Please give a warm welcome to Lori Austin, who stops by Book Lovers Inc. to celebrate the release of An Outlaw in Wonderland, the second book in her Once Upon a Time in the West historical romance series! Please give a warm welcome to Lori and read on to learn more about this new story and its characters, and you could even win yourself a copy of An Outlaw in Wonderland!
Stella: Hi Lori, having LOVED Beauty and the Bounty Hunter (folks, it was one of my favourite reads of 2012!), it is a great pleasure welcoming you to Book Lovers Inc and sitting down to grill you with all my noisy questions! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Lori: Thanks, Stella. BEAUTY is one of my favorite novels in a career (so far) of over 50 books. I’m very excited that Romance Writers of America has nominated it for a RITA award in the historical category.
I also write under the name Lori Handeland.
Stella: Are you a planner or pantser? Can you tell us a bit about your writing process? How do your novels come to life?
Lori: I’m a pantser. I’ve found that if I plot too much the story is told and I’m bored. I prefer seeing what my characters have in store for all of us as they come alive on the page.
Stella: What do you think is the difference between a reader and a real Book Lover?
Lori: Probably volume. Book lovers can’t get enough–they read all the time, many books a week and their TBR piles are stacks upon tumbling over stacks of precious volumes.
Stella: Your Once Upon a Time in the West series is a pretty unique and original series: a historical romance series set in the Wild West! Why, how did you think of setting a historical romance in the Wild West? What was your inspiration? Would you care to introduce the series to those readers who haven’t had the pleasure of discovering it yet? (Readers, trust me, you MUST start this series, you’ll thank me later!
Lori: My very first published novel was a western. I love the genre and have been trying to write more of them for a long time now.
BEAUTY began as an idea that I thought of as Stephanie Plum goes to the West. However, when I started writing I realized that as much as I love Janet Evanovich’s books, I don’t write funny like she does. My humor is more sarcastic, my characters are much darker. I can’t help it. The book also didn’t work with two heroes. From the beginning, Alexi and Cat were meant for each other, so I rewrote what I had as a historical romance.
The Once Upon a Time in the West series begins with the story of Cat O’Banyon, a bounty hunter who will do anything to get her man, and Alexi Romanov, a mysterious con man who teaches her all that she knows. In this book, the beauty is the hero and the bounty hunter the heroine.
Stella: An Outlaw in Wonderland, the second book in your Once Upon a Time in the West series just got release on June 4th, congratulations! With such a title the fairy tale association is pretty obvious but I am curious to know how did you think of pairing up Alice and her Wonderland with bandits and the Wild West?
Lori: The titles are more of a theme than a plot device in these books. For instance, Wonderland is the outlaw hideout and the outlaw is the heroine, Annabeth.
Stella: Can you tell our readers what they can expect of An Outlaw in Wonderland? (if you’d like you could even include a teaser or a titillating few lines)
Lori: The timeline of these books was interesting. OUTLAW actually starts before BEAUTY, during the Civil War, and tells some of the back story of Alexi. In BEAUTY readers met Dr. Ethan Walsh. In OUTLAW they hear all about him. Ethan is a spy, but then so is the heroine, Annabeth. Too bad they aren’t on the same side.
Stella: Could you introduce the hero and heroine of An Outlaw in Wonderland to us?
Lori: Saving soldiers’ lives at the Confederate army hospital Chimborazo, Annabeth Phelan is no ordinary Southern belle. She’s never known work more exhausting or rewarding. And she’s never known a man like Dr. Ethan Walsh, with his disarming gray eyes and peculiar ways. But now the Confederacy is charging her with another service: find the Union spy at Chimborazo. Ethan’s one passion is saving lives, and if he can do that by helping to end the war, he will—even if it means spying for the North. He’s gotten used to fooling Confederates, but he can’t bear lying to Annabeth. And together, they are about to discover a new passion—one that could even transcend the chaos of war.
Stella: Your heroines, both Cat and Annabeth are kickass, gun-wielding brave and strong heroines. How did you dream them up?
Lori: My books usually start with characters. People come to me and we begin. For me, the West is a time when men were men, and so were the women. Frail flowers did not survive. Kickass women did.
Stella: Now can you tell us 3 reasons why people should read your Once Upon a Time in the West series?
Lori: If you enjoy strong women, deep emotion, fast moving plots with a twist, this series is for you.
Stella: Could you please summarize An Outlaw in Wonderland for us Twitter-style (in 140 characters or less)?
Lori: Dr. Ethan Walsh is a spy; so his nurse, Annabeth. Too bad they aren’t on the same side. Who will win-Yankee, Reb, or true love?
Stella: Could you tell us any “behind the scenes secret” related to the writing of An Outlaw in Wonderland (a real life moment/person inspiring a scene, something that didn’t make the final edits, a character who went through)?
Lori: I did a ton of research on the Battle of Gettysburg, so that I could place Ethan right in the battle, in an actual hospital, with real people all around him. The same goes for Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond and Castle Thunder Prison. These places existed, as did many of the characters that walk through the book and interact with Annabeth and Ethan. I love doing that!
Stella: What is next on your schedule? Any future plans you’d like to share with us?
Lori: The third book in the Once Upon a Time in the West series is THE LONE WARRIOR and it tells the story of Annabeth’s missing brother Luke Phelan. It will be available in January 2014.
Right now I am writing the first book in a trilogy of witch books, returning to paranormal for the first time in quite a while. These books should be available in 2015.
Stella: Could you share with us something, a trivia that not many people know about you?
Lori: I spent 8 years waitressing in a coffee shop. Loved that job. I met so many great characters.
In a time of war, love has its own rewards…
Saving soldiers’ lives at the Confederate army hospital Chimborazo, Annabeth Phelan is no ordinary Southern belle. She’s never known work more exhausting or rewarding. And she’s never known a man like Dr. Ethan Walsh, with his disarming gray eyes and peculiar ways. But now the Confederacy is charging her with another service: find the Union spy at Chimborazo.
Ethan’s one passion is saving lives, and if he can do that by helping to end the war, he will—even if it means spying for the North. He’s gotten used to fooling Confederates, but he can’t bear lying to Annabeth. And together, they are about to discover a new passion—one that could even transcend the chaos of war.
Lori Austin is the pseudonym for two time RITA award winning author Lori Handeland. Under the Austin name, Lori writes sexy, adventurous western historical romance. The first book in her “Once Upon a Time in the West” series, BEAUTY AND THE BOUNTY HUNTER is nominated for a RITA and the second book in the series, AN OUTLAW IN WONDERLAND was named by Publishers’ Weekly as one of the Best Romances of Summer.
Lori lives in Wisconsin with her husband, enjoying occasional visits from her grown sons. She can be contacted through her websites:
Connect with Lori at:
Lori has generously offered an ebook copy of An Outlaw in Wonderland to a lucky commenter!
All you have to do is leave a comment and tell us: Which fairy tale would you like to see next in the Once Upon a Time in the West series?
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).
This giveaway is open to all!
Giveaway ends on Saturday 29 June 2013, and we will announce the winner on Sunday.