JRA: Welcome, Heather! Thanks so much for joining me here on The Power of Passion today. First off, tell us about your kids—and volunteering at the local school!
HR: I have a twelve year old daughter and an eight year old son. My daughter recently told me that diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, besides being a girl’s best friend. She went on to explain that they can’t be scratched or shattered and will last forever. Ever ready with a smart remark, my son replied, “Bet I could blow them up with an atomic bomb.” That’s my house. Once my kids were school-aged I realized there was no reason to defer my dream of writing any longer. My first attempt at writing was a futuristic, paranormal romance which quickly grew beyond my control. I have hopes of going back to it someday and re-writing it as an erotic romance. Those five larger than life heroes are the stuff fantasies are made from.
I’ve volunteered at a local school as a reading tutor for Kindergartners and first-graders for the last eight years. When I was a first-grader, there was a retired married couple that would come to our class and listen to us read aloud and encourage us. I loved when they visited and promised myself that when I had kids, I would do the same thing. At my daughter’s preschool, I was asked if I might like to volunteer as a reading tutor and I jumped at the opportunity. I love the “light bulb moments” when a child that is struggling in learning to read finally understands and says, “Yes, I can read.”
JRA: That's so awesome that you're giving your time to raise the next generation of avid readers. I have the privilege of homeschooling my 1st grader, and watching those light bulbs pop on is an experience we never forget. You’ve mentioned that your husband gave you your pseudonym. This intrigued me because my spouse was in part responsible for both names I’ve written under. Can you tell us a bit about how this came about, and why he selected the name that he did?
HR: Heather Rainier wasn’t his first choice. His first choice was Dominique LeRoux. When I finally stopped laughing, he suggested my maiden name. It was a great idea and sounded perfect, until I remembered that it was already in use as a pseudonym by another romance author. Then he suggested the name Heather. Many readers will remember the late, great Kathleen Woodiwiss, arguably the mother of modern erotic romance. Her novel, “The Flame and the Flower” was the first romance I’d ever read as a teenager. I was on board with bearing the name of that book’s heroine. From there it was just a matter of finding a last name that sounded appealing and earthy. I was searching images on Google one day and happened on a beautiful photo of Mt. Rainier. I suggested it to him. Heather Rainier rolled from his lips and an author was born.
JRA: You know, I love that name...but confess that I think Dominique LeReaux had a certain flair, too! LOL
Your yummy heroes are taken from photos or people you’ve encountered in life. How much of the situations and settings in your westerns are taken from your real life in Texas?
HR: When I’m driving along the western edge of the Texas Hill country, rolling through Junction on Interstate Highway 10, I feel like I could be close to the exit ramp for the road that leads to Divine. My books are an even blend of fictional settings and real places. The Dancing Pony, for instance, was based on a real Country and Western nightclub. Many of the shenanigans my characters get up to in that club were based on real events and people. The bartenders watched after single, female bar patrons and protected them from sleazebags in much the same manner in which Ethan protected Grace from Bryce in Divine Grace. Stigall’s Department Store where Grace and Teresa worked, and Cheaver’s Western Store where Rosemary worked are also based on real businesses in my hometown. Many of the situations I described in those settings are at least partly autobiographical. My life has taken some interesting turns and I’ve shared a few of them with readers. The rest is strictly my imagination.
JRA: I love it! The blend of real life and imagination can "spur" some awesome western shenanigans! :) You know I have to ask…what projects are you working on now? What’s coming soon?
HR: “Spurs and Heels”, Book Five in the Divine Creek Ranch Collection is slated for release in April. I’m currently writing the sixth book in the Divine Creek Ranch Collection, “Maya’s Triple Dare,” which features Kendall, Boone and Richard Warner, three sexy brothers that readers met in “Heavenly Angel”. Book Seven, “Summer’s Indiscretion”, showcases the voluptuous owner of the naughty adult ladies boutique, Discretion, and her handsome heroes.
In Book Eight, “Lydia’s Twin Temptation,” The Rockin’ C ranch becomes the focal point for a romance between the handsome, identical twin owners, Chance and Clayton Carlisle and the brunette beauty they rescue from the lecherous clutches of her boss.
Other characters clamor in my mind to have their stories told but I haven’t decided who’s next.
JRA: Ooh...thank heavens you're so busy creating hot new tales for Divine Creek! When you're not writing, is there a special hobby/activity you’ve indulged in that most people don’t know about? What?
HR: I used to garden and crochet, before I wrote. Now I have a wildly overgrown antique rose garden and doilies that gather dust, because I absolutely cannot think of anything I’d rather be doing than writing (or reading!) Any leisure time I have I spend with my husband and kids.
JRA: Yeah, I have an untouched yarn pile and neglected garden myself! But we're grateful you're so avid about your writing.
Your favorite quote is, “People who are easily shocked should be shocked more often,” (Mae West). What are some things you like to incorporate into your books to give readers that didn’t-see-it-coming shock?
HR: Mae West rocked it back in her day. She had attitude and a sense of humor. When she walked through a room all eyes were on her, not because she was the ideal beauty, but because she had a presence. All of my heroines have that moment when she realizes that regardless of her personality or demeanor, she’s a badass. Grace had that experience when she stood before the mirror in the dressing room at Madeleine’s spa, preparing for her first night out with Jack, Ethan and Adam. Rachel had it when Eli knelt before her and called her his queen. Even shy Teresa had it when she stood up to the evil grandparents of her adorable son. Frankly, I think Rosemary knew she was a badass from the moment she was born. That’s a Mae West kind of moment that I wish for my readers, too. When they know in their hearts they are it for someone they love.
JRA: Yes! Those "badass" moments are definitely worth waiting for.
Last but not least, where can readers find you on the web?
HR: www.heatherrainier.com and visit my Facebook page.
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