I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Shirleen Davies, author of the MacLarens of Fire Mountain books. I’ve read both Tougher than the Rest, Book One and Faster than the Rest, Book Two, and I a huge fan of the series. If you missed my reviews of Tougher than the Rest and Faster than the Rest, please click the links below:
Today is special because we’ve got a Q&A with Shirleen Davies, two excerpts for you to enjoy, and a giveaway!!! Before we get started with the interview, let’s have a look at the blurbs for both books in the MacLarens of Fire Mountain series…
A passionate, fast-paced story set in the untamed western frontier by an exciting new voice in historical romance.
Niall MacLaren is the oldest of four brothers, and the undisputed leader of the family. A widower, and single father, his focus is on building the MacLaren ranch into the largest and most successful in northern Arizona. He is serious about two things––his responsibility to the family and his future marriage to the wealthy, well-connected widow who will secure his place in the territory’s destiny.
Katherine is determined to live the life she’s dreamed about. With a job waiting for her in the growing town of Los Angeles, California, the young teacher from Philadelphia begins a journey across the United States with only a couple of trunks and her spinster companion. Life is perfect for this adventurous, beautiful young woman, until an accident throws her into the arms of the one man who can destroy it all.
Fighting his growing attraction and strong desire for the beautiful stranger, Niall is more determined than ever to push emotions aside to focus on his goals of wealth and political gain. But looking into the clear, blue eyes of the woman who could ruin everything, Niall discovers he will have to harden his heart and be tougher than he’s ever been in his life…Tougher than the Rest.
Headstrong, brash, confident, and complex, the MacLarens of Fire Mountain will captivate you with strong characters set in the wild and rugged western frontier.
Handsome, ruthless, young U.S. Marshal Jamie MacLaren had lost everything—his parents, his family connections, and his childhood sweetheart—but now he’s back in Fire Mountain and ready for another chance. Just as he successfully reconnects with his family and starts to rebuild his life, he gets the unexpected and unwanted assignment of rescuing the woman who broke his heart.
Beautiful, wealthy Victoria Wicklin chose money and power over love, but is now fighting for her life—or is she? Who has she become in the seven years since she left Fire Mountain to take up her life in San Francisco? Is she really as innocent as she says?
Marshal MacLaren struggles to learn the truth and do his job, but the past and present lead him in different directions as his heart and brain wage battle. Is Victoria a victim or a villain? Is life offering him another chance, or just another heartbreak?
As Jamie and Victoria struggle to uncover past secrets and come to grips with their shared passion, another danger arises. A life-altering danger that is out of their control and threatens to destroy any chance for a shared future.
Tricia: Welcome, Shirleen. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Shirleen: I grew up in Southern California. She attended Oregon State University, and has degrees from San Diego State University and the University of Maryland. During the day I provide consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. But my real passion is writing stories in the historical romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense genres. I live with her husband in a beautiful town in northern Arizona. Our combined family consists of five grown sons.
Tricia: When did you begin writing?
Shirleen: I’ve been writing for business journals, white papers, and research articles for many years. As for fiction, I’ve been penning stories for about fifteen years but only recently had the opportunity to begin writing short novels in the romance genres.
Tricia: Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?
Shirleen: This is an interesting question as it was the topic of my latest blog post. I believe I am both, a plotter and a panster. By nature I am a planner, which would leave most who know me to say I’m a plotter. But, to my surprise, I find I’m not when it comes to writing. I get ideas for a story, think them through over a few weeks then forge ahead without an outline. Ideas for plot changes and new characters seem to flow the more I write, and it’s a comfortable spot for me–––to a point. I find within the first three chapters that I am preparing a listing of characters and how they connect to others. Then I start jotting down plot twists for future chapters and organizing the flow, but only in a very rough fashion. So, does that make me a panster with a little bit of plotter thrown in?
Tricia: Can you tell us about your most recent release?
Shirleen: Faster than the Rest releases on Amazon on August 27 on focuses on Jamie MacLaren, the second oldest brother, and Victoria Wicklin, the woman from his youth.
Jamie is a head-strong, young U.S. Marshal who has lost everything—his parents, his family connections, and his childhood sweetheart—but now he’s back in Fire Mountain and ready for another chance. Just as he successfully reconnects with his family and starts to rebuild his life, he gets the unexpected and unwanted assignment of rescuing the woman who broke his heart.
Victoria Wicklin is a wealthy woman who chose money and power over her love for Jamie many years before, but is now fighting for her life as the victim of a kidnapping. Or at least she appears to be the victim.
Jamie struggles to learn the truth and do his job, but the past and present lead him in different directions as his heart and brain wage battle. Is Victoria a victim or a villain? Is life offering him another chance, or just another heartbreak?
Tougher than the Rest released on Amazon on August 1, and focuses on the two main characters, Niall and Katherine.
It is the story of Niall MacLaren who is the oldest of four brothers, and has felt responsible for raising the younger three since their parents died when he was fifteen. Niall is now a widower, and single father with a six-year old daughter. All his energy is focused on his family and building the MacLaren ranch into the largest and most successful in northern Arizona. He’s made the decision that his next marriage will be for political connections and to increase the ranch’s holding––not for love. Niall is determined to wed a wealthy, well-connected widow who will secure his place in the territory’s destiny.
Katherine is a young woman from Philadelphia who has secured a teaching job in the growing town of Los Angeles, California. She begins her journey across the United States with only a couple of trunks and her spinster companion. She is beautiful, adventurous, and excited about a new life without the restrictions of life in the East.
Both are contented with the path they’ve chosen until an accident throws the two young people together, threatening to destroy each other’s dreams.
Tricia: How did you get the idea for the book?
Shirleen: It is an idea for book one, Tougher than the Rest, came to me several years ago. I watched a young man, the oldest sibling in his family, struggle with his desire to take a job with a wonderful opportunity in another town when his family expected him to take over their own business from his ailing father. I wondered how much sacrifice is one person expected to make, as a son or daughter, for their family? Is there ever a right or wrong in these situations?
Tricia: Can you tell us about the second book in the series release?
Shirleen: The idea for book two, Faster than the Rest, pretty much flowed from book. It formed during the writing of Tougher and was based on the continuing struggle for the two oldest brothers to find common ground for a relationship.
Tricia: Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
Shirleen: I would have to say Jamie MacLaren. He’s a complex man who struggles with family relationships and past betrayals. His compassion and desire to do the right thing make him a very appealing character as well as the protective instincts that have always been a cornerstone of his life. Jamie is a no-nonsense lawman and compassionate, loyal friend.
Tricia: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your books?
Shirleen: Finding the time to write. I still run my consulting business so my writing must be squeezed between this and my family time. It’s a challenge, but worth it.
Tricia: What would you like to tell us about your book or your writing that someone wouldn’t discover during a casual review of your blurb or website?
Shirleen: A few people have asked why I move between scene/characters within chapters instead of focusing each chapter on one particular set of dialogue and narratives.
I’ve always been drawn to works by crime and mystery writers, many of whom move rapidly between scenes and characters within the same chapter, much like you would see on a television program or movie. This style has always held my interest. It keeps me involved in the story and the characters. It was natural for me to utilize this same style in my writing.
Tricia: What is your primary goal as an author?
Shirleen: I’ve always wanted to do something more creative, such as writing the stories that keep flowing through my brain. Writing seemed the perfect avenue for my creative need as well as a way to begin something I enjoy which may be continued after I retire from the ‘regular’ world.
Tricia: Which authors have inspired your writing?
Shirleen: I like many writers who cover many genres. But if we are referring to romance, I read several authors including Caroline Fyffe, Jill Gregory, Kat Martin, Roxanne St. Claire, Christy Reece, Robyn Carr and many others.
Tricia: What projects are you currently working on?
Shirleen: I am three-fourths done with book three, Harder than the Rest. It is the story of Will MacLaren, one of the twin brothers. After that I will begin work on book four, Stronger than the Rest, which is the story of the other twin, Drew MacLaren.
Tricia: What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Shirleen: Do it. Don’t be discouraged by what you hear about how tough it is to be become a writer. Focus on all avenues of publishing and don’t place all your hopes in obtaining a traditional contract. There are many opportunities for writers and every one of them should be explored.
Shirleen Davies grew up in Southern California. She attended Oregon State University, and has degrees from San Diego State University and the University of Maryland. During the day she provides consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses. But her real passion is writing emotionally charged stories of flawed people who find redemption through love and acceptance. She now lives with her husband in a beautiful town in northern Arizona.
Shirleen began her new series, MacLarens of Fire Mountain, with Tougher than the Rest, the story of the oldest brother, Niall MacLaren. The other books in the series, Faster than the Rest, Harder than the Rest, and Stronger than the rest, are due for release between August and December 2013.
Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit her at http://www.shirleendavies.com
Shirleen’s blog: http://www.shirleendavies.com/blog.html
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/ShirleenDaviesAuthor
Tougher than the Rest: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/tougher-than-the-rest
Faster than the Rest: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/Faster-Than-The-Rest/MyWuSNxGck60PR3mDLBsOA
Barnes & Noble:
Tougher than the Rest: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tougher-than-the-rest-book-1-maclarens-of-fire-mountain-shirleen-davies/1116496149?ean=294014853475
Faster than the Rest: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/faster-than-the-rest-book-two-the- maclarens-of-fire-mountain-shirleen-davies/1116496831?ean=2940148534891
“Tell me, Victoria. Why did you leave if it wasn’t for the money?” His voice was a whisper across her face. She could almost smell the anger pulsing from him, along with all the other familiar scents of the man she’d always loved. He was just as intoxicating now, just as impossible to resist.
She lifted her face to his to look into eyes that had turned a deep steel grey. She could lose herself in those eyes. It was her last coherent thought as his mouth moved towards hers inch-by-inch, brushing across her lips, and coaxing them to open for him. When she didn’t resist Jamie moved one arm to the back of her neck, holding her in place while his other arm moved to her back, pressing her to him. Her arms slid up and around his neck, pulling his head down to hers. His mouth moved to her eyes, traveled across her checks and down her neck, before settling again on her parted lips.
Jamie was amazed at how the taste and feel of Victoria in his arms hadn’t changed. She was still the most desirable woman he’d ever known. No matter what else had transpired, his body still craved hers as it had none other.
Kate heard her doorknob turn, and the door open. Niall stood inside her room in bare feet, dressed only in his dress pants…His arms hung limp at his sides. His expressive green eyes bored into hers as she turned to face him.
Does she know that with the fire behind her, I can see right through that nightdress? It was as if she had nothing on. Even as he advanced toward her, he knew he shouldn’t have come. This was wrong in so many ways. But his body had a mind of its own and he was unable to deny it…
…Now he was in her room, half dressed, and wanting nothing more than to pick her up and take her to bed. He advanced slowly, waiting for her to make a sound, to tell him to stop, but she just watched him advance.
“I shouldn’t be here,” Niall whispered. “You belong to someone else.”
Kate said nothing, just continued to stare into those dark pools of emerald green. Niall stopped a couple of feet away.
“We don’t have a future.” His throat worked as the words came out. He wanted, needed, Kate to understand that the pull between them, if they acted on it, wouldn’t change his plans. He advanced until she was only inches away. “Tonight won’t change anything,” he rasped, the words barely discernible. “We can only have this one night.”