Please welcome author Rionna Morgan to today. Rionna is touring blogs like mine via Black Lion Virtual Book Tours to publicize her new release, THE WANTING HEART
|Author Rionna Morgan|
Caroline: Welcome to the blog. Please tell us something about yourself.
Rionna: The youngest of seven, I was born three months early to a Vietnam Vet and his wife on Mother’s Day 1975 at Fort Bragg Army base in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I weighed one pound and 14 ounces. The doctor said I would never walk, talk, run or play, much less ever be able to go to school or even learn to read. Thirty some years later, I have two bachelors degrees and a Masters in English. I love to dance. I love to play. And I love to read. I am fascinated with how language changes with time. I enjoy the small nuances of words and how one word can alter the entire mood of a piece. I’m an Army brat. I explain this to people by saying—there are seven children in my family and none of us were born in the same state, and none of us graduated from the same high school. My dad retired at Fort Carson in Colorado. My mom was the daughter of a Nebraska horse trainer, one in a long line of noted horse trainers. My maiden name means horseman. It was as natural for me to be on the back of a horse as it was for me to two-step across a dance floor. I took English riding lessons one summer, but I loved the speed and the dirt flying behind me. So a barrel racer and a rodeo queen I became. For all the years of high school and even some of college, I raced around barrels in rodeo arenas with sequins glinting in the evening sunlight. My first job was that of a cowboy—I’d gather cows for branding time in the Spring—for local ranchers in the high mountain valley of Alamosa, Colorado.
In between teaching jobs, I’ve been a horse trainer, a warranty administrator, a glass shop secretary, a freelance writer, a copywriter and a poet. I even did some paralegal work for a time.
I have written two other books, one stand alone title and one young adult. I have traveled to nearly every state in the United States. I have been to Canada and Mexico. It is in my plans to tour Europe, Ireland and Australia.
I have lost my mom, my dad, a brother, a best friend, a baby. I learned what it is to walk the loneliest of paths by myself and to know that I can survive, thrive even, when all I have to lean upon is myself and the spirits of those who walk with me.
But more importantly, I met and fell in love with a man. It is with him that I will spend all of my lives. He is the other half of my soul, the man who is in every hero I will ever write. Together, we have four children: one son and three daughters. We live outside Missoula, Montana in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Caroline: I am married to a man like that. Aren't we lucky? Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres?
Rionna: I love romantic suspense, that tingling edge of horror blended with the happily ever after. My favorite authors are Nora Roberts, Christina Dodd, Jane Ann Krentz and Kat Martin. I've just discovered Heather Graham. She's a bit on the paranormal side, but I love paranormal too! Oh, and Lisa Jackson and BJ Daniels. And an author from my childhood. I just thought she was amazing. Phyllis A. Whitney.
Caroline: I love those authors, too. Lisa Jackson's writing is almost too scary for me, though she is a nice person. What’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?
Rionna: Read. I love to read. I was definitely a bookworm when I was a kid. There was a time when I would read two books a day. What fun that was!! My favorite way to spend a quiet weekend: stock up on grapes, peanuts, water and books. Snuggle in with my first book and read the days away. (I haven't' done that for 10 years. Kids have a way of nibbling away at the free time. It was fun to remember though!)
|Rionna's Vanilla Pecan Rolls|
|Rionna's daughter, age 5|
The Bright Flower
Rionna: Yes, I do. I have many quotes. But this one by Robert Herrick is really the basis of how I live my life.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old time is still a-flying: And this same flower that smiles to-day To-morrow will be dying.
Caroline: I’ve heard that all my life. ☺ How long have you been writing?
Rionna: Forever. As long as I can remember. When I was small, even before I could write, I would scribble circles on the lines of notebooks. When one notebook was full, I’d beg for another. I can remember curling up on my mom’s lap to tell her the stories the scribbles made.
When I was in middle school, I had an amazing teacher who told me I could write. I believed her. I wrote a poem my 8th grade year that with a little revision would later earn $1000.00 towards college tuition. In fact, I wrote many short stories and poems that would help pay my way through college.
Caroline: I’m impressed. And here I clerked at Sears. Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
Rionna: I use an AlphaSmart. I love it. It keeps all other distractions away so that I can just focus on the story. I generally have my earbuds in with Celtic instrumental playing.
Caroline: I love Celtic music, too, but listen to classical when I’m writing. But your photo looks very Celtic, so it's appropriate that you'd listen to that music. Are you a plotter or a panzer?
Rionna: I am a percolator. I snag an idea out of my imagination and mull it around for a while. I link it to other ideas. I even get flashes of scenes I write and save to link together later. When I feel like I've percolated enough, then I'm a plotter. I can plot an entire book on one sheet of paper. I have my symbols and notes to make it make sense to me as I proceed. But, then a amazing thing happens when I write. I've created this great world--well sometimes not so great--for my characters to live within, and when I sit to write, this world comes to life. My characters take over and tell their story. I see the whole book like a movie in my head. All I have to do is take the notes.
Caroline: What a great description - a percolator. Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories?
Rionna: Sometimes I suppose I do. When I was young, I was a barrel racer for years. I took my love of rodeo and barrel racing and gave it to Kate in THE WANTING HEART. But the rest of the book is fictional. No serial killers in my past. Thank goodness.
Caroline: Yes, thank goodness. Do you set daily writing goals?
Rionna: Yes. I do. When I am working, really writing and not percolating, I write a chapter a day. I clear my calendar as much as possible so that I can focus on my next story with all of my attention.
Caroline: Ah, clearing the calendar is the hard part. What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
Rionna: I hope that they are entertained. I hope that I can pull them from their busy lives where decisions are hard and details are overwhelming and give them a reprieve. I hope that they can laugh and learn with my strong women characters. I hope that my readers can believe at the end of the book that love can last beyond the bonds of time--even just for a little while.
Caroline: What long-term plans do you have for your career?
Rionna: I plan to be around a long time. I have so many stories to share. I love being a writer--for the love of being a writer. But, being able to share those stories with my readers is truly the one of the best gifts of my life.
Caroline: Agreed! Having readers share our stories is a wonderful gift. Would you like to tell us what you’re working on now?
Rionna: Oh, yes! I love the book I'm working on now. It is about an artist who stumbles across a murder scene that has a fairy tale twist. It is nearly finished.
I do have another book set to be released November 12, 2012. It is entitled JUDGE THYSELF FIRST. In it a profiler teams up with an investigative reporter and together they discover a decades old murder at an Alabama women's prison.
Caroline: What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
Rionna: There is so much advice to give and to hear as a new author. But, my biggest piece of advice deals with being true to yourself. Don't start trying to figure out how you need to change to be this or be that. You'll get lost. If it is something you would read, write it. If it is something you would love, do it. If it is something you believe in, support it.
Caroline: Good advice. What’s a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you?
Rionna: Hmmm…I love to dance. Growing up I'm pretty sure I danced more than I walked.
Caroline: What’s something about you that would surprise or shock readers?
Rionna: Stephen King scares me. Well, not him. His books. I only have his writing book in my house. I had THE SHINING on my bookshelf for a few weeks thinking that I should read it. Just the book itself gave me nightmares. So it got loaned to a friend who won't freak out that she has a Stephen King book in her house.
Caroline: Oooh, his books are too scary for me, too. I did get to tour the hotel in Estes Park, Colorado where the film was made. Is your book a series? If so, how long? Family saga, other?
Rionna: THE WANTING HEART was created with a series in mind. There are four friends in the book. Kate and her three college friends. I think it will be fun to revisit the story of Kate and Blake and add to it with a book for each of Kate's friends.
Caroline: Most readers love series, including me. Tell us something you learned researching your book that surprised/interested you.
Rionna: THE WANTING HEART has a serial killer in it, and I've done hours and hours of research on them. The biggest element that I found was that the men who are serial killers are generally good-looking, charming individuals. To me that was very creepy. I tried to incorporate that element into the antagonist of THE WANTING HEART.
Caroline: That is creepy, like serial killer Ted Bundy. Shiver! Can you give readers a blurb about your book?
“THE WANTING HEART is a sexy, intriguing, modern-day western romance. A fun summer read.” -- Kat Martin, New York Times Best Selling Author
Katherine White, a barrel racer from Colorado, lives in a fast-paced world where rhinestones shine, hooves pound, and dreams come true. She plans on winning World Champion Barrel Racer and being with her friends until she graduates from college.
She doesn’t plan on the man who broke her heart strolling back into her life. She doesn’t plan on finding solace in a charming stranger’s smile or falling victim to his knife.
Blake Spencer, the man who broke her heart, is all cowboy—from the hat on his head to the dust on his boots. He thought it’d be easy, coming back to town, bowing his head a little, saying he was sorry, and all would be forgiven. But what he didn’t know, what he didn’t plan on, was that the girl he thought he loved had become the woman he couldn’t have. If he doesn’t succeed in changing her mind, it won’t only cost him Kate’s love—it will cost Kate her life.
Will Kate survive the stalking of a serial killer and find what her heart truly wants?
Caroline: Intriguing, and I love your cover. How about an excerpt?
Rionna: Here it is:
“It’s late, Blake. I’m tired.” Kate said.
“Not too tired to be kissing that city feller.” Blake could’ve kicked himself. He wanted to talk to her not fight.
“That’s none of your business. You have no right to be spying on me.”
“I wasn’t spying. I was watching Cathy.”
Kate stepped into the full light. “Well, you should have taken her home and been on your way!”
Seeing dark circles beneath Kate’s eyes, Blake studied her. He saw sadness and fatigue. “Jesus, Kate. Did you drive home last night? Have you even been home?”
“What do you care?”
Blake grabbed her arms. “Are you trying to kill yourself?”
“No. I’m living my life.”
“I’ll tell you what you’re doing. You’re going home and going to bed.”
“Don’t use that range boss voice on me. You have no right.”
Blake couldn’t listen to another word. Holding her body, even in anger, was too much for him. Her words were crushed against her mouth as his lips covered hers. He lifted her off her feet, molding her body to his. She’d been nineteen the last time he kissed her. Her body had grown and filled out since then. But, he wasn’t thinking of that. He wasn’t thinking of anything, but how damn good it felt to just hold her, kiss her. Begging for her surrender, he stroked his hands over her hips, up her back and fisted them in her hair.
Caroline: Where can readers find your books?
Rionna: Look here:
Caroline: How can readers learn more about you?
Rionna: At these places:
Caroline: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?
Rionna: Please be invited to visit my blog to Enter to Win a Piece of Montana!
Thanks for sharing with us, Rionna. I wish you great success with your writing career.
Thanks for stopping by!