Today I glad to welcome my online friend and western romance author, Rain Trueax. We also share an interest in paranormal subjects, I might add.
About the author:
Thanks for having me on your blog, Lyn.
For those who don’t know me, I just turned 70, am married almost 50 years with two grown children and four grandchildren (who are growing up way too fast). Today, with my husband and two cats, I live on a sheep and cattle operation in the Oregon Coast Range. My goals in writing are to portray real life, passion, personal growth and mutual fulfillment for heroes and heroines, using the land and the mysteries that one finds when they stop to look and listen to local legends. To me, the romance novel is a bit of a modern fairy tale as it inspires with imagination and emotions. I think of mine as emotional roller coaster rides.
Good analogy, one I agree with. How did you begin writing?
In childhood it all began with creating my own paper dolls. I drew these male and female characters (naked, of course—had to research that for the men) where I created costumes to fit various historical periods. Then I’d have them act out the stories I imagined. I did that until my early teens when I felt that was inappropriate and burned the dolls—a shame then; now they live on as more beautiful than maybe they were. From that I went to telling stories with my younger cousin where we’d go for walks and take turns with sections of the plots—except she liked mine best; so I created most of them. One went on to become my first full length story. The book is not yet out as I’m debating what to do with the Oregon historicals.
Sounds like fun! I’d like to read those Oregon stories. Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you choose it?
It is kind of a pen name. It is my actual last name before marriage combined with the first name I chose for myself many years ago when I began painting and sculpting. When I decided to bring out my first eBooks, it was easy to opt for the name I’d been using in other creative endeavors. Rain came because of my love of nature and in the Internet world it seemed less female or male and more about the area where I live—Oregon.
I love your choice of names, both first ad last. I know you’re self-published, like me. What made you choose that route?
Rather than submitting my books again to the corporate publishing houses, I felt I’d have more freedom in their length and subject matter. I had always had good responses from publishing houses when I would submit queries and often manuscripts but always what they wanted to change seemed to lose the essence of what I wanted to write. The length was also an issue with the historicals as publishing houses wanted nothing over 100,000 words and mine were longer with no way to cut them down without losing the essence of what made them novels in my own eyes. I want to write romances but romances about more than just two people falling in love. That leads to lengthier books.
I experienced the same with agents always wanting me to cut my historicals. How do you develop your plots and your characters?
Sometimes plots and characters come from something I’ve read, an interest I have. I often have the characters first and begin playing around with what they might do and who might come into their story. Creating a meaningful and not stereotypical villain is part of this process. They are often as fun to write as the hero and heroine. Villains have to have a reason for what they do—unless they are psychotic. I think they are part of the yin and yang of the books.
So true! Please describe how and where you research for your books.
For my fourth Oregon historical, I was frustrated at trying to understand what a cavalry officer of the 1860s might have been like until I realized there was a lot written about one particular officer—George Armstrong Custer. I have both researched him online, through books I had and reread, books I’ve ordered (pro and con) and it’s helped me get the feel for this character. Years ago it was mostly library work and the Dewey decimal system where I’d take notes, check out books, visit museums (still do that), and ask people questions. The internet helps now but it still takes a lot of reading finally to understand some subjects. I like to get a feel for the region where the story is set through real time spent there.
You obviously do a lot of research. What about your book covers? Who designs them?
I love doing my own covers but have learned a lot about reader expectation since starting this process. Since I paint and sculpt, I thought doing covers would be a no-brainer. Wrong. It takes making the images fit what readers in each genre expect. Along with creating trailers, this has been a fun and challenging process, but I want to do my own to keep them close to the story in my head. I love looking at covers, though, created by pros.
So far I’ve done all my book covers, and as you say, it’s fun but challenging. Does your significant other and/or family support your writing career?
My husband is my support system. He’s not only encouraged me but he’s my critic and serves as my publisher. We have learned so much together. My grown kids not so much as I think having their mom write romances seems a little strange. I don’t push it with them as they read other types of books and I get it. My granddaughter, though, is interested in writing stories about fairies; so maybe the next generation will also write as one grandson loves westerns—not mine as I write adult romances which they can only read after eighteen.
You’re very lucky to have your husband’s support. Do you have a favorite quote? Please share it.
“Where we choose to be—we have that power to determine our lives. We cannot reel time backward or forward, but we can take ourselves to the place that defines our being.” Sena Jeter Naslund from Ahab’s Wife.
Oh, I like that! Would you tell us what project(s) you’re working on now?
Sure. Always there is marketing but currently it’s getting Tucson Moon ready to come out November 29th. I had originally planned to release it in both paperback and Kindle on that date but not so sure right now about the paperback. I am also learning more about how audio books work and whether that’s a consideration. The book I am writing will be the fourth in Oregon historicals covering the time of the Snake Conflict east of the Cascades and after the Civil War. Fascinating period in Oregon and for our nation with a military man as the hero. The heroine is the most untraditional I’ve written as she is one of the sisters from the earlier books but my first heroine who is also a warrior.
Finally I’d like to share a brief excerpt from this new book. Those who read my historical western, Arizona Sunset, should enjoy this story which carries forth several characters and picks up the story three years later with a new romance. The hero of Tucson Moon is the founder of the ranch, which in contemporary times is also in Desert Inferno.
Book excerpt from Tucson Moon:
Marshal Cord O’Brian rode down the dusty street, tired and irritated at his wasted day. Why was it every time he went to the Bailey house to try and talk to them about their son, they were all gone? He had little doubt the couple hid inside to avoid him but didn’t they understand that young man was on a road to destruction if he kept on as he was?
Jesse’s last episode in town had nearly led to a killing. The next one might. He had no idea what was wrong with the youth, but something and it was getting worse.
When he saw the buggy turning a corner and now coming toward him, he cursed under his breath. A bad day was going more steadily downhill. The last person he wanted to run into was the beautiful, useless, silly and for some reason all too attractive to him Miss Wesley. He slowed his horse anyway to be polite and pulled to a halt when Miss Wesley stopped her buggy.
“Ah Marshal, and what miscreants have you been rounding up today?” she teased in that faint drawl that always made him imagine mint juleps or summer evenings on a porch with a… Never mind the rest.
“Miss Wesley, did you have one to report to me?”
Her forced smile reminded him that he was not on her favorite person list, not that he expected to be. If for no other reason, he had earned her ire when he’d been unsympathetic to her gentleman friend who had used a minor wound to avoid being questioned for one long, frustrating week.
“Possibly, I might,” she said. “What kind would you like?”
“The usual. Easy to arrest and then much credit to my reputation when the hombre is sealed away forever.”
This time her smile seemed a bit more genuine. “Then I guess I don’t know any at the moment but will be sure to report one should I come across them.”
“Unlikely in your circle of superior folks,” he said with a smirk that he knew would irritate her.
“Yes, you are right. People I know are all above reproach,” she agreed.
“Like Sam Ryker?” he asked still frustrated at the way that rustler had managed to avoid the law and settle into what looked like a respectable life but which he knew couldn’t be. Leopards do not change their spots.
“Mr. Ryker is an excellent example of a fine gentleman,” she said giving him a look that said she judged him as being anything but. Well fine, he didn’t consider himself a gentleman either.
He snorted. “His being married to your best friend has no bearing on your judgment does it?” He had asked it even knowing arguing with her was wasting both their times.
“I would recognize his character anyway. I am a good judge of character, Marshal O’Brian.” She gave him a look that clearly said where she had placed him.
“He’s a rustler and a gunman, Miss Wesley. The fact that I have not been able to prove the former doesn’t make it less so.”
“Well, such a superior lawman as yourself should consider the possibility that there is nothing to prove.”
He laughed. “You still believe in Santa Claus, Miss Wesley?”
“Of course, doesn’t everyone?” she snapped back.
He wished he was less aware of her shapely figure, the strong looking, finely boned, small hands on the reins of her horse. He imagined those hands doing other things and the very idea made him grimace. A woman he didn’t need. Even more not one like this pampered beauty. When he met her gaze, he wondered just how accurately she read his attraction. Likely she expected every man to fall to his knees at her feet. He’d be one who never would.
Tempting excerpt, Rain! Thanks so much for visiting me.
More information at:
Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B006UX64X8
Writing blog: http://raintrueax.blogspot.com/
Book blog: http://rainydayromances.blogspot.com/
Yes, we are on the husbands, Caroline ;). Thanks Peggy and char and nice to see you again too, Shirley. 🙂
Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Lyn. It’s fun to think about some of the aspects to writing that are there but where we just don’t spend time analyzing until we do something like this. I enjoy your books, the supernatural aspect to them as well as the adventures and romance. Neat to get to know you better. Rain Trueax
So nice to learn more about you, Rain. My husband is my publisher also. Aren’t we fortunate to have supportive men? Wishing you continued success.
Great interview, Rain. I love all the research you do! I’m in the same camp as you and Lyn – love to include the historical stuff in my romances. I think it enriches the stories. Keep writing!
Ok, Rain, another book I have to buy. Enjoyed the interview.
Hi Rain! Long time no see. Hope your books are selling well. Great interview.