I’m so excited to have Brenda Whiteside joining us today. Brenda is the author of several wonderful books, but her latest release, The Morning After, is part of the Honky Tonk Hearts series from the Wild Rose Press.
Welcome Brenda! Let’s get right down to it and introduce the readers to your main characters, Abigail and Bobby in The Morning After. Without giving away too much, where and how would you say their initial sexual attraction gives way to deeper feelings?
First let me say thanks for having me today, Margo. Okay, deeper attraction – for Bobby, we can’t be sure, but we know much sooner than Abigail when it happened. For Bobby it was love at first sight. And from what we get from their conversation the morning after, she was spirited and magnificent and swept him off his feet. Unfortunately for Abigail, she had imbibed a bit too much and doesn’t remember it that way. In fact, she hardly remembers it at all. After she throws him out the morning after, she begins to question her true feelings. I think she starts falling for Bobby right then.
I just love the dynamics between these two! What would you say are the challenges that each character faces?
Bobby is challenged to make Abigail believe it can be true love at first sight. Abigail has trouble trusting her own feelings. Plus, Abigail finds out something about Bobby that she can’t deal with and might disrupt their happily ever after.
Readers, your interest has officially been piqued! Now, if I’m correct, this is your first western romance. How do you think this story shines particularly as a western?
Since it is a contemporary, I suppose the story could be transplanted to any genre. I think the story is universal and, well, maybe that is what makes it shine. What I hear, and what I hope the reader hears, is the western tone with the setting in Amarillo. What I hear is the drawl when they speak and the “down home” feel that I associate with western life. Sure hope that shines through.
It certainly did for me! I know that this story is actually part of the Honky Tonk Hearts Series from the Wild Rose Press. Can you tell us a bit more about this series and its authors?
The thread that runs through all the books is this:
Lonely hearts seem to gravitate to the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk. Owner and bartender, Gus Rankin, has seen his share of the wandering souls cross his bar and dance floor over the years, he'd even like to think he helped a few find true love along the way.
Every story will have at least one pivotal scene in the Lonesome Steer Honky Tonk. Isn’t that a great name for a country bar? And the last two books released will wrap up with stories about the bar and those characters. The authors came up with some great stories. And there is some cross over. For instance, Bobby hums a tune by Lance Duggan who is a hero in one of the other books.
I love that name for a western bar. And honestly, after reading this story, I’m up for more! So overall, what can readers anticipate when they pick up a copy of The Morning After?
Fun! Bobby is so spontaneous and sexy. Abigail’s best friend is a Texas hoot. Even Abigail’s mother has a mischievous streak. And lots of lovin’!
You couldn’t have said it better. Let’s discuss a bit now about your writer self. What do you think is the best part of being a writer? And the most frustrating?
The best part is the process of getting the story and characters out of my head and onto paper. I truly enjoy story telling. Frustrating? Well, now I have the story and how can I share it? Promotion, once published, is time consuming.
Hmmm, that does make sense. When you put out a great story readers need to hear about it! So describe a typical writing day for you.
Up at 6 a.m. Put on MY pot of coffee (yes, I drink a pot) and check email while it brews. I have a winter and summer schedule for writing. We farm, so in the summer I have to get out in the garden before it gets too hot. After two cups, I head out to the garden. I usually do about two to two and half hours of gardening. I come in and shower, finish my coffee, check email and work on some promo. By lunchtime, I’m writing. I put in three and half to four hours on my book (or books). In the winter, I flop that schedule and don’t go out to garden until after lunch. My writing time might be split. I prefer to write early. I’m no good at creative stuff once the sun goes down.
It’s really nice that you can split up your day like that. When writing, do you tend to plot out each scene, or just go with the flow?
I tend to go with the flow. I do a lot of plotting in my head, I suppose. But more often than not, I don’t know what’s going on paper until I sit down to write it.
Since you go with the flow a lot, what gives you inspiration?
Wow – that can vary. It might be something someone says or an experience someone I know has had. My stories are usually about discovery of one sort or another and character driven. I guess that is the heart of what inspires me – discovery. In my own life, I make new discoveries almost every day about myself or the people close to me. In my stories, my characters do the same.
As a reader, I know I always discover something new or interesting in a story! Afterwards, do you do anything special when you complete a book, to celebrate?
I haven’t but now that you ask, I should!
You definitely should! Now, The Morning After is based on love at first sight. Why do you think this concept resonates with so many readers?
I’m sure we’ve all experienced “lust at first sight”. But love at first sight implies knowing someone the moment you lay eyes on them. Or they lay eyes on you. Actually, I think the latter is so much more appealing. Wouldn’t we love to be loved on sight!
Oh, absolutely! If you had to pick, what is the most memorable response you’ve had from a reader?
I love it when I’m told they couldn’t put my book down. One reader told me she picked up my first book, Sleeping with the Lights On, a full novel, and read it cover to cover in one sitting.
That is a lovely complement. But when you’re not reading or writing, what do you love to do? What feeds your soul?
Climbing on the motorcycle, behind my husband, and finding back roads we’ve not traveled before is amazing. Life is so much brighter and close up with the openness of the ride. I’ve actually composed whole scenes in my head while riding. I’m with my hubby but also able to think without outside interruptions. Peaceful and exhilarating at the same time.
So riding is great for your down time, and helps you with storylines. That’s a win-win! And what is your favorite love story movie and why?
Dirty Dancing. Love that movie. It’s a coming of age story with that first love that rocks your world. The hero is kind of a bad boy but good inside – the whole misunderstood thing. And the heroine is gutsy and defies her conservative parents for her love of the bad boy.
Oh! I love that movie too. I still get goosebumps when “Time of My Life” comes on the radio. Good choice. And lastly Brenda, what will readers see from you in the future?
I’ve just finished a romantic mystery, The Art of Love and Murder. I’m hoping it will be the first of a series. I’ve started book two and know what book three will be. Then, I’d like to try my hand at another contemporary western. I had so much fun writing The Morning After, I’d enjoy doing it again.
Well I’ll definitely be looking forward to those! Thank you so much Brenda, for joining us here at Coffee Time Romance and More. The Morning After is available now – readers, be sure to check it out!