Welcome to Rita’s Bower where readers gather to meet our favorite or soon-to-be favorite authors while sipping delicious drinks and savoring decadent treats. Serve yourself a plate and drink, settle back in a comfortable chair, prop up your feet, and welcome our guest author, Eden Carson.
You’ve been very busy recently with your full time job and the release of your debut novel, Untamed Journey. Please tell us a bit about yourself:
I am a native Californian currently living in San Diego with my wonderful husband and two kids. I've tried my hand at several careers over the years, including teaching English in Brazil and Eastern Europe, marketing in environmental engineering, and software development. I started writing romance several years ago and discovered my true passion! Nothing gives me more satisfaction that creating a world and fascinating people to live and love in it. I've just self-published my first novel, Untamed Journey, with the hope of being my own boss one day.
Your debut novel, Untamed Journey, is an historical romance set in the Old West complete with feisty heroine and plenty of good marshals vs bad cowboys. Tell us about Untamed Journey.
Untamed Journey is a classic romance filled with action, grit, and true romance. I aimed for an alpha male hero with a bit of charm, who is not afraid to pursue our heroine. Our heroine, Ruth Jameson, is tough and never gives up when life throws her a few setbacks. Here’s the story line. Hope you enjoy!
Orphaned by the Civil War and sold to the highest bidder by her last living relative, Ruth Jameson boards a train to untamed Colorado Territory to meet her new 'husband' - a man twice her age, pursuing money and power from the wrong side of the law. When the man sent to protect Ruth on her journey West turns out to be her biggest threat, Ruth decides to change her fate and sets off into a wild, unknown land to carve a place for herself.
Hired by the Union Pacific to protect their passengers from a rash of armed robberies, Marshal Beauregard Jackson dreams of hanging up his star and devoting himself to ranching and re-building the life and family he lost.
When fate crosses their paths, Jackson's dream takes physical form in Ruth, the bravest woman he has ever met. At first, he just wants to protect her. But that desire quickly turns to one more powerful, passionate, and personal. He will go to any lengths to make her his wife and embark on their own untamed journey of love, loyalty, and longing fulfilled.
The post-Civil War era was filled with strife, conflict, and change. Why did you choose the period?
When asked why I chose a western setting for my first romance novel, my first thoughts were about what a great fit my personal likes as a reader were with Old West themes: an alpha male (Who else could survive in the wild west?); a strong heroine with a sense of adventure and a desire to make her own rules; a happy ending (just like most romances, the best westerns make sure the bad guys always lose); and lots of action.
But going a level deeper, I realize that my family had a role to play in this choice too. Not in the way you might think. I grew up in the ‘burbs of Los Angeles, not on a cattle ranch. Yes, we had horses, but I’ll only ride if being chased by something very large and scary. And while Dad had a donkey as a pet (for a very short while before the neighbors protested), we lived a typical suburban life.
About the only thing not-typical was having only one TV. No, I’m not 85 years old, so this doesn’t make sense. Not until I tell you my mother was not on good terms with gadgets of any sort, so we only had one TV in the house until my teen years. Which meant my sister and I either watched a western with Dad or read a book. I guess we did both. And reluctantly, as adults, we both love a good western flick. Combine that with my personal favorite book genre, the action-packed romance, and I wrote Untamed Journey.
Sis helped too. She designed the cover for me, on her off hours from working for Nickelodeon the Kung Fu Panda cartoon series. Not only did she have great ideas for a dozen different covers, the price was right.
I admit to being one of those history lovers who is offended by poorly researched historicals. Untamed Journey, however, is very well done. Did you need to do a lot of background research?
In terms of research, I read enough in the time period that I had most of the basics down (timeline on railroads, the telegraph, etc.). So most of my time was spent double-checking my facts. Lucky for me, no major mistakes in that first draft - just some small ones that were not too hard to correct.
Untamed Journey finalled in a very prestigious award. Please explain the Breakthrough Award.
The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA) is a contest sponsored by the publishing house at Amazon.com and Publisher’s Weekly to publish and promote a manuscript by an unknown or unpublished author. Self published works can be entered as well. 2012 was the first year they offered a Romance category. The contest accepts 10,000 entries. Amazon editors then select 500 entries (by reviewing pitch statements). The next round has Amazon editors and Reviewers read a 5,000 word excerpt from each of the remaining 500 Entries to narrow the field to 100 Quarter-Finalists. Publishers Weekly editors then read the Quarter-Finalists' full manuscripts to rate and review them based on the following Judging Criteria: originality of idea, plot, prose/writing style; character development; and overall strength of submission. Untamed Journey made it into the top 100 romances and the Publisher’s Weekly review can be seen via the purchase links for my book.
Very impressive! How did you feel when you were notified that you had finalled?
Thrilled! It served as a great validation that I have some small talent and was a great motivator to keep plugging away at my next story.
A powerful motivator, for sure. What are your writing plans for the future?
I’m now half way through my second novel, an action-packed romance that begins during the Civil War in Union-occupied Louisiana, and ends on the Texas frontier. I’ll be writing a book a year in between my day job duties and hope readers will enjoy every one.
Untamed Journey is self-published. What do you see as the positives and negatives of self-publishing?
The positives are similar to running any small or family-owned business, I think. You get to pick who you work with, control your hours, and make all the decisions. You can also change your mind quickly and switch directions if you see that readers want something new. In every large company I’ve ever worked for, the bureaucracy often prevents this.
The biggest negative is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to reach the paperback reader. There is no mechanism to get your book on the shelves at Target or Walmart or in a bookstore. But you never know when that will change.
Would you recommend self-publishing to other authors? Any special advice?
Absolutely! I’m having a great time. As much as I’ve enjoyed my IT job in the past, it’s all analytical with no creativity. My stories are the only thing I’ve created myself, from the ground up, and it is a tremendous feeling. My only advice? Be prepared to stick with it, have a thick skin, and have a long term plan in place. It took most folks I know many years, if not decades, to build a successful business or career. Writing is no different.
Thank you for visiting with us, Eden. How can our guests contact/follow you?
Drop by again any time. The door to Rita’s Bower is always open to authors and readers who appreciate happily-ever-afters.
Happy reading, dear readers, until our next visit,