Back in Texas, my friends. My first Hero, the one that made me a novelist (stick with me long enough and you’ll meet him, I promise) hailed from Dallas, which is why I have a soft spot for that state (yes, Dallas Cowboys too, which takes nothing away from the Gators). Also, Bonnie came by for a nice chat which I always love.
Anyway, I have another story from there!
The story is My Texas Heart (The Texas Kincaids Book 3) by Bonnie Phelps.
Divorced from one woman who put her career ahead of everything – including their young son, Chad – Josh Kincaid isn’t about to make that same mistake twice. If he ever falls in love again, it’s going to be with a woman who puts family first. Chad is the most important thing in Josh’s life and he’ll do whatever it takes to be an active part of his life. But his ex has other plans and painfully shy Josh has to step up and fight for his son.
Feisty and driven, Fiona Reilly has plans. She left home to break away from the expectations that she marry and stay home to raise a passel of children. Nothing wrong with that life – it’s just not for her. Instead, she’s going to make something of herself and build a business to be reckoned with. In no hurry to fall in love, Josh and his adorable son capture her heart, forcing her to choose between her dreams and building the home she didn’t know she wanted.
Love has a way of messing up even the best of intentions…
And here’s the Author: Bonnie! Hi Bonnie, and thank you for being here. So, how did you come up with the idea for your book?
I start with the characters and create a profile for the hero and heroine. Who are they? What do they want? What’s their background? What internal and external demons keep them from their goals? “My Texas Heart” is the third book in a series about the Kincaid clan so I had the basic backstory for the hero from the other two books. I knew Josh was shy and in the midst of a divorce. He’s a computer nerd, and like many in his profession, sometimes gets lost in the problems he’s trying to solve. I tend to populate my books with people I might encounter in daily life and then throw them into situations that challenge their comfort zone. The inspiration for Josh came when I saw a quiet and obviously shy guy at a local coffee shop ordering his drink, a computer bag slung over his shoulder, and I just started wondering.
What sort of research did you do to write this book?
It’s my goal to make my books character driven so the first step in my general research is to wade into my copy of the “The Emotional Wound Thesaurus” by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. This helps me refine the character’s background and to identify ways in which my they might react in any given situation. In “My Texas Heart” the specific research I did included: stuttering and how a person can overcome it, childhood emotional abuse including symptoms and treatment, divorce and child custody proceedings in Texas, and emergency child custody orders in California. In a lighter vein, I researched slang phrases used in both Texas and South Boston, motorcycle brands – so I’d pick the right one for my hero, and creative ways a couple might kiss on a motorcycle.
Oh, wow! I have 3 books byby Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, and love them! So useful! Did you always have the reins of the story or did the people in it try to take over?
I start out with a brief outline of where I think the story is going and then let the characters take over. They decide what pieces of the outline work for them (plus adding a few unexpected twists of their own) and which hit the cutting room floor. It is, after all, their story.
What are you working on now?
I’m finishing up the “Texas Kincaid” series with a novella, due out in December, about the three brothers’ cousin, Crystal – who’s being stalked by a guy she dated a few times – and Josh’s friend, Cam, who’s returned from Afghanistan as a wounded veteran.
What started you on the path to writing?
The easy answer is reading. I jump into whatever I’m reading with both feet and join the action. I’ve been known to give it a different ending by insisting the characters make different decisions. If the story doesn’t drag me in, then the book ends up in my discard pile. The longer answer is that I’ve always made up stories. As an elementary school child my head was filled with stories. I remember directing stories of cowboys, adventure, daring do, and space aliens invading the earth. These stories would play out over and over in my imagination as I experimented with what characters would do as I changed the situations.
What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
Hearing from readers who tell me my story spoke to something they were going through or went through in their lives.
How long does it take to write a story?
My books typically run about 65,000 words and from the character profiles to final proofreading edits, I spend about eight months on a story.
What are your top three favorite books of all time?
There are so many but if I have to choose: “All Creatures Great and Small” by James Herriot for exploring the quirkiness of human nature. “Envy” by Sandra Brown for plumbing the depths of character motivation. “Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell for the power to create an emotional experience.
Who would you want to be for 1 day and why?
Oprah Winfrey. She talks to so many fascinating people and has an amazing capacity to dig deep into whatever issue she’s exploring.
Pen or computer?
Both but I lean most heavily on the pen to get the creative juices flowing.
Music or silence?
I prefer silence so I can hear my characters’ voices but if there are too many outside distractions, then classical music.
Alone or in public?
Alone because I need to turn my muse loose and can’t if I’m watching what’s going on around me. I’m a people watcher, so I know I would lose my concentration.
Thank you Bonnie!
Josh Kincaid’s cell phone hit the office wall with a crack, shattered the screen protector, and dropped to the floor with a thunk.
He froze. His heart stopped. His breath caught in his lungs. People were looking at him. No way to pretend it didn’t happen. No way to be his usual invisible self.
His teeth clenched so tightly he thought for sure a trip to the dentist was in his future. The nerve of his ex-wife, trying to make him out to be the bad guy. He wasn’t the one who’d cheated. Now she wanted to haul him into court and make him fight for shared custody of their son. It had been almost a year and he couldn’t wait for their divorce to be finalized. He felt eyes boring into him and a trickle of sweat eased down his back. Move, his brain commanded.
A voice followed by a robust laugh broke through the wall of silence that had descended on the room. His savior, Fiona Reilly. Loud. Gregarious. Compelling. All eyes shifted from him to the cause of the disturbance as papers fluttered to the floor. “Well, would you look at that? Clumsy me.” The ginger-haired beauty grinned at the assembled males gathering at her feet battling to see who could claim the biggest share of the massive file she’d dropped.
Josh blinked. Had she done it on purpose? She always seemed to be there when someone needed help getting out of a tight spot. He quietly slipped into his cubicle and lowered himself to his chair but peered over the partition to watch.
Rumor has it that the author began telling stories at an early age. Photos exist of me toddling around the corner of the house babbling about enchanted rabbits leading me through the garden. People are endlessly fascinating. I love exploring their stories and adding my own twists.
Find her on Amazon