My Wild Rose Press sistah, Julie Howard, is part of the new WYLDER WEST series from the publisher and today her addition, THE THREE WIDOWS OF WYLDER releases. Julie sat down with me recently for an interview, so sit back and learn more about this talented writer. Then stick around for a glimpse into the Wylder West territory!
Julie, The Writer
1. What drives you to write?
It’s always about the story for me. I love to read compelling stories and getting swept up in a different world. I’ve always wanted to do the same for others. Plus, it’s tremendous fun to create characters and an intriguing plot – I live in a bit of make-believe nearly every day.
2. What genre(s) of Romance do you write, and why?
I always have a touch of romance in the books I write. I’ve written mysteries, paranormal mysteries and historical fiction. My books are mainly about the women who are the main characters and their personal journey – and there always seems to be a man in the picture.
3. What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?
I enjoy a variety of genres, from historical fiction to mysteries to science fiction. I’m a sucker for a good story and good storytelling whatever the genre may be.
4. What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?
I write nearly every day, primarily in the mornings but sometimes I end up at my computer for most of the day and into the night.
5. Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?
I set up an office upstairs but that felt too secluded. Now I work at my dining room table, which works very well since it’s big and I have room to spread out. I also can see out the front window and can watch the world go by. I love seeing neighbors out and about with their children and dogs. Of course, I’m closer to the kitchen downstairs so that’s handy if I want that third cup of coffee.
6. Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision?
I like a bit of bustle around me while I write, and can tune it in or out pretty well. I don’t mean noise or loud music – but I like hearing other people around.
7. Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?
I generally don’t listen to music since it tends to influence my mood and that, in turn, impacts what I’m writing in a scene.
8. How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?
When I heard my publisher was launching a new series set in the old American West, my story came almost immediately. I already had an idea about three widows with secrets, but wasn’t entirely sure what their plot would be. When I thought about them being in the Old West, I knew immediately what my story was. I wrote the synopsis within 24 hours of hearing about the series.
9. Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?
That’s a great question. They tend to arrive together, but perhaps the character has a slight edge. For this current story, the three main characters were there first for me and I had to figure out: What would these three women do?
10. What 3 words describe you, the writer?
Creative, obsessed, prolific
Julie, the Gal
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!
I started kindergarten when I was three.
- Who was your first love and what age were you?
I was in third grade and there was the cutest boy! Of course, he wasn’t enamored of girls then, but when we were in high school, he asked me out. It was a bit of a letdown, though he was still very cute.
- If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….
Nearly any day when my kids were preschool age. I’d love to relive a moment in time again when they were little. I know it could get old if that’s all I had forever, but they were so darn cute!
- If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it item, what would it be? Hmmm, I can’t live without coffee so I’d give up a coffee maker. That would leave me with three others. Seriously. I have a coffee maker that uses ground beans, one that has an internal grinder, an espresso maker, and a French press.
- What three words describe you, the person?
Kind, determined, loyal.
- If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together? Emma by Jane Austen. I’d love to have tea and a bit of gossip about the neighborhood.
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound: Children laughing
- Least favorite sound: Power tools
- Best song every written: Imagine
- Favorite actor and actress: Jude Law and Judy Dench
- What turns you on? Kindness
- What turns you off? Meanness
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) “It’s bigger than you think.”
- What’s your version of a perfect day?
Such a tough question since there are so many things I’d want to do! I suppose I’d start off rising very early and enjoying the quiet with a cup of coffee while the sun came up. Then a few hours of writing, a long cycle by the river, a short walk in the nearby mountains, and then a big family dinner on the patio.
And now… THE THREE WIDOWS OF WYLDER
Three women on the run.
After the death of her husband, Clara flees a hanging judge and seeks refuge with her brother in Wylder, Wyoming.
With secrets of her own and good reasons to flee, spoiled and vain Mary Rose joins Clara on the trek to Wyoming. Surely a suitable man exists somewhere.
Emma is a mystery. A crack shot and expert horsewoman, her harrowing past seeps out in a steady drip. She’s on the run from something, but what?
After the three women descend on Wylder, a budding romance leads to exposure of their pasts. As disaster looms, will any of them escape?
Emma stood, legs apart, one hand on the pistol at her hip. The covered wagon was the type used years ago by pioneers, before trains tamed the prairie, and they still lumbered across areas where tracks hadn’t been laid. Two women sat side-by-side, too focused on their argument to yet notice the camp they entered. Their one horse, overmatched by the heavy wagon, was damp with sweat, its mouth flecked with froth.
“We should have stayed on the main road.” The peevish one appeared much younger, curly gold hair topped by a large straw hat. She wore a light-yellow dress with lace at her wrists and throat, a perfectly inadequate outfit for travel. “Someone could have provided directions.”
The older woman had finely-drawn features, a few strands of gray threaded through her dark, uncovered hair. Dressed in sensible blue calico, she gripped the reins too tight and the poor horse gave a pathetic shake of its head. “The whole point was to avoid people,” she sniped.
Emma strode forward and seized the reins. “For God’s sake, you’re killing him.”
The two women gaped as though at an apparition. The horse, released from harsh hands, lowered its head and halted. Its sides heaved as flies drank at its sweaty flanks.
“Whomever let you two fools handle a horse should be whipped.” Tempted to dispatch the women to hell for their cruelty, Emma rested her hand on the pistol’s handle.
They two travelers spoke in tandem. “Who are you?” and “How dare you call me a fool.”
As Emma crooned into in the horse’s ear, her expert fingers undid the buckles at its shoulders and haunches. By the time the older of the two women climbed to the ground, the horse was unhitched and Emma led it to the creek.
“That’s our horse,” cried the one in yellow. “Clara, what is that insane girl doing? She’s stealing him.”
Emma halted, shoulders stiff. She turned and pointed the pistol at the one with lace at her throat. “I’m no horse thief.” She cocked the hammer. “Apologize.”
Get your copy here:
Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime mystery series and Spirited Quest paranormal mystery series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild and editor of the Potato Soup Journal. Learn more at juliemhoward.com.
Thanks for stopping by today, Julie. Happy release day and keep on writing! ~ Peg