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July Must Have – Welcome Home, Cowboy

**Disclaimer – I got a copy of this book the same way I get all of Karen’s books, hot off the presses on the first day it was available at my local store. However, she has graciously donated a copy to be won by one of our blog readers. See the contest rules at the bottom of this post.

Approximately ten years ago, give or take, I got a wild hair to write a book. Had I known then what I know now, I would have just taken up drinking instead. It would have saved me a few steps.

Having never taken a writing class in my life, I went looking online for places to ‘meet’ other writers, and I found the eHarlequin Writer’s Forum. It was there, in a thread about writing craft, that I first encountered real live published authors. Karen Templeton and Patricia McLinn answered my embarrassingly naïve questions without once letting on that they were rolling their eyes so hard they strained an optical muscle. They also shared their own ups and downs, both in life and on the page. For the first time, I realized writers are people, too. Like me. Mothers and wives, with jobs and husbands and dust bunnies.

It was at once empowering and depressing. For the first time, I really thought, “Well, hey, I could do this.” But so much for my fantasy of the full time housekeeper/cook/nanny once I signed that first book deal.

Real life is Karen Templeton’s specialty, and she writes it with insight, emotion, and a brand of wry humor that I can only hope to emulate. Over the years she has quietly broken many of the time-honored ‘rules’ of romance. Her lead characters are often parents. The ex-husband isn’t always a total jerk. Kids get their own point of view. She writes heroines who aren’t a size five and don’t really give a fig, and men who think they’re the sexiest thing on earth. She has even written a romance featuring a married couple and managed to make it smoke.

Can you see why she’s my hero?

Her July Silhouette Special Edition Welcome, Home Cowboy features one of my favorite love scenes in recent memory. The two lead characters, Cash and Emma, are compelling both for their flaws and their virtues. While Emma is struggling to make a future for herself and soon to be three children, Cash has turned his back on a lucrative career in country music to finally face the demons of his own childhood. Their brutal honesty, both with each other and with themselves, makes this a unique read, and a real trick to pull off while maintaining sexual tension.

Lordy, is there some sexual tension. And goats. A book can never have too many goats, in my opinion.

But don’t take my word for it. Pick up Welcome Home, Cowboy and see for yourself. Then go out and round up every book in Karen’s backlist (but don’t even think about trying to snitch them from my keeper pile). Meanwhile, I’ll quit yakking. Everyone, meet the fabulous Karen Templeton:

1. What made you decide to put fingers to keyboard for the first time and write a book?

I’d been dabbling with writing since high school, although nothing major. Or serious. And I did try my hand at a few short stories, and one teen novel, when my first two sons were babies/toddlers, but found the editing process waaaay too tedious with a typewriter and correction fluid.

Which is why I’m guessing God invented the PC. Because without the backspace and delete keys (not to mention cut-and-paste), I wouldn’t be here answering these questions now. Seriously.

2. A large percentage of your romantic leads are parents. What do you like best about adding kids to the mix?

Well, you know what they say about writing what you know. And I know kids. (Boy, do I know kids.) Besides which, parents have the right to a fulfilling lovelife, too, right? Sure, you have to get a little creative to keep the fires burning, but that’s what makes it fun. Again, talking from experience, here.

3. I struggle to find time to write with only one boy tearing around the house. Five? Wow. How did you do it? And being so drenched in testosterone, where do you go for inspiration when you write from a little girl’s perspective?

In all fairness, by the time I was doing this For Reals, I only had one little one – the rest were all in school/otherwise occupied/able to find the kitchen on their own. In fact I can’t imagine how other young mothers with a batch of preschoolers manage. Trust me, I don’t even remember how I got through the days when my first four were little (the youngest was an OhmigodhowdidTHAThappen?). Selective amnesia rules.

Re: Little girls – a) Research and b) I was one, once. Dusty though the memories might be.

4. I once sat in my kitchen, typing away, while my son poured a gallon of milk into an eight ounce Sponge Bob cup. What’s the worst one of your kids has done while you were in writer mode?

I’m sure there must be examples, but again – amnesia. When I started, I was able to write a) quickly and b) at odd hours of the day or night, so I’m thinking a lot of that early work was done while my husband was around to herd. And my kids all took looooong naps. (Yes, I was blessed. On both counts.)

5. You’ve written a few single title romances for Harlequin (Playing for Keeps is my favorite). Any inclination to branch out into general fiction ala Patricia Gaffney or Susan Wiggins?

I’d had every intention of doing just that, up until a few years ago when my life went kaflooey and I was doing well to keep up with my Silhouette category contracts. I seemed to be in constant crisis mode for far longer than I could have ever imagined, which seriously eroded my creative mojo. Now…who knows? We’ll all just have to wait and see what the old gray matter coughs up. And whether anybody will buy it.

Favorites (in no particular order) include Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Curtiss Ann Matlock, Jennifer Weiner, Marian Keyes, Jennifer Crusie, Janet Evanovich, Marsha Moyer. I also toss in the occasional Stephen King every now and again to shake up my brain, but the odds of my ever writing anything spooky (or involving magic, fur or fangs, unless we’re talking a domesticated canine) is slim to none.

6. What’s the next book in the series and when can we expect to get our hands on it?

ADDING UP TO MARRIAGE (featuring Jewel, the apprentice midwife from WHC, and Silas Garrett, brother to Eli from A MARRIAGE-MINDED MAN), which will be available at eHarlequin on September 1st, on bookstore shelves the last week of September, and available for Kindle and nook on October 1.

Thanks so much to Karen for chatting with us, and for donating a copy of Welcome Home, Cowboy. I will most reluctantly contribute my copy, also, as long as you don’t mind a couple of chocolate milk smudges.  Since kids are one of Karen’s favorite topics, post a comment here and on Monday I will have the boy who rules my house pick names from the hat to see who wins.

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8 Responses

  1. Welcome Karen,

    Category romance are my favorite type of in between books. I read so much and most of them are paranormals, I love a good love story to refresh my brain.

    Your book sounds really good, it’s about family, love and oh yeah a Hot cowboy.

  2. It’s great to have you join us, Karen! 🙂 Love the selective amnesia!! I only have three running around here, but I can so relate! With my youngest, a boy, it’s “What were you thinking!!” LOL Can’t wait for your new release. I’m with Heather on this one. Family, love and hot cowboys…Doesn’t get any better than that! Hoping to have me an e-reader by then too! 🙂

  3. Welcome Karen!

    I chase my one boy around daily. I would not want 5 of them!

  4. Hi Karen. I picked up your book yesterday. Haven’t had a chance to start it yet. It may be my “take to conference to read before bed” book…A high honor 🙂

    So glad you’re here.

  5. Hi Karen,
    I enjoyed your interview! I’m looking forward to reading your new book!

  6. Hi, everyone. All week I kept reminding myself to check in here on Thursday. Today — totally spaced it until Kari reminded me.

    Am. So. Lame.

    Although, in my defense, had a three-year-old grandson visiting (because clearly I am doomed to chase little boys around forever!), which wiped pretty much everything else out of my brain,.

    WELCOME HOME, COWBOY might just come closest to being a true book of the heart, with characters who came to me (almost) full-blown, and a story I was apparently meant to tell. One of those drove-me-nuts-in-the-process books that, in the end, I felt really, really good about.

    So, those of you planning on reading it — enjoy! 🙂

  7. Hi Karen – great interview. Can’t wait to read WHC!
    Am sneaking in to type because my three pre-schoolers are…. make that were…. playing nicely. Off to check on the suspicious banging sound.

  8. Yeah, yeah, I’m a day late. Things got a little crazy around here the end of last week. Anyway, our book winners are Bec and Chey, so if you’ll drop me a line at karilynndell@gmail.com with your snail mail address, I’ll see to it a copy of Welcome Home, Cowboy arrives on your doorstep.

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