|Paisley Kirkpatrick, Author|
Caroline: I know a good bit about you, but I’d like to know more, and I’m sure readers are eager to “meet” you. Where did you grow up? Give us details, please.
Paisley: I had a great childhood growing up in Santa Rosa, California, which is located about an hour's drive north of San Francisco. My brother is three years younger than me. We had an easy childhood, enjoying rides to Bodega Bay almost every Sunday to play on the beach. I joined Camp Fire Girls early and stayed involved into high school. My hubby and I celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary in December. We've had two daughters, but no grandchildren. Life is easy and laid back for us living in the Sierra Mountains not far from Lake Tahoe.
Caroline: Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
Paisley: Historicals have always been my favorite genre. I love to travel and visit the places I've read about. It's fun to learn how life existed in the olden days and try to picture how the people in that time period actually lived and survived the adversities. Kathleen Woodiwiss actually got me to reading. I fell in love with the characters in her book Shanna and from there read every one of her books I could get my hands on. Julie Garwood and Jude Deveraux were the next two authors who intrigued me. Their stories not only had the history, but humor as well. The combination of the two drew me into wanting to try to write a story of my own.
Caroline: Julie Garwood is one of my favorites, too. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?
Paisley: I love to sew. I've been making quilts for ten years now. It's a time to get away from my stories and give my muse a chance to rebuild itself. I've made and given away 37 quilts in memory of our older daughter. Most of the quilts are for babies, made from brightly colored and printed flannel. They are a joy to make and even more fun to see the babies who've received them grow up and still love snuggling in them. I also learned how to put photos on fabric and now make a lot of quilts with family photos, book covers and favorite celebrities on them. This has also led me to making tote bags and pillow cases with a photo or two on them as well.
Caroline: I’ve been thinking of doing a book cover on a tote bag. Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life? (I know she does and it’s a favorite of mine, too.)
Paisley: ”When at first you do succeed, try to hide the astonishment." I love this quote and used it for many years on my signature line. However, when I did get my first offer of publication, I didn't hide my astonishment, I sat in shock saying ”WOW” for the longest time. My reaction is not anything like I expected it would be.
Caroline: Those of us who’ve seen your writing are only surprised it took so long for a contract offer. How long have you been writing?
Paisley: I practiced writing for 22 years before I was offered a contract. It happened on Christmas Eve and was even more than I expected. My editor asked for all five of my books in the Paradise Pines Series.
Caroline: All your friends are so happy for you. I love when good things happen to good people. Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
Paisley: I have a main computer on the top floor of our house, but it is usually very cold or very hot up on the third floor because we don't have a heater or air conditioning. We live in the mountains and survive with a pellet stove on the second floor and a wood stove on the bottom floor. Once I got a laptop, my writing time became so much easier. Hubby made a table for me so I can sit on the sofa and pull the computer up to a comfortable writing position. I am trying to learn to write in a quiet house, but prefer white noise in the background. I worked in a busy office with a dot matrix printer next to me and grew accustomed to having a lot of commotion and noise around me.
Caroline: I either write with quiet or classical music. Are you a plotter or a panzer?
Paisley: I have no idea where my plots come from. I am a definite panzer. My muse is very active until I take my characters in the wrong direction or miss an important point. They stop talking and, trust me there is nothing more frustrating than a silent muse. I do have a trick, though. I listen to the music from Phantom of the Opera and it starts them chattering non-stop. Not sure if they are tired of my favorite music and movie or if they like it as much as I do, but it works.
Caroline: Quite a trick. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?
Paisley: Yes, I have used family members as inspiration for my characters and do have a favorite hero prototype. In fact, the heroine in my first story is based on my great grandmother. She has ended up being my favorite of all my heroines. A lot of my heroes are Scottish and bear a strong resemblance to my favorite actor, Gerard Butler. I can't find a better hero type than Gerry.
Caroline: Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?
Paisley: I don't set goals. I just write. Usually I spend 8 to 10 hours a day writing because I love doing it. I am either typing or sewing and, when I can, reading.
Caroline: I used to sew, now I just write and read and do family history. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
Paisley: I recently had a reviewer tell me all the parts of my story she loved. What amazed me was the points she brought up - they happened to be all the points I had hoped a reader would find and like. I write from my heart and I hope a reader can find the same enjoyment with my characters as I do.
Caroline: Not counting making the NYTimes list, what long-term plans do you have for your career?
Paisley: I have a contract for five stories. I hope to add more stories to my Paradise Pines Series. Since we live where the 1849 Gold Rush happened, it is easy to find interesting stories. I love the genre. They don't exaggerate when they call that time period the Wild West.
Caroline: Those who’ve read your articles on Sweethearts of the West know that’s true and that you do a lot of research for authenticity. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
Paisley: I am finishing up the final touches on MARRIAGE BARGAIN, which is a romance on a wagon train. My great, great grandfather kept a journal traveling west in 1849 and I researched a lot of this story from his writings. This second in the series will be released in March, 2013.
Caroline: What a treasure to have his journal, although I believe you said it’s now in a museum. What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
Paisley: My advice to an unpublished author is never give up. It took me 22 years of learning the craft and persistence in trying to write the best story I knew how. It is definitely worth the effort when your dream comes true.
Caroline: Good advice, and don’t let anyone steal your dreams. What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.
Paisley: For fifteen years I ran a fan club for country singing artist Kevin Sharp. We spent five summers running his booth at Fan Fair in Nashville and one year I got to stand on the stage of the Grand Old Opry while he sang three songs. It was an experience I will always treasure.
Caroline: That’s a fun fact all right. Something about you that would surprise or shock readers.
Paisley: I had a difficult time with this one so asked my husband. He said people who know me now would be surprised to learn I used to be very quiet. I could be in a room for hours and nobody would know I was there.
Caroline: Sounds like my youngest daughter when she was younger. I know this is a five-book series. Is it a family saga?
Paisley: My book is part of the Paradise Pines Series - sort of a family saga. The first three stories are about the Benjamin sisters who end up living in Paradise Pines. The second two stories bring in the five MacGregor brothers who become active members in the community.
Caroline: I love the fonts on the cover. Can you give readers a blurb about NIGHT ANGEL?
Paisley: Here’s a blurb:
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.
Caroline: How about an excerpt of NIGHT ANGEL?
Paisley: Here you are:
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.
Caroline: Where can readers find your book?
Paisley: Here are the buy links for NIGHT ANGEL:
Barnes and Noble http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-333/Paradise-Pines-Book-One-cln-/Detail.bok
Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?
Paisley: Website: http://www.paisleykirkpatrick.com/
Sweethearts of the West http://sweetheartsofthewest.blogspot.com/
Scandalous Victorians http://slipintosomethingvictorian.wordpress.com/
Voices from the Heart http://voicesftheart.blogspot.com/
Thanks for stopping by!