Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Laurie Kingery's The Outlaw's Lady Book Review and Author Interview

Tess Hennessey, an accomplished young photographer, strives to earn enough money to study her craft with a famous studio in New York, something most women wouldn’t consider doing in the 1880s. On her way home from a successful shoot at her uncle’s ranch in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, she is accosted and kidnapped by a gang of Mexican banditos. Who is the mastermind behind the scheme? The attractive Sandoval Parrish, a man she meets at her uncle's gathering who is reputed to befriend Diego Delgado, the evil leader of the notorious outlaws.

Before he met Tess, undercover Texas Ranger Sandoval’s plan was simple: avenge his sister’s ruin and death that Delgado caused by forcing Tess to photograph the bandito under the ruse of documenting his exploits. Sandoval intends to send the negatives to another Ranger to distribute them on wanted posters throughout southern Texas and Mexico in the hopes of capturing the wretch. But when Sandoval is attracted to Tess, Delgado views her as his private property, and Delgado’s vicious sister wants her dead, Sandoval must protect her against increasingly dangerous incidents that threaten both of their lives.

I enjoyed the plot twists and the characters in The Outlaw’s Lady. The hero’s and heroine’s trust in God, placing each other's needs before their own as their difficulties increase, the caring bad guy and his mother, even the suave but merciless dictator and his evil sibling--though I wanted to choke them. I definitely recommend The Outlaw’s Lady, and I look forward to Laurie Kingery’s next novels.


MAP: Based on your website biography, some might say you’ve lived a satisfying, if not exciting, life--an army brat, a trauma nurse, meeting your husband through eHarmony. How have these experiences impacted your fiction writing?

LK: Since my mother was from Texas, I was born there and my life was filled with trips there, and at one time, I lived over a year there, so the terrain, the culture and the western ethos were familiar to me. I always felt more at home there than in my Ohio home. Being an E.R. nurse made it a lot easier to write about injuries and to be familiar with ballistics—though my husband helps too with the latter. Meeting him through eHarmony has reinforced my belief in romance—that we’re not just writing fantasies, and that there really are men out there who live out their faith (though they aren’t perfect) and are capable of being faithful, loving mates for life.

MAP: God has abundantly blessed you. You’re a published author of eighteen ABA and CBA novels. How challenging was the transition from the former to the latter in writing and marketing your manuscripts?

LK: It was very different, but I did my best to ease the transition by reading all the CBA fiction I could. Steeple Hill is one of the more conservative CBA houses, however, so those first couple of books did get some things edited out that might offend some CBA readers—things that seemed matter-of-fact to me, like mentioning the heroine removing her clothes to bathe. But I respect that my publisher is really trying to respect the sensitivity of its most conservative reader, so it was a matter of learning what to avoid. It is challenging to write villains without using coarse dialogue, or using the ordinary “fudge” words we use, like gosh and darn, but it can be done. It’s helped that our Christian characters in Love Inspired Historicals can dance now.

MAP: You obviously adapted very well. Your last few novels are set in Texas. Do you plan to continue in that vein?

LK: I’ve set my last five books in Texas. I probably will continue to set most of my work there, but I’m not averse to venturing into the rest of the west. I love that part of the country.

MAP: What's the best part of fiction writing for you?

LK: Those rare times when I’m really in the “flow” and the words are coming easily and hours pass without my noticing. I wish those came more often. Also, getting fan mail—any fan mail, but especially those that mention specifically what they liked about my books.

MAP: What's the most difficult, and how do you overcome it?

LK: The middles of books, when as a seat-of-the-pants writer I don’t know what to have happen next. The only way I’ve found to get through it is just to slog through it, to give myself permission to write “dreck” until the way becomes clear again. Then I try to clear up the dreck in the next pass.

MAP: Are you working on a current project?

LK: I’ve just started the third in my new Simpson Creek Spinsters’ Club series, tentatively titled THE WEDDING TREE. The first of these books, MARRYING MILLY, is scheduled to be out in November 2110. A long time between releases, I know, but I’m hoping the readers will find this series worth the wait.

MAP: I certainly will. Now tell us, do your characters reflect your personality?

LK: In some cases they reflect who I’d like to be, both personality-wise and physically—talented in some ways I’m not, gorgeous, thin…but also they sometimes reflect my insecurities. And I’m sure they react in ways that I would, too.

MAP: The road from new writer to published writer is like a tall ladder with many rungs. What’s your advice to the newbies about shooting for the top?

LK: Not to compare your journey to anyone else’s. No matter what rung you’re on, there will always be someone who has more books out, bigger advances, and seemingly has more fan than you have. Remember that your first “fan” is the Lord, and that you’re writing for Him above everyone else. He has not promised you a place on the New York Times list, or a Rita, or a Book of the Year. He just asks you to be obedient and use the talent you were given for Him. I’d also advise them to read, read, read the books of the type you’re trying to read, and everything else too. And don’t get too hung up in contests and critique groups. They’re good and useful, but not the end goal.

MAP: If you could only share one more thing with us, what would it be?

LK: I’m so thankful that I’ve been blessed with the gift of writing, and have been allowed to use this gift to write books for Him. I never thought I’d get to publish even one book, and now I’m working on my twenty-first book (counting the ABA ones).

MAP: Thanks, Laurie, and may God continue to bless the fruits of your labor.

LK: Thanks so much for the opportunity to talk to your readers and share my thoughts. God bless all of you too!

1 comment:

  1. Great interview, Mary! It's nice to get to know this author better.