Welcome, today we are talking with Purple Hazel, which is actually a husband and wife duo that lives in Denver Colorado! I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to answer a few questions.
First, I think it’s important for readers to get a little insight on an author that they don’t necessarily get from your professional bio. You’d be surprised at what readers connect to, and sometimes the simplest ‘I can relate to that’ grabs their interest where nothing else can. Don’t answer anything you feel uncomfortable with.
Can you share a little something about Purple Hazel that’s not mentioned in your bio on your website?
We both have kids from our previous marriages but have never been able to have children together. King has a 23 year old son living in Boulder; and a daughter who’s a sophomore at CU. Caroline has a 10 year old son who lives with us. All three kids help us write. The final scene in our first book Star Kitten was actually suggested by Caroline’s son Aaron. In Twin Paradox, King’s daughter Candace edited Part II of Book One. And King’s son (also named King) edited entire chapters of The Wild Fields.
What are your favorite animal, food, movie, TV show, actor, singer, and author?
For Caroline it’s any kind of cat. King loves bulldogs. King’s favorite movie is “Zulu” and Caroline’s favorite movie is “Gone with the Wind”. Caroline’s favorite TV show is “Dancing with the Stars” and for King it’s “Planet Earth” with David Attenborough. King’s favorite actor is Jude Law. Caroline’s favorite actor is Robin Williams. Caroline’s favorite singer is America folksinger David Wilcox and King’s favorite singer is Elton John. King’s favorite author is Robert Ludlum! Caroline loves so many books she couldn’t pick just one author. She reads lots of fantasy books like Eragon by Christopher Paolini and The Chronicles of Narnia.
What are your pet peeves?
For King it is those outrageous conspiracy theorists and political commentators spouting vitriolic rhetoric on the internet to try and stir people up. We used some of that in our new book Twin Paradox by the way. The first five chapters are based in part on doomsday scenarios we read about on the internet from Ultra Conservative writers and bloggers. For Caroline her pet peeve is people using bad grammar.
Who is your hero?
King’s hero is his mom. She raised him from age 14 all by herself. Caroline’s hero is her father. After his wife died he lost fifty pounds and recovered his health.
Give us one thing on your bucket list.
Caroline wants to go to Tahiti and stay in one of those ocean cabins which has a glass bottom so you can see the fish. King wants to go see Metallica with his daughter Candace in Oslo, Norway next June.
What would readers find surprising about you?
Though Caroline is a schoolteacher and has a Master’s degree in Library Science, King is actually just an insurance agent with Allstate. He has no formal writing education besides a freshman writing class during college at OU. A couple of great high school English teachers (Mr. Larance and Mrs. Shaeffer) but that’s about it.
If you could go to heaven, who would you visit?
King would visit his Dad, Everett Oren Medlin. We’d order a pitcher of beer and sit and talk (bitch/ whine/ complain) about the Oklahoma Sooners. Caroline would visit her mom Sharon and ask her if she’s doing a good job raising her boy. Also Caroline would ask Sharon to tell her all the family history again, which Caroline casually ignored when she was a snotty teenager.
Any bad habits?
For King it’s drinking coffee all day. Decaf of course, but he’d be better off drinking water. Also he likes to eat Nacho Cheese Doritos while he’s writing – then gets heartburn from them. For Caroline it’s hitting the snooze button on the clock radio way too many times then having to panic and rush to get ready for work on time.
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you?
For King it was a great practical joke that was played on him fifteen years ago. He’s Catholic so on Ash Wednesday he’d come to work with ashes on his forehead after morning Mass. A coworker, seeking revenge for one of King’s past practical jokes no doubt, wiped red ink all over the earpiece on his phone receiver. When he picked up the phone, it smeared bright red ink all over the left side of his face. Later that day a customer was looking at him warily, so (assuming the guy was looking at the black smudge on his forehead) he explained, “It’s Ash Wednesday,” leaving the customer to wonder just what bizarre religion smears red paint all over the left side of their face to celebrate Lent.
For Caroline it was one time she and her son were at the airport and missed their plane … TWICE. She’d misread the dosage on an antihistamine spray and used it 3 times in 2 hours (instead of once every 12) and it made her so confused, they missed their flights to Texas to see her Dad – two times in a row. Not only the first flight but the subsequent connecting flight to Dallas leaving Oklahoma City two hours later. For the second flight she’d not reset her watch to Central Standard Time when they got to OKC. Her son Aaron (who was six at the time) kept asking “Mommy is that our plane?” and Caroline would simply look at her watch and say, “No Sweety, we’ve got another hour…” as their plane was taxying down the runway.
Now that our readers know a little bit more about Purple Hazel, let’s get down to the business of your book Spanish Posse, which was released on June 18, 2016. How long did it take you from beginning to end before your novel was completely finished, and how did you decide on the topic and title?
We began writing Spanish Posse in 2012; but when it got rejected by several publishers, King left it alone for a while. We wrote three other books next, before dusting it off and re-writing it in early 2016. Spanish Posse really is our first full length novel and now it’s our very best. It’s really the story of us as a couple. King wanted to write a story about how we met, all we went through to be together, the things we discovered about each other that turned us on, the people we knew who supported the relationship, the people who opposed us being a couple … and then spin it as a Wild West romance adventure using fictional characters who represent actual people from our lives. We were both people who “had a past” and yet both of us totally understood each other right from the start. That’s what we convey to the reader in Spanish Posse.
Please tell us a little bit about Spanish Posse.
Set in Wild West Texas in 1872, Spanish Posse is about a beautiful saloon girl who meets and falls in love with a dashing businessman from New Orleans and they attempt to run off together. At the time she is working in a seedy brothel up in old Fort Worth. Only 21, she’s been servicing cowhands, railroad workers, and the men of the town for three long years. Many have tried to woo her away from there. Several have tried and failed. Yet only when she encounters “Rex Middlefield” does she become smitten; and finally decides it’s time to make a break for it. The saloonkeeper who employs her however, is a very evil man with a very sordid past, and what’s more he’s also secretly in love with her. He determinedly pursues them all the way across Texas to try and get her back.
The story actually begins in New Orleans in 1902, thirty years after all this has transpired, when a young Catholic priest goes to a home in the Vieux Carré to visit an elderly man. The priest is sent there to receive the man’s Confession since he’s too infirm to travel. Turns out it’s actually the hero of the story, now fading fast in his old age and wanting to tell his amazing story of how he met and fell in love with his lovely wife three decades ago.
What was your hardest challenge writing this book?
Technology. Writing a book set in the nineteenth century required us to look up things from history, even verify dialogue with what folks really spoke like back then to make it authentic. However, the most challenging part is the technology of the Wild West era. Even calculating the time it would require to ride a horse or a train across a large part of Texas back then was actually quite involved. Knowing the area personally didn’t help much either. Needless to say it’s tedious enough just crossing Texas in a car! Let alone traveling in a wagon or on a train. That being said, we think people from back then would consider us insane the way we live today.
What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?
They like the other person’s “crazy”! Everyone’s got at least something they would just as soon let remain discrete about themselves. Yet in a relationship it’s bound to come up one way or another. Often it’s a personality quirk. Sometimes it’s a dirty, embarrassing secret from their past. Our main characters find these things out about each other early on and either accept it or in some way find it oddly appealing. They fall in love with each other not only because of sexual attraction, but also because they “get” one another.
Any other works in progress?
Spanish Posse will have a free podcast coming to iTunes in a few weeks. It’s King and Caroline narrating the first three chapters of the book; and will be available for free downloads! Also, Twin Paradox Book One and Twin Paradox Book Two are coming out soon. Book One is finished and now submitted to a major publishing house for final approval. Book Two will be completed by Christmas. Twin Paradox is a scintillating SciFi adult romance with a fascinating plot. Ambitious to say the least. We really swung for the fences this time. It begins in the year 2086 when mankind is preparing to colonize space.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Oh yes. Write down new book ideas as soon as you get them. That’s what we do really well. Any time we get a new book idea, we write down the premise for the story and if at all possible develop the synopsis for it that very day or weekend. We type them up then we just salt them away until we finish our current project. Usually we’ll have three or four working synopses ready to choose among and can actually ask our publisher what they’d like to see us write next. For 2017 we now have six story ideas to select from for our next novel.
Audio books is the direction we’re headed with our brand, no doubt about it. King can narrate and do voiceover rather well. Caroline is an elementary school teacher so she’s no stranger to voice acting either! But we realize people like having a paperback or hardback novel to curl up with and read. Good news is Spanish Posse was picked up by Whiskey Creek Press and we signed a contract with them to market Spanish Posse under their erotic romance line Torrid Books. Therefore, Spanish Posse will probably come out in print sometime in the next 18 months. We’re doing a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the full audiobook Spanish Posse and will launch that in October. All of this will be updated on our blog and website! You may contact us anytime and you can follow us on Facebook as well at www.facebook/PurpleHazel2015