Today I’m delighted to be interviewing the inimitable Ms Charlene Raddon, author of Maisy’s Gamble!
Hi Charlene and thank you for visiting Eden’s Love Blog today!
Where do you live?
Salt Lake Valley, Utah.
How did you start writing, and when?
I never intended to write but I loved romance novels. One morning in 1980, I awoke from a fantastic dream I knew had to be in a novel. I dragged out a portable typewriter and here I am.
Where does your interest in historical romance stem from? And Westerns?
My dad loved western movies and books. I suppose I got my love of the Old West from him. As a child, I always felt I’d been in the wrong century and was living in the wrong place. Instead of a huge city, I wanted to live in a small town. In 1971, I moved to Utah.
Do you use aspects of your own life in your stories?
Yes, I do. Much of the heroine’s emotions in Tender Touch came from my first marriage.
Tell us about Maisy’s Gamble. How was it born?
It just came to me. My editor rejected it and wanted a drifter with a widow and a couple of kids and To Have and To Hold was born. But I couldn’t forget about Maisy so I worked on it sporadically between books. By the time it was finished I had become an Indie author and published it myself. I also did the cover.
Can you tell us a bit about being traditionally published versus being an Indie author? Seeing as you’re both.
To me being traditionally published means lack of freedom. You have to write the book your editor wants. And the publisher does nothing for you unless you become a bestseller. They do the distribution for you, but that’s the only advantage. However, it is an important one. I love the freedom being an Indie author gives me. A friend had a book come out recently, so I checked it out on Amazon. The first line of the blurb had an error in it, so I emailed her to tell her. She said she knew about it but couldn’t do anything except tell the publisher and they did nothing about it. I don’t have to worry about problems like that.
What’s the hardest part about your writing process? And the best?
The hardest part is coming up with the right opening and getting the story going. The part I enjoy most is after it’s finished, and I can go in and polish it until it shines.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I crochet, draw in adult drawing books, and make book covers for my cover business, Silver Sage Book Covers.com.
What’s your next project?
I’m writing the first book of a series about widows seeking husbands.
And, most importantly, where can we buy your books?
Most are on Kindle Unlimited but three of my oldest books are published worldwide.
October 1881- Pandora, Colorado
Danger rode a howling wind into Pandora, Colorado, that autumn night. A gleeful desperado, the gale scoured the town’s nooks, alleys, and yards. It iced window panes and froze puddles.
Maisy Macoubrie stood on the boarding house stoop, watching trash blow down the street, her faro bag held in front of her like a shield. She enjoyed a good storm, but tonight, her mood seemed as ragged and tense as the weather. Blessed Saints, but her back ached. Thank heaven the gambling season would be over soon, and she could go home.
Thoughts of home brought images of her son, Danny. How she missed him. He’d be fourteen next month. She’d bet he’d grown another inch since she saw him in August. If only she dared to have him with her.
The eight o’clock stage slogged past the boarding house and slid to a muddy halt in front of The Pandora House. Half a dozen men on horseback followed. Passengers bolted from the still-rocking coach into the well-lighted building. The others did the same. Once they’d all warmed up and filled their bellies, they’d want a pleasant way to pass the evening, such as gambling.
Maisy sighed. Time to go to work at the Bloated Goat Saloon.
Something darted under her skirts. She swallowed a screech and yanked up her hems.
“Soda!” Crouching, she petted the grumpy looking calico cat. “Oh, you’re wet.”
Maisy stood. “Come on, I’ll let you in, and give you something to eat.”
The cat darted inside the second she opened the door and dashed up the stairs. Leaving her faro bag beside the door, Maisy followed and let the cat into her room. “Stay off the bed until you’ve cleaned yourself.” The calico padded over to her special rug under the window and set to work licking her fur. Maisy fetched Soda’s food from the storage space in the washstand.
“Here you are.” She put several pieces of chopped, dried beef on the floor. “I have to go to work.” Maisy bent and put her hand beside the cat’s right front leg. “Come on, shake with me like I taught you.”
She almost chuckled at the look of disgust on Soda’s face, but the cat raised her paw. “Good girl. I’ll see you later.”
She’d no sooner stepped back out on the front porch than Lenny Goodman dashed up the steps. “’Evening, Miss Maisy.”
“Good evening, Lenny. Did Nose send you?” In the light from his lantern, his face looked older than fourteen years. His eyes displayed a sort of wisdom and disillusionment in their depths that aged him. His chin showed the promise of a beard he would soon have to start shaving. It wouldn’t be long before Danny would be doing the same.
“Yep. Said it was too dark for you to have to find your way to the saloon without a lantern.” He took her bag from her as she descended the steps to the boards laid over the muddy road in drier weather—her landlord’s idea of a boardwalk.
Lenny held up the light while Maisy maneuvered the makeshift pathway. Before reaching the boardwalk that fronted the stores, the rain had soaked her cloak and skirt hems.
“I stepped in a deep mud puddle back there,” Lenny said, joining her in front of the Sims Café and Bakery. “Need to scrape it off.” He went to work, using the edge of the porch to relieve him of the gunk. “You want to take the lantern with you and go on?”
Maisy glanced toward the Bloated Goat Saloon. Light from the windows showed on the boardwalk. “No, I’ll be all right, Lenny. Thank you.”
She took her bag from him and went on. Storm doors kept the weather out of The Goat, but they also blocked the light the shorter, swinging doors would have allowed to escape. Maisy peered over her shoulder to check on the boy and walked into something solid and unmovable.
The Preacher is a hired gun on the run for a murder he didn’t commit.
Maisy is a woman fighting for survival, her own and that of her precious son. She’ll do whatever it takes to escape the man hell-bent on silencing her forever.
Thrown together by circumstance and a need they can’t deny; Maisy and The Preacher must take a chance on destiny and each other. They share a common enemy, but they will discover nothing is more dangerous than gambling with the heart.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2LdpwBI
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2uES3FK
Charlene was studying fine arts until her sister introduced her to romance novels. Then she found herself painting pictures with words instead of a paintbrush. It took nine years to finish her first book and learn her craft. In 1990, she won the Colorado Gold contest; in 1991, she became a Golden Heart finalist. In 1994, she was published by Kensington. Now, with nine books to her credit, she’s an Indie author. She loves cats and flowers, mountains and the Oregon Coast. She loves to travel, crochet and spoil her grandkids (26 & 20).