Stopping by to chat with us today is award winning author Kaki Warner. The second book in her Runaway Brides trilogy, Colorado Dawn hits bookshelves Tuesday January 3, 2012. Thank you so much for stopping by to answer my nosy, umm, inquisitive questions.
Ms. Warner: Thank you for inviting me, Kathy. I hope you had a lovely holiday and are gearing up for a fabulous 2012. Let’s hope it’s a better year for everyone than last year. Whew.
Kathy: Boy am I with you on a better 2012!!
What influenced your decision to become an author? How long have you been writing? How long did it take for your works to become published?
Ms. Warner: What started me on this journey was a really bad book. I thought surely I could do better. Eventually, I did, but it took me twenty-five years. That’s not to say I wrote all those years…maybe three total, off and on. But after my husband and I retired, I decided to give it another go. When I finally did finish PIECES OF SKY, it sold pretty quickly. I’m what you might call a late bloomer baby boomer. I suppose if you’re going to take twenty-five years to write a single book, it BETTER sell, right?
Kathy: While I’m not glad you read a really bad book, I am glad it prompted you to become an author :). What is a typical day like as author Kaki Warner? Do you write every day? How long does it take you to complete the novel’s first draft?
Ms. Warner: I write every day that I’m not traveling or have company. I also do a lot of research. I’d say my normal week averages about 80 hours at the computer…more when I’m chasing a deadline. It usually takes about 6 months to have a book ready for my editor, although that gets messed up sometimes by promotional demands, family visits, and other commitments.
I don’t write in drafts. I start with a general idea of the characters and where they are and where they want to be. Then it sort of evolves. I’ll write to a certain point—the end of a scene, or at a POV shift, or about 20 pages—then I edit what I’ve done. That way, when I’m halfway through the book, those 200 pages are polished enough to be submitted. I couldn’t write an entire book without that editing process—the idea of having a mess behind me would really bog me down. I might go back and make a few changes, clarify plot points, or add “plants” but overall, it’s finished up to that stopping point, which allows me to more on. Does that make sense?
Kathy: Complete sense. I am always amazed at how the writing process varies from author to author. I sure wish my hours spent at the computer were as productive as yours is :D.
You have one completed series, the Blood Rose trilogy, and you are about to release the second of three novels in your Runaway Brides series. Did you initially intend to write trilogies? Or did the other stories evolve from the first books of each respective series?
Ms. Warner: A little of both. When I sent out queries on Pieces of Sky, I thought maybe I could stretch it into a trilogy with books on the other two brothers. But I had nothing done except a 50-page start on Open Country and a vague idea for Chasing the Sun. I thought it would be more saleable as a trilogy so that’s how I marketed it. Then when Berkley bought it, I suddenly had to write those other two books in nine months. Sort of freaked me out. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.
Kathy: It is a fantastic trilogy, and I am SO glad you marketed it as one! What made you choose to write historical novels?
Ms. Warner: I love the Old West –the country, the people who tried to tame it, the challenges they had to face. I love the mindset and “code” of honor that Zane Grey immortalized in his novels. It’s an integral part of our unique national history. And who doesn’t love a cowboy? Also history was one of my majors in college, so I had a few basics to build on. Mostly though, since I start my books with a setting and time period, then add characters and plot, it was just easier to write about something I already knew and loved. Authors who can create entirely new universes amaze me. I wish I had an imagination like that, but alas, I don’t.
Kathy: Do you see yourself writing contemporary fiction at any point in your career?
Ms. Warner: Maybe. But it would still probably be set in the west. I’m not a city person, even though I lived most of my life in them. So I would still go for the small town or remote setting even if my characters were contemporary city dwellers transplanted into a rural setting. I sound like a total hick, don’t I? Maybe so. But I had enough asphalt and sirens and crowded streets growing up. I don’t want to fill my mind with them now. And since I now live in the middle of a thousand open semi-mountainous acres filled with deer and bear (I had one on my deck this summer—Surprise!), cougar, wolves, coyotes, and rattlesnakes, I don’t have to overwork my imagination to picture what the Wild West was like. It’s right there outside my office window.
Kathy: Not a hick at all. I am definitely a small town country girl at heart so I understand exactly where you are coming from. And I am envious of all of your wildlife except the rattlesnakes….
The Blood Rose trilogy was interconnected because each novel features a different brother from the Wilkins family. The novels in the Runaway Brides trilogy are set in the same town. Is the town of Heartbreak Creek what ties this trilogy together? Or is it the theme of the runaway brides? Do some of characters from the novels appear in each of the books?
Ms. Warner: It’s all about family. In the Wilkins books, it was the bond between the brothers and their connection to their ranch…good and bad. In the brides novels, it’s about four lost women bonding together to make a new home and create a new family. Women are good at that. It’s an innate part of their physiological construct, I think. And because the driving force beneath all my books is family, all these characters’ stories are interwoven with each other. So yes, they do appear in each other’s books. Hopefully, they’ll become family for the reader, too.
Kathy: I was a little misty eyed when I had to say goodbye to the Wilkins’ family. Luckily I have the Runaway Brides series to read. Can you tell us a little about Colorado Dawn?
Ms. Warner: CD is one of my favorites, probably because of the Scottish connection (my grandfather was from Scotland). It’s sort of a “second chance” story about a couple who drifted apart then had to find their way back to each other.
Maddie, the heroine, put aside her passion for photography when she married Angus, a dashing Scottish cavalry officer. But after only three letters and one visit in six years of marriage, she’s had it. Hired by a London periodical to photograph the West from a female perspective, she sails to America, and eventually ends up in the Rocky Mountains, where she finds a new home and a new family of friends in the dying mining town of Heartbreak Creek.
After an injury ends his military career, Angus heads home to find his wife gone, his family reduced by fever, and himself in line for an earldom. His new duty is clear: find his runaway wife, bring her back to Scotland, and beget heirs. HA! Maddie has worked hard to establish her independence. She doesn’t need Angus—Viscount Ashby as he’s called now—his money, or his title. And she certainly has no intention of going back to the stultifying life she left.
But Angus loves a challenge…and he never quit loving Maddie…so a second courtship begins. Amid statehood battles, claim jumping, and railroad expansion, their battle sweetly rages. Until word comes that Angus is now the new Earl. Then they have to decide if they want to be together in the mountains of Colorado or in the glittering ballrooms of London…or apart forever.
Kathy: I am hoping they stay in Colorado together because Heartbreak Creek just wouldn’t be the same without Maddie. I am very much looking forward to Lucinda’s story. Speaking of upcoming stories, what projects are you currently working on? What does your publishing schedule for 2012 look like at this point?
Ms. Warner: I have a third brides book, Bride of the High Country, coming out next summer. It’s finished and on its way to copy editing. Yay! So I’m taking a short breather (6 books in 3 years was tough), and playing around with a proposal that continues the characters of this series, and an idea for a Christmas novella, and maybe a visit with the Wilkins family. My editor and I will figure out where to go next after the first of the year.
Kathy: Is it summer yet??? And a Christmas novella with the Wilkins family would be fantastic.
Ms. Warner, I have thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you today and I appreciate you taking time to stop by and visit with us. Is there anything else you would like to share with us before you go?
Ms. Warner: Only that it’s never too late. Even if it takes twenty-five years to accomplish a goal, if you believe in yourself and what you’re doing, NEVER give up. Anybody else out there stubborn enough to keep grinding away at something even when everybody says it’s a lost cause?
Kathy: Well, I’m plenty stubborn and a sucker for lost causes! But I doubt I have a career as an author in my future.
Ms. Warner, congratulations on your upcoming release. Feel free to drop by anytime you happen to be in the neighborhood.
Ms. Warner: Thank you, Kathy, for inviting me. It’s been fun answering your umm, inquisitive questions. Happy New Year!
For more information, please visit Ms. Warner’s website.
To celebrate the release of Colorado Dawn and her visit here today, Ms. Warner is giving away a print copy of Colorado Dawn to one lucky commenter:
Title: Colorado Dawn by Kaki Warner
Runaway Brides Book Two
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 368 pages
The next in Kaki Warner’s sweeping new series about unlikely brides who make their way west-discovering newfound freedom and rediscovering love…
After only three letters and one visit during her six-year marriage to a Scottish Cavalry Officer, Maddie Wallace decides to build a life without him. Accepting an assignment from a London periodical to photograph the West from a female perspective, she sails from England, determined to build a new life as an independent woman.
After injury ends his military career, Angus Wallace returns home to find his wife gone, his family decimated by fever, and
himself next in line to an earldom. His new mission is clear–find his wife and sire heirs. His search takes him across an ocean
and half a continent, but he finally tracks her to Heartbreak Creek, Colorado. There his biggest challenge awaits–to
convince his headstrong wife to return home as his viscountess.
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