Saturday, July 12, 2014

E.E. Burke's Best of the West with Jacqui Nelson


Welcome to day two of my Best of the West interview with Jacqui Nelson, who has just released a new Western historical romance, Between Heaven & Hell

Jacqui and I first met in 2010 at RWA when we were both finalists in the Golden Heart® Historical category. About a year ago, we worked together on a project with another GH pal, Jennifer Jakes. 

The result of our collaboration was Passion's Prize, a three-part novel that revolves around a historic railroad race and was inspired in part by the popular AMC television series "Hell On Wheels."

When it comes to inspiration, I find there are unending resources through research on actual events and real historical characters. The railroad race and several of the secondary characters in Passion's Prize came right out of the history books.

Jacqui: Where do I find the inspiration for our Western heroes—the GOOD (guys), the BAD (boys) and the UGLY (spirited adversaries who push them to their limits)? I don’t have to look far with the seemingly endless number of fantastic Western novels, movies and TV series. 

Need a little help remembering the magnetism of a great Western hero? Elisabeth created some awesome Pinterest boards to help us out!
 
Inspiration for Western Heroes


Western Heroes
E.E. Over the past year, I started creating Pinterest boards to collect images for research and inspiration. I have boards for each book. And I've even created boards specifically for Western HeroesOutlaws and Bad Boys and even Historical Hotties.
Historical Hotties

Collecting images is helpful (and terribly addictive) for a "visual" thinker. 

Today, we thought we'd share a little about the sources of inspiration for the Western Heroes who appear in our latest novels.

Between Heaven & Hell is Jacqui's first Western historical romance and the book that won her the Golden Heart in 2010. I love the name of her hero, Paden Callahan. Here's how she came up with the name and more about the character:

Amazon e-book or print
Hero: Paden Callahan
Hometown: Came to live in San Antonio when he was twelve, and before that? Well, all will be revealed before the end of the trail.
Home for now: By day, the back of his horse, Cholla, and by night, a bedroll on the ground when the setting sun forces him to halt.
Past: Tormented by the brutal murder of his wife by the Comanche, Paden can't forgive himself for being a Texas Ranger who failed to protect the one person who needed him the most.
Present: Reluctant leader of a wagon train bound for the Western Territories. Just has to cross a thousand miles of hostile Indian land to get there. His biggest challenge turns out to be a woman raised by the Osage. Hannah aka Blue Sky uses her exemplary riding and shooting skills to earn a position as a scout on Paden’s wagon train so she can outrun her own violent past. Can Paden keep Hannah safe, or is history about to repeat itself?


Clint Eastwood
Movie Inspiration: Clint Eastwood in The Outlaw Josey Wales. After the murder of his wife and son, Wales is a man consumed by revenge. He eventually pursues a different path, becoming the reluctant leader of several eclectic souls who can’t seem to survive without his help. But are they helping him just as much in return? 

Paden’s name was inspired by Kevin Kline’s character in Silverado.

Picture Inspiration: www.pinterest.com/JacquiAuthor/between-heaven-hell-a-novel

Jacqui: I loved working on Passion's Prize with Elisabeth and Jennifer. We're all big fans of the television show "Hell On Wheels" and developing interwoven romances around a big railroad story seemed like a great idea. She's expanded on the series with her current book, Her Bodyguard. Here's a little more about a "bad boy" turned hero.


Hero: Buck O’Connor
Hometown: Harrisonville, Missouri
Home for now: He’s been hiding out in Texas, but returns to Kansas to help his only living relative avoid being bankrupted by the railroad.
Past: A former Confederate guerrilla, Buck is wanted for taking part in an infamous wartime raid into Kansas. His obsessive quest for justice for his family spurred him to do things he later deeply regretted and cost him the love of a woman he tried to protect.
Present: He rescues Amy Langford in the midst of an ice storm, finds out she’s with the railroad, and accepts an offer to be her bodyguard so he can use the position to aid his cousin. Too late, he realizes he’s falling in love, but he can’t tell Amy the truth—about anything.

Movie/TV series Inspiration: Buck is actually inspired by the stories of real life “bushwhackers.” Insofar as his looks and voice, I kept seeing and hearing a young Sam Elliott. 
Cullen Bohannon
His personality reminds me of Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), the main character on AMC’s series “Hell On Wheels,” because Buck, like Cullen, is bent on getting justice at any cost. He’s been after it for years, but his decisions only make things worse.



E.E. You can find more inspirational images for our stories here:
Jacqui's books are available on Amazon and other major online retailers. You can also find more about on her Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Today, we're giving away three eBooks: Jacqui's latest, Between Heaven and Hell, our collaborative novel, Passion's Prize and my current release, Her BodyguardAll you have to do is enter the raffle and leave a comment.

Do you have a favorite Western hero? Who is it, and what makes him your favorite? 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

33 comments:

  1. *waves* Morning Jacqui and E.E.! Ladies, such a fun sneak peek into the worlds of your Western heroes and what inspired their creation. Love it! OMG, I adored Clint in The Outlaw Josey Wales--excellent pick. ;)

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    1. Yay, Darcy, my fellow Outlaw Josey Wales fan! Isn't he the best? Thanks for swinging by and commenting on your Saturday morning!

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  2. Hi Darcy! I love gathering these images. It really helps me visualize time, place, people. I think Clint Eastwood in The Outlaw Josey Wales has inspired many a Western hero. It's a classic. He's such a good "bad boy." Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. Yes! He's a classic and I love all your Pinterest boards that remind me of the other classics, Elisabeth! Hours of enjoyment there :)

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  3. Jacqui & EE - I'm not a very visual person, so I don't do Pinterest boards myself, but it's fun getting a look at other people's. Good luck with your new releases!

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    1. I agree Gail. It's fun looking at other's pictures. Sometime a little too much fun,especially when a plot line isn't cooperating and procrastination hits. Thanks for dropping by, Gail!

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    2. Thanks Gail! Appreciate you stopping by. Yes, the boards get very addictive. Especially looking at pics of handsome men. ;)

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  4. My comment yesterday didn't post. Darn.

    ANOTHER JACQUI NELSON BOOK!!
    I'm so excited !!
    ~Angi

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    1. I see you comment from yesterday, Angi, so all is good. Thanks again for stopping by to comment! Hope you're having a sunny & wonderful Saturday.

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  5. I loved Passion's Prize and Her Bodyguard! Both Jacqui and EE are amazing writers. I never knew how much I loved westerns until I read their books. Then I got hooked on Hell on Wheels and now I can't get enough of a good western romance! Can't wait to read Jacqui's new book!

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    1. Yay, Heather! I'm glad you're hooked on Westerns as well. Elisabeth and Jennifer got me hooked on Hell On Wheels - it was a very happy day when that happened :) Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Heather, that is the biggest compliment, thank you! I'm so delighted you enjoyed our books. You'll love Jacqui's latest. And I'm also glad we found another HOW fan. Now when August comes around, we'll all be watching and "tweeting" together! What fun!

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  6. I just watched Josey Wales again the other night. Great western film. I never visualized physical images for my heroes until I began creating covers. Now I like to have them while writing a book and do find it inspirational to have those characters on a board or somewhere I can look at them when i need to think what would they do next. I always know the structure of a story but getting there, that's where surprises can arise and, for me now, images add to that.

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    1. Love the way you work with images while writing, Rain. And very cool that you just watched Outlaw Josey Wales! I have it on *cough* VHS tape (I have a very old collection of movies) so I may treat myself to watching it again tonight.

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    2. It's funny how trying to find a cover gets you to thinking about what your characters look like. I never used images either, until Pinterest came along. Now there are so many out there and I can sift through them until I find one that speaks to me. It's been a great tool for research and inspiration.

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  7. I love dream casting my characters to get a visual idea of them. When you dream cast you can have a young Sam Elliott or, as I often do, a hybrid of two actors, or an actor and historical person.

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    1. Great idea, Alison! I can see that I need to widen my "dreaming" to include your character mash-up process...hadn't thought to combine actors with historical persons. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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    2. I love that term "dream casting." Yes, I also combine characters that are real people (past/present), from movies/TV, in my head. My characters never look exactly like anyone because they are unique as a real person would be if I met them. But I get great ideas and inspiration from looking at different images and thinking about how one's eyes really remind me of so and so, or the look they have, or the hair, or whatever. I guess maybe I've been dream casting for awhile and didn't know what to call it. Thanks for stopping by Alison!

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  8. Great post. Loved all of Clint Eastwood's movies. He was such a perfect, quiet, don't mess with me or you'll be sorry hero. I always create a file when I start a new book, and one of the first things to go in it is a picture of my hero and heroine. I probably waste way too much time looking at possible hero pictures. :-)

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    1. Great description, Sandra - "a perfect, quiet, don't mess with me or you'll be sorry hero." Love it! Finding the pictures can feel like a time suck but if it speeds your process afterwards then it's all good...or so I tell myself :)

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    2. I used to create a file...before I found Pinterest. Now I'm hopelessly addicted. But it's great fun, as well as helpful in visualizing people, places, things. Thanks for stopping by, Sandra!

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  9. I loved Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy. I like the lovable rogue type of character.

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    1. Adored Paul Newman and Robert Redford in that movie, and they did such a great job with the roles. Thanks for commenting, Barbara.

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    2. The lovable rogue is classic, and so is Paul Newman. He definitely had a pair of unforgettable eyes. Great hero pick, Barbara!

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    1. Thanks for visiting on both days of my 2-day guest blog with Elisabeth. Are we inspiring you (even just a little bit) to love Westerns like we do? Hope so :)

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  11. I used to love Clint Eastwood movies when I was a little girl. I had the biggest crush and was devastated to find out he was actually an "old man" (I'd been watching old movies on TV and thought he was a dreamy young guy). Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid were also pretty crush-worthy. Fun post!

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    1. Film and TV have a way of making people immortal - they never age when we get the treat of watching them over and over again. Thanks for visiting and commenting, Amy!

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    2. I refuse to think of my "heroes" as old (that would mean I'm old, too). Ha!

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  12. These books look amazing.John Wayne is a favorite.I love Clark Davis from the Love comes Softly series.

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    1. Nicole, I think John Wayne just defines Western Hero. Although I think one of my favorites of his roles was in True Grit. I just googled Clark Davis. Somehow I missed that series. Now I need to find it and watch. Looks good. Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Great pick with John Wayne, Nicole! A few weeks ago I watched "Hondo" for the first time. I loved it, and I don't know how I missed seeing it earlier. Had to Google "Love Come Softly" as well. But so glad I did and that you mentioned it! It's now on my must-watch list. Thanks, Nicole!

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  13. Thanks again for having me as your guest on Get Lost in a Story, Elisabeth! And to everyone who commented, entered the giveaway or just swung by to read about our love for Westerns - Thank you!! Day 2's winners have been contacted. Hope you enjoy our stories!

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