Greetings and howdy to everybody. This week we have our third of four cowboys on the couch for April, which I have deemed to be Cowboy month on the blog. Blame Kim Turner – she gave me the idea (and you can see her cowboy interviews here and here).This week I’m happy to have another Georgia Romance Writers member Linda Joyce and her hero Jared, who is a reluctant cowboy. I enjoyed her Fleur de Lis series, and her follow-up series, the Fleur de Lis brides, is high up on my to be read list. Today we get to meet Jared, who has tackled the most challenging of the three Fleur de Lis ladies, Camilla.
Reformed party-girl Camilla Lind accepts Jared Richardson’s ring, but she won’t be pressured into setting a wedding date at Fleur de Lis. When Steven Sterling, the bane of her old life, shows up to convince her of his undying love, he’s using blackmail to get her back. Camilla fears Jared will believe Steven’s lies because of her shameful past.
Jared has no time to return to his family ranch in Wyoming. Historical restoration contractors are in demand after the devastating hurricane, and work takes him away from Camilla for longer stretches of time. He’s worried—an anonymous someone is sending her flowers. When Steven threatens Jared, he fights back. But he won’t marry Camilla if the only reason she sets a date is to avoid Steven.
Together they learn their love is as steadfast as the Wyoming sky is blue, and Mardi Gras is the perfect time for a wedding.
If your character were to go to a psychologist – willingly or unwillingly – what would bring them in? Yes, a court order is a valid answer.
Linda says: So, I posed the question to Jared and this is his response:
Hell yes, I’d go a psychologist. Great idea! Need someone to give me info on how to get someone committed to a mental institution. Jail time isn’t good enough for the likes of Steven Sterling. I want him medicated and under lock and key to keep him from causing anyone, specifically Camilla, any harm. My alternate plan would be to round up the men in Camilla’s family and take Sterling out in the swamps for a little bayou rodeo—can the man tame a gator or become gator bait? Rodeoing can show the true measure of a man, at least in Wyoming, where I’m from. I’ve got my contractors storage clipboard to make notes.
Is the presenting problem one of the main internal or external conflicts in your book? If so, how does it present itself?
In Bayou Beckons, you first meet party-girl Camilla and contractor/reluctant rancher Jared when she’s in Wyoming, taking some time to get herself together—to grow up after the awful deed she did to her sister. (Her accomplice in harm was Steven Sterling.)
Now, in Camilla: Fleur de Lis Brides Book 3, Camilla is a reformed party-girl doing volunteer work to help the people in her community get back on their feet after Hurricane Katrina. She and Jared are living in separate quarters at Fleur de Lis, her family’s antebellum home, but Jared is frequently gone for longer and longer stretches of time because he’s working with his grandfather on historical restoration of antebellum homes damaged during the storm.
Jared’s proposed to Camilla. She’s accepted his ring, but she won’t be rushed to the altar. He’s patient with her decision to wait…until Sterling tries to wedge himself into Camilla’s life. Her past folds into the present along with the question of who needs a second chance…For Fleur de Lis brides, the path to the altar is rarely smooth.
It’s always interesting to see how people act when they first enter my office. Do they immediately go for my chair, hesitate before sitting anywhere, flop on the couch, etc.? What would your character do?
Jared is polite. He’ll inquired about where and what you want him to do, but if suggested he pick, he’d choose the chair, cowboy boots on the floor for a minute, then he’ll settle in with one foot resting on the opposite knee to support his clipboard. He’ll noticeably glance at his watch.
Does your character talk to the therapist? How open/revealing will your character be? What will he or she say first?
Jared: I’m here because Camilla said this might do me some good. I think she’s afraid I will successfully move forward with my response to Sterling’s attack. What the hell. She’s wearing my ring and some ass—pardon my language—skunk attorney thinks because we haven’t set a wedding date that Camilla isn’t serious about me, about our relationship. But I’m pissed at her, too, because it was only after Sterling’s goon attacked me did she set a wedding date. I love her, but I won’t push her into marriage if she’s not ready for it. Educate me, Doc, how does anyone tell when a woman is ready to walk down the aisle?
CD: Considering I dated my husband for seven years before getting engaged, and we had a 19-month engagement, I might not be the best one to ask. 🙂
Your character walks into the bar down the street after his/her first therapy session. What does he/she order? What happens next?
Jared: “Barkeep, Four Roses whiskey neat.”
After the drink, he checks his watch, calls and orders flowers for Camilla. The card reads: Did the therapy. Don’t need it. People need to stop pissing me off…and you need to keep on loving me. ~ Jared.
When you’re building characters, do you have any tricks you use to really get into their psyches, like a character interview or personality system (e.g., Myers-Briggs types)?
Characters…some shout louder than others in my head. I gave a talk to a writer’s group and there were a couple of attorneys in the crowd. One of them approached me afterward with a worried look and wanted to know, “Do you actually hear voices?” I smiled and nodded. He furrowed his brow and walked away.
I’ve had to learn what to listen for and ask the right questions of my characters. When I first started writing, I used a character interview sheet someone else gave me. I enjoyed the interview time with my characters, but found it didn’t give me the necessary groundwork for deep character development. Now I ask: What do you want? Why can’t you get it? Yet, for the book I’m working on now, Bayou Brides, Book 4 of the Fleur de Lis series with Nola Dutrey and Rex Arceneau, it’s come together with a completely different process, I think because my brain couldn’t process things in the same way due to all the grief I experienced in 2016. Recently, when I finished the manuscript and read it, I not only edited but rewrote the first three chapters and added a new ending. And for these characters, Nola and Rex, I did astrology charts on them.
A while back, I studied astrology with a nationally recognized astrologer. The enormity of the subject was staggering. I feel even after one-a-week classes for two years, I only know a thimble-full of information.
I’ve not tried using Myers-Briggs…maybe because I was forced to take the type-indicator test nearly every time I changed bosses when I worked in corporate America. I think it has very useful information, but I go a bit against the grain of my type specifically when it comes to writing. I prefer to be more feeling than thinking when dealing with characters. Also, over time I’ve become more and more of an introvert, though to many people, I appear to be an extrovert.
CD: I’m an introvert, but since I talk to people for a living and am not shy, people often think I’m an extrovert, too. Thank you for such a fun interview!
Amazon Best Selling author and 4-time RONE Award Finalist, Linda Joyce writes about assertive females and the men who can’t resist them. She has penned the Fleur de Lis series, Fleur de Lis Brides series, and Her Heart’s Desire, the first book in her Sunflower series. Her other books include Behind the Mask and Christmas Bells. She has more books in the works.
A big fan of jazz and blues, Linda attributes her love of music to her southern roots, which run deep in Louisiana. Courtesy of her father’s Air Force career, she has lived coast to coast in the U.S. and wrote her first manuscript when she was twelve while living in Japan. In addition to being a book addict, Linda’s a foodie, an RVer, loves to kayak, and binge watch movies. Now she lives in Atlanta with her husband and General Beauregard, their four-legged boy who thinks Linda is his pet.
Come back next week to meet Gary Wayne from Lev Butts’ Guns of the Wasteland series, a retelling of the King Arthur Legend in the Old West. I’ve already received the interview, and it’s great, so be sure not to miss it.
How are you liking the theme month so far? Please comment and let me know. Also, please tell me if you have ideas or requests for theme months in the future!