen enemy bent on destroying them.
With the passing days, what begins as an arrangement of necessity ignites an affair that heats up the Texas cattle country. In Trey, Rose has at last found a man deserving of her love and trust. Can she heal from her past and give him her heart, or will desire turn to dust when the final secret she harbors is revealed?
Caroline: Rats, wish I’d thought of that title. ☺ What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
Devon: I wish I had something new and revolutionary to say. But the best advice has been given a jillion times over and it’s just this-- Keep at it. Set manageable goals. Never give up. Believe in yourself. And write, just write.
Caroline: Maybe it’s not revolutionary, but it’s great advice. Is your book a series? If so, how long? Family saga, other?
Devon: “Angel in the Rain” is a full-lengh standalone and so is the one I’m currently working on. But I do have a series in the works that I hope to get to after this one is finished. I already have the first two books in the series partially written.
Caroline: Tell us something you learned researching your book that surprised/interested you.
Devon: The most interesting thing that happened while researching ANGEL IN THE RAIN, which takes place on both sides of the border, was taking a trip out to Sierra Blanca in extreme West Texas to scout out the location. I could write an entire book about the experiences we had there. It was quite the trip.
Caroline: Sounds interesting and maybe you will elaborate on a later blog visit. In the meantime, how about a blurb of ANGEL IN THE RAIN?
Devon: Here’s the blurb:
After two years of finishing school, Angel Clayton is determined to redeem herself and become a lady like the mother she never knew. But her wild Texas legacy returns to haunt her when she finds herself the unwilling pawn in a battle of wills between her father’s enemy and a sexy pistolero whose reputation makes hers look positively angelic.
Rane Mantorres is a gunfighter with a big reputation and an even bigger score to settle. When he learns his enemy plans to kidnap a wealthy rancher’s daughter, he foils the plot and kidnaps her himself. Now he must dare far more than he bargained as he’s caught between his thirst for justice and a burning desire for his spirited hostage. Will he risk all—his revenge, even his life—for one night of unforgettable passion with an angel in the rain...
|Great cover, right?|
Caroline: Quite a set up. How about an excerpt?
Devon: Here’s the opening scene—
West Texas – Spring, 1880
The moment she stepped from the stagecoach, cold chills skittered over Evangeline’s skin. She saw nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing that should have made her uneasy in the least. So, why did she feel as though someone had just stepped on her grave?
The Agave Flats relay station looked much the same as a dozen others she’d seen since leaving the train three days ago—a crude blend of rough-hewn wood and adobe, flanked by knotty-poled corrals, standing in the middle of an empty landscape.
“Thirty minutes, ma’am, if you want to stretch your legs,” the stage driver called.
She forced an answering smile. If she “stretched her legs” much more, she wouldn’t be able to fit them inside the coach. With each interminable stop, she found it harder to tamp down a growing feeling of unease. She needed to be home.
A station attendant led away the horses, amid a swirl of dust. Evangeline looked down and slapped at the grit clinging to her fine, fawn wool traveling suit. Aunt Nelda would have a conniption if she could see her standing there without gloves or even a parasol to protect her ladylike pallor from the harsh southwestern sun. She heaved a breath and turned her back to the warm, grit-laden wind.
That’s when she saw him.
Nerve endings jolted when she spotted the dark figure nearly blending into the shadows of the relay station. The man stood with a shoulder braced against the outside wall, his thumbs hooked on the edge of a low-slung cartridge belt. One booted ankle anchored over the other. His relaxed pose stretched dark trousers taut over a long, muscled thigh. The black hat riding low on his forehead hid all but his chin and sardonically quirked mouth. His very posture exuded arrogance and something more. Something so darkly compelling it bordered sinister.
She knew he was staring at her. Right through her, in fact. Though the hat brim concealed his eyes, his gaze raked her with the impact of a physical touch.
Being stared at by men was nothing new to Evangeline Clayton. A woman traveling alone was a magnet for every roué along the pike, and she’d received her share of suggestive winks and leers during the train ride west.
Somehow, this man’s veiled inspection affected her more, probed deeper, as if he knew her very thoughts. She sensed a coiled energy behind his indifference, like a cat poised to pounce. And she had an eerie feeling that she was his prey.
The driver’s voice tugged at her. With reluctance, she turned her back on the enigmatic stranger.
“Just wanted to tell you, there’s coffee inside, if you want to step in out of the wind while we change the horses.”
“Thank you, Mr. Stewart. I just might do that.”
Evangeline watched the driver walk away and worried the inside of her bottom lip between her teeth. Tiny tingles continued to chase up and down her back.
Abruptly, the sensation vanished. She turned, knowing she would find the man in the shadows gone.
Caroline: Ooooh, intriguing scene. I love the phrase "His gaze raked her with the power of a physical touch." Wonderful visual and sensual writing. Tell us where we can find your books.
Devon: ANGEL IN THE RAIN is available at:
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Angel-In-The-Rain-ebook/dp/B004Y1QH1M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1344492855&sr=8-2&keywords=angel+in+the+rain
Barnes & Noble -- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/angel-in-the-rain-devon-matthews/1100935446?ean=2940012410115
And how can curious readers learn more about you?
Devon: From these links:
Web site http://www.devonmatthews.net/
Personal blog http://www.devonmatthews.blogspot.com/
Cowboy Kisses group blog http://cowboykisses.blogspot.com/
Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?
Devon: Just that I appreciate you all. The notes I’ve gotten and the interaction with some of my readers have made this journey one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Caroline!
Thank you, Devon, for sharing with us today. Your novel is at the top of my TBR on my Kindle.
Readers, please return Friday for an interview with Kimberly Lewis.
Thanks for stopping by!