Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Oct 27 2008, 4:01 am in Appaloosa, Clint Eastwood, cowboys, John Wayne, Suzanne Welsh, Tracy Garrett, westerns
by Suzanne Welsh
Tracy Garrett loves a good man, especially one wearing boots and spurs. In fact, she loves those strong heroes so much, she writes about them in her historical western romances. So naturally while sitting on her balcony overlooking the autumn changes around The Lake of the Ozarks, our conversation turns to her newest book, TOUCHED BY LOVE.
Tracy, TOUCHED BY LOVE is your second Historical Western romance. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I’ll let the back cover blurb do the talking:
A TEXAS PROMISE?
Jaret Walker is a loner, a gun for hire with a heart of ice. He’s never had anyone to call his own, and he likes it that way. But when a promise made to a friend leads him on a ride through the desert and to remote Two Roses Ranch where he meets Isabel Bennett, the woman he’s supposed to protect, all he can think of is making her his. She’s the kind of woman a rough-riding cowboy like him can never have. But her hot gaze tempts him like no other woman has before…
A SCORCHING DESIRE?
The moment Isabel Bennett lays eyes on Jaret Walker, she remembers the dreams she’s denied for so long. She’s sworn never to marry. It’s the only way to protect her ranch. But when Walker rides into her life, she decides to let herself taste what she’s giving up-a passion that burns through her with each kiss-and a desire that won’t be denied…
Touched by Love, coming November 4, 2008, from Zebra Historical Romance.
In the beginning of TOUCHED BY LOVE there’s an interesting opening scene centered around a Mexican prison. Was this a real place?
Perote Prison was a real place. Originally a castle, it was built by the Viceroy of Mexico in the late 1700s 7000 feet up the mountains overlooking the port of Vera Cruz. It was intended as an ammunition storage facility and a military training school, and as a second line of defense for Vera Cruz. The Mexican Army used the huge fortress to keep both military and political prisoners. Texans captured during three disastrous expeditions against Mexico were incarcerated and died within its walls. The shell of the building still remains, but photos are allowed only by special permit. [Photo by J. J. McGrath & Walace Hawkins, "Perote Fort- Where Texans Were Imprisoned", Volume 48, Number 3, Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online]
When I needed a place for Isabel’s brother to be taken, I began searching for prisons in Mexico and found this place. The location was ideal-and it has two macabre stone figures guarding the bridge.
Jaret Walker (big sigh!) is my idea of a cowboy hero. In fact I envisioned the early John Wayne character while reading this. Was there anyone you had in mind as you wrote it?
I never have a specific actor in mind when I write, but Jaret has a lot of the stubborn honor that John Wayne’s characters always showed, with a liberal dose of Clint Eastwood tough-guy thrown in. Mmmm…Clint….
The women who helped settle the American West were made of strong stuff and in TOUCHED BY LOVE, Isabel is the backbone of her ranch. What made her so determined to hold on to it?
Isabel takes the legacy of the ranch very seriously. The land has been passed from mother to daughter through several generations, and she believes it is her responsibility to maintain it for the next generation. Besides, she loves the rough, harsh land-it’s a part of her soul.
Without the uber-strong women who came west on foot, horseback and wagon seat, I believe the U.S. would be a very different place. Isabel is one of those women. She takes the legacy of the ranch very seriously. The land has been passed from mother to daughter through several generations, and she believes it is her responsibility to maintain it for the next generation. Besides, she loves the rough, harsh land-it’s a part of her soul.
Even though western historical romances have been quiet for a few years, they’re starting to make a comeback in the market place. What about the western do you think appeals to romance readers?
There is something about a loner-a man who lives and works alone for weeks or months at a time-that seems to tug at our protective instincts. A cowboy, lawman, gunslinger-it doesn’t seem to matter what they do, we love the dark, handsome heroes. The resurgence of westerns at the movies and on TV is evidence. Deadwood, 3:10 to Yuma, Seraphim Falls, Tombstone, Missing. I’ve seen the trailers for Appaloosa and it’s on my must-see-soon list! Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen in boots and spurs? Be still my heart.
Do you think these heroes translate in to contemporary characters? How?
Absolutely, whether the setting is “western” or not. I think the qualities of honor, duty and good-guys-win are timeless. The romance hero always has a strong sense of right & wrong, does what is necessary despite personal insult or injury, and looks darn good in a cowboy hat. lol
Before we head out on the boat to tour the Lake, I have one more question. Is there another western in your future?
I certainly hope so! I’m in the middle of writing Wolf’s story [he was the tracker in Touch of Texas who was searching for his kidnapped children]. And I have several other characters standing around in my office waiting for a turn to tell their stories.
I’d like to ask the Bandit readres a question now. Who is your favorite movie or TV cowboy and why? You choose the winner and let me know who it is, please?
Tracy is offering an autographed copy of TOUCHED BY LOVE to a lucky commentor. And don’t forget, if you want to order YOUR copy of TOUCHED BY LOVE, just click on the cover picture.
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Oct 2 2007, 7:01 am in NASCAR, Suz Welsh, Tracy Garrett, Western historicals
Interview by Suzanne Welsh
Kensington Debut western author, Tracy Garrett is in the Bandit lair to talk about her first book, Touch of Texas, which is on bookshelves now. While being a writer was not initially the burning desire in her life, creativity has always been core to Tracy. She is an accomplished musician with a bachelor and masters degree in flute performance, as well as post-graduate study in vocal performance, who continues to perform and teach. In recent years her need for creativity and her passion for reading began to merge, and with her love of romance, writing historical romance was a natural for her. She loves a “happily ever after!”
Suz: Congratulations on your debut book, Touch of Texas, Tracy. We Bandits love a good “call” story. Care to share yours?
Tracy: Thanks for inviting me to be a Bandit for a day. I’m so excited to see Touch of Texas on the bookstore shelves!
My call story is a bit unusual, I think. The phone didn’t ring – my email dinged! On July 19, 2006 at 8:09am, as I was wrapping up my writing session for the morning to head off to my day job, an email popped up from Hilary Sares of Kensington with five words that instantly changed me from writer to author: “…want to make a deal?…”
Suz: In Touch of Texas your hero, Jake McCain is a Texas Ranger, can you tell us a little bit about him?
Tracy: Jake – my favorite wounded hero (so far). He is of mixed heritage, which at that time in history ostracized you from anyone who considered themselves “civilized.” He saw his father murdered when he was four. He was buried alive with the body of his mother. Jake was discovered by a Texas Ranger, who took him home and raised him as his son. He feels he should have saved his father, though he was barely more than a baby, and he’s haunted by every man, woman and child he failed to save as a Ranger. He takes on this one last assignment before he disappears, and he doesn’t care if he lives or dies, as long as he brings the vicious outlaw W.M. Harrison to justice. Jake is fiercely loyal, bound by his word, dedicated to his job, worries about those weaker than he is, and truly believes he has no right to a happily ever after. MMMM, love those tortured heores!
Suz: Rachel Hudson is a woman alone and in trouble, how does she feel about helping your hero?
Tracy: Rachel never thought twice about helping a man in need. It was how she was raised, but even more, it is who she is.
Born to an El Paso light-skirt, or prostitute, she was raised in the tiny shack where her mother plied her trade. Because of Rachel, and later her brother Nathan, Rachel’s mother could only work when one of the other prostitute’s was done for the evening and could care for the children; hence, she had the dregs of the customers, the drunks who’d been tossed out of every saloon in town, or those who were so violent no other woman would service them.
When one of those customers tried to grab Rachel, her mother interfered, and the man killed her. In terror, Rachel grabbed her infant brother and ran away. She ended up being raised by a missionary couple, Reverend & Mrs. Hudson, who wanted the baby and kept Rachel around to do the work. When Mrs. Hudson died, and Rachel refused the Reverend’s demand that she become his wife, she and Nathan were dumped in the tiny gold mining town of Lucinda, Texas.
Despite the traumas in her young life, Rachel held onto the lessons she was taught, and grew into a loving, generous, glass-half-full kind of woman. She would never turn away someone needing help. Her only reservation was how the local gossips would view her actions, which proves to be a valid concern as the story progresses.
Suz: Touch of Texas is a western historical, a genre that has had a decline over the past decade or so. Do you think they are starting to make a comeback? And what authors have influenced your writing?
Tracy: I do believe westerns are making a comeback. Not only are we seeing more on the shelves of our local bookstores, but the release of 3:10 to Yuma suggests Hollywood thinks so, as well.
Some of the authors who have influenced my writing: Kathleen Woodiwiss, Lorraine Heath, Elizabeth Lowell, Madeleine L’Engle and Ray Bradbury.
Suz: Have you always loved historicals and westerns? What other genres pique your interest?
Tracy: My favorite movies are old westerns. John Wayne is my hero! I read almost everything. Contemporary, humor, paranormal… As long as there are printed pages between two covers, I’m happy. I hope to write westerns for a long time, but I have a few contemporary story ideas and a time-travel or two lurking in the back of my mind, too.
Suz asks, knowing her friend’s favorite sport: Any other hobbies or interest our readers might like to know about you?
Tracy, grinning: If you’ve read my bio, you know I’m a musician, but I have a couple of interests most people don’t know about: trap shooting and car racing. Trap shooting grew out of my research into old west weapons, but NASCAR is pure entertainment. Over the last ten years, my husband and a dear friend of ours have converted me into a fan. Not a fanatic–at least, not yet–but I’ve learned more about cars, tire pressure and track surfaces than I ever thought possible. They started off my education with NASCAR, then moved on into open wheel and Formula 1.
I must admit, I love open wheel racing. Going two hundred miles an hour with your hind-end five inches off the concrete–way cool! For my fiftieth birthday, I want to ride in an Indy car. And who know, maybe a few racecar drivers will appear in future writing projects, when I run out of cowboys–which won’t be soon, I promise.
Now it’s my turn to ask the questions. Do any of you harbor a secret desire to try something new? If there were no limitations, what would you do?
Tracy will be giving away an autographed copy of Touch of Texas to one lucky commentor.