Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and has recovered from Black Friday and related weekend shopping! Today, please welcome my very first interviewee, western romance author Paty Jager! Thanks so much for joining me, Paty. Let’s get to it :):
Tell me about your writing roots: what got you started? and what gave you the confidence to persevere?
I started out writing children’s stories for my kids and their classmates, but after attending a Highlights Children’s Writers conference, I was told I wrote too adult. Then I took some writing classes at the local college and wrote a freelance article for the local paper. They liked it and started sending me on freelance interviews. I wrote two mystery novels (which were rejected) and then I read LaVyrle Spencer’s Hummingbird and that was when I knew I was meant to write historical western romance. I joined RWA, honed my craft, finaled in eight of their contests, and racked up the rejection letters. Then I had an agent call me and tell me I had stories readers would love, but I was a hard sell to big publishers because I didn’t have a gimmick or wasn’t edgy. She suggested I try e-publishing and start making fans. A new e-book publisher opened their doors. I knew one of the editors. She invited me to send something to them, and I now have five books published by The Wild Rose Press and an EPPIE Award.
My family, friends, and the RWA community I surrounded myself with gave me the confidence to keep at it. This wasn’t an overnight ordeal. When I took that first story to the newspaper my son was five and I’d take him with me to the interviews. He’s now in the Air Force with three kids. If this is something you love to do, keep after it. Learn the craft, hone your story telling skills and keep after it.
When I first started writing, all I wanted to do was write. Once I became published I realized there is another aspect a writer has to deal with: promotion. Especially when you are with a small e-book press. I spend a lot of time on reader loops and chats. I give workshops at conferences and writer meetings, because I want to give back to others as I’ve been given. I’ve done two radio talk shows and my local TV station has me on when I have a new book out. All of these things have brought me out of my shell. I’ve learned that to spread the word of my books I have to get out there and do it, which for me is a VERY big step. And I feel I conquer something each time I get in front of people and speak and each time I have to say, “Yes, you’ll like this book.” I’ve never been one to toot my own horn and this has been a huge undertaking for me to be able to even hand someone a bookmark and not feel like I’m being a braggart. And just to talk to strangers. This whole having a book published and the promoting has given me confidence I didn’t have before. A friend I’ve known for years says I’m blooming.
Talk about current, past and future projects, upcoming releases, maybe your ‘dream novel’?
I just finished a collaborative book with another historical western author. It was requested by Harlequin so we have our fingers crossed they like it. It is about two sisters who are separated after their parents are killed while crossing with a wagon train. The story is told in each sister’s point of view as they make their way back to one another.
I have three Halsey brother books published. Marshal in Petticoats, is the story of an accident prone young woman being made Marshal of a small town by a corrupt mayor and Gil Halsey who falls in love with her. Outlaw in Petticoats is the second book with Zeke Halsey as the hero who is helping the heroine find a father who disappeared years before and proving to her his love is for the long haul. Miner in Petticoats has Ethan Halsey battling wits with a widow of two previous marriages and two children as he tries to purchase land to build his family’s dynasty. Gambling on an Angel is a historical western set along the Columbia River that has a temperance woman falling in love with a saloon owner. This book deals with acceptance. And I have a contemporary western, Perfectly Good Nanny, set in SE Oregon on a cattle ranch. This book won an EPPIE award for Best Contemporary Romance in 2008. It was written on a dare and has a twelve year-old girl and an elderly neighbor, pretending to be the girl’s father and ordering a nanny over the internet. The book starts with the heroine standing on the rancher’s doorstep and he not knowing what is happening.
My upcoming releases are: Doctor in Petticoats, the fourth Halsey brother book about Clay Halsey, the woman doctor he falls in love with and the prejudices they fight along the way. Also I’m thrilled that the first book of my Native American paranormal trilogy will be published in 2010, Spirit of the Mountain. This is set in the 1700’s in the Wallowa Country of the Nez Perce. It’s the story of an Indian maiden trying to fulfill her gift to her people and the spirit who steals her heart. And, yet to be titled, I have a contemporary western set around the world of bareback bronco riding. This book deals with sexual abuse and the heroine’s strength to overcome her past and learn to love and be loved.
Future projects: The fifth and last Halsey book, the next two books for the Spirit trilogy, a historical western set at Christmas time, and a contemporary western suspense.
Please tell our readers how you juggle work (other than writing, assuming you work ‘outside the home,’ as a patient once aptly stated J), time to write and all that goes along with it, especially as a published author (i.e., promo, etc).
My jobs are writing, freelance editing, feeding cows and horses, and farm work. When I started writing for the newspaper I was a mother of three small children. At that time I wrote 2-3 hours a couple times a week. Then as all the kids were in school, I’d spend the morning writing and the afternoons doing my chores and errands. Some mornings I helped at the school. Then as they moved into High School, I wrote nearly every afternoon for two hours. When the last one was at home I went to work part-time for the County Extension. The three days a week I wasn’t working for them I spent all morning writing if I wasn’t doing farming chores. Now, I get up, answer e-mails, check blogs, do promo, eat breakfast, feed animals, write until noon or one then do more chores. Edit in the afternoon unless I have to rake or bale hay. The evening is me time. An ideal week is being able to sit down and write every morning, but that doesn’t always happen. I may have to run to town, change pipes or harrow a field. So a good week is 3-4 mornings of good writing.
Shouldering the burdens of his family and the mining community, Ethan Halsey devotes himself to providing for his brothers’s growing families. However, Aileen Miller, a widow, also looking out for her family’s interests, refuses to part with the land he needs. As they battle- one to push his dream to reality and the other to prove no man will hurt her again- their lives become enmeshed and their hearts collide.
Excerpt: “Mrs. Miller?” he asked, extending his hand. She kept her head tipped forward just enough her so that her face was shadowed and hidden behind the brim of the hat.
“Who be askin’?” Her voice caught his attention with its deep, lyrical tone.
“I’m Ethan Halsey. My brothers and I have a claim just over the ridge.” It aggravated him he couldn’t see her face and register how she took his words.
“Are ye lost?” The voice vibrated under his skin, causing his body to warm.
He cleared his throat. “No, I’m not lost. I’m looking for Mrs. Miller. I’m assuming that is you, since you’re the only grown woman I see here.”
“Ah m Aileen. Ah dinnae fancy bein’ called Mrs. Miller.”
This disclosure piqued his curiosity. “Mrs.—Aileen. I’ve come with an offer.” Her head tilted, tipping the wide-brimmed hat to the side and revealing a slip of her face.
“And whit may this grand offur be?” He saw the slightest curve on one side of her lips.
“Ma’am, not to sound bossy, but I’d like to see your face as we discuss this proposition.” Her shoulders dipped slightly before she squared them, stretched her neck to its full length, and whipped the hat from her head. Copper sparks reflected off her hair as the sun lit her dark locks.
Ethan hadn’t believed the words of a cowardly man like Miles, and he was happy to see there wasn’t any kind of mark on the woman’s face, at least none put there by the devil. Her skin was abundantly sprinkled with angel kisses. That was what his mother had called the freckles on her face. Angel kisses. He’d always had a fondness for freckle-faced women and children.
“Thank you, I appreciate seeing people’s eyes when talking business.” Ethan took a step closer to the porch, waiting to be invited to the shade.
“And whit be yer business?” The woman didn’t seem inclined to invite him any closer.
“I’ve scouted the land all around our claim. The five acres of your land down where Cracker Creek drops in elevation is the perfect spot to set up a stamp mill. The side of the canyon has the right slope and the water is moving fast enough to power the mill.”
“So yer business is askin’ me tae sell ma land?” She clamped work-reddened hands onto those ample hips and glared at him.
“We’d give you a fair price for the five acres, and you could use the stamp mill to claim more gold from your mine.” The information didn’t seem to change her opinion. She still glared at him. “We’re allowing the nearby claims to build rails to bring their ore to the mill. They can use the stamp mill, giving us a small cut of their profits.” He smiled at his family’s generosity.
“So ye’re doin’ this oot o’ the goodness o’ yer heart? Takin’ yer neighbor’s land and their gold.” Her light green eyes flashed with indignation.
Paty, I thank you so much for taking the time to stop and tell us about yourself and all the exciting projects you have going on! You are a dynamo! Contact Paty at: