Today we have Leslie Garcia – she’s here to talk about her new book, Wildflower Redemption. I. LOVE. THIS. COVER. Something about a good pair of boots. Just saying. Anyway, I’ll turn it over to Leslie. Thanks for being here….
Lynn, thanks for having me visit today! I’m really excited to have a chance to talk a little about Wildflower Redemption, Book One in the Texas—Heart and Soul series—and to answer a few of the questions you raised, too.
I’ve been writing, literally, since I was in first grade. I wrote a story called ‘Trixie and Ricky’s Christmas”, about two lovable bunnies who used aluminum foil to decorate a pine tree on a cold winter day. My principal posted it on the school bulletin board and read it to the entire school over the intercom, and that pretty much decided what my life’s pursuit would be. Later that same year, a short-lived magazine called Kids bought an awful poem about dolphins from me, and paid me the queenly sum of $1.50.
Of course, after that—the rejections came. Yes, by second grade I’d had a rejection or two, and the rejections increased with the years. I had some successes, but when I sent Unattainable to Crimson Romance on my sister’s hunch, I literally pounded my desk and cursed when they replied within 3 days. Why had they rejected something they clearly hadn’t had time to read? And why did the editor tell me it “wowed” her, when she sent it back to me?
After a minute or two I decided to open the attachment—and it wasn’t a returned manuscript. It was a contract. My fingers were shaking and I was crying so hard I could hardly type the post I sent out to let everyone know that the cyber ‘call’ had come.
Unattainable was my debut novel with Crimson Romance, but I had dabbled in POD—not a happy result—before it became as well-established as it is. I plan to demand rights back on my first romance, Love’s Lasting Song, and completely re-write it. My ‘horror’ anthology La Llorona (The Wailing Woman), which deals with a famous Mexican legend about a murderous mom is self-published, and I loved the experience. While my dream was to be published by an imprint I consider ‘traditional,’ I see benefits to self-publishing some of my future work.
Unattainable uses some of my experiences over thirty years on the Texas-Mexico border, but Wildflower Redemption, my next contemporary romance, draws heavily on my dysfunctional childhood. What teenager’s 4-H project is a Great Dane one year and a real African lion the next? I’d never again own (or care for) the exotic animals in our roadside amusement park, but when you’re fifteen or sixteen being ignored by an entire town because you’re a “damn Yankee,” you do what you have to!
In Wildflower Redemption, of course, the animals are not as unusual as the ones I dealt with, and Aaron Estes and Luz Wilkinson find each other fairly easily in the small town of Rose Creek. But both are dealing with unbearable personal losses. Both can love children unconditionally, and build lives around kids. But neither is ready to love the other with the same abandon and trust they offer the children in their lives.
I can’t write (or do much of anything else) without a can of Coke Zero sitting within easy reach, but not too close to the computer. So my favorite drink is always on the edge of the desk, making for frequent spills and clean-ups. At least that cuts down on liver damage…
One of the most important questions you ask, Lynn, is about time management. For the last 20 years I’ve taught first graders. Every year on my evaluation I put that the skill I most need to improve is time management—and this extends into my writing. I’d love to write full time, but until that’s possible—I need to squeeze out more actual writing time.
And if I could go back and write a letter to myself, the first grade writer—I’d tell myself to work harder and put my writing first more often. But the next piece of advice—one I gave myself and took—would be to never, ever quit. Write until you get where you wanted to go when you started. And then—write more.
Thanks so much for having me, Lynn!
Excerpt from Wildflower Redemption
Without thinking, Luz grabbed his shirt by the collar and jerked him back and toward her, out of the hoof’s reach.
Aaron wound up on his backside, glaring up at her until he noticed Domatrix calmly planting her hoof back on the barn floor. “Oh.” He frowned. “Dangerous around here, isn’t’t it? I’m not sure what’s worse— her wanting to kick me or you saving me. You almost took my head off!”
“Better me than her,” Luz retorted, smiling wickedly and holding her hand out. “Let me help you up, city boy.”
Aaron carefully scooted a few inches away from the mare’s hooves. Then he caught Luz’s hand. “I don’t think so!” With a quick pull, he toppled Luz into the sand with him.
Behind them, Chloe burst out laughing. “Like the wrestling! Pin him, Luz!” she crowed, leaving the pony she’d finished grooming to edge closer.
“Whose side are you on?” Aaron grunted at Chloe as Luz elbowed him without meaning to, trying to move farther away from the appaloosa, but collapsed back in a heap when she couldn’t stop laughing.
“Better watch out,” she taunted. “Bet I could take you.” His eyebrows lifted slightly. Laughter faded from his face. Her breath caught in her throat.
Unaware of the heat building between them, Chloe clapped her hands. “Come on! I’ll referee—”
Luz fished for an answer.
“Well! I thought it was strange no one looked out the door to see who was here,” Esmeralda said from a few feet away. “But I see you all were too busy— what, body slamming each other?”
Contempt and insinuation hardened her words, and Luz stiffened.
Beside her, Aaron sat up straighter and looked at Esmeralda without embarrassment or welcome. “Good morning, Esmeralda.”
He stood, then held out a hand to Luz as if nothing were unusual about sprawling in the sand with his daughter’s… what? She didn’t know what she was to Aaron, and though he belittled her apprehensions, the counselor’s demeanor and sarcasm clearly said she expected to be Aaron’s woman and didn’t think much of Luz’s attempts. Her face colored more by anger than embarrassment, she let Aaron pull her up, but when she would have stepped away, his hand still holding hers kept her from doing so.
“Luz and Daddy were wrestling,” Chloe offered helpfully.
God bless innocence. Because I don’t think that’s what we were doing.
Wildflower Redemption (Crimson Romance) by Leslie P. Garcia
Available at Barnes and Noble, Sony, iTunes and other distributors on Dec. 09th, 2013!
Also by Leslie P. García:
Website: Return to Rio
Leslie P. García www.facebook.com/LeslieP.Garcia