Have I mentioned before how prolific Ms. Haley Whitehall is? You can check out all the other times she’s stopped by my place here . Today, she’s got another new release from Liquid Silver Books to chat up. Haley’s a historical interracial romance guru, and her recent book, Wild and Tender Care, charts the story of two outcasts finding love and acceptance in the Wild West.
Since she’s a repeat victim … I mean guest… we’ll go ahead and dig in.
1. Hi Haley, and Happy Book Birthday! As my first guest in the Western subgenre, would you mind highlighting some key characteristics of this period? As a newly minted American, my exposure is limited to watching The Quick and the Dead back in my teenage years, and I was too distracted by Leonardo Dicaprio to really pay attention.
While the period Wild West can be attributed to varying years I like to think of it as the era of the cattle drive. They only lasted about 20 years – from after the Civil War until the coming of the railroads to Texas made the long trek to northern markets unnecessary. Boom towns sprouted up to cater to the cattle drives and provide the cowboys with necessities and entertainment from restaurants to booze and women. There was very little law and order in many of these towns and men enforced their will and protected their honor with the speed of their six gun.
During this time many famous Americans made a name for themselves such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Bat Masterson, Doc Holiday, Jesse James, and Wild Bill Hickok.
2. So what about the West lends itself to romance in general, and interracial romance more specifically?
I think Americans have always had a love affair with the West. It is the romantic notion of falling in love with an honest, handsome, hardworking man who takes care of his horse and protects his family with his life if need be. Over the years this romantic notion grew with every novel, TV show and motion picture. Women (me included) fell in love with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Robert Mitchum. I had a crush on Little Joe from Bonanza.
Many western shows have included an interracial element with a Native American. The West was their land long before Americans settled there. With few females many white men took Native American wives. And, as is the case with Wild and Tender Care, sometimes it worked the other way, too. The heart wants what the heart wants.
3. On the topic of Native Americans, I hear your hero, William Steere, is a doctor. What else can you tell me about him? From your gorgeous cover, I’m guessing tall, dark and handsome?
Yes, William is tall, dark and handsome. He was inspired by the character Quint Asper who was the blacksmith on Gunsmoke. I love Bert Reynolds!
Okay, back to the good doctor. William Steere is a half-breed. His father was a white trapper and his mother was Creek. After he was orphaned he was raised in a mission school and adopted by a wealthy white man and raised back East. He served as a surgeon during the Civil War and is now looking for a place to settle down and start a medical practice.
4. Now that you’ve got me a bit goo-goo eyed, would you mind sharing a snippet from around the time William and Ida first meet?
Of course, here you go!
Her attention returned to the stranger’s back, curiosity burning her brain. Although not richly dressed he gave an air of the city more than one of a cowboy or miner. She examined his charcoal gray frock coat taking in every inch of him. His straight black hair fell to his shoulders topped by a black derby hat.
The tall stranger added his empty plate to a stack at the end of the table and turned around. The mayor offered him a cigar and he lit it, taking a long pull. The two men talked for a few more minutes before the mayor’s uppity wife returned and called her husband away.
The stranger’s gaze scanned his surroundings and then fell on her. A lump sprouted in her throat. Had he felt her mooning at his back earlier? Heat rushed into her cheeks, but she couldn’t look away. Those dark brown eyes stopped her heart, had her mesmerized.
He stomped out the small cigar and then strode toward her, his powerful legs filling his trousers well. She had been right in her assumption he was a city man—his copper skin looked soft. She longed to run her fingers across his smooth cheek. Having been with too many dirty and gruff miners and drifters over the years, she liked a cleanly shaven man. Why was this man with a level of refinement showing interest in her?
He reached her and her pulse raced like a spooked horse.
The stranger took off his hat. “I don’t believe we’ve met, ma’am.”
Ida got to her feet, still gripping her plate. “Ah…no. Are you new to town?” She inwardly cringed. She could have thought of something more intelligent to say.
“Yes,” he said, a quirk to his sensuous lips. “I’m Dr. Steere.”
5. Well, after that introduction, what self-respecting woman could possibly resist? Before I let you go, I have to ask—what’s your next project? I’m sure you’ve got more than a few works-in-progress up your sleeve.
Thanks for asking, Tara. I do have several works in progress. Actually I’m working on another interracial historical western. This one is set on a cattle ranch in California. I’m also working on Midnight Seduction, book 4 of my Moonlight Romance series.
Since book release day is one of the most hectic experiences in an author’s life, I’ll let Haley run off. For more about her book (including buy links, hint, hint), just scroll down. As always, comments are much appreciated.
Wild and Tender Care
Ida Page has seen the worst the west has to offer. Snubbed by the citizens of Big Rock, Colorado, ever since the town cleaned up its act and became civilized, she has tried to change with the times. No other line of work available, she became a laundress after the mayor shut down the whorehouse, but the good people will not allow her to forget her past as a shady lady. She has given up on ever being accepted, let alone falling in love, until a handsome half-breed stranger arrives in town.
After the War Between the States, William Steere has been looking for a town to build a medical practice. He answered a newspaper ad placed by the mayor of Big Rock and hopes their desperate need for a doctor will overrule their race prejudice against his half-breed status. At the Independence Day picnic, he is introduced to all the town citizens except for one woman sitting off by herself. This redhead draws him to her with merely a gaze.
Can the two outcasts find love and acceptance in each other's arms or will the town’s cruelty and a smallpox epidemic tear them apart?
Buy Links: Amazon | AllRomance | LSBooks
About Haley Whitehall
Haley Whitehall lives in Washington State where she enjoys all four seasons and the surrounding wildlife. She writes historical romance set in the 19th century U.S. When she is not researching or writing, she plays with her cats, watches the Western and History Channels, and goes antiquing. She is hoping to build a time machine so she can go in search of her prince charming. A good book, a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains make her happy.