Elysa Hendricks is the author of several romances, and her latest book, This Heart for Hire, just hit the Kindle. Elysa stopped by the virtual offices to chat about her new western romance.
[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Elysa Hendricks] Elysa Hendricks is 5’6" tall. She has brown eyes and curly hair. She’s a reader, a writer, a daughter, a wife and a mother. All else is subject to change without notice.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about your book, This Heart for Hire?
[Elysa Hendricks] THIS HEART FOR HIRE is a gritty western historical romance. A convent reared innocent, and a gunslinger with no memory are thrown together during a perilous trip across the west Texas frontier in 1870.
[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Elysa Hendricks] I was weaned on TV westerns like Rawhide, Wagon Train, The Rifleman and Have Gun Will Travel, John Wayne movies and the myths of the old west, so when I first started writing romance I was drawn to the American western frontier time period. Since each character I create represents a small bit of me, Christina Goodwin the heroine in THIS HEART FOR HIRE reflects the innocent girl I once was. I enjoyed watching her struggle and grow as she faced and conquered the hostile, wild environment of the Texas frontier. It kind of reminded me of surviving junior high school.
[Manga Maniac Café] Why do you enjoy writing romances?
[Elysa Hendricks] I’m a total believer in the power of love. Watching two people struggle against the odds and the obstacles that life throws in their paths to find love is rewarding. While in "real" life Happily Ever After’s are often scarce and fleeting, in a romance I can live the fantasy. And in writing romance I can help others do the same.
[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
[Elysa Hendricks] All the research I needed to do and finding a way to incorporate it while not overwhelming the story. I was fascinated with how the reality of the old West both differs and at the same time is the same as what I learned in history class and watching TV and movies. I wanted to convey to the reader a true sense of time and place while providing them an entertaining escape from reality. A difficult and challenging task.
[Manga Maniac Café] What are your biggest creative influences?
[Elysa Hendricks] The world around me is so full of interesting stories and fascinating people it’s difficult to pinpoint just one thing or person who influenced me to attempt being a writer. But if I had to name one person it would be my high school English teacher, Mr. Olsen. He taught me how to diagram a sentence (something I no longer remember how to do) and to love the written word.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Elysa Hendricks] An idea, writing material (pen and paper or my computer) and time.
[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Elysa Hendricks] I’ve been reading since I was about five-years-old, so I can’t say which book sparked my interest in reading, but I do know that The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss turned me on to romance, especially historical romance.
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Elysa Hendricks] I love to read. I garden and enjoy doing creative crafts.
[Manga Maniac Café] Thanks!!
You can learn more about Elysa by visiting her website
You can order This Heart for Hire by clicking the Amazon widget below:
Abandoned by his father and betrayed by his half-brother and fiancee on the eve of his wedding, JAKE GALLAGHER no longer believes in love. Though he longs to go home, his undercover work for the Texas Rangers keeps him in a lawless Texas border town. Even though it jeopardizes his mission he refuses to stand by and watch outlaws rape and murder a young woman. Getting shot and losing his memory wasn’t part of his plan.
While fleeing from her stepfather’s plans to steal their ranch, CHRISTINA GOODWIN witnesses her brother’s murder and is left in the hands of a merciless band of outlaws. Raised in a strict convent, Christina has little knowledge of men or the world, its dangers and temptations.
Frightened and alone, she is forced to accept the help of the dark gunslinger who rescues her. Though drawn to Jake’s potent masculinity, she hesitates to trust him, fearing her stepfather has sent him to bring her back. Unsure of Jake’s motives for helping her, she struggles against him, determined to find a way to avenge her brother’s death and regain control of her ranch from her stepfather.
Here is an excerpt from the book. Please enjoy!
THIS HEART FOR HIRE
First Kiss Scene
"You did just fine. I’m living proof." Jake watched with pleasure as a smile lit up her face. He returned it. "Tell me how your brother came to hire me? Where we met? Maybe you can help jog my memory."
A panicked looked crossed her face and she went suddenly pale. "I-I, w-we…" Her gaze darted around refusing to settle on him. Then with an audible breath she regained control. "I’m not sure how or where Christopher met you. He never said. I was staying in, um, in Ramblin waiting for him. He brought you there and we headed out for St. Louis."
Jake listened to the girl’s lies. Like before, she didn’t do it well. Her nervous plucking at her skirt and the way her gaze avoided his gave her away. "If we met in Ramblin for me to guide you north to St. Louis, how did we end up in Peaceful which is southeast?"
Color crept into her cheeks as she stared at him in horror. "You remember?"
For some reason she didn’t want him to remember, which made him more determined to do so. "No, but I know where Peaceful is and it isn’t on the way to St. Louis from Ramblin. So how did we end up there?"
"You had some business there." Her chin came up, but her eyes didn’t quite meet his. "I don’t know what it was. You didn’t say. But that’s where Christopher died. Can we not talk about this anymore? Please." Her voice broke on the last word and she bent her head to hide the tears he saw gathering in her eyes.
As much as he needed the truth, he found himself unwilling to push her. Her tears softened the hard knot of anger inside him.
A tendril of hair fell forward across her face and he reached out to brush it away. His knuckles touched the tender skin of her cheek and lingered. She looked up with startled eyes, her lips parted in question. Her lies forgotten, his gaze locked with hers. He caressed her face then threaded his fingers through her hair. Like silk it flowed over his hands.
Cupping the back of her head in his hand, he leaned toward her. The tempo of her pulse increased beneath his fingertips. Her breathing grew shallow and her eyelids fluttered shut. At his gentle tug, she swayed into him. His other arm went around her back and pulled her into his embrace. With a soft sigh she surrendered to his caress. Without hesitation he slanted his lips across hers.
Sensations swamped him, his own hot, pounding hunger and her sweet, warm yielding. His arms tightened as he deepened the kiss. With a gentle probe he urged her lips apart. After a slight hesitation, she allowed him entrance and his tongue explored the moist recesses of her mouth.
Take it slow, gentle, Jake warned himself. One hand massaged the small of her back and molded her slim frame to his harder one. The other anchored her head so she could not escape his kiss, even though she showed no signs of wishing to. With difficulty he held his passion in check.
He filled his nostrils with her scent, the smell of warm, willing woman. Pulling his lips from hers he buried his face in her hair and struggled to control his desire.
"So sweet, so soft," he whispered. "Do you know how I want you?"
How he longed to strip her of her clothing. The urge to lay her in the fragrant grass and drown in her velvet warmth beat like a drum in his blood.
Her hands clutched his shoulders, her fingers kneading his flesh as she pressed herself against him. Her lips sought his. She whimpered when he pulled back.
"Slow and easy, Kitten."
Thanks to Bewitching Book Tours for arranging this interview!