Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Bull Rider's Brother by Lynn Cahoon: Interview & Excerpt

Rodeo weekend is the start of the summer for the entire town of Shawnee, Idaho. On a girl's night out, Lizzie Hudson finds herself comparing her life as a single mom with her best friend's successful career when James Sullivan, the cowboy who got away, walks his Justin Ropers back into her life.  Seeing him shakes Lizzie's world but James is in for an even more eventful weekend, learning he has a son.  James has enough on his plate trying to manage his brother's bull riding career. 

When James Sullivan comes back for the town’s rodeo weekend and finds out that his high school sweetheart had his child, six years ago, Lizzie’s world is thrown into turmoil and she must decide if safety and certainty are worth giving up on a chance for love.  A love that an emotionally damaged James may never be able to return, breaking her and her son’s heart in the process.

 “I‘ll be there in a minute.” James knelt down next to the kid. He had a new straw hat. Staring at the sheep, James picked up a piece of straw and put it in his mouth like a toothpick.

The kid watched James and mirrored his actions. He, too, picked up a piece of straw and started chewing.
James grinned. “You riding tonight?”
“First time?”

“Yep. Gramps bought me a new hat. He says I‘m big enough.”
“I rode at your age.” James laid his arms on the rails of the pen.
“You did?” The boy cast a glance downward and away, kicking the dirt with his toe before he asked, “Were you scared?”
“Heck, yeah. I worried I‘d fall. Then I was scared I‘d make a fool of myself and bawl my eyes out.” James peered at the barn toward where his brother stood talking to group of men. “I didn‘t want my brother to tease me.”

“My mom doesn‘t know. Gramps said it was our secret.” The kid bent his head towards one of the men talking to Jesse. “Do you think it‘s okay to have a secret from your mom?”
“As long as it‘s a good secret. Is she coming to the rodeo? Will she be here to watch you?”
“Yep. Gramps says she‘ll shit a brick when she sees me.” The boy grinned.
“She probably will.” James laughed and held out his hand. “I‘m James.”
“I‘m JR.” The boy shook his hand, stood up from his crouch and headed toward the men near Jesse. Turning around, he called, “Are you going to the parade?”

“Wouldn‘t miss it.”

“I‘ll see you then. They throw lots of candy and you even get an ice cream cone at the end.” He waved and took off at a run. When he reached the crowd around Jesse, he grabbed an older man by the knees. 

Now that’s love.

Welcome Lynn.  Thanks for taking this time so we can find out a little about you.  I'm so happy for this opportunity.  How did you start writing?

I started writing while my marriage of eighteen years was falling apart.  In my stories, I was able to deal with the emotions that weren’t allowed to be shown at home and by writing, I gained my strength back.  After the divorce, I kept writing, but thought of it as a hobby, something that was fun.  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, I realized if my time here was to be short, I wanted to spend it writing my stories.

I sold two essays that year.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

Anywhere I haven’t been – and some places again.  I really want to go to Hawaii – one of the places I’ve never been.  I keep track of the number of states I’ve been to – now I’m up to 30 – My husband and I went to Ohio over the Memorial Day weekend.

Why?  I love being in a new place, imagining what my life would be like if I lived there.  When I went to NYC for RWA Nat’ls last year, my friend’s aunt lent us her apartment.  While we were walking down Columbus Avenue, I found a street vendor selling books.  Of course we had to stop. J I found a copy of Illusions by Richard Bach. I loved this book growing up and had lost my copy.  It felt like a sign. When I opened the book and found the dedication inside, I knew someday I’d write a story about the man who gave this book to his love, lost her, and, how they found each other, years later.  The unwritten story is still nagging me, wanting to be written.

Tell us about your current release.

The Bull Rider’s Brother came out of one of those weekend trips I love to take. While my date and I were in Riggins, Idaho for the rodeo and the party – I started thinking about the people who lived there and their lives when the party ended.  So when I wanted to write a story set in my home state, the small town set in the mountains immediately popped into my head, and, the fictional town of Shawnee was born. 

I grew up in a small farming town.  Kids in small towns want one thing.  To get out.  The  four friends featured in The Bull Rider’s Brother weren’t any different.  Only one, Lizzie Hudson, didn’t get to live her dreams of being a journalist.  Instead, she’d become a single mom scrimping by to raise her son alone.  When the rodeo comes to town at the beginning of the book, it brings a few surprises for all of the characters.

The sequel, The Bull Rider’s Manager, focuses on Lizzie’s best friend, Barb Carico.  Crimson Romance is releasing this book in late November.

Who has been instrumental in your writing career?

I was fortunate a few years ago to meet a very talented and giving author, Laura Bradford. When I first moved to the St. Louis area, she’d just released her first book and had a big write up in the regional newspaper.  I kept the article, as motivation that maybe someday that I would be an author.  When I won a prize on a group blog Laura participated in, she offered to meet me for lunch.  And she kept meeting me, even though I probably scared her by listing off my five different manuscripts I’d started and never finished. 

I was a four chapter wonder.

Laura pushed me to finish something, and helped me focus on a project.  She suggested I join RWA and even attended a few meetings with me before she left town and got married. (Romance writers, what are you going to do? – grin)

Joining a chapter (Shout out to MoRWA) and meeting people who were generous with their time and suggestions gave me the confidence I needed to try new things.  Which led to my submitting to Crimson Romance and my becoming an author.

So can I combine two questions and talk about my favorite television show as a child?

Dark Shadows.  I loved the suspense, the cliff hangers, and the ongoing story.  I loved Barnabas Collins, my first wounded hero.  I would fly off the school bus, run up the porch stairs, and, plop in front of the television.  If a commercial was running, my mom would catch me up on what I’d missed.  Dark Shadows was our bonding time.  Other mothers and daughters baked cookies after school, we watched vampires.

And the follow up question to that – Beatles or Monkees?

Davey Jones, swoon.   Monkees were my favorite group.  Until the Partridge Family, of course.  And I’ll never believe the rumors between Shirley Jones and David Cassidy.  Yuck.

What kind of a writer are you?

Determined, focused, sometimes too much so.  I’m great at planning.  But sometimes, I have to remind myself of my two mantra’s – Do The Work (100-500-1000 words a day adds up – IF and only if it’s every day) and Baby Steps (No one is really an overnight success.)

Okay, three mantra’s.  Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – And It’s All Small Stuff.  Having cancer teaches you that more than anything.  I used to read up on my treatment – but I could only go as far as the next step before I’d start freaking out.  Keep things in perspective, you’ll be a lot happier.

Which leads us to the last question…

What makes you happy?

Hearing my husband’s voice on the phone during the day job.  Curling up with my evil Pomeranian at night when we go to bed and he becomes sweet.  Reading something I wrote that I love, (like the happy ever after scene in The Bull Rider’s Brother.)  Flying into Boise or Seattle and knowing I’m coming home. Cooking and baking.  I love trying a new recipe and having it turn out perfectly. Or even totally flopping, as long as I know what I did wrong (like the time I made Eggs Benedict and my hollandaise sauce curdled because I let the eggs cook too long without stirring.)

So honestly, just about anything.

Thanks so much for having me here.

Growing up in the middle of cowboy country, Lynn Cahoon was destined to fall in love with a tall, cool glass of water.  Now, she enjoys writing about small town America, the cowboys who ride the range, and the women who love them. 

Lynn is the author of The Bull Rider’s Brother, a contemporary romance published by Crimson Romance this summer.  The sequel (The Bull Rider’s Manger) will be published in November along with her first paranormal novella, A Member of the Council (Lyrical Press.) She’s currently finishing the second novella in the paranormal series. 

Lynn's Contact Links: 

Website   |    FaceBook  |   Twitter

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R.T. Wolfe said...

The Beatles! I'm too young (barely) to even know the Monkies. :) LOL. Great interview, Lynn. Gorgeous blog site, Laurie.
-R.T. Wolfe

Lynn Cahoon said...

Ha - The Monkees were after the Beatles, just not as iconic. Have you been to Strawberry Fields in Central Park - Very inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Love the Monkees and the Beatles. That's one of those questions I could never answer. Great point about not sweating the small stuff. Sometimes it's all too easy to get bogged down with stuff that isn't really going to mean anything in the long run.

Lynn Cahoon said...

Hi Maura - So true - I can't remember the last time I got worked up about something that really mattered. OF course, I thought it did at the time. LOL