Barbara White Daille whose latest book, The Rodeo Man's Daughter, comes out next month. I asked her to tell us a little bit about it.
"The book is set in Flagman's Folly, New Mexico, the same small town as in my previous title, A Rancher's Pride, and tells the story of ex-rodeo star Caleb Cantrell.
After growing up dirt-poor and looked down upon by folks in town, Caleb took off while he was still a teen, headed for fame and fortune. A near-fatal injury destroys his rodeo dreams, and he returns to his hometown with the goal of settling scores with the folks who’d done him wrong and then leaving them all behind for good. Despite his rocky reunion with his high-school sweetheart, he finds his interest in her still going strong. All of sudden, he's got a hankering to hang around.
When he rents a room in her mother's bed-and-breakfast, Tess LaSalle's stuck with him day and night. She wants only to see the back of him as he leaves town, the way he left her years before. Though she's fighting attraction, too, those feelings are nothing compared to the memory of their bitter separation. When her rodeo-crazy nine-year-old discovers the great Caleb Cantrell has returned to Flagman's Folly, Tess is ten times more desperate to get rid of him—before Caleb and her daughter learn the secret she's kept from them all these years."
Barbara is finishing up her next book , also set in Flagman's Folly, which will be out in August. Honorable Rancher is the story of Ben Sawyer, who long ago lost the woman he loved from afar to his own best friend. When that friend dies a military hero, Ben has to keep the promise he's made to watch over the man's family—and to keep his hands off his best friend's wife.
A widow with three small children, Dana Wright will do anything to protect her children and to safeguard her secrets. Of all the folks in town, Ben would be the person most devastated by what she's trying to hide. Unfortunately, he's also the one determined to make her reveal what she knows.
"What inspired you to start writing?" I asked.
"I fell in love with stories. One of the most exciting moments for me as a child was having my mom take me to the local branch library to get my own library card. I had to wait until I could write, because in our town, a patron had to be able to sign (or print) his or her own name to get a library card. Even then, I was barely tall enough to see over the librarian's desk to hand her my application," she remembered. "Once I got that little card with my name on it, I started with the shelves in the children's section and never looked back. That love of reading stimulated my creativity and led me to writing stories of my own."
Sometimes Barbara will start her books with the character, as in The Rodeo Man's Daughter, where the hero came from a bad background and takes off as a teenager to find fame and fortune. He succeeds but almost loses his life in the process and is forced to return to the hometown he despises. Other times, she will begin with plot, as in Court Me, Cowboy, where she knew the hero and heroine had a whirlwind courtship and a marriage that ended in divorce almost as soon as it had begun. A few months later, the heroine returns, and the hero discovers he's still married—and about to become a daddy.
She's a character-driven writer, though, so even when she starts with the plot, it doesn't take her long to get involved with the people in the story.
"In no time, plot and character become so intertwined that there's no way to separate them again, and the development goes hand-in-hand," she explained. "I also ask a lot of questions, often multiple times. Some examples, in random order: Why are these two people so wrong for each other? Why do they have to stay together, anyway? What happens next? Why? Why? Why? And always important for the conflict: Why not?"
The hardest part of writing, for Barbara, is letting go after the book is done.
"Of course, I say that as a reader, too," she said with a smile. "I can live with some of my characters for weeks or months—or even years, in the case of a series, where characters from previous books make repeat appearances later on. It's hard not to get attached to these folks, though they're not real and come straight from my imagination.
"One of the many good things about writing category romance is that the readers love series. They also love a good epilogue, that little window into the future at the end of a book that lets us know what happened to the characters after the story ended. I'll admit, writing those epilogues gives me satisfaction, too...and makes it a little easier to let go."
"Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?" I asked. "If so, what do you do about it?"
"Yes, once in a while, I do deal with writer's block. Or maybe I should call it story block. If it hits when I'm in the middle of a book, it's usually because the characters are refusing to do what I want them to do. They can be contrary that way!
"When that happens, it means the story has taken a wrong turn somewhere. So I back up a chapter or two, or sometimes even return to page one, and read forward. Along the way, I either find out where the story went off-track or I figure out what the characters have been trying to tell me."
On a more personal note, I asked Barbara, "What is your favorite meal?"
She smiled. "You ask some tough questions! When I'm just hanging out—pizza, every time. Absolute best is pepperoni, but since I'm trying to be more diet-conscience, we've been ordering it with spinach. That's a favorite of mine, too, so it's not much of a sacrifice.
"When we're celebrating something special, such as a book release or a birthday—Alaskan King Crab legs. With lots and lots of hot, melted butter. And a deliberate ignorance of the fact that it's blowing my diet."
There are a lot of things that make Barbara happy—
"Great books that make me worry about the characters. Laughing babies. Long bubble baths. Having something to be grateful for every day. Chocolate. Finishing a chapter in my own manuscript. Writing The End in my own book. Chocolate. Waking up before the alarm clock. Curling up on the couch with my husband. Curling up on the couch with a good book. Dark chocolate. Reading positive stories in the news. Going out to dinner. Hearing from my readers. Going to sleep knowing I've accomplished my goals for the day.
"The list goes on and on—and on!"
Finally, I asked, "Do you have a favorite quote or saying?"
"Yes, and it's funny that you ask. I'm the Queen of Quotes. I collect them, keep them, and rotate them on my bulletin boards, computer desktop, and in places all over the house.
"At this time of year, of course, I've just made a new list of resolutions. And I mentioned them in a post at my own blog just after New Year's, which goes into more detail than I will with you now. In the post I say that, for various reasons, one of the mantras I'm going to be using this year is the Nike Shoes slogan, Just Do It. Short, simple, to the point—and so far, very effective.
"Please wish me luck that effectiveness continues through the rest of my year!
"I've enjoyed chatting with you and look forward to visiting with your readers and responding to comments and questions!"
From the time she was a toddler, Barbara found herself fascinated by those things her mom called "books." Once she learned the words between the covers held the magic of storytelling, she wanted to see her words in print so she could weave that spell for others.
Barbara hopes you will enjoy reading her stories and will find your own storytelling magic in them!