D.B.: Hi, Barbara, welcome back. I see we’re back in that made up town of Flagman’s Folly, New Mexico again. As a person who spent 20 years in this state, I love it that you set your story in THE LAND OF ENCHANTMENT. Talk about New Mexico and why this is such an attractive place for a story?
BWD: It's great to be back here at Five Scribes!
New Mexico has some wonderful, history-rich cities such as Santa Fe. It's also still wild in many areas, with lots of open land. That untamed, rugged feel makes the state a natural fit for sexy, hardworking ranchers and cowboys—which just happens to be the kind of heroes I most like to write about.
D.B.: We last visited Flagman’s Folly with A RANCHER’S PRIDE. This time we have a new cast of characters. Caleb Cantrell, a rodeo man, and Tess LaSalle, a Realtor, and a charming little imp named Anastasia Lynn who goes by the nickname “Nate.” You bring in characters from A RANCHER’S PRIDE, Ellamae, Judge Baylor, Dori, and Manny. Why do you think readers connect so well with a series? And how difficult/easy is it to pick up where you left off?
BWD: I believer readers like series for the chance to revisit with the characters. They become, if not friends, folks we feel we know. So far, it hasn't been difficult at all for me to pick up again with a new Flagman's Folly book. I love the town and all the folks in it, which helps them stay in my mind.
D.B.: Caleb is broken in more ways than one. He’s set on proving a thing or two in Flagman’s Folly. You also do an awesome job in getting inside his head. I felt like I was reading about a man who rode the circuit. When you create a hero, how do you go about getting to know him?
BWD: Mostly by writing about him. As we get to know each other, he tells me things. (smile) But it's a slow process, depending on how long it takes him to trust me.
D.B.: The same with Tess. She’s such a sympathetic character. In the classic tale of a woman who falls in love with a rodeo man, she follows him to tell him some very important news. Here she finds him with two women hanging on his arms. I felt a punch to my stomach when I read that. How you make Caleb sympathetic, and Tess not seem like a doormat, but you manage to pull it off. What kind of thoughts went through your head when you set up this conflict between them?
BWD: I wanted to show a young girl going through a bad time and a man doing all the wrong things for what he thinks are all the right reasons. Each of them is so emotionally hurt by the other, there's no way they can be together. But for the purposes of the book, they have to be. (smile)
D.B.: Setting is so important to you, and you do it so well. I want to share a talent you have. Readers/Writers, read this section in Caleb’s point of view. Barbara might have easily described this in the stereotypical: She lived in a pretty house.... But note how Caleb compares it to his life.
Always, he had envied Tess this old house with its two stories, peaked roof, and deep porch corralled by rails. A wooden-slatted swing dangled from chains in the porch ceiling. He’d always wanted to sit in that swing, too. It overlooked rows of plants with big pink and yellow and orange blooms and the yard that ran down to the street.
The porch alone took up more footage than that rust-eaten hulk he’d lived in growing up.
He stabbed at the gold doorbell and stepped back.
What impressed me about this description is that in one paragraph, we get that Tess obviously had a better home life than Caleb, that when he looks at the flowers, he doesn’t know what they are, just calls them blooms (a guy’s point of view) and the use of “stabbed” in that final line is a powerful action verb that reinforces this is a man taking this all in. Well done.
Share your thoughts on setting with our readers. Is that something that comes naturally to you, or do you have to work at writing environments.
BWD: Thanks for the compliment, Donnell! I'm honored. And the truth is, I work at it. I visualize settings, but making them clear on paper is another matter.
D.B.: In addition to setting, your narrative includes the environment.
Caleb: So far, he wouldn’t take any prizes for his conversational skills. . . . If he wasn’t talking horses or rodeo, he sure felt at a loss when it came to kids.
Later in the scene as Caleb is observing Nate. . . “Hey, guys,” she yelled at a level that could quiet an arena without a bullhorn. "You won’t believe who’s here!”
Without long stretches of describing a rodeo man you in short passages “show” that rodeo has been his life. Did you pick this up by reading, or is this a natural gift you have when it comes to writing?
BWD: I'd love to say it's a gift. (smile) Truth is, I write what I love to read.
I prefer short stretches of description. No offense to anyone who likes to read or write longer ones. To each her own—which is why it's wonderful to have so many choices when it comes to books.
D.B.: Once again we’re down to almost three pages and I haven’t even gotten your answers yet, so I’ll close with one final question. What do you want readers to know in our third interview that you didn’t yet know during our first or second interview?
BWD: I'm learning how much fun it is to come back to "old friends" again and again. To make stories more textured and layered and complex while—fingers crossed again—keeping the story moving. And I hope readers enjoy coming along for the ride.
D.B.: Barbara, thanks for being here again. It’s so great to see that your persistence is paying off and that Harlequin American is recognizing it has a talented author in its mix. Will you be doing a book giveaway?
BWD: Thanks! And yes, I'm offering an autographed copy of A RANCHER'S PRIDE, the first book set in Flagman's Folly.
I hope your readers liked learning a few things about me and will look for—and enjoy—THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER, as well as my other books. I also hope they'll visit my website:http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com
Originally from the East Coast, award-winning author Barbara White Daille now lives with her husband in the warm, sunny Southwest, where they love the lizards in the front yard but could do without the scorpions in the bathroom.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR OWN THERESA RIZZO. YOU HAVE WON THE RODEO MAN'S DAUGHTER....