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Q&A with Kathleen Eagle author of NEVER TRUST A COWBOY

What about cowboys inspired you to write this romance?

Like most of the girls I knew growing up, I fell in love with Hollywood cowboys.  I loved the way they dressed, the way they lived, really loved their horses, and I loved their stories.  Fast forward a dozen or more years to the summer I spent in a volunteer program in South Dakota when I met a real working cowboy.  He dressed the part, rode the horse, talked the talk and walked the walk.  After I finished college I returned to South Dakota and married that cowboy.  He inspired me to write Romance.

You’ve published more than 40 books. How do you continue to come up with such original plotlines and characters?

We live in Minnesota now, but with family, horses, and land in North and South Dakota, we make lots of trips there.  I’m all about writing what you know, especially the setting.  Real people inspire characters for me, too.  Those Hollywood characters I loved when I was a kid were created by somebody else.  I have to come up with my own characters, draw from my own experience.  As for a situation or setups for plot building, a news story might spark my imagination—the all-important what if?  Sometimes my husband will show me something that caught his eye.  He’s the one who spotted a story about 21st century cattle rustling.  The first seed he planted in my brain for NEVER TRUST A COWBOY was a picture of a tricked-out horse trailer used by thieves.

What are the three ingredients for the perfect hero in a romance novel?  

A hero has to be skilled, confident and committed to something—a goal, an ideal, a person or people—and he has to be honorable.  But he’s never perfect.  You see him on the flip side of those qualities as well.  He’s made at least one serious mistake.  He’s human, which makes him flawed.  He’s a warrior, protective of women, children, animals—you want to see him in that role—but he’s also vulnerable.  His gentle side melts your heart.

If you could make any literary hunk in history come to life, who would it be and why?  

Since the Starz channel truly brought Jamie Frasier to life in the movie version of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, I’ll wish for Christian Langland from Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From the Storm to come walking up my driveway.  His journey from arrogant rake to admirable, caring hero makes him a man to sigh for.

How did you come up with the personalities in the book? Are they inspired by real people?

I started with a basic story setup.  I wanted the heroine to live on a ranch and the hero to be involved somehow with cattle rustling.  But how?  Can he be a thief?  Del Fox had to be a man who’d worked through some tough times, learned some hard lessons, and reached a point where he can be putting his experience to use.  He just can’t tell anyone who he really is.  His match would be a woman who’s living in a shell of her own making.  Circumstances have shaken her confidence, but she’s trying to rebuild herself and her life. They both have to be hard on the outside and hungry on the inside. Trust is the heart of the matter with these two loners.

What’s on your reading list right now?

I’m enjoying a beautifully written non-fiction book—Buffalo For the Broken Heart: Restoring Life To a Black Hills Ranch. By Dan O’Brien.  Next up is Windigo Island, a mystery by William Kent Kruger.  

Do you have any writing rituals or quirks?

I write on a laptop, but when I get stuck, it’s back to pencil and paper.  Pencil because I have to be able to erase.

What is the first book you remember reading by yourself as a child?  

The Real Mother Goose.  I knew most of the rhymes, and I remember following the printed words with my finger and saying them aloud.  I said I was reading, and pretty soon I really was.

What are three things about you that might surprise your readers?

I can do the Texas Two-Step, but I’ve got a Rock ‘n Roll heart.  I’ve finally, finally, finally stopped biting my fingernails.  And while they might have a tastte for me, vampires or zombies aren’t my cup of tea.

What are you working on for your next book?

A woman buys a South Dakota town in an internet auction.  A whole town.  It’s nearly dead, and its few residents have put it up for sale.  It’s going to be a four-book series. 

About the Author

KATHLEEN EAGLE published her first book, a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award winner, with Silhouette Books in 1984. Since then she has published more than 40 books, including historical and contemporary, series and single title, earning her nearly every award in the industry.  Her books have consistently appeared on regional and national bestseller lists, including the USA Today list and the New York Times extended bestseller list. 

Born in Virginia and raised "on the road" as an Air Force brat, Eagle earned degrees from Mount Holyoke College and Northern State University.  She taught at Standing Rock High School in North Dakota for 17 years. She continues to teach writing at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

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