Tuesday, September 06, 2011

THE RELUCTANT OUTLAW - Karen Kirst - Free Book

This is an author who hasn't been on this blog before. Welcome, Karen. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I've only just finished my second book, but so far my characters tend to struggle with the same issues I do, such as fear, trusting God in difficult circumstances, accepting His forgiveness.  The same verses that give me comfort and guidance find their way into the books, as well.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
This is a tough one, because I don't do that many quirky things.  I do remember a particular time in college when my beauty regimen was considerably more intensive than it is now. I was on a first date with a young man and by the end of the night my false eyelashes were bothering me.  Without warning, I just plucked them off right in the middle of our dinner. His jaw hit the floor. Um, he didn't ask me out a second time. lol
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I didn't have the idea to write until I was in college.  It was an intimidating idea, one I dismissed almost immediately.  It wasn't until I was a young wife with a baby that I decided to actually attempt it.  I had nothing to lose, and I'd always had this need to be creative but never had an outlet.  The more I write, the more I enjoy it.  It's a creative challenge that fulfills me.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Historicals are my favorite, including regencies and westerns.  I also like contemporaries and suspense.  Nonfiction takes me a bit longer to finish, if I do at all. Oh, and I collect all sorts of cookbooks and cooking magazines.  The trouble is I enjoy looking at the pictures more than actually cooking the recipes. lol

I collect recipe books, too, and seldom use a recipe. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I'm not sure I have that figured out! We're a homeschooling family, so we're not running to and from school every day.  And right now we have only one child involved in an extracurricular activity.  When I do get overwhelmed, I head to the local bookstore and browse the aisles or have coffee with a friend.  

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I actually have a hard time with this, especially secondary characters.  I find myself using names of neighbors, friends, even my husband's coworkers.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I'm thrilled to be living my dream of being a romance author.  It was something I worked long and hard for but I can't take the credit.  Without God in the midst of it, none of this would be possible.  He gave me the desire to write and, despite my unworthiness, granted the desire of my heart.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Well, security is important to me, so I'd want to be an animal who doesn't have many enemies.  Maybe an eagle.  I'm afraid of heights, but as an eagle I wouldn't have that fear and would get to soar high above God's creation.  Can you imagine the view?

What is your favorite food?
Chipotle Mexican Grill's bean and rice burrito with all the fixings.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock in the beginning was a lack of knowledge.  I had no experience with creative writing.  I wasn't a member of a writers group.  I just decided one day that I wanted to write a romance, so I sat down at my computer and started writing.  That was frustrating because I had no idea how to go about plotting a story or setting up conflict or developing well-rounded characters.  Thankfully I found great resources on the craft and how to pursue publication.  I'm still learning, by the way.

We’re all still learning, no matter how long we’ve been published. Tell us about the featured book?
The Reluctant Outlaw is the first book in my series Smoky Mountain Matches.  The series is set in 1880's East Tennessee and follows the O'Malley family. Here's the back cover blurb:

               A Kidnapper—and a Gentleman?
              The ruthless criminal who took Juliana O’Malley hostage was a thief and an outlaw—or   so she thinks. But on a perilous journey through the Smoky Mountains, he becomes her
 unlikely protector. And when he pledges to return her home safely, she somehow finds                        herself believing him.

              Evan Harrison has risked everything to find the men who killed his brother. Saving  spirited, strong-willed Juliana could blow his cover with a deadly gang. Yet her courage and unwavering faith make him dream of the home and family he thought he could  never have. And suddenly, that future is incomplete—without Juliana in it.

              Smoky Mountain Matches: Dreams of home and family come true in the Smoky                     Mountains

                Copyright [2011] by [Karen Kirst]
                Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A

Please give us the first page of the book.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee
June 1880

Blocking the entrance to Clawson’s Mercantile, Evan Harrison tried to blend in with the overhang’s shadows.  He’d dressed in head-to-toe black, his hat pulled low to shade his eyes.  Leaning against the glass-paned door, arms crossed and one ankle slung carelessly over the other, he could’ve been waiting for someone or simply watching the morning rush of people.  What passersby couldn’t see was his heart’s sharp tattoo against his ribcage and the sweat sliding between his shoulder blades to trickle down his spine.

His narrowed gaze flicked to and fro, his muscles bunched and ready to spring should anyone head his way.  Hurry up, Fitz.  He wondered how Art was doing in the back alley.

This wasn’t his first hold up, so why the unease?  He scanned the crowd again, and the burning in his gut grew worse.  He was worried about Fitz.  The outlaw inside the mercantile was a wild card.  Lenny Fitzgerald had proven time and again that he wasn’t afraid to spill innocent blood.  And he wasn’t particular about his victims.

            Evan had done his best to prevent the violence, but he could only do so much without arousing suspicion.  He couldn’t take a chance of blowing his cover.  He’d worked too hard and waited too long to have that happen now.

            He closed his eyes, wishing he could put off the inevitable.  Then he remembered the reason he was there and his resolve hardened.  He was on a quest for justice, and he would get it.  No matter what.

He snapped his eyes open at the sound of someone approaching.   Shifting his head to the right, he caught sight of a young woman striding down the boardwalk in his direction, her boots clipping the weathered planks with determination.  She was on a mission, it seemed.
Please let her be headed anywhere else but here, he thought.

 As she neared, he couldn’t help but notice her bold beauty.  Sleek red hair peeked out from beneath a navy and cream floral print bonnet framing an oval-shaped face.  He admired her ivory complexion, so rare in redheads, and the pert nose, regal cheekbones, and generous mouth.  Her sturdy navy dress outlined a pleasing female form, tall yet graceful.

She must’ve noticed him staring, for she quirked a cinnamon eyebrow, her lips firming in disapproval.  Her eyes raked him from head to toe before meeting his gaze head on.  One jerk of her chin hinted of a stubborn streak.

“Excuse me,” she speared him with her gaze, “You’re blocking the entrance.”

Her eyes were green, not the expected blue.  Deep green, the color of spruce trees streaked with sunset gold.

Straightening, Evan plucked the hay from his mouth and tossed it to the ground.
“You can’t go in there.”

 A line of confusion formed between her fine eyebrows.  “Why not?”

 “Mr. Clawson had to step out for a few minutes.  He asked me to tell any customers who happened by that he’d be back in a jiffy.”

            Annoyance flickered in those gorgeous eyes.  “That’s impossible.  Mr. Clawson is dead."
            Copyright [2011] by [Karen Kirst]
                Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A

I’m intrigued. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website, www.karenkirst.com , has pictures and information about my characters and books.  I have a Facebook page, and I'm also on Goodreads.

Thank you, Karen, for spending this time with us. I'd love to feature your second book on this blog. Email me.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

The Reluctant Outlaw (Love Inspired Historical)

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Melissa Jagears said...

I love your cover. I started writing with littles at home and am now moving into the homeschooling phase, hearing that published means even busier, I have a lot of respect for homeschooling authors, wonder if I'll be able to handle it if my time comes any time soon!


Chellb said...

Sounds like a good story, and I would love to win a copy.

I'm in Texas.

scottsgal said...

Love historical westerns!! I agree about being an eagle - such majestic and beautiful creatures
Cheryl in IL
msboatgal at aol.com

Lizzy said...

That sounds like a great story line!


Rebecca said...

Thanks so much for the chance to win this. This looks like an amazing book. I would love to win this. Thanks again.

I am from Oklahoma.

Coolestmommy said...

Sounds like a great book to read.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Karen Kirst said...

Thanks Lena for having me today! I'm visiting family in Tennessee and we've been out preparing for my niece's wedding this weekend. Melissa, it's all about carving time out of your day. I watch a lot less tv now and get up earlier, but it's doable. With God, you can handle anything! Are you writing romance?

Karen Kirst said...

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you are safe from the wild fires out there.

Karen Kirst said...

It's funny, I didn't really see this book as a Western until a reader mentioned it. It was a fun story to write!

Karen Kirst said...

I'm in NC too. Thanks for stopping by today!

Karen Kirst said...

I wish you luck, Rebecca!

Karen Kirst said...

Thanks for dropping by, Robyn!

Patsy said...

Oh, I collect cookbooks and cooking magazines too! I love to read them - love the ones with pictures the best. The Reluctant Outlaw sounds really good. Would love to read it.
from southern Mississippi


Anonymous said...

This book sounds so exciting and romantic! Sign me up! :)


Patty said...

Sounds interesting! I always love reading new authors.

Patty in SC

Faith said...

I love westerns <3 This one looks and sounds so cool!

please enter me

crazi.swans at gmail dot com

Karen Kirst said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one. lol I've got to start trying out those recipes instead of just drooling over the pictures!

Karen Kirst said...

Salena, Patty, and Faye,
Thanks for the nice comments. Good luck with the drawing!

Joanna Richmond said...

this Book Looks interesting enter me in the contest Joanna Richmond. Blanch NC.

apple blossom said...

oh, I love love inspired books please include me thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

live in ND

Jo said...

Thank you for the opportunity of winning this book.


Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

this book looks fantastic!! Thanks so much for the contest, and the interview. The eyelash story is hilarious!!

inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

Karen Kirst said...

I wish I had a camera to capture the expression on his face. I'm sure he had no notion what fake eyelashes were! lol
Jo, Appleblossom, and Joanna, thanks for stopping by!

Rose said...

I would really love to read this book!

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Kirst, "The Reluctant Outlaw" looks to be a wonderful read! I love books written in this time period. The first page has me wanting for more! Thank you for the chance to win! Thank you, Mrs. Dooley for hosting the giveaway!

Kelly Y. in Virginia

Nathanael Richmond said...

Looks and sounds interesting!
Would love to win this book,please enter me in the drawing.
Nathanael Richmond
Blanch, N.C.
P.S. I love westerns.

Karen Kirst said...

Nathanael, Kelly, and Rose, thanks for the kind comments. Good luck with the drawing. :)

Cyndi said...

Great interview... way to go for it!

I also collect cookbooks and cooking magazines. :)I had to finally cancel my subscription to Taste of Home (I know, horrors!) because I just couldn't justify it with the number of recipes I actually used. lol.

Will definitely have to check out this book!

Cyndi in AL

Anonymous said...

I would love to read your book!
I love eagles!
Please enter me.

Brenda from Michigan

dancealert at aol dot com

Karen Kirst said...

Cyndi, I feel your pain! My bookshelves are overflowing with Taste of Home and Quick Cooking magazines! lol I need to wear blinders at the checkouts. But the pictures look soooo good, right? Thanks for stopping by!

Karen Kirst said...

Thanks Brenda!

apple blossom said...

oh, please love love inspired books thanks for chance to win
live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Katie Marie said...

Ohh, The Reluctant Outlaw sounds neat! :-D Please include me in the giveaway. I love a good book with a slightly/somewhat-bad guy as the hero! ;-)

Katie from Florida

Abigail Mitchell said...

Looks interesting, Please enter me in the giveaway.Thanks!!!
I love Historical books!
God Bless!
Abigail Richmond
Blanch, N.C.

Anonymous said...

Looks interesting!
I love reading Historical books, Thanks for the chance to win!
Dennie Richmond
Blanch, N.C.

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

It would be realy nice to win this book.It lookes very interesting.Thanks .
God Bless.
Sarah Richmond Blanch N.C.

Sharon Richmond said...

Sounds very interesting, I love to read and would love to win this book.
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Sarah said...

Would love to win!

Sarah H

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

your false eyelash dinner date still has me laughing! too fun! thanks for sharing and for writing =) really looking forward to this read!

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Karen, Enjoyed your interview and "The Reluctant Outlaw" sounds like a great story and can't wait to read. I love women with backbone who hold their own. Thanks for stopping by to chat and share.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Georgia Peach

Karen Kirst said...

Me too! There's something intriguing about a slightly dangerous hero. :)

Karen Kirst said...

MissKallie and Faith,
Thanks for the kind comments and good luck with the drawing!

Merry said...

I love the undercover angle in The Reluctant Outlaw. Thanks for a sneak peak, I will be putting this on my wish list. Please include me in the drawing.
Merry in TX

Anonymous said...

Oh My Gosh! The cover is AWESOME! I love the horse and the outlaw :-)

Would love win!

Molly from NC