It is my pleasure to have Diane R. Jewkes as my guest author today! Her western historical romance, The Heart You Own, was released in June, and was a joy to read. I invite you to get to know more about Diane and her novels!
Diane: Thank you for having me Amanda. I’m always up for talking about writing.
The Heart You Own is what I call an unconventional Western Historical romance. Yes, it is set in the west, New Mexico Territory, 1895, but it is not a typical western. There is no ‘steely-eyed’ sheriff or dashing cowboy. The heroine, Kara Jonston, is a rancher’s daughter. She has grown up fiercely independent; working hard along the cowboys on the ranch she assumes will one day be hers.
In comes the hero, Lord Hawke Pryce; a titled Scotsman with a knack for finding investments and a person interest in coming to New Mexico. He has bought a partnership in the ranch, but that is not the only reason he has come to the untamed wilderness. He is hunting a man. Someone who has hurt his family and he is seeking revenge.
Kara doesn’t want Hawke there and Hawke is not looking for love, but when they meet – sparks fly.
The book is their journey of discovery; not only of each other, but discovery of themselves.
What drew you to writing romance? Are you a long-time reader?
I have been reading romance and historical novels since I was a teen-ager (and that’s a long time ago!) I used to read Georgette Heyer and Thomas B Costain then I found Woodiswiss and Rogers and I never looked back. This isn’t to say I don’t love other books. I took a semester of Science Fiction and Fantasy and 18th Century Novels as well as Shakespeare in college. What I love about romance is that it is so versatile. Almost any genre can be used in a romance. After all, without romance and love, where would we all be?
When you begin writing a book, do you have the story all outlined in your mind or do you wait and see where the characters take you?
I have a very general idea when I start, but it changes and evolves constantly. I am a pantster! I think of a situation to put my characters in and then see what they do.
How difficult was your hero/heroine to write? How do you view their characters?
For the most part, they weren’t that hard to write. They had been in my head clamoring to get out for a long time. I started The Heart You Own shortly after getting out of college, but then life happened and I put them away for many years. When I finally decided I was going to sit down and put them on paper, they were almost in their final form.
I view them as good people who are strong in their love of family, belief in loyalty and fairness, but both are a little stubborn and hard-headed when it comes to admitting their own shortcomings.
Tell us about your research for the book.
I love history and I love research, so for me, it was more a case of making myself stop gathering data and sitting down to write as opposed to not having enough information.
The setting for The Heart You Own did change a bit. I had always planned to have it in New Mexico (where I grew up), but the exact location changed after my husband and I went to visit his great-uncle and aunt on their ranch in central New Mexico. After meeting these wonderful people and learning the history of the area not related to Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County Wars, I decided to set it there.
I include a bit about my great-uncle’s mother in the book. She did have a boarding house and the statement she makes about her husband was told to me by her son. (It had my husband and I rolling when we first heard it).
During my research of White Oaks, NM, I found amazing stories of this now ghost town that brought it to life and I tried to include that in my story.
As I said – I love history and research and can go on and on!
What haven’t you done as a writer that you’d like to attempt?
I’d love to try science fiction and paranormal. I actually have two paranormal stories that I am working on.
What are you planning next for your readers? What’s next?
I am currently working on the story of Hawke’s best friend, Alec McCairn. Alec has come out to New Mexico with Hawke and in this story continues on to San Francisco where he will get his own love story. It is tentatively titled The Heart You Hold.
Here is my contact information:
Book Description: The Heart You Own
Why would an English lord want to have part ownership in a New Mexico cattle ranch? And why did it have to be her father’s ranch?
Kara Jonston has grown up thinking she will someday inherit the family ranch. She has worked the ranch as hard as any man. Ask any of the cowboys. Finding out her father sold half ownership in the ranch—and to a soft Englishman, no less—without even talking to her hurts her pride and stirs her anger. To make matters worse, this outsider is coming to inspect his investment, and her father expects her to be nice.
Although she promises her father to give his new partner a chance, she vows she will never accept him as her partner on her ranch.
Hawke Pryce, Lord Stoneham, is not English, he is Scottish. He is not soft, and he is not coming to the New Mexico Territory just to inspect his latest investment. He’s hunting a man.
Sparks fly—but will they turn into lasting love for two people determined to hang on to their hearts?