I always love having my fellow Tule Publishing authors stop by for a chat. We are a close group and this is a wonderful opportunity to get to know some pretty wonderful writers better. Today, E. Elizabeth Watson came by and we had a ball!
E. Elizabeth Watson is an award-winning, Amazon Top 100 bestselling, and Barnes and Noble No. 1 ebook bestselling author. Her heroes are strong and strapping. Her heroines are determined to break the mold. Grab a book and go on an adventure through the Scottish Highlands or stay tuned for her debut cowboy series. Whether wearing kilts or pearl-snaps, her heroes wear plaid!
N: Welcome to the blog, Elizabeth! I’m so delighted to have you visiting today. So, what inspired you to start writing?
A: Thank you so much for having me, Nan! I’m happy to be here. I’ll do my best to give you the short answer to this question, ha!
I’ve always loved writing. As a child, as a teen, and then as a college student. My first published work was in the Journal of Big Bend Studies—an article about an archaeological site in west Texas I was granted a research fellowship award to document. I realized then that I felt fulfillment when writing, but not only that, holding the finished product in my hands was rewarding.
But when it comes to fiction, I owe that spark of inspiration to my older boys, when they were little. One rainy day when they were bored, I suggested (among several things) that they write a story and illustrate it, promising we could get it bound and laminated so it would be like a real book. As I elaborated and grew more enthusiastic, my boys looked at me and said, “maybe you should write US a story.” To which my younger son at the time—we’ve since added two more boys to our brood—chirped, “Yeah, a wizard story!” He was such a Harry Potter fan! I wrote them a wizard story. But the short, twenty page story I set out to write turned into a novel, which turned into a series which is still unpublished, yet inspired me to keep writing because I was having so much fun with it. One I discovered romance? Dang, I’d found my kryptonite.
N: Your first contemporary romance with Tule Publishing released February 15—that’s so exciting! What is the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself while writing The Cowboy’s Texas Rose ?
A: Oh man, I’m so excited about this book releasing. It’s the start of a series I began writing in 2014, but put aside while I finished a few historical romances. Yet it kept nagging at me to be completed. I loved these cowboy brothers and never could get them out of my head. But what I discovered about myself? That’s a hard one. I would say, I really discovered my writing process, which is a little different for contemporary romances compared to historicals. The research is different, the inspiration is different. I also realized I really love rugged heroes who are just so tough, so protective, but are vulnerable beneath their hardened exterior and it’s beautiful to watch them fall hard for their heroines.
N: Talk to us about making the transition from historicals to contemporary romance. Were there bumps along the way?
A: No bumps! I love writing, and would write something in every sub-genre of romance if I could. But since I mentioned that my process for writing the two sub-genres is different, I would say this has been the biggest adjustment. The types of conflict in contemporary romance are different. The way women and men interact is different. Things that are expected, or acceptable, in historicals aren’t in contemporaries, and vice-versa. And I think the reader expectations are different. I did far more research than I thought I would need to do, which is fine—research is one of my favorite parts of the process because I enjoy learning—but I hadn’t anticipated that.
N: The Cowboy’s Texas Rose is part of your new series, The Dixons of Legacy Ranch. How many books in the series and who else will we meet in this book?
A: I’ll start with the second part of your question first. Toby Dixon is the hero of Book 1. He’s the youngest of three brothers, a former bull rider, a total player, who has never understood why some guys settle down…until *record scratch, Rose Morales shows up with her team of archaeologists to excavate on his canyonland. Rose and her adorable boy throw him for one heck of a loop. She’s refreshing and unexpected, smart and fun-loving. She can also spot a player when she sees one, because Toby isn’t her first rodeo. But Toby is so much more than he seems! She can’t help but love his charm and loyalty. As she discovers the deeper parts of him, especially his pain over the loss of his mother, she realizes there’s more to the cowboy than meets the eye, something she can identify with. He’s just what she needs to begin living again, and she’s just what he needs to see what he’s missing living in the fast lane.
But there’s more to the story. Book 1 segues into a three book series. Toby and his brothers Travis and Tyler—who we learn about briefly in The Cowboy’s Texas Rose—grew up privileged on one of the wealthiest ranches in Texas, but are estranged. Their pops, an old school cowboy, was strict and hard on all three of them. And their mother’s death weighs heavily on their memories. These events fractured their relationships and sent them on different trajectories in life. Yet they miss that closeness they’d always had. Their fraternal bond is strong in spite of their mistakes made while breaking free of their dad’s expectations. One of the most beautiful parts of this series, is how they mend those fractures and fight for each other again, and how the land, and their family ties, are in their blood.
N: Give us three words to describe your character Rosalinda—love that name, by the way. Three words to describe your hero Toby?
A: Aw, I love Rosalinda, too! She’s spunky, smart, and ambitious. Toby is definitely smart, loyal, with a rebellious twist.
N: Was there research involved in making your heroine an archeologist?
A: There was to an extent, though it was more fact-checking and refreshing myself on materials I’d learned about before but have grown dusty over the years. “They” always say write what you know, and I did quite a bit of research and fieldwork in west Texas as an archaeology student. Both my undergrad and graduate degrees are in archaeology, both in Texas, and abroad in the UK. So writing her was natural for me and a lot of fun.
N: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: Oh, so much! I wish I had a hundred lifetimes so I could do everything I love with as much fervor as I write. I like to read, obviously. I also love music. I grew up in a musical household and participated in vocal ensembles. While I never perused it, I enjoy playing piano with my kids and singing for fun. Gardening and believe it or not, yard work, are favorite pastimes, too. Each year I add a rose bush to my flower garden, and I grow a small variety of veggies each summer. Sometimes a couple hours immersed in weeding is the mental space I need from all the stresses in life. Not to mention I love mowing. I enjoy the physical labor of making our outdoor space into a place I like to spend time. We live on a mountainside and most of our acreage is wooded. There’re a lot of hiking trails in our area, most notably parts of the Appalachian Trail. We hike a lot. In the winter, White Tail isn’t far from us, so we take the kids skiing at least once per season. I also love to bake. My favorite is the chocolate bourbon pecan pie I made every Thanksgiving!
N: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: An artist! Or a singer. I love to draw and always have, and love photography, too. As a young adult, I wanted to be a scientist and historian, so archaeology seems like the perfect blend of that. (Although I had more than one teacher tell me I should be a writer J Stubborn me didn’t listen…)
N: Favorite book when you were a kid?
A: Just one?? J I loved Anne of Green Gables. The Black Stallion. King of the Wind. In second grade our teacher read Where the Red Fern Grows to the class, and she cried while reading it (As did the whole class). I begged my parents for a copy, then proceeded to read it over and over again. If the story was about a horse or a dog, you can bet I loved it. There was a series of books about girls who worked at a stable long before Spirit on Netflix was a thing, but the name of it escapes me now. I remember devouring those books. I loved animals, especially horses and dogs, animals, I was on it.
N: And here is my signature question that everyone loves: If you could choose three people, living or dead, to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
A: Oh no! I could think about this question forever, and come up with a different trio every moment ha!
- Rosalind Franklin was a brilliant scientist, and often is an unsung hero in science. I’d love to pick her brain!
- John Muir would need to be one of the three, although instead of him coming to dinner, we’d probably go hiking J I’d love to talk nature with him.
- Alan Rickman would make the list, too. I think he’d be an interesting person to listen to and is one of my favorite actors.
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The Cowboy’s Texas Rose
Archaeologist Rosalinda Morales is focused more on what’s in the soil and caves of the famed Legacy Ranch, rather than what’s on it—the sexy and charismatic cowboy heir. As a single mom to her special needs son, she knows what it’s like to struggle, so even though Toby Dixon has charm pulsing through his veins, she’s determined to resist.
Despite trying to mend bridges, Toby Dixon’s brothers have no interest in coming home, so he’s taken the reins of his family’s historic cattle ranch. Having vowed to his dying mother to settle down, he’s still considering how to move the company forward when Dr. Morales, armed with a sense of humor, a keen intellect and love for adventure, arrives with her team of students. Suddenly Toby begins to see more possibilities for his family’s ancient land and his future.
Toby can’t flirt his way into Rose’s life. He’ll need to up his game and earn the trust of the woman who isn’t just excavating his soil, but digging into his heart.