Here at The Book Pushers we are so lucky to be able to talk to some of our favorite authors, and today MinnChica is jumping around like a little fangirl. Lorelei James is one of the best erotica writers out there, and her cowboy series have readers everywhere looking for a bronc riding hottie in tight Levi’s.
The 11th book in her Rough Rider series, CHASIN’ EIGHT, comes out June 28th and will be featuring rodeo bad boy Chase McKay. Lorelei also writes for the NAL imprint at Penguin, and her Blacktop Cowboy Series will be releasing the third book in the series, WRANGLED AND TANGLED on November 1st of this year.
As Lori G. Armstrong, she also writes mystery books. Her two series feature PI Julie Collins and Mercy Gunderson, the former black ops Army sniper.
Lorelei, Thank you so much for being here!
LJ: Thanks for having me!
The Book Pushers: Where did the idea behind the Rough Riders come from?
LJ: Growing up in South Dakota, I’ve always been surrounded by farmers, ranchers, and cowboys. Lucky me, huh? But most the westerns I read were historical, and few authors were talking about modern day ranchers and the life they led. And a lot of what I read wasn’t necessarily wrong, but it glossed over some of the difficult aspects of living in rural America that I wanted to explore and most people who live in urban areas don’t get to see—whether or not it’s politically correct. So the McKay family was born in my head—a family that’s been ranching in Wyoming for generations. Creating such a large family has allowed me to write from many points of view, in additon to exploring family dynamics. Each book focuses on a different family member. In starting this series, I also wanted more down and dirty details about what exactly went on behind the bedroom door or in the pickup truck, so I made the series an erotic romance series.
LJ: Chase McKay is a professional bull rider and has had a rough go of it recently, both on and off the dirt. After he’s caught in an…indelicate situation, he’s kicked off the PBR tour to get his act together. He doesn’t want to deal with his family’s pity and judgment (his parents are Charlie and Vi, his older brothers Quinn – his book was STRONG SILENT TYPE – and his brother Ben – his book COWBOY CASANOVA is next, releasing in December 2011 ) so he decided to hide out in his cousin Kane’s (RAISING KANE) trailer in Wyoming. Problem is, someone else is already hiding out there, Ava Cooper, a friend of Ginger’s, a Hollywood actress who is on the run from the tabloids.
The Book Pushers: How many books do you have planned for the Rough Riders Series?
LJ: In a perfect world, where I hit all my deadlines and the stars align perfectly, there will be 16 books total in the series, 2 a year through 2013.
The Book Pushers: Which of your characters did you enjoy writing the most? Which did you have the hardest time writing?
LJ: Usually the character I enjoy writing the most is always the most difficult. And since I just finished Chase’s book, I’ll have to say that boy gave me a rough time. I never “know” a character right off the bat, it takes a while to get into their head. Chase was a little resistant to me digging deep. Ava was a little easier, but when writing romance I find the female point of view easier to write than the male.
The Book Pushers: How many books are you contracted for with the Blacktop Cowboy Series? Do you have them planned out already?
LJ: Since the Blacktop Cowboys series is with a different publisher, those contracts are set up differently, usually 2 books per contract, so I’m contracted for WRANGLED AND TANGLED, which releases Nov. 1st and ONE NIGHT RODEO, which will release in July 2012. I have plenty of books planned, it could be as long running series as the Rough Riders, but we’ll have to wait and see.
The Book Pushers: You have written award winning mysteries under a different pen-name as Lori G Armstrong, do you have other plans to write more books under this pseudonym?
LJ: I’m currently working on the 3rd book in the Mercy Gunderson series, DARK MERCY, which will hopefully be out sometime in 2012. The mysteries are completely different from the erotic romances. They are dark and fairly violent – they’ve been called “medium boiled” mysteries by mystery reviewers. My female characters are very tough women who don’t need or want a man and are struggling with some pretty big personal issues. I write them in first person, and the focus is on the main character and her relationships—to others and to violence—not just focused on an intimate relationship. There is a thread of romance in both series, but it’s not center stage.
The Book Pushers: Do you also have plans to write in other genres or settings?
LJ: I love switching back and forth between writing the darker aspects of life—the mysteries—and the happier aspects of life—finding that perfect love match in the romances. I’m constantly jotting down ideas for new characters or plots, but right now, I’m trying to focus on the books I’ve got contracted. But I’d love to write paranormal, historical western, YA and a thriller.
The Book Pushers: What appeals to you about cowboys? And who is your ultimate favourite favourite cowboy they can be real or fictional (TV/Movies).
LJ: I love fictional cowboys, but I really love the guys I know personally who embody everything I write about. They are very inspiring in so many ways. Right now, my favorite western type show is Justified – I love love love me some Raylan Givens. I’m looking forward to seeing Daniel Craig as a cowboy in Cowboys and Aliens.
The Book Pushers: What made you choose Wyoming as the setting for your books?
LJ: The Sundance Wyoming area is one of my favorite places on earth. And since it’s within driving distance of my house, if I need inspiration, I can just hop in my car and drive there.
The Book Pushers: Your books are very hawt and sexy. The love scenes between characters adds so much to the romance and characterization, does this have a large impact on your writing or the characters themselves?
LJ: Both, definitely, how characters react to sex and sexual situations is fascinating. Some books are steamier than others, with menages, etc., and I don’t ever think…hmmm…I haven’t had a menage situation for two books, so it’s time to add one in *this* book. Each book is character dependent upon what I write for their scenes, there is no formula. All sex scenes need to move the story forward—or backward. Sex scenes need to affect the characters, either positively or negatively. And I’ll throw it out that I often use sex scenes as a tool to show that not all sex is sexy. It’s often messy, inopportune, one-sided, or even a big mistake. I’ve had some criticism about that, and I’ll take the hits but I won’t apologize or change the way I write those highly intimate scenes because they don’t fit into preconceived ideas for traditional romances, because they’re too real. My books are not standard romance fare, slapping the erotic label on them changes the rules completely. That said, the books are first and foremost romances.
The Book Pushers: Is there any scenes you have written that have made you laugh out loud or were plain fun to write? And this goes for sexy ones too!
LJ: I usually make myself laugh at least once during a book. But I really laughed after I finished the “goat scene” in SADDLED AND SPURRED. I wrote a sexy scene in CHASIN’ EIGHT that involves a balance ball…and that’s all I’m sayin’.
The Book Pushers: Those McKay men are very protective and loving towards their wives, and now most are Daddies. Will we get to see more funny stories and plot lines surrounding their kids?
LJ: Oh, I think I’ll include snippets of their lives as parents when it fits the storyline. I get asked a lot about specific characters—after their happily ever after, as it were. As much as I love giving back peeks, with 10 books behind me in this series, I could fill up the entire book with scenes from previous characters that aren’t germane to the current main characters, so it’s a balancing act not to cheat the main characters in the story, but satisfy the curiosity of long time fans. I’ve also been asked if I intend on writing about the next McKay generation and the answer is…most likely not. That would mean some of the older characters would die, and I couldn’t write that and I think my readers would string me up if I killed off characters. But luckily, I have lots of ideas for new books once I finish the Rough Riders series.
Because we are such huge fans here at The Book Pushers, we will be giveaway one ebooks of winner’s choice from Lorelei’s Rough Riders Series. Either leave a question for Lorelei or let us know YOUR favorite cowboy book to be entered to win! Open International and will close on Monday July 4th. Good Luck!