Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Love Affair with Western Romance

As someone born and raised in the west, I have always been a fan of movies and books set in the West, whether they are historical or current. Today my guest is Nina Barrett who has written several romances with that wonderful western setting. How did you get started in publishing?

I wrote stealthily, at nights and in the car waiting on my son to finish his swimming or piano lessons. I submitted to agents and publishers, all the while growing increasingly discouraged. A newspaper article about a contest the Antioch Writers’ Workshop was sponsoring caught my eye. The workshop was offering unpublished writers a scholarship to Antioch and Sue Grafton was to be the writer-in-residence that week. I submitted a sample of my work without much in the way of expectations and sometime later a reply came in the mail. It took more than a few days to open it.

Someone – actually a committee – liked my work. I was privileged to attend the workshop, network and meet published writers. The experience kept me pursuing my dream of publication.
Discouraged, I returned to Antioch and took a class with romance writer Jennifer Crusie who is as supportive and encouraging as she is talented. I gained the courage to join RWA and attend the national convention. Through my local RWA chapter I learned of a small e-publisher opening and soliciting for manuscripts. To my shock, I received the call and in June 2012 my western romance, Marriage Made in Haven, was published. Since then the Wild Rose Press has published my romances, Return of the Dixie Deb and A Man to Waste Time On. On April 27th, my latest Renegade Heart was released. I love crafting contemporary romantic suspense: romance + mystery + an HEA, something the world could use more of.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Yes! But being shy it was hard to admit it. As a child, I loved lying in bed at night making up stories. I’d be out West with Roy and Dale or in Sherwood Forest with Robin Hood. I finished my first ‘manuscript’ in junior high – an Agatha Christie-type mystery. In high school a friend and I exchanged stories and poems. After finishing college and surviving a divorce, I began life as a single mother teaching in a small town. I loved teaching, but it wasn’t enough. Teaching was what I did; a writer was what I was.
Tell us about your latest book, Renegade Heart, and where you got the idea for it.

The energy and excitement of Vegas seemed natural for a novel full of romantic entanglements and mystery. Renegade Heart is the second in my Vegas series.  In my previous release, A Man to Waste Time On, Cinnamon Smith is stunned to realize the general manager of the neighboring Imperial Hotel Casino is the waste of time loser who dated and dumped her sister back in their hometown. And he wants to date her. No way . . . but then securing an order from his hotel might prove salvation for her struggling business. And Tom is so good-looking.
Doing research on what goes on behind the scenes of a major Vegas property was so interesting it led to Renegade Heart and Director of Special Events at the Imperial, Kerstin Hennepin adventures when the National Finals Rodeo comes to town and Kerstin falls into the arms of a rodeo troubleshooter.
What do you like best about your heroine and hero? I liked the interesting juxtaposition of an executive at an upscale Vegas property falling (literally) into the arms of a troubleshooter for the rodeo. Trying to put a failed romance behind her, Kerstin is determined to make her hotel’s first time hosting the National Rodeo Finals a success. And is Jake Aaron a troubleshooter for the rodeo or just plain trouble. Their attraction is electric and one close encounter leads to another, but Jake comes with questions. True, he’s busy handling the offstage antics of rowdy rodeo contestants, but does his job also include romancing a young barrel rider and carrying a concealed weapon?
Kerstin needs answers. There’s more going on behind the scenes than on the arena floor and her search puts her and Jake squarely in someone’s crosshairs.
What is your writing process – detailed outlines or seat of the pants?
Do you have any advice for a beginning writer?  “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot
What is your next project?

My work in progress is part three in my Vegas series. My working title is Deep, Dark, Delicious. And Deadly. Sofie Matthews, heiress to a Vegas candy company, awakens from her coma to find a handsome stranger staring at her and a ring on her finger. So what’s the story with that?
How about a blurb for Renegade Heart
    As if Vegas didn’t have excitement enough, December brings the National Finals Rodeo to the city. In charge of the Imperial Hotel’s participation as a host hotel, Kerstin Hennepin is rushing to a meeting when a fall sends her tumbling into a stranger’s arms. And he’s in no hurry to let her go.
    Jake Aaron is a troubleshooter for the rodeo. Or maybe he’s just plain trouble.  Their attraction is electric and one close encounter leads to another, but Jake comes with questions. True, keeping a handle on the offstage antics of rowdy rodeo contestants keeps him busy, but does his job also include romancing a young barrel racer and carrying a concealed weapon?
    With the finale of the rodeo approaching, Kerstin is running out of time. She needs answers. But more is going on behind the scenes than on the arena floor and her search puts her and Jake squarely in someone’s crosshairs.

How can readers get in touch with you?

 I’m on Facebook as nina.barrett.315 and at - love to hear from readers and fellow writers!

This sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks, Nina, for being my guest.  Any comments or questions for Nina?




  1. Love this post, ladies! You're life long love of storytelling and getting over your shyness is inspirational, Nina! Thanks for sharing!

    1. thank you - open house/book launch here on Sunday - I'll be hiding out in my living room with a friend holding my hand while the extroverts socialize!

  2. Are you already working on a new book?

    1. part 3 of my Las Vegas series. Sofie Matthews is the heir to a Vegas candy business, but when she wakes up in a hospital bed, it's evident she doesn't remember any of it. Or why there's a ring on her finger!

  3. Thanks! Let's keep it up; it's important what we do!!


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