Interview Laura Drake, Author of The Sweet Spot

Laura Drake is our special guest this morning.  Please give her a warm welcome!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Laura Drake] Glass overflowing thrill-seeker, recovering bean-counter, writer, motorcycling grandma, cowboy fangirl, and aspiring Texan!

(Whew! Thank God for all the Twitter prep!)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Sweet Spot?

[Laura Drake] Here’s a quick blurb:

Charla Rae Denny’s role as a traditional ranch wife and mother fits her like custom-tailored Wranglers. But when her only son is killed in a tragic accident, Char retreats to a world of grief and Valium. Her reeling husband takes up with a blonde buckle bunny half his age. Their ranch, which supplies bucking bulls to the Pro Bull Riding circuit, is split up in the divorce. All her county fair ribbons won’t help Charla now. She’s alone, addicted, ill-equipped, and has no one to blame but herself. In spite of her fear of horses and smelly cows, she stands up, takes off her apron, and learns to run a ranch. She and Jimmy have lost their way. But through months of hard work, tears, and some hard knocks, they both learn to forgive — themselves and each other. Together, they find their way back, to life, to love, to the Sweet Spot.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Laura Drake] I love ‘fish out of water’ stories. My mother-in-law was actually the kernel of what would become Charla. She’s a ranch wife, who majored in Home Economics in college (yes that was once a major!) Though she came from a long line of farmers/ranchers, she considered everything inside the house her job, and outside, her husband’s.

So I wondered, what would happen if someone like that suddenly had to take over running a ranch?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Charla?

[Laura Drake] Old-fashioned, damaged, plucky!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If JB had a theme song, what would it be?

[Laura Drake] Forever and Ever, Amen

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Charla is never without.

[Laura Drake] Regret.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in JB’s bedroom?

[Laura Drake] A neatly made bed, a senior league championship baseball cap, or pajamas!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is JB’s greatest regret?

[Laura Drake] Not building his son a tree house.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Laura Drake] My husband and his family. I’m a city girl from Detroit, but he’s a farmer/rancher’s son from Texas. I so respect their strength and way of life. We’re moving to Texas next year, and I’m hoping to someday earn the title, “country girl.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Laura Drake] Coffee, a computer, and a cat (in that order.)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Laura Drake] All God’s Creatures, by Carolyn McSparren. If you’ve read James Harriott’s novels, you’re going to love this one! A rural vet, but set in the U.S., and the vet is a woman! A wonderfully real, heartwarming book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Laura Drake] Misty of Chincoteague, by Marguerite Henry. Yes, I was horse-mad from an early age.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Laura Drake] Motorcycling, bicycling, fly fishing, reading, camping, knitting.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Laura Drake] My website is best:

But I’m also a Twitterholic: @PBRWriter

For any aspiring writers, I’m a member of the writing craft blog, Writers in the Storm:

Thank you SO much for having me here at Manga Maniac Café!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase The Sweet Spot from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below

About the book:

A Love as Big as Texas . . .

Charla Rae Denny was the perfect wife with a perfect life, content to keep the home fires burning while her husband, JB, competed as a champion bull rider. Then their son died in a tragic accident-and everything fell apart. Divorced and saddled with a hill of bills and a failing ranch, Charla must now cowboy up to put her life back together.

James "JB" Denny doesn’t stay where he isn’t welcome. So when Charla shut him out of her grieving heart-and their home-a year ago, he took comfort where he could find it. Now after seeing beautiful Charla again, he wants it all back. She can’t work the ranch alone, and deep in his heart he knows he can be the man she needs. But after so much history and heartbreak, can JB convince Charla to take a risk and give their love a second chance?