Monday, 22 October 2012

Interview with Lori Austin + Giveaway

It is my great pleasure today to welcome to Ex Libris Lori Austin, author of the amazing Once upon a Time in the West, Western historical romance series I just discovered and immediately fell in love with the characters, the world and the newness and freshness of the sub-genre. I read and loved The Beauty and the Bounty Hunter, the first book in the series, so much, that it became one of my favourite reads of 2012! Yes, I loved it that much! (Check out my review here to see why.) I was lucky to interview Lori, so take a seat, read on, discover this fantastic new series you should definitely check out and you could even win a terrific prize! ;-)

Stella: Hi Lori, welcome to Ex Libris! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Lori: Thanks for asking me, Stella. I'm a love and writer of romance. I live in Wisconsin. I have two grown sons and I've been married for 26 years to a fantastic man.

Stella: Up until now the world has known you as Lori Handeland, author of award winner and beloved paranormal and urban fantasy series, but now as Lori Austin you pen historical romances full of adventure and gunfights! :-D Why the change, the addition, the branching out? How long was this in the making? Any other facets you’d still like to share with the world? :-)

Lori: I actually began my career writing western historical romance. But as it's been 20 years and I've become known for paranormal romance, and I'm writing for a different publisher, we decided to go with a different name on the books to signal a different direction.

In my writing career I've written in quite a few genres, but always under the Handeland name, until now.

Stella: The Beauty and the Bounty Hunter, the 1st book in your brand new western historical romance series: the Once Upon a Time in the West series, was released this month, congratulations! Can you tell readers what they can expect of the Once Upon a Time in the West series, and more specifically of The Beauty and the Bounty Hunter

Lori: The Once Upon a Time in the West series are all set in the post Civil War era. They are action packed, sexy western historical romance with a bit of a twist. For instance, In The Beauty and the Bounty Hunter, the heroine is the bounty hunter, which makes the hero the beauty.

The following short excerpt gives a good example of both characters and what you can expect from the book.

"Khriso mou," Alexi murmured. "When you say things like that..." He moved a card from the right side of his hand to the left. "I get excited."

"How about we raise the stakes to... " She drew out the moment, and even though he knew exactly what she was doing, as he was the one who had taught her to do it, eventually his anticipation caused him to lean forward. Only then did Cat give him what he sought. "Anything."

"Anything?" he repeated.

"Oui." He cast her an exasperated glance as she purposely mangled one of his favorite words. "I win this hand, you give me anything I ask. You win--"

"I get anything I ask."

"You've played this before."

"Not with you."

She doubted he'd played it with anyone. What moron would promise anything?

Stella: How many books are you planning to have in the series? Will they each feature different characters or will we follow Cat, Alexi and Mikhail? :-)

Lori: There are 3 books in this series. They all feature different characters, though the characters from all the books, drift through the subsequent entries.

The second book is the story of Dr. Ethan Walsh, who appears briefly in The Beauty and the Bounty Hunter. The "Outlaw" of the title--An Outlaw in Wonderland (6/2013)--is the heroine, Annabeth.

Stella: Could you introduce Cat and Alexi, the heroine and hero of The Beauty and the Bounty Hunter

Lori: Cathleen Chase is no killer—but as Cat O’Banyon, she is a ruthless bounty hunter who always gets her man. Catching one lowlife after another, she continues her search for the only man she really cares to locate: the one whose voice she will never forget; the man who murdered her husband. She'll stop at nothing to find him.

Con artist Alexi Romanov taught Cat every trick she knows. He is a master of deceit, of disguise and of desire. He’s difficult to trust, and even more difficult to resist, but he has news she can’t ignore. The man she’s after has placed a bounty on her head. To get him before he gets her, she’ll have to team up with Alexi again…And just like before, the two of them together are nothing but trouble.

Stella: The Beauty and the Bounty Hunter is a very unusual historical romance: first because of its setting: the story doesn’t take place in Regency England or Medieval Scotland but in the Wild Wild West! And Cat is a very independent and head-strong heroine, and Alexi while charismatic, is also a hero not like the others... How did the idea for the series, the story come to you? Any specific moment/event that sparked the inspiration for it that you could share with us?


Lori: The book began when I kept seeing the first scene, where Cat is pretending to be a new gal at Letty's Whorehouse. She's really trying to get her bounty upstairs so she can capture him. In my imagination, there was already someone waiting upstairs to capture her. These characters and this scene kept haunting me.

Stella: Both The Beauty and the Bounty Hunter and its sequel An Outlaw in Wonderland have fairy tale alluding titles. Would you like to tell us (=tease us) in what way they fit the stories/characters?

Lori: In The Beauty and the Bounty Hunter, the heroine is the bounty hunter and Alexi is very much the beauty. They each see themselves as a kind of beast.

In An Outlaw in Wonderland, the heroine is the outlaw, Wonderland is a hideout, and the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland plays a small part.

Stella: In what way was writing The Beauty and the Bounty Hunter different than your usual paranormal stories? What kind of research did you do?

Lori: I did a lot of research into the Civil War and the period just after. As it had been nearly 20 years since I wrote an American set historical, I had to look into everything again. Weapons. Clothing. Geography.

It helped that I had recently written my SHAKESPEARE UNDEAD series and returned to the historical mindset for a while, even though those books were Elizabethan and paranormal.

Stella: Could you please summarize your Once Upon a Time in the West series for us Twitter-style (in 140 characters or less)?

Lori: The new series "Once Upon a Time in the West" begins with The Beauty and the Bounty Hunter a sexy, romantic, thrill ride of an adventure.

Stella: What is next on your schedule? Any future plans you’d like to share with us?

Lori: Right now I'm working on the third book in this series, as yet untiltled, which will be available January, 2014.

Then I will return to paranormals for a trilogy about 3 witch sisters.


Lori Austin is the pseudonym for award winning author Lori Handeland, known for her paranormal romance series, The Nightcreature Novels, as well as the urban fantasy series, The Phoenix Chronicles and the historical fantasy series, Shakespeare Undead. Under the Austin name, Lori writes sexy, adventurous western historical romance.

She is a New York Times Bestselling Author and the recipient of many industry awards, including two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America for Best Paranormal Romance and Best Long Contemporary Category Romance.

Lori lives in Wisconsin with her husband, enjoying occasional visits from her grown sons.

Connect with Lori at her Website / Facebook / Goodreads 


Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin

Book #1 in the Once upon a Time in the West series

Cathleen Chase is no killer—but as Cat O’Banyon, she is a ruthless bounty hunter who always gets her man. Catching one lowlife after another, she continues her search for the only man she really cares to locate. The one whose voice she will never forget; the man who murdered her husband. She’ll stop at nothing to find him.

Con artist Alexi Romanov taught Cat every trick she knows. He is a master of deceit, disguise, and desire. He’s difficult to trust, and even more difficult to resist, but he has news she can’t ignore. The man she’s after has placed a bounty on her head. To get him before he gets her, she’ll have to team up with Alexi again....And just like before, the two of them together are nothing but trouble.




GIVEAWAY RULES:

Lori has very generously offered a $25 USD Amazon gift card to a lucky commenter!


Just leave a comment for Lori and tell us: Have you ever read Western historical romances? Do you like them or not? And why is that?

Giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 2 November 2012!

Good luck!

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