Though I've never had a desire to write a western romance, and really don't read them too often (except for LaVyrle Spencer's The Gamble, one of my favorite books), I love cowboys. Something about the out front masculinity coupled with chaps and a cowboy hat…well, there you go. In the early 90s, I read a great fantasy called Demon Danceby T. Chris Martindale that brought together shamanism, traditional fantasy elements and horror and put it in an old west setting. It was a great story, and I think my memory of that was what inspired me to make Derek Stormwind, the hero of my newest book, Something About Witches, "a cross between Wyatt Earp and Merlin". That's how Ruby describes him, my heroine. Though the book happens in modern day times on the East Coast, he's over twelve hundred years old, and draws his moral code from old west cowboys and knights of the round tablesince he's known both. He wears a cowboy hat and dragonskin boots, not because he has anything against dragons, but because he had irreconcilable differences with that particular dragon.
It's been awhile since I've had the pleasure of writing a hero as straightforward and unapologetically male as Derek. He knew he and Ruby were soulmates from the first time he met her, when she was just a little girl, so he's been a part of her life as protector, friend, mentor, and eventually lover, when she reached adulthood. But three years ago she ran from him, for reasons she couldn't reveal, and now he's tracked her down and is determined to help resolve it. He's been around long enough to work out his own baggage, so a woman can lean on him for help all day long. He's going to have your back no matter what, whether it's to vanquish a demon or change a tire. And Ruby, my heroine, really needs that, whether or not she's willing to admit it. She's a powerful witch coming into her own, but she's hip deep in Dark powers, and sinking fast. Did I also mention the demon army coming after her?
What I also like about this book is it's a return to my traditional fantasy roots, since my first published book was what (at that time) was called epic high fantasy. Well, most of it was. The witches, sorcerers and magical theory were the fantasy part, but the story was driven by a love-to-the-death-and-beyond relationship between two people. Ironically enough, at that time a fantasy driven by a main romance plotline was called cross-genre and rejected, because it was believed readers weren't interested in that. Now my husband grumbles because you can hardly find a "traditional" fantasy in the fantasy section, because so much of it is paranormal romance! Ah well, there's room for all of iteven twelve-hundred-year-old sorcerers in dragonskin boots need love.
If you like Something About Witches, which I hope you will, there will a second book coming down the pike pretty fast In the Company of Witches, releasing in early May!