Rionna: The Wanting Heart is set to be released, July 9, 2012 by Crimson Romance Katherine White, a barrel racer from Colorado, lives in a fast-paced world where rhinestones shine, hooves pound, and dreams come true. She plans on winning World Champion Barrel Racer and being with her friends until she graduates from college.
She doesn’t plan on the man who broke her heart strolling back into her life. She doesn’t plan on finding solace in a charming stranger’s smile or falling victim to his knife.
Blake Spencer, the man who broke her heart, is all cowboy—from the hat on his head to the dust on his boots. He thought it’d be easy, coming back to town, bowing his head a little, saying he was sorry, and all would be forgiven. But what he didn’t know, what he didn’t plan on, was that the girl he thought he loved had become the woman he couldn’t have. If he doesn’t succeed in changing her mind, it won’t only cost him Kate’s love—it will cost Kate her life.
Will Kate survive the stalking of a serial killer and find what her heart truly wants?
NL: I'm totally looking forward to this one! What has your journey to publication been like?
Rionna: Heavens! I think I started down this path about a million years ago. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I can remember going into the Tattered Cover in Denver, Colorado with my mom. It wasn’t as big as it is now. And I can remember feeling as if I needed to stay there forever. I was so happy I could have cried. My heart was pulled so. I knew I had to be a writer.
In middle school I was forever entering contests and writing things for the school newspaper, which was really a two-sided, piece of photocopied colored paper. But, I was thrilled. In high school, same story. In college, same again. Only then I began winning money. That money helped pay my college tuition.
After I graduated with that bachelors in English and a teaching degree, I started writing seriously! I wanted my book to be on that shelf! As an English teacher I always felt like it was an asset to be a writer. I was a much better teacher because of it. My students were always thrilled to hear my stories.
I’ve attended many writing conferences, joined many writing groups and book clubs. Trying to hone my craft. Along the way, I met so many wonderful writers, agents, publishers and readers. In the beginning I didn’t know what I wanted to write. Only that I did! I must! As I studied what I loved to read, loved to watch and loved to talk about…suspense and romance kept coming up. I am a sucker for sappy poem. And I love all those shoot ‘em up bang, bang movies where the bad guy is cunning and the good guy is courageous. So I became a Romantic Suspense author, and I’ve never looked back. I love what I write!
Nearly five years ago I attended a conference in the Pacific Northwest, the Emerald City Writers Conference. It was amazing. I met a romance writer from Montana. Yay! I was thrilled. The ladies I attended the conference with were like minded when we all decided to start a group in Montana.
Well, that is not as easy as it sounds. We live in a huge state. Getting together once a week is hopeless! Once a month, nearly as hopeless. Once a year. Oh yes! We can do that. So forming the now blossoming group of Montana Romance Writers was a challenge, but so worth it. We have some amazing writers…New York Times Best Selling and USA Today Best Selling authors among us. We also have a lot of talent! Four of us are newly published authors this year. I am so proud of all of our work!
As for me, individually, I think I must have 200+ rejection letters from agents and publishers stacked up on a shelf, for The Wanting Heart alone. I used to look at them from time to time, thinking, “I will not quit until every book publishing related person New York City knows my name! And is sick of me.” But, I kept writing. And mailing letters, e-mailing letters. Attending conferences, making connections and friends. Oh such great friends! Then one day, this Spring, I sent an e-mail to Jennifer Lawler of Crimson Romance. I got a response on my query in less than an hour. I was amazed. She asked for the full manuscript! Yippee! But, I’d been here before. I knew the drill. It was a maybe, maybe not deal.
The maybe turned into a yes! I was standing in my closet, I’d been following my 18 month old daughter on one of her adventures through the labyrinth of our home, when my phone buzzed notifying me of an e-mail. I thought it might be my sister or mother-in-law. Fleetingly, I thought of Jennifer and Crimson Romance. I opened my phone and saw it was from Jennifer. I paused, squeezing my eyes shut and taking a deep breath. Every time it’s this way. Would this change my life?
Yes, definitely! I saw that she wanted it. She offered me a contract! I screeched and cried and thanked the universe that I wasn’t actually talking to her on the phone! I think I would have scared her. I’m Irish and I have red hair... when I have emotion, I have it!
Life has been a whirlwind…one of my best friends, Pam B. Morris, got her call that day too. What are the chances?
NL: Wow. What an awesome story! On your website, you say romantic suspense is your favorite genre. Does that apply to just books or television and movie choices as well? What are some of your favorites?
Rionna: Yes Romantic Suspense is my favorite. I really enjoy that in all facets, movies, television, books! I love the Die Hard series! I’m a huge Batman fan! Can’t wait to watch The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX! Yet, my imagination and suspension of disbelief is too active to really watch movies that bleed into the horror genre. I have nightmares. I am teased all the time for this… “You write about serial killers and you can’t watch Kiss the Girls?!” Nope, I can’t. Too scary! I read an interview once where Stephen King says he writes about what scares him. Wow! He must be terrified all the time. My current favorite on television, which I don’t get to watch on a regular basis—so don’t tell me anything about the season finale—is NCIS. Ooh-Rah!! You guys are awesome!
NL: I'm so psyched for Dark Knight Rises! Cannot wait! Tell us more about you.
Rionna: I am married to a wonderful man! I have four children, a beautiful son and three gorgeous daughters! My day job, besides racing after my kiddos; I am a writer. I was a middle school English teacher for ten years. Loved it! Cried when I left. Still chatter with my awesome students. Kids are a huge part of my world! Even though I don’t write for them, I plan to help the Children of Montana. In fact the videographer who is creating my book trailer is a junior here in Missoula at a local high school. He wants to be a filmmaker, so he’s building his resume; and I’m helping.
I’m going to diverge for a few sentences…here in Missoula there is a children’s shelter, as I am sure there are all over the United States. A place for kiddos who have no home, no parents, no pillow of their own to fall asleep on each night. The mere thought breaks my heart. I will find a way to help those children and other Montana kids. There is a great big world out there, and they deserve to have a part in it. They do not deserve to be held down because of lousy circumstances. I want them to know that dreams do come true!
I love where I live, Missoula, Montana! I was a barrel racer in my youth. The first time I came to Montana, drove up over the hill south of Billings and saw the Big Sky stretching out before me, I knew I would live here one day. From that moment on, every step I took was leading to Montana, leading me home. The mountains, the people, even the air is just as it should be.
NL: Sexiest Man Alive?
Rionna: That would be my husband. Oh man! When he’s in his suit and tie off to work…whew! But, I’m sure you mean the movie star type. I’m liking Gerard Butler these days, as well as James McAvoy. Very nice!! There is something so sexy about a man who protects those he loves and looks good doing it. I’m sure that’s the reason my husband is so sexy—and he’s not acting!
NL: Mmmmm... Gerard Butler is like a huge personal fave. James McAvoy too. Mmmm.
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