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Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday Friends: Meet Paisley Kirkpatrick

This week I'm joined by another Scandalous Victorian, the lovely Paisley Kirkpatrick. Adopted mother, loving aunt, gracious cheerleader--that's the role Paisley plays for everyone she meets. Her writing journey is an inspirational one, and I'm delighted to have her here today as a Friday Friend. The fact that she's a fellow Western fan and writer just makes me love her more. *G* Oh, and I'll let Paisley tell you why I chose a pic of Gerry Butler to post here today.

How long have you been writing?
I started writing in 1989, but didn’t join RWA and learn the proper way to construct a story until Fall of 1999. I’d been reading a lot of the ancient Harlequins and had no idea what POV was or any of the craft rules we live by. In fact, when someone read my first story, she gave it back to me after reading only a few pages. Told me to learn what POV is. My claim to fame is: In one paragraph with five sentences I had four different points of view and one of them belonged to the rock.

Where do you get your ideas?
I have often wondered where my ideas come from. I really don’t know. Plots just appear in my head and the characters start telling me their stories. I don’t know how many stories there are, but if I don’t write them as the characters want, they stop talking to me.

Describe your typical writing day.
I use the morning hours to edit what I have written the night before. For some reason I like writing late afternoon and into the night. Early morning I feel stiff mentally and need to experience part of the day until the writing juices start to flow. Since I now have a laptop along with my main computer, I can write as late as I like. The length of time depends on my hands as I have carpel tunnel syndrome that slows me down if I push too hard.

What was your "Aha!" moment—when you knew you had to be a writer?
My dream was to write a book. I’d always told my children to dream big if you are going to dream and never stop until you achieve that dream. I’ve finished three stories and am into my fourth. So, actually, my dream has already come true even though I am not yet published. I’ve loved the journey, the learning, the friends, the thrill of putting together plots and having feedback from people who’ve read my chapters.

If you weren't a writer, what would you be?
A secretary – which is what I did for years in the accounting business and in property management.

Tell me your best cure for writer's block?
People always raise their eyebrows at me when I confess my cure – I listened to the music to Phantom of the Opera or watch the movie with Gerard Butler as the Phantom. The music, or maybe the Scot, always seem to break through the muse that is blocked and ideas flow like crazy. So far, this method has never failed to work for me.

Tell us a little bit about your current WIP.

Prey of the Huntress is my current WIP. It takes place in 1853 in the mountain community of Paradise Pines, located in the Sierra Mountains of California. The setting is a few years after the gold rush of 1849. Rebecca Ryder arrives to accept her inheritance only to find it is not what she expected – a rundown shack and the ownership of the local newspaper. She knows there is a gold mine somewhere and to keep her property she must discover its location to pay the property taxes. The hero , Trevin MacGregor, owns the property around her inheritance and he and his brothers run a cattle ranch. They need the property she now owns to be able to move their cattle. Her grandfather had promised them the “gate” they need to safely move their livestock through the mountains, but changed his mind and leaves it to Rebecca. The MacGregors try to take her land by paying the back taxes, but she is able to take care of business first and saves her land temporarily. Now the next property tax payment is due in six weeks. She must find the gold mine entrance or the cattlemen will take her land.


A tremor shook the shack a good ten seconds. Her hands flailed. He grabbed her arms and held tight when she lost her balance. They rolled down the side of the roof and over the edge, landing with her on top of him.

“Are you all right?” she cried, running her hands over him.

Stunned, he couldn’t move, couldn’t catch his breath.

She laid her ear against his chest. “Your heart’s still beating.”

He moaned, opening one eye a crack and then the other. “You’re dangerous, lady. What kind of power do you have to knock me breathless every time we meet?”

“You’re a monster for scaring me like that.” She got to her feet and brushed off her skirt.

He rolled onto his side enjoying every moment of her scolding. God, but she was even more beautiful than he remembered.

“What happened? Did the cabin move or was it my imagination?”

“The cabin definitely moved. We’ve experience several earthquakes over the past few days.” He got to his feet, wincing and rubbing his aching backbone. “I need to talk to Garland’s granddaughter. Where is she?”

“I’m Garland Boone’s granddaughter and new owner of this grand place. My name’s Rebecca Ryder.”

“But,” he stopped, shaking his head at the discovery, “Garland led me to believe you were much younger.”

She snickered. “I’m not a bit surprised. Grandpa always referred to me as his little rebel. Guess he forgot I grew up.”

He limped to an overturned crate. Sitting, he rested his head in his hands. Good God! What an impossible position. He glanced at his huntress and saw more trouble than he wanted to deal with. His brothers wanted Miss Ryder gone but he couldn’t - wouldn’t - let her go.

“Are you sure you’re all right?”

“No, I’m not all right. Your grandfather promised me rights to the passageway through the Black Gate. He reneged and my brothers are ready to skin you alive.”

She stepped away from him. “Are those your sentiments as well?”

He glanced up. “No. I’d like to think I’m the mature MacGregor.”

“You have a strange way of showing your maturity, Mr. MacGregor.”

“What’s that supposed to mean. You don’t know me well enough to make a judgment like that.”

“No? Let me see. Does ‘that harebrained female is not keeping us from running our livestock through the Black Gate,’ sound familiar? Or, my favorite, ‘A woman’s place is in front of a stove or warming a man’s bed.’”

Good Lord, she heard the twins’ outburst in the lawyer’s office? He jumped to his feet. His head started spinning. He reached out and she wrapped her arms around him.

“You’re not all right.” She led him to the cabin’s front door. “Come inside and rest before you collapse. What were you thinking dragging me off the roof with you?”

He dropped his arm over her shoulder and let her help him along the narrow space to Garland’s rocker. “I thought I was saving your life.”

He sank onto the chair with a deep moan. Garland has some whisky in that cabinet over there, I could use a drink.” He nodded toward the bottom of a stand.

“You shouldn’t have alcohol, Mr. MacGregor. You might have a concussion.”

“I didn’t hit my head. I landed on my back with you on top of me, remember?”

“Aren’t you the grumpy one?”

He glanced at her tapping toe. “I’m sorry. I’m miffed at my brothers for speaking out of turn at your expense. I should have cuffed them when they poke ill at your expense. They’ve been a handful since our parents died and my other two brothers and I’ve taken on raising them. I’ll see they apologize appropriately to you.”

“Thank you, but it’s not necessary.”

He nodded at the cabinet again.

She grunted and knelt before the opened cupboard. “There’s only a couple bottles of Scotch in here. Will that do?”

“It’s only the finest whisky made.” Jesus did he need some of the drink.

A huge rat bolted from between the bottles plowing against her chest, knocking Rebecca on her buttocks. Her frantic glance up at him came with a loud shriek. In a quick moment she moved onto his lap, pulled her feet high off the floor and buried her face against his chest. “Is that horrid thing gone?”

This was more than he could ever have hoped for. She was right where he wanted her, in his arms.

Anything else in the works you can share with us?

I have a trilogy of three sisters who travel west, each traveling in a different way and they all end up in Paradise Pines. Have started sending the stories to contests.

Thanks, Paisley, for stopping by and visiting with us today! Be sure to stop by and visit her gorgeous website!


Helen Hardt said...

You had me at Gerry Butler...

Nice to learn more about you and your work, Paisley!


Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Hi Helen. Thanks for visiting. Yes, Gerry does inspire my writing and is fodder for creating my heros.

Terri Garey said...

Hi, Paisley! Loved the excerpt - you're getting better and better with every story! I giggled at the POV of a rock, though. :-)

You have a lovely blog, Nicole, and lovely friends, as evidenced by inviting Paisley today. Isn't she wonderful?

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thank you, Terri. Yes, at my Sacramento Valley Rose chapter I am quite famous over that rock...

I have learned a lot about POV and when I hear back on a contest and get all the points on POV it makes me smile ...a lot!

Glad you like my new story excerpt. I am having so much fun with this story - ahh another Scottish hero to play with ;)

Janice Lynn said...

Ooooooh, loved your except!!! Great writing, Paisley!! And the picture of Gerry was...nice. ;)bleco

Janice Lynn said...

bleco was my word verification. I've no idea how it ended up in my post. LOL!

Susan Macatee said...

Hi, Paisley! Sounds like a great story. Good luck with it!

Love your Gerry pic, too!

Wonderful interview, ladies!!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

That's okay, Janice, I thought it was a new word describing how handsome Gerry is. :)

Thanks for stopping by. I'm proud that you enjoyed my excerpt.


Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I'm waving, Susan. I hope the story turns out great. It's a lot of fun spending time with this particular hero as he is quite bold and a wee bit devilsh.

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Loved the excerpt. :-)
Sounds like a great story! and gerry's always a treat.
And what a beautiful web site Nicole provided to post on.


Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Hi Jeanmarie, Thanks for posting. I'm glad you like my excerpt. Now if I can just get this story done....

Mary Ann Webber said...

I love your interview. It always amazes me how many new facts I can learn about a long-time writer friend. Let's hear it for blogs!
Your excerpt is priceless! Inserting Gerry's cheeky grin magnified the whole experience. Can't wait to read the entire story.
Love it!
Mary Ann

Paty Jager said...

Good to get to know you, Paisley. Fun excerpt.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Waving, Mary Ann. What a nice compliment. So glad you liked the excerpt from my newest story. Any photo of Gerry adds to my world.

U ca't agree more, Nic's site is gorgeous.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks for coming for a visit, Paty. We sat across the table from each other at the breakfast in Dallas last conference...

Nicole McCaffrey said...

Wow, Lady Paisley, why am I not surprised at the crowd that turned out for you today! I guess everyone loves you as much as I do!

Thanks everyone, for visiting with us today and for all your kind words.

And a big thanks to Paisley for sharing her WIP--and Gerry--with all of us today.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

It was great fun to be invited to visit your beautiful blog, Nic. Thank you for inviting me...

Isabel Roman said...

Sorry for coming late to the party, it's ben a bsy day-job day.

I should have known Gerry gets you through writer's block! He IS yummy to look at. :) And it sounds like a great new story!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Great to see you Isabel and late doesn't count on blogs. I am having fun with my new story and can't wait to spend more time over there. Adding words to Amalie's story to bring it back up to over 85,000 words.

Jennifer Ross said...

Oh, good! I wasn't going to post because I was so late, but Isabel smoothed the way for me.

Lady Paisley, we could be twins! I had no idea you did what I do--and you described perfectly how my characters clam up when I write something wrong.

I absolutely adored the excerpt and most definitely want to read this whole book. I love irreverent heroes and heroines, especially ones terrified of rats!

And I like the new tradition of signing your post with your word verification (since our names are at the top anyway).

Great interview Nicole!

subco immouslu (I previewed first)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Thanks, Jenn. At least I am never lonely with all these people inside my head talking to me all the time. I do hate it when they are angry with me and stop talking...but it does let me know I am on the wrong path.

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