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Wanna ride a cowboy? Click image!

The calendar may say October, but with these two HAWT covers staring at me in their sultry greatness, I’m all about a hot Texas summer! (Clearly I’ve not spent much time in Texas in the summer, but I digress.) My guest today is Suzie Quint, and her sexy release A KNIGHT IN COWBOY BOOTS is tearing up the charts. Readers are lovin’ this one, and after chatting with Suzie I must say I am positively drooling for time to curl up with her KNIGHT. So y’all get your drawl on, break out the crisp “city folk” jeans and boots if you don’t have the genuine things, and find something to straddle. This is one FABULOUS ride!

Welcome, Suzie, and congrats on the success of A KNIGHT IN COWBOY BOOTS! I’d only begun to read the blurb  when I had to stop, snagged by the first line: “When Zach McKnight, an irresistible oil rig worker with a thick-as-honey Texan drawl . . . .” <<Yes, this. *cowboy love* What kind of inspiration did you have for creating this delectable character?

I was experimenting with how to write unique character voices and playing around with dialects when I created Zach’s brother Jake. What I discovered was that I loved writing that “good ol’ country boy” sound. It turned into a story but stalled near the end because I couldn’t find the answers to some research questions I had, so I abandoned it for a while, but that “thick-as-honey” Texas drawl wouldn’t leave me alone, so I had to come back and write his brother Zach’s story.

I just love, love, love a drawl! I WAY love how it followed you until you wrote the story. *Grin* This is a suspense novel, so it’s no surprise reviewers are cheering the intrigue found within. What’s interesting, however, is how many of your reader reviews mention the humor. Do the funny parts come naturally to you, or do you find you have to make an effort to plot those guffaws?

It’s not me that’s funny, I swear. It’s the characters. When they find themselves in situations that make them emotionally uncomfortable, they’ll generally do some pretty odd things to find their way back to their comfort zone. For instance, one the characters in A Knight in Cowboy Boots is Zach’s older sister Rachel. Personally, I love Rachel. She’s bossy in the way only the oldest girl in large family can be. She’s used to riding herd on her brothers and making them toe the line. One of the things that happens in the story is that Zach and Rachel redefine their relationship, and that brings with it some uncomfortable moments for both of them, but what’s uncomfortable for them is pretty amusing to watch.

That’s so true! Always more amusing to be on the outside looking in, LOL! And while I’m all voyeuristic, I’ve gotta ask: Love scenes—smokin’, burning hot, I hear . . . so, does Zach take off that cowboy hat?  I’m pretty sure the public at large needs to know this. ;c)

LOL! The hat and a whole lot more.

OMG. Did anyone else feel that hot flash? I seem to have misplaced my composure . . . Ahem. EEP! Okay . . . moving on. If a reader is unfamiliar with your work, which of your books would you suggest he or she read first?  Why?

So far the stories I have coming out are interrelated, but they are also stand-alones, so they don’t have to be read in any particular order. That said, there is a natural progression. A Knight in Cowboy Boots comes first with Knight of Hearts (Rachel’s story, releasing in November) comes next. If you’ve fallen in love with Zach and Maddie in the first book, you’ll be glad know that you’ll get to go to their wedding in Knight of Hearts. All’s Fair, which is a short(ish) story that will be available as soon as I figure out all the formatting hoops can be slid in there anywhere. It tells some of the oldest brother’s backstory, and yes, when Sol finds out his ex-wife is dating again, he’s just as unpredictable as his siblings.

Coming soon!

That sounds like an amazing line up! When you manage to tear yourself away from the Knight clan (although why the heck would you want to? LOL!), which genre are you drawn to as a reader?  Do you prefer to read in the same genre as your WIP or do you mix it up?

I mix it up. I love a good romance but I’m also fond of high fantasy with dragons and mages. And spy stories. I love a good spy story. And Harlan Coben. And . . . well you get the idea.  I read a lot of non-fiction as well as research for my stories. I have quite a collection now of books about rodeo, horses, and blacksmithing because all of that plays into a story I’m writing or that are gestating. In one way or another, it’s all food for the brain which writers need to keep the ideas fresh and flowing.

Yes, exactly that! Looking back over all of the intimate moments you’ve created between characters, which scene would you most like to experience for yourself?  What makes it so alluring?

Oh, there are so many moments. I love the moment when Zach and Maddie meet. He’s so focused on her and that’s a hot, sexy moment heavy with possibilities, but I think, even more, there’s a moment where she joins him at an out-of-town rodeo and he’s filled the room with little bouquets of lilies of the valley. He’s made the effort to discover that that’s her favorite flower, and I love that he’s gone to the trouble of getting them for her.

OMG, I just melted inside. That’s incredible! Have you ever battled with any of your characters over their personality traits?  If so, who won – you or the character? (And please don’t tell me you had to beat up Zach. He SO wins the prize for romance right now.)

Oh, so many times. And the characters always win. I’ve actually had to create a second character to accomplish what was needed because the first character refused to do it.

Wow, that’s the first anyone has said that. What a fantastic solution! (Notice she didn’t name names, y’all! LOL.) Have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn’t like it?  Are you glad you did (or didn’t)?

The first few times that happened, I resisted the suggested changes. I’ve learned not to do that because, when I keep an open mind and give it an honest try, those suggestions can really strengthen a story and make me glad I listened. Even when it doesn’t work out, I’ve found I end up with a better understanding of my story and that’s worth the extra effort.

Also well said! There’s definitely perspective to be gained from that outsider’s POV, whether you find you agree with it or not. (Sometimes I think my critters should receive hazard pay, but don’t tell them I said that.) Writing suspense comes with its own hazards, in particular that of keeping the mystery straight. How do you keep track of plot elements or twists?

A lot of people seem to like keeping track of scenes on index cards, but I can’t be trusted with loose slips of paper. I keep a Word file that’s a chapter-by-chapter outline. Every scene is listed, color-coded by viewpoint character, a summary of what happens, and what the scene accomplishes (why it’s necessary to the story.) I actually started doing this because when I figure out something new that needs to be foreshadowed or I need to make changes for the sake of consistency, I wanted a road map to find specific scenes in the story, but I found it works for reminding me of the shape of the story.

Um, wow. I’ve got nothing. (But wow. <<There’s that.) Which of your novels most reflects who you are as a writer?  Why?

I think that will be Knight of Hearts. All the suspense in A Knight in Cowboy Boots is really just because I needed a story for the characters. Something for them to do. A goal to achieve. Knight of Hearts is more character driven. The goals they want to achieve are personal goals, changes they need to make in themselves. There’s a saying that we’re are own worst enemies, and I believe that. In Knight of Hearts, Rachel and Mac both need to make changes in themselves if they want to find happiness and they help each other find their way. But of course, change is uncomfortable, so they, too, have some amusing moments.

You are aware of your characters and your writing to the point that I’m somewhere beyond impressed and approaching “How the heck do you do that?” While I sit around wondering how to be more like you, can you fill us in on your works-in-progress?

Well, I’ve already talked about what’s coming in the near future. Right now, I’m working on the long version of Sol’s story, and let me say that he is one of the most stubborn, pig-headed men on the planet. Another example of being one’s own worst enemy. It may not have a happy ending because his ex-wife may decide to kill him before it’s over, and there’s not a jury in the world that would convict her.

BUAHAHAHAHAAAAA! NO doubt, by now, you all want a closer look at Suzie’s release A KNIGHT IN COWBOY BOOTS (and let’s hope he’s not in much else!) so I’ll leave you with the blurb and stalking info for this amazing author. You are definitely going to want to look her up because she’s hosting a contest on her blog from October 24th-31st and, well, you just CAN’T go wrong there! Suzie, thanks so much for joining us today. (Psst: If anyone sees me sneaking out the back, now worries. I’m off to see if my husband has his boots on! I’ll be right back … maybe.)      

A KNIGHT IN COWBOY BOOTS

When Zach McKnight, an irresistible oil rig worker with a thick-as-honey Texan drawl, first pokes into the secrets surrounding the mysterious Maddie Wells, he has no idea that the chance encounter will change his life forever. Maddie Wells is on the run with Jesse, the infant son of her murdered sister. The boy’s father isn’t far behind. He wants his son and is willing to kill to get him. Zach is intrigued from the first moment he sees the dark haired beauty in a hotel, but getting his hard working hands on her delectable body is more easily dreamt than achieved. He gets shot for his trouble, by Maddie no less, and sucked into the web of lies and fear that are her constant companions.

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