Lori Robinett excels at writing women’s fiction with just the right amount of romance and suspense, that is if her Beagle, Peanut, isn’t distracting her. Today we talk to her about her book, Diamond in the Rough, which is also available as a special edition with bonus content. She also tells us about why cowboys are such great romantic leads, her approach to writing and how her characters don’t always follow the plans she had for them.
Please give us a short introduction to Diamond in the Rough
Diamond in the Rough is the story of a single mom who is perfectly happy with her life. Her little boy is adorable, her scrapbook store is thriving. And then a cowboy with dark hair and electric blue eyes strolls into her store and reminds her that she may not NEED a man, but she sure as heck wants one.
The story was inspired by a real-life cattle rustling incident where a client at the law firm I work for lost his cattle to thieves. Then I added in a hot cowboy and a single mom, and the story was born!
What made you choose central Missouri as the location for your book?
Missouri is such a beautiful state, with everything from the Ozarks to bustling cities. It gets overlooked in entertainment, so I enjoy shining a spotlight on it.
How hard is it to come up with interesting and unexpected romantic complications for your characters?
It's not hard - ideas strike me at all times of the day and night, so the biggest problem is remembering those complications when I sit down at the keyboard!
What books do you enjoy reading?
I like everything from romance to horror to sci fi. My tastes have changed over the years. When I was younger, I devoured Stephen King books, but more recently, I've been enjoying romantic comedies and thrillers. I'm currently reading Winds of Deception by Tierney James and just finished Let it Breathe by Tawna Fenske. Which reminds me - I asked the local bookstore to order her new book. I need to go pick it up!
Why do you think cowboys make for such great romantic leads in romance novels?
They are real - gritty and dark and tough. When I imagine a cowboy, I picture a man who can handle anything that life throws at him, but who is gentle enough to care for a newborn calf.
Did you do any research about the ranching world for the book or is anything based on your own experiences?
I worked at a riding stable when I was young. It was practically slave labor, cleaning stalls, painting fences, cutting weeds (with a hand scythe!) so I could ride for an hour a week. Now, my husband and I live on a small hobby farm where we used to raise miniature horses (note: if you raise something that is too cute to part with, you're not going to succeed).
Gina is a single mom, something that is quite unusual for the heroine in romance novels. Why did you pick this approach?
I wanted this book to be real, not fantasy. I want my readers to be able to imagine themselves as the heroine, dealing with what she deals with, understanding her hopes and dreams and frustrations.
Is there an underlying message about basic human nature that you are trying to relay through your characters?
I write mainly for women, and I want them to understand their incredible inner strength. Women are capable of amazing things.
You like to add a criminal element to your book plots. Why?
I've always been fascinated with crime - what makes a criminal tick, why they do what they do. I went on a ridealong with a police officer during the downtown night shift to research my second book, and it was an eye opening experience. Folks would be amazed what goes on once they've retreated into their homes for the evening. It's like a whole 'nother world.
Will we see more of Gina and Aiden?
I think so - I've been getting a lot of requests from folks wanting to know what happens next (which tickles me to pieces!).
Diamond in the Rough has a couple of twists that readers didn't see coming. Did you plan them out right from the start or did some of them just "happen" as the story progressed?
I had a plan right from the start, but the characters didn't want to follow it regardless of how hard I tried. That's a good sign. For me, when the characters start telling their story and the words flow through my fingers onto the page, it's magical. These aren't just one-dimensional creations, they are living, breathing people. They just happen to live in my head.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?
Time. I work full-time and when I get into a story, the characters chatter in my head a lot. I talk to myself while I commute, work out plot points, character growth, that sort of thing. When the words start to flow and the story begins to gel, I can't get the words on the page quick enough.
What are you working on right now?
The working title of my next book is Queen's Revenge. It's the story of a young woman who is recruited into a secret society of powerful women. If folks want a sneak peek, they can buy a copy of Train of Thought, my short story collection - or they can get it free if they subscribe to my newsletter through my website.
Where can our readers interact with you or discover more of your work?
My website is a good source of info with links to my books (and there's a free screensaver available there, featuring the very hot Aidan <SIGH>): http://lorilrobinett