As a proud native of Texas, Ginger Chambers loves writing stories featuring cowboys, wilful women and the beauty of Texas Hill Country. Chambers likes to keep her work authentic, so you won't find shirtless cowboys on her book covers. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her West Texans series, reveals her secret skills and talks about Mae Parker, the matchmaker who features in many of her books.
Please give us a short introduction to what West Texas Match is about.
West Texas Match is the first of seven books in The West Texans series. It introduces a number of the main characters on the Parker Ranch: Mae Parker, the iron-willed matriarch of the Parker family; Rafe Parker, hands-on manager of the huge ranch; Shannon Bradley, invited by Mae to recuperate at the ranch from a tragic accident, but with the ulterior motive of marrying her off to Rafe...who is not about to marry anyone on Mae’s order.
Why Texas? What is it about the area that draws you?
I’m a Texan. Born in the Texas Hill Country and raised just a touch south of Houston. My Dad’s family came to Texas before the Civil War and were ranchers--nothing on the scale of the Parkers, though.
Tell us more about Mae Parker's character. How was she "born" in your mind?
I needed a head of the family, and—typical of Mae—she pushed herself forward in my mind. I’ve had so much fun writing Mae. As a reader told me, she’s a hoot!
Did you know from the start that this was going to be a series? Can the books be read as standalones?
Yes, I knew there would be a series of books, though I never imagined there would be seven. And yes, the books can be read as standalones.
One of your readers remarked that she read this book because the cowboy was fully dressed on the cover, as opposed to most other cowboy romances out there. Why did you take this approach?
The reader was right. Working cowboys cover up. They’re out in the sun all day doing hard, physical labor. I wanted to reflect that.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
LOL. Not many! I guess my best secret skill is a great sense of direction. If I’ve been somewhere, I can get back, even years later. But if I ever get lost...it’s like I’m suddenly on another planet. My husband, who’s perpetually lost (I kid him about that a lot), has to come to my rescue.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
Not really. I’m sometimes surprised by what they say, but they usually behave pretty much as I expect them to.
Do reviews and reader feedback shape your work? Or do you feel like it's better to avoid the feedback—both positive and negative—so that it won't interfere with your vision?
I’ve been writing for a long time and the only people who ever see the book before it’s published are my husband and my daughter, who is an English major. Then a good edit. After that, it is the way it is.
What did you have the most fun with when writing this book?
Watching the characters come alive. I love each and every one of them.
What do you think is the most important part of creating a hero readers can't get enough of?
I write the kind of man (hero) I admire most in the world. A man who is strong in himself, in his character, in the way he conducts his life. Yet is gentle and compassionate with those he loves or those he knows are in need. He also has to have a good sense of humor. And love animals.
What are you working on right now?
I’m on my final edit of the third book in The West Texans series—West Texas Lawman. For those who have read the first two books, West Texas Lawman follows Jodie Parker and Tate Connelly. Tate is the local sheriff, who has already been introduced in Books 1 and 2 as a deputy sheriff.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
The best way to reach me is by email at [email protected] or Facebook at http://facebook.com/GingerChambersAuthor, or through my website at www.gingerchambers.com. I love to hear from readers. Also, if you’d like to receive my newsletter, you can sign up at http://eepurl.com/bNhxeD