Welcome! I want to take this time to say a big THANK YOU to Laura Reagan for taking time out of her busy schedule, and answering a few questions for Coffee Time Romance. Today we are asking Laura about If You Only Knew and to find out about some more of her works.
Thank you Cassandra. I love Coffee Time Romance, so this is a real treat.
I just finished reading If You Only Knew, and I cannot remember the last time I laughed so much with a book as I did with this one. I just fell in love with Grace and Cole.
Believe me, I was laughing just as much writing it. Cole and Grace are just perfect together.
Could you tell our readers a little bit about ‘If You Only Knew’?
It’s a bit like a Shakespearean comedy, isn’t it? With mistaken identities and all. Grace has just learned that her father did not die a hero’s death in the War for Southern Independence, but deserted, and has been writing letters begging her now deceased mother to join him out west. To protect his identity, he has changed his name and instructs her to answer an advertisement he has placed in the Savannah paper for a mail- order-bride. Grace answers the ad and heads for New Mexico territory, but the stagecoach she is on is targeted for robbery by one of it’s own occupants, and the madman and his gang take two women hostage. After dealing the madman a devastating wound, Grace’s bravery is rewarded with a club to the head, rendering her unconscious.
Meanwhile, Harmon has sent his friend Cole Pierce to Sweetwater to collect his bride. Cole knows nothing of Harmon’s past, respecting his privacy, as he wants people to respect his. Upon learning Harmon’s bride has been taken hostage, Cole rides to the rescue with the two-man posse. After the daring rescue, he naturally assumes the older unconscious woman is the mail-order-bride and the young woman in his arms is the new saloon girl. As the sheriff conducts his investigation, he charges Cole with protecting the young woman from the gang’s ringleader still on the loose. Cole warms to the idea of her being under his protection. He wants her under him, period.
When Grace comes to, Cole realizes she has no idea who she is or where she was going. Clues point to her as the mail-order-bride and Cole finds himself in a duplicitous race against time. He can protect her from a madman. He will protect her from a loveless marriage, but no one will be able to protect Grace from Cole.
What was your inspiration behind the plot for If You Only Knew?
Believe it or not, I was at the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable, listening to historian Gene Salecker discuss the Sultana tragedy. The Sultana was a steamboat hired to transport US Civil War soldiers back up North. There were Confederates on board as well. Since the Sultana’s captain would be paid for each man he steamed up the Mississippi, he had the Sultana burdened down and way overloaded. The boilers couldn’t handle it and exploded. Men were blown to bits and a few survivors into the Mississippi. And, while everyone else in the room was gasping in horror, I was thinking, “You know, if you were Confederate and got blown close to the Arkansas side and lived, you could walk away from the war and write your own ticket.” That was how I began to find Harmon, Gracie’s deserter father.
Laura, what was the most difficult thing that occurred while writing about Grace and Cole?
Writing about Grace and Cole was easy. Grace has no memory and a lot of questions. Is Cole her husband? Or is she a saloon girl? Cole won’t tell her anything. All she does know is she lives above a saloon and her name is “Sweetie.”
Cole is a man of honor, but finds he’ll throw all of his morals straight out of the window when it comes to Grace. He even takes advice from the saloon/brothel owner and sets out to seduce her before she gets her memory back.
What I found most difficult was the saloon owner, Neville. He tries to steal every page he appears on.
What is the strangest thing that occurred while writing If You Only Knew?
Just in time for Halloween! The spookiest thing happened after I wrote the villain and the stagecoach robbery. I watched a documentary on the History Channel about stagecoaches. I was stunned to find out that Black Bart (Charles Bolton, Charles Boles) was a stagecoach robber. I had always thought he was a gunslinger. Curious, I looked him up on the internet and the similarities to the character of Pugh and the robbery details were eerie and chilling. Keep in mind I had already written the stagecoach robbery and was already into chapter six.
*IYOK, chapter one- “His eyes were ice blue, almost the color of steel and just as cold…” From sptdog.com: “What they found was a dapperly dressed man…with clear blue/grey eyes…”
*IYOK, chapter two- “Grace was still lost in her thoughts when the silent man on the stage cleared his throat, letting his gentleman’s handkerchief flutter out of the opening that served as a window.”
*From sptdog.com “After the Calaveras County, Sonora to Milton stage was robbed on November 3, 1883, a Charles Bolton of 37 Second Street in San Francisco was arrested from the evidence of a laundry mark (FX07) on a handkerchief dropped at the sight.
*IYOK, chapter one- “The driver was a big man with a full, thick beard. Horace Bennett was not having a good run. He was getting nervous as he neared the very spot where he’d been held up just two weeks ago.
*From sptdog.com: “October 8, 1881Yreka to Redding, Shasta County. Stage driver Horace Williams…a repeat of the October 8, 1881(Same stage, same place & driver)… Needless to say I was unnerved after this and actually wondered, “Just who the hell is writing this book?”
I read that you entered a writing contest and that your manuscript won for your genre. What made you decide to take the leap of writing yourself to the next level of writing for others also?
I believe authors do both and have to if they are to create a story the readers will love and enjoy. And that is my goal: for the readers to enjoy it as much as I do.
The leap was entering the contest. MyWriter Buddy.com had teamed up with ArcheBooks Publishing. After years of rejection letters and reading Editors and Predators, I was leery of writing contests, but WriterBuddy.com is well known and very respected, so I gave it a go.
What is your favorite part about writing?
That would be the unbelievable high I get when my characters take over and I become the tool.
What is a typical writing day for you?
I really live up to the Reagan name, which means impulsive and furious. So, there is nothing typical about my day, except I’m up at 7:30AM and straight to it. If I am fortunate enough to be in the throes of a good story, I’ll work on it until I fall over. I don’t have any type of regiment where I try to write at least ten pages a day. I just go!
What do you like readers to take away from reading your work?
Laughter. Escape. I want them to be able to go on a journey and be able to immerse themselves so deeply they’ll feel they have been on vacation. In the future, I want to be one of those authors whose next book is anticipated and readers will know that with my books, they are getting their money’s worth of entertainment.
What is your favorite type of genre to read? Who is among your favorite authors?
Historical Romance. I enjoy Victoria Dark (Marrying Mattie, Loving Elizabeth) and Johanna Lindsay (anything with the Mallorys). I love reading a story that makes me grin inanely, laugh hysterically, and sigh audibly.
What are some of the things you like to do when not writing?
I live on a horse farm and love playing with my dogs. I enjoy going to Civil War Living History events, or reenactments. I’m a civilian, which means I wear CW era reproduction dresses as well as all the underpinnings, and gloves, hats, and my favorite, hand fans. To me there is nothing more handsome than a man in a Civil War uniform, especially when he is tipping his kepi, addressing you respectfully, and begging an introduction. Funny story, but telling on today’s modern men and how we have reprogrammed them: Dot Armstrong and I were at Shiloh 2002 and had to switch hotels. So, we’re in our CW dresses, and passed two modern, handsome, cocky, yuppie type golfer men. These men would not have given us a second look, normally, but seeing us dressed like two CW ladies, these two men became clumsy, tongue-tied, and reverent in our presence. They greeted us, inquired if we needed assistance and even started to bow, as if their bodies were moving on instinct. That told me that men want to be able to hold the door, bow gallantly, offer their arm, and still put women on a pedestal. And given half a chance, they will.
Laura since your book ‘If You Only Knew’, are you working on any projects now? Can you give us any “brief peeks” of them?
IF YOU ONLY DARE-Coming April 2006.
The sequel to IF YOU ONLY KNEW takes you back to Sweetwater and dumps you and your belongings at The Globe Saloon. Neville Hilliard is back and is he having one hell of a bad day. His beer taps don’t work, he’s down two working girls, and just when things couldn’t get any worse, he finds that the new beauty he hired is actually an innocent socialite who needs a keeper.
In an attempt to save her own life, Miss Annabelle Garrett flees Boston and her high society fiancé. Stranded in a western backwater, she unwittingly takes a job in a brothel. Neville Hilliard can’t believe his luck. His new hire is not only beautiful, she turns out to be a missing heiress, and the only daughter of a man Neville idolizes. The reward money alone would buy him what he wants most, but his coveted beer refrigeration system is the furthest thing from his mind as he works to seduce her into his bed and into his heart. Torn between protecting her innocence and stealing it, Neville must come to grips with his past and present before he stands any chance at a future.
Cassandra has returned to bury her uncle and her past heartbreak. She soon learns that the boy who broke her heart so recklessly many years ago is now her attorney. She also learns that he holds her life as well as her very future in the palm of his hand.
THE UNSUITABLE SUITOR- Historical Romance
Rupert Granville has returned to Wellbourne, his aunt Elizabeth’s vast estate in Northern England. After her own disastrous London Season, Lady Elizabeth Shelby opened her estate as a courting palace of sorts offering marriage-minded families an alternative. Rupert sees it as a slave auction and resists his aunt’s attempts to name him as her successor. However, and quite unexpectedly, he has found something here that he cannot resist: a young hoyden named Miss Peyton Hamilton. While all the other very proper, gold-digging darlings are preening and primping, this one is climbing trees and unwittingly drawing him into her intrigues.
Peyton believes she has been sent to Wellbourne to act as chaperone for her sister, and has paid no attention to the “time-honored rules of courtship”. She cannot bring herself to study the dryly-worded pamphlets (all written by Rupert), not when the magic of Wellbourne beckons to her through every open window and secret door. Her punishment for breaking the rules-she must now suffer the unwanted company of Lady Shelby’s devilishly handsome but incredibly rude nephew for special tutoring.
The warnings in the pamphlets are dire indeed and he seems determined to throw at her every sensuous scenario. She knows she must not trust him, yet finds nothing in the writings to explain why she suddenly feels weak in his presence. As each notation in her small journal would indicate, things go from bad to worse. Not only does she find she has become an entree on the marriage menu, she has now garnered the attentions of a most unsuitable suitor.
What is your web site address?
Thank you so much for chatting with us!
That was fun! Let’s do it again!
I want to thank Laura on behalf of Coffee Time Romance for chatting with us today
Coffee Time Romance