Today I have the pleasure to meet up with Aaron Kilpatrick, the hero of The Softer Side of Texas, a Sai Marie Johnson’s novel.
Hi Aaron, and thank you for being here with us. So, let’s start. Have you ever had a nickname?
Not really, Grandpa sometimes called me Kid Racer but most people just call me Aaron.
What is your profession?
Ranch-Hand and Mechanic. My duties change from day to day, but I work my wife and in-laws’ 150 acres produce and cattle farm. We house a few horses, as well.
Are you happy about your life?
Yes, I admit it hasn’t always been an easy rodeo but a cowboy can’t complain when he’s making an honest living around the people he loves.
Would you change something about it?
I’d love for Ivy and I to have a son. I suppose I’d be just as happy with a ray of golden sunshine who smiles as brightly as her mother too. A boy or a girl doesn’t really matter as long as it’s with Ivanka.
Have you ever thought your life would be made into a book?
Not really. I mean, it’s a boring life in the eyes of most folks. It’s quieter and it’s slower but that’s how I like it.
Your thoughts on love.
Love came at me unexpectedly and I fell – HARD. I think that when Ivy disappeared I realized love shouldn’t be wasted and you should say how you feel ASAP. Life’s too short to waste time and love is the one thing that is worth it all.
What would you change about yourself?
I’m pretty happy with myself overall. I mean, I work out from time to time but why change myself if I am happy with me?
Your greatest extravagance?
I like to spend some extra cash – once in a blue moon – on some Pendleton Whiskey. It’s this great Whiskey that comes out of Oregon, and while I’ve never been there, I think I’d travel just to get some if the need be.
Your quirky habits?
My wife would say my cowboy singing by the campfire. I don’t really like to discuss it much, it just sort of happens. Blame it on my granddad because it was a pastime he started.
Which talent would you like to have?
I would love to be well-written like Shakespeare or poetic like that.
The quality you most like in a woman?
Loyalty and drive. Those were the first two qualities about Ivy that jumped at me. Most important things a person can have are loyalty to their cause and the drive to get themselves to the finish line.
The people you most despise?
Liars. Why lie or manipulate people? Just say what you need and don’t waste time running around the bush – DIVE IN.
So, you never lie?
I would lie only if it were to protect someone I loved. In other words, if here comes a crazy SOB wanting to know where my wife is I’m going to lie. Love covers a multitude of sins, as per the Bible quote and I fully believe that.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would you like to be?
Um, I don’t really know I’d want to be brought back here. The world is beautiful but it’s also going down the crapper quick and I don’t think I want to return to a world like that.
What kind of impression do you make on people when they first meet you?
People usually tend to swoon over me in some way. Men and women both do it, because I hold to some old traditions and Western ways that have been lost to the modern world.
Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done?
Travel to Jamaica. I know you’re thinking why Jamaica but I mean…It’s Jamaica mon.
Worst and best thing that happened to your life?
Meeting Ivanka Jessup and losing Ivanka Jessup in the same month.
The worst thing you’ve ever done to someone and why?
Punched them in the mouth and because they cut us off and got violent toward my woman. Disrespect isn’t something I tolerate.
What are you most afraid of?
Losing Ivy again, ever.
What do you value the most?
What is in your refrigerator right now?
Carne asada tacos.
The perfect night out?
Taking Ivy out in her Datsun to snuggle in a pile of pillows and blankets while we point out the constellations in a clear Texas night sky.
The perfect vacation?
Right now, I’d say Galveston. It’s within a few hours’ drive and fun enough but ultimately, I want to hit Jamaica.
What would you change about Ivy?
Not a thing. My lady is a charm and she is worth her weight in gold and then some. Nothing about her is less than perfect.
What do you like the most about her?
Ivy’s fire. She’s a strong-willed woman and she is highly independent. I know she can stand up on her own with or without me present.
Your first thought and impression when you first met.
I thought what’s this beautiful woman doing walking a dark road all by her lonesome at a time like this.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
If I were an animal, I think I’d be a horse.
Your obituary would be …
Loving husband (hopefully father), loyal grandson and damn good-looking cowboy. Husband of Honey Sunshine, who will forever hold my heart.
What would you do if:
someone tried to blackmail you. How easy or difficult would it be?
It would be pretty hard to blackmail me because I am a no-nonsense kind of guy. I don’t waste time and I am not easily intimidated. I’ll knock asses out parks to get my point across.
You arrive home to find your door unlocked and slightly ajar, and you’re sure you locked it on your way out.
I’d pull my Colt .45, granddad’s ole reliable, and I’d slowly make my way inside. If I found someone in there hurting someone I’d be the first to shoot them in their tracks. But, I will never hurt someone just for stealing food. If all they’re looking to get is some food, I’ll give them all I can and send them on their way with the warning not to do what they did again. I don’t need policing unless I need them. That’s how I believe and how I was raised.
You wake up to find a poisonous spider on your pillow next to your head?
I’d swat it away and kill it. Where I come from we have brown recluses and black widows, there’s no chancing my life with a toxic arachnid. Not scared but also not dumb.
You wake up in a room and bed you don’t recognize?
Oh, now this is something I would be freaking out on myself over. I love my wife and I make it a point to sleep in her bed every night, or near to wherever she is. Unless I’m in a hotel for work or some reason, I’d be concerned about what was going on for sure.
A natural disaster traps you on your way to an important destination?
I think this is what we call divine intervention, or at least that’s how I’d see it. Whatever diverted my decision must’ve been done for a reason. I think I’d be more concerned with the then and now than the what could never come to be.
Someone told you today that you are destined to fulfill a great prophecy?
I would probably laugh at them. Not that I don’t think there are great prophecies or don’t believe in them, I do. I just don’t know that I’d be the one who could be the next Moses or Muhammad.
What bill do you hate paying the most?
Thoughts on gas prices?
They’re ridiculous. Who doesn’t agree with that?
What errand/chore do you despise the most?
Power-washing the house.
Up early or sleep in?
Is marriage outdated?
What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
Nelson Mandela, but that’s not possible now.
Thank you, Aaron, for coming by and chat with me.
Here’s how Aaron and Ivy’s story goes.Since her brother’s death, Ivanka Jessup, known to her family and friends as Ivy, has struggled to help her family keep their ranch running. Enduring harassment from a certain customer in the bar she works in, she works late hours, in addition to working on the ranch. Defending herself lands her without a job and she is rescued by a stranger, Aaron Kilpatrick, who just happens to be on his way to talk to Ivy’s father about a job. He lands a job as a ranch hand, Ivy finds new work, and things seem to be on the upswing.
Since her brother’s death, Ivanka Jessup, known to her family and friends as Ivy, has struggled to help her family keep their ranch running. Enduring harassment from a certain customer in the bar she works in, she works late hours, in addition to working on the ranch. Defending herself lands her without a job and she is rescued by a stranger, Aaron Kilpatrick, who just happens to be on his way to talk to Ivy’s father about a job. He lands a job as a ranch hand, Ivy finds new work, and things seem to be on the upswing.
At just about the time Aaron and Ivy both realize they have feelings for each other, Ivy goes missing. The race is on to find her before it is too late, as foul play is suspected.
What Ivy endures at the hands of a madman is horrendous, but the thought of reuniting with Aaron keeps her going. Will she escape in time to find her happy ending?
Here’s an excerpt:
They say in Texas the sky is as free and open as the prairie lands surrounding it. In the country, where city boys and girls just don’t understand what it is like to really get in touch with your inner self but sometimes the world looks at the people there as if they are uneducated, or worse, pompous fools who know nothing except their guns, horses, and a stiff drink.
In many ways, that was very true but for Ivanka Jessup, Texas was home.
A crude and sometimes hard place to live, but nonetheless, it was still home. The blonde beauty had hair like the golden rays of sun as it filtered across the open desert and her skin was just as brilliant. In fact, Ivy Jessup’s nickname from her father ended up being Honey Sunshine because of how sweet and pretty the young lady had always been. Judging a book by its cover would be foolish in the case of Ivy, however, because beneath all that decadence was a tomboy with a bite like a diamond rattler’s.
That morning was no different from any other morning and Ivy rolled over in her bed to “moan aloud when the sunlight hit her eyes.
“It’s too damn early!” she groaned, pulling the sheet back over her face. Working the night shift at Bud’s usually had this effect, and Ivy felt as if she was dying when the cock began crowing in the distance. Still living at home with her parents, the young woman had chores to run on her daddy’s farm, but working late nights was beginning to take its toll on her. More than “that, Ivy was starting to feel like she hated being the object of the customers’ attention.
Especially one in particular named Antonio Rodriguez. He was a Mexican-American farmhand who seemed to think he had the right to try to touch her, and like clockwork at about six o’clock every night, he would stride into her bar and demand a Tecate. It would be the start of at least a dozen others, and by eight o’clock that night, he would be well past the limit. For some reason, Bud didn’t ever throw him out, though, and his actions towards Ivy never seemed to bother him, either. Ivy finally pulled herself out of bed and drew her hands up to tiredly wipe her eyes.
“Damn, this is killing me. I really need to find a new job.” Yawning, she stood up and waltzed across her room to grab a pair of faded blue jeans which she shimmied on in a matter of seconds. Next, came a faded plaid button down which she tied off at her waist, and slipping her feet into a pair of tan boots, she opened the door to head to the kitchen. In the hallway, everything seemed to echo “and Ivy could hear her parents discussing the bills already.
“Now, Jesse, you know we can’t afford that. It is enough just keeping the horses fed. Ivy gives me all her money from working down at the bar, but I don’t like the way Antonio looks at her.”
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY: Sai Marie is an author, creative writer, and concept creator. She resides in the Great Pacific Northwest where she enjoys the flora, fauna, action and adventure that bred the Pioneer Spirit. With a heart for advocacy, animals, the environment, and great imagination she is sure to capture your attention with something for everyone.
SAI MARIE AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Sai-Marie-Johnson/e/B00EE8A52W