Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Author Interview: Joanne Kennedy

Today's author interview is with Joanne Kennedy. And there is a giveaway too.

Welcome!

1. Tell me about the first book you remember truly loving...
Joanne: My parents are readers so there were lots of books in our house. Not all of them were designed for children, but we had free run of the bookshelves. There was a very spooky set of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre illustrated with very dark, macabre woodcuts by Fritz Eichenburg. Even before I could read, those books fascinated me, mostly because the illustrations were utterly terrifying. But loving the Brontes so young might explain why I became a romance writer!

2. And now tell me about How to Handle a Cowboy.
Joanne: I love this book so much! My heroine, Sierra Dunn, takes a temporary job running a group home for foster kids in the tiny, dying Wyoming town of Wynott. The five ten-year-old boys she oversees heat up the town, and cowboy Ridge Cooper, who volunteers to give the kids riding lessons, heats up her dreams. Ridge is a rodeo cowboy who’s just suffered a career-ending injury. He’s not looking to settle down, and Sierra’s not planning to stay in Wynott... but love steps in and changes everything. 

3. I would like to ask Ridge a question ;)
Ridge, tell me about your dream woman?
Joanne/Ridge: Ridge doesn’t talk much, so let me interpret what he means when he clears his throat a couple times, stares out the window, and mumbles something about pretty eyes. What he means to say is that Sierra is his dream woman, although he never expected to fall for an inner-city social worker. Ridge needs a patient woman with a big heart who understands that actions speak louder than words, in and out of the bedroom! 

4. How about you Sierra? Describe your dream man.
Joanne/Sierra: Well, I certainly didn’t think the dusty, disreputable cowboy who knocked at my door on my second day in Wynott would turn out to be The One. But after the kids locked us in the closet, I started to see him in a different light. Actually, I couldn’t see him at all, because it was dark in there—so we had to feel our way through the beginning stages of our relationship, if you know what I mean.

5. What's the deal with cowboys? Why are they so hot?
Joanne: Cowboying is an old-fashioned profession that hasn’t changed in over hundred years, and cowboys haven’t changed much, either. They still live by the Code of the West, and that means they adhere to old-fashioned values like being honest and trustworthy. They also work with horses, which requires a nurturning spirit. In a way, cowboys are throwbacks to an earlier time and a simpler way of life. Combine all that with a tanned, muscular body from working outdoors, and you’ve got a man who fits into all our dreams. 

6. And last, what are you working on now?
Joanne: How to Handle a Cowboy is the first in the Cowboys of Decker Ranch series, so I’m working on the second book, How to Wrangle a Cowboy (love that title!). It’s about the youngest of the Decker Ranch cowboys, Brady Caine. Brady’s a carefree rodeo cowboy who can’t be tamed, but when he literally ropes a barrel racing champion, he finds himself bound by guilt to a woman who is his opposite in every way. I’ve never written a series before, and it’s been fun to see how Brady’s story intersects with Ridge’s. I also love a lot of the secondary characters in this book, like Dooley the dog and Isaiah, one of the kids from Sierra’s group home. It’s been fun to write! 

Thanks!

GIVEAWAY
1 copy of How to Handle a Cowboy + a special surprise cowboy themed gift from Joanne.

1. Open internationally.
2. Ends April 12th
3. To enter, ask Joanne a question or just say anything about cowboys ;D


HOW TO HANDLE A COWBOY BY JOANNE KENNEDY – IN STORES APRIL 2014
His Rodeo Days May Be Over...
Sidelined by a career-ending injury, rodeo cowboy Ridge Cooper feels trapped at his family's remote Wyoming ranch. Desperate to find an outlet for the passion he used to put into competing, he takes on the challenge of teaching his roping skills to five troubled ten-year-olds in a last-chance home for foster kids, and finds it's their feisty supervisor who takes the most energy to wrangle.

But He'll Still Wrangle Her Heart…
When social worker Sierra Dunn seeks an activity for the rebellious kids at Phoenix House, she soon learns she's not in Denver anymore. Sierra is eager to get back home to her inner-city work, and the plan doesn't include forming an attachment in Wyoming—especially not to a ruggedly handsome and surprisingly gentle local rodeo hero.

Praise for How to Handle a Cowboy
“Realistic and romantic... Kennedy’s forte is in making relationships genuine and heartfelt as she exposes vulnerabilities with tenderness and good humor.” —Booklist STARRED Review

“The sex scenes are juicy... Each character is essential to the storyline and the plot moves seamlessly.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joanne Kennedy’s lifelong fascination with Wyoming’s unique blend of past and present inspires her to write contemporary Western romances with traditional ranch settings. Her books include Cowboy Tough, Tall, Dark and Cowboy, and the RITA-nominated One Fine Cowboy. At various times, she has dabbled in horse training, chicken farming, and bridezilla wrangling at a department store wedding registry. Her love of reading led to careers in bookselling and writing. She lives with two dogs and a fighter pilot in Cheyenne, Wyoming. For more information, please visit http://joannekennedybooks.com/.

To Purchase How to Handle a Cowboy:

49 comments:

  1. It is the Code of the West that makes them so appealing. They really do live by the old code!

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    1. Yes, they do. And I love their old-fashioned manners, although I've reached the age where I get "ma'amed" a lot. Note to cowboys: calling a woman "ma'am" makes her feel about a hundred years old!

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  2. Her new book sounds fun...and interesting!

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    1. Thank you! I always try to come up with something different. I've noticed that a lot of romances hit on the same sorts of stories. There's a reason for that, of course - they're good stories! But I like to bring in some different story elements, like the foster kids livening up the small town.

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  3. I still have not read a cowboy romance. I fail at life. I think maybe I need to start what's sure to be an epic obsession with cowboys with one Ridge Cooper:)

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    1. Give it a try, Jenny! Ridge is a good place to start. There's something about him...I know this sounds silly, but I could never put my finger on just what make him so dang sexy. I know I wrote the book and all, but some characters come to life in their own special way, and he's one of them.

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    2. And Jenny, is that your dog in your profile picture? He (or she) is adorable!

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  4. Wonderful interview! :) I don't usually go for cowboys, but the way you were talking about them I might be curious to check this book out!

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    1. It sounds like I might have helped bring cowboys to a new audience with this interview. I hope so! I think you'll enjoy the book.

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  5. Whew yah definitely fits into my dreams. I love the throwback of cowboys and their attitudes/swagger. So darn sexy.

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    1. Funny - someone in my latest book (not yet published) says it's all about the swagger! So true!

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  6. I love the West and cowboys, how can I not having lived in the West my whole life? I love the Ridge is quiet and shy, I think I would get along with him just fine!

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    1. I like the quiet ones, too. Ridge reminds me a little of one of my previous cowboys, Nate from "One Fine Cowboy," although Ridge is a little older (which for me makes him better - definitely a man!).

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  7. I love that he teaches roping to troubled kids. Now I need to read the book!

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    1. They're still working on riding through this book - these are city kids, after all. But they'll get there!

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  8. Thank you for the interview Joanne :)

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    1. Thank you, Blodeuedd!! I always enjoy your blog and I was so happy to be asked back! I loved the questions:)

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  9. Yea-ha, I have this on my wishlist, and loved the interview :)

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    1. I hope you get your wish, Kimba! So glad you enjoyed the interview. I especially liked question number three, where Ridge got a chance to talk. Naturally, he was a little gruff, but his heart's in the right place: right in Sierra's hand:)

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  10. How to Handle a Cowboy sounds good. Nice interview!

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  11. Can't help but LOL over how Ridge answered your question.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it:) He is who he is: one of those men who's better at showing how he feels than talking about it. Not a bad thing at all, as it turns out!

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  12. This is so incredible because I recently developed this obsession with the West and learning about cowboys!! I was literally just telling my husband how I want to learn more about that part of the U.S. and BOOM, a book giveaway about that very subject!! I have a question, is Wynott, Wyoming a real town?

    Liglesias3 [at] gmail [dot] com

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    1. Thanks for your question, and I'm glad to hear about your new obsession. I developed the same interest twenty years ago, and ended up moving West!
      To answer your question, Wynott isn't a real town. I spend a lot of time road-tripping around Wyoming, and I take buildings and people and conversations from all the little towns along the way and put them in my books. Wynott has some elements of Clearmont, Elk Mountain, La Grange, Meeteetse, Shoshone, and a few others. I'm always inspired by the toughness of these remote towns and the way they hang onto their unique qualities despite the changes in the world outside.

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  13. Love cowboys :) Thanks for a fun interview and congrats to Joanne on the new release! My question for her would be: do your characters grow from the page or do they walk onto the page fully formed?

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    1. That's a good question, but a hard one to answer. I always feel that my characters are fully formed at the start, but I don't necessarily know everything about them. In other words, I have a very strong picture of them and a sense of who they are, but details about their lives and personalities are revealed to me as a write. I often think I know how they'll respond in a certain situation, but once they're actually in it, they sometimes surprise me. To me, that's the really fun part of writing.

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  14. I have been dying to read her books! I love books with cowboys in them. Love that beautiful cover!

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    1. Thanks, Yvonne! I love that cover too. Nothing like a grown man with a cowboy hat and a five o'clock shadow! It works for me:)

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  15. it's been a while since I read a cowboy book and I confess I haven't read a lot but it really makes me want to go back to it! Thanks for the interview.

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    1. Come back to the wild West, Melliane! The cowboys are waiting...:)

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  16. "How to handle a cowboy" sounds fantastic!!

    I am curious as to whether you have ever been to a rodeo and/ or seen riders herding up cattle?? I would LOVE to!

    Never ridden western style...but definately on my to-do list :)

    Many Thanks also for the giveaway. My email is - lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk

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    1. Thanks for the questions, Miss Lucinda!
      I have been to many rodeos, and love them! Cheyenne, my hometown, is home to the largest outdoor rodeo in America, Cheyenne Frontier Days. One of the privileges of being a writer is that I get a press pass, so I can go down to the rail and watch the action close-up. I also have access to the "cowboy ready" area, where contestants prepare for their rides. It's fun to be able to talk to the cowboys, and even more fun to listen to the conversations they have with each other! Lots of those end up in my books:)
      I occasionally see riders herding cattle, too. I love the sounds and the dust and the old-timey romance of it when it's done on horseback.
      I've ridden both ways, English and Western, and they both have their advantages. Western saddles are like comfortable rocking chairs after a while, designed so you can ride all day and do crazy things like rope cattle. With English riding, you have more "feel" for the horse because of the lighter saddle, which lets you do crazy things like jumping fences. Both are definitely fun!

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    2. Wow. That was like a whole 'nother blog post! Fun, though. Keep those questions coming!

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  17. Cowboys! Is there anything else to say? *winks*

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    1. Well, I seem to have plenty to say! *winks back* Whole books' worth!

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  18. Nice interview.
    Hi Joanne,
    How did you research foster and group homes? I am always interested in how children experience these placements.
    I have not read a cowboy book for a long time. This sounds like it would be enjoyable.

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    1. Thanks, Jennipurr. I volunteered and worked for a mentoring program that got me interested in that kind of thing. These were kids who had parents - in most cases, good parents who were doing their best - but needed a little extra attention. A lot of them were boys who needed a man in their lives. Some of the kids are based very loosely on a combination of the boys in that program. I also talked to professionals in the field, and did a lot of reading. It's something I've always been interested in, so it was a natural to write about it.
      I don't know of any place like Phoenix House, where a group home is placed in a small town to give the kids a sense of home and community. But I think it's a great idea, and once I thought of it I couldn't resist writing about it.

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  19. How to Handle A Cowboy sounds like my kind of western and I am looking forward to reading it.

    I would really like to know how you came up with the idea for this book in mixing kids and cowboys.

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  20. Thanks for the nice interview ladies! Blodeuedd has been trying to make me read a cowboy book for a while now with her reviews, and well, this is the one I might actually fall for!
    There are just no cowboys in Holland, only farmboys and those, well ...

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  21. Loved the interview!! THe book sounds awesome, can't wait to read it. THanks for the giveaway.

    mlawsono17 at hotmail dot com

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  22. Book sounds awesome! :D
    Yeeeeeee- hahhhhhhh

    Zoe
    zoe.may1@yahoo.co.uk

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  23. Awesome interview! I love her explanation of why cowboys are so hot right now. It is definitely a nice throwback to a simpler time (and the tan muscular bodies don't hurt either). :-)

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  24. I am yet to read a cowboy story but I totally love that this book sounds very promising! I think I'll research more about cowboys because I'm very interested in them now...

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  25. I love reading about cowboys, they are always so sexy and loveable. Thanks for having the giveaway.

    ayancey1974(at)gmail(dot)com

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  26. I love it when kids are in the story - can really show the truth of the characters in how they relate.
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

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  27. Cowboys are like tim tams, I never met one I didn't like ;)
    Fun interview, thanks Joanne and B

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