An Interview with Paisley Kirkpatrick

Tell us about your current series

Paradise Pines Series currently consists of five stories set in the mountain community of Paradise Pines and the journey that brings the three Benjamin sisters and five MacGregor brothers to settle in the former gold rush town. I chose the time period during and right after the 1849 Gold Rush because of the vibrant people who traveled far and wide to seek their fortunes in gold.

What is your next project and when will it be released?

March, 2013, is the release time for my second book in the Paradise Pines Series — Marriage Bargain. The dusty trail of a wagon train leads west, but Darrah Benjamin finds it a pathway to love and forgiveness when an arranged marriage becomes much more than a convenience. Wagon scout Chase challenges her determination with his promise — she’ll give him her heart and invite him to her bed before they arrive at their destination. Darrah will shape her own destiny and claim a woman’s spirit along the way.

Do you have critique partners?

I have been so blessed with the critique partners who have entered my life. I claim most of them as part of my family now. I learn by example. Because they’ve extended great patience and taken time to show me how to strengthen my stories, I create more vibrant characters, descriptive surroundings, and most important of all — what point of view is, I can call myself an author now. POV will follow me forever. At the beginning of my first story, in a paragraph with five sentences, I wrote four POVs with one being that of a rock. My chapter mates will never let me off that hook.
What is most difficult for you to write? Characters, conflict or emotions? Why?
Conflict is the most difficult for me to write. I get attached to my characters and don’t like making them unhappy. I would hate to count the times my critique partners have told me to rewrite my story because there is no conflict. Now I begrudgingly toss in all the angst I can create, and amazingly my characters survive and end up winners in the end.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book

Sassy Amalie Renard, a poker-playing saloon singer, shakes up Paradise Pines, a former gold-rush mountain community by turning the saloon’s bar into her stage. Her amazing voice stirs the passions of the hotel owner, a man who anonymously travels tunnels at night providing help to the downtrodden as the mysterious Night Angel. Declan Grainger agrees to subsidize the building of a music hall to fulfill Amalie’s dream, but a bounty for her arrest could spoil his plans. Distrust and jealousy stir flames of malice and revenge threatening to destroy their town. Drawing from past experiences, Declan and Amalie turn to each other to find a way to save the community.

Do you or have you belonged to a writing organization? Which one? Have they helped you with your writing? How?

I’ve belonged to Romance Writers of America since November, 1999. Through this organization I’ve joined land chapter Sacramento Valley Rose, and online chapters From the Heart, Hearts Through History, and Celtic Hearts. Belonging to these chapters and becoming a multi-term board member for most of them, I have made lifetime friendships with authors, found critique partners, taken classes and attended ten national conferences. Yes, I’d say joining RWA has been one of the best things I’ve done for my writing career.

Do you write under a pen name? Why or why not?

My pen name is Paisley Kirkpatrick. My decision to go with a pen name was security. Through the years I’ve seen some authors stalked, and with the way our society is now, I thought having a different identity would be best. Besides, I rather like my writing name. It represents part of my family and a gorgeous place in Scotland.

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?

Yes, NEVER give up. I wrote for 22 years before I got my first publishing contract. My friends say I am stubborn, but I prefer to say persevering. It never entered my mind to quit. What would I do with all my spare time if I wasn’t putting words into my computer? Surround yourself with great teachers, learn all you can from classes and reading books, attend conferences, and make contacts. Authors are the best kind of friends to have.

My husband of 43 years and I raised two daughters. Now that he’s retired I am working at my chosen profession of author. It’s great that he supports my love of writing and lends a comment every now and then. We have been fortunate enough to travel — his favorite place is Germany and mine is Scotland. I have been a member and on the board of the Sacramento Valley Rose Chapter of RWA for 13 years, and work with the online chapters From the Heart, Hearts Through History, and Celtic Hearts.


Different colored bottles of whiskey and beer reflected in the mirrors along the wall behind the long wooden bar. Perfect. That’s where she’d start her evening.

She slipped off her cape and handed it to Declan. His appreciative gasp brought a smile to her lips. Having men ogle her appearance was hardly new. She’d learned early to use her looks to her advantage. The way Declan’s eyes heated with appreciation when he cast a glance at the deep cut of her décolletage reminded her how good it felt to be a woman.

“Now you’ll see who I really am.”

Declan grabbed her arm. “Don’t let them forget you’re a lady, Amalie.”

She cast him a wicked smile. “The name’s Lily Fox. Believe me, honey, Lily’s no lady.”

She approached a couple of gamblers and leaned over slightly to give them full effect of her daring dress. “Would you mind helping me, gents? I have need of your table for a moment.”

The men jumped to their feet in unison, their cards forgotten. Amalie took the nearest man’s outstretched palm, stepped onto a chair, over their cards and up onto the long wooden plank bar.
“Good evening, boys.” She strutted along the length of wood, avoiding whiskey glasses and kicking away eager hands.

The saloon girl stopped caterwauling. The room went still. She had everyone’s attention, just the way Lily liked it.

“Get down, young woman. This ain’t no place for you to prance about,” the barkeep snarled in outrage.

Ignoring the scowling face with the handlebar mustache, she kicked up her heels. Adding a dance step, she pranced back and forth the length of the makeshift stage. Lily reveled in the whistles and disregarded the uncouth remarks. She was in her element. “My name is Lily Fox and I’m here to entertain you tonight.”

With the flick of her hand, she caught the attention of the stunned piano player. “Play something quick and lively, will you, honey?” She glanced around the room of excited faces and turned on her brightest smile.

Sweethearts of the West
Scandalous Victorians
Voices from the Heart


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