Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kathleen Eagle

A warm Book Blather welcome to Kathleen Eagle, the prolific author of more than 40 books and one of my Belle Book author sisters. Kathleen has kindly offered an autographed book to a randomly selected person who leaves a comment. Aw, come on, it's not that hard.

Kathleen, you write in one of my favorite genres, cowboy romance. How did this evolve?

I married an Indian cowboy.  I was the dude from the East gone West for a summer adventure.  Of course a lifetime of Westerns—books, movies, TV—helped to set me up for that love-at-first-sight moment.  Clyde was competing in amateur rodeo when I met him, so the characters in the first book I published (SOMEDAY SOON, a Silhouette Special Ed) were straight out of  Eagle casting.  We ranched for about seven years, and we’ve always owned horses.  In fact the two things we had in common from the get-go were love of horses and books.

I see in your bio, you taught at Standing Rock High School in North Dakota. Can you believe I’ve been to the Standing Rock reservation? Yep, our numbers are few – LOL!

Now I’m dying to hear your story, Marilee.  I taught in Fort Yates for 17 years, and I still have contact with many of my students.  I learned so much from that experience, and the only reason I quit after publishing a few books was that we had three young children, and I to make choice between teaching and writing.  But, oh, teaching is so important and so rewarding in ways more important than financial.  Let’s hear it for teachers!

Tell us about your new release from Belle Books, The Last Good Man. (Actually, I thought I was married to the last good man)

My “baby” sister inspired this story.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy when she was 40.  She was the single mother of a 4-year-old.  There were several emotional aspects to her recovery that contributed to the story, of course, but I decided to step it up a notch on the physical side when the Victoria’s Secret Catalog came in the mail one day, and I started thinking about breasts and bras and models and beauty.  What if one of the women in this catalog had had my sister’s surgery?  And what if she and her somewhat mysterious little girl returned to the small Wyoming town where she grew up?  Home of the last good man, of course.  They were best friends growing up.  She had a crush on his older brother.  He would’ve done anything for her then, but she was flying high, all the way to New York, riding on her beauty.  Now that she’s crash landed, what can he do for her?  What should he do for her, and what can she give in return?

THE LAST GOOD MAN is the only Romance ever to be named a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award.  It was one of Library Journal’s “Five Best Romances of 2000,” winner of Rendezvous Online’s Rosebud Award, and a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice finalist.  Beginning sometime in February THE LAST GOOD MAN will be available for the first time in trade paperback, digital, and audio formats from Bell Bridge Books.

Your husband is Lakota Sioux. Has being exposed to his culture influenced your writing?
Absolutely.  I’m a white woman sojourning in Indian Country.  My stories are often written from that viewpoint.  Sadly, Indian Country is the road less traveled, and we are missing out as a nation because of that.  It’s a road that changed my life.  I don’t speak for Indian people in my stories.  I try to create characters who mirror the people I know, and I invite readers to walk that road with me.  A reader from Maryland actually took his family to the Dakotas on vacation and visited places he read about in my books.  They went to the Fort Yates powwow.

Anything new in the works?

THE LAST GOOD MAN is the first of seven books Bell Bridge Books will be bringing out in the coming months.  These are some of my best books, and they’ve been out of print for a while, so I’m thrilled to have them available in new formats.

The last book in my Wild Horse Sanctuary series for Silhouette, THE PRODIGAL COWBOY, comes out in August. 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Periodically I teach a class at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, and I recommend 1) read  2) write 3) make friends with other writers (they’re the only people who really understand you) 4) get reliable feedback 5) keep reading and writing.  When writers tell me they have little time for reading, I just want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them.  Writing begins with reading.

Where can people buy your books? 

Most bookstores carry my books, and they can generally order the newer ones if they don’t have them in stock.  The usual online booksellers keep the Silhouettes in stock longer, and readers can order directly from them.

Please provide us with an excerpt from The Last Good Man.


            The queen bees of Sunbonnet, Wyoming, were all a-buzz.  Savannah Stephens was back, in the flesh this time.  
How long had it been since the last time they’d pulled Savannah, dressed only in satin bra and lace panties, out of their mailboxes?  She’d been quite the regular fixture on the cover of that mail order catalog for quite a while.  Of course, everyone knew all about how those pictures got touched up.  But they had to admit, Savannah had the basic equipment. And it was all natural.  She was born and raised right there in Sunbonnet. She was a natural.  That dewy-eyed smile had been just the right counterpoint for the flawless body of a woman who didn’t have to think twice about walking around in broad daylight wearing nothing but pretty underwear. 
Then suddenly she’d vanished.  Air-brushed clean away, as though somebody had thrown a coat over her and dragged her back into the house.  Had it been three years ago, maybe five?
The drones had noticed right away when it happened, but they hadn’t said much.  Once Savannah was gone, the men had gotten their catalog back.  If anybody was to order anything, it was probably going to be a man.  He’d send for something black and lacy for his own lady, something she would put on for him, just so he could take it off.  The next morning she would tuck it away in the back of a drawer, and he’d never see it again.  Then it was back to the mailbox.  Sure, the men missed seeing Savannah, but there was still plenty of fine-figured diversion on the cover of Lady Elizabeth’s Dreamwear Catalogue. 
Still, the women pondered aloud on occasion.  What ever became of Savannah Stephens? 
Speculation was part of the pondering.  Some had heard she’d found greener pastures, but there were all sorts of tales about the nature of green.  A movie mogul with a pocket full of green had her stashed in a cottage beside the green sea.  Or she’d starved herself like they all did to stay slim, taken to eating nothing but lettuce and drinking green tea, and she’d just wasted away.  Some said she’d made so much green herself she’d been able to retire and get fat.  Heck, she always was pretty sassy. 
The ebb and flow of such comments depended on the weather and what else was in the news, but they never sloshed through the door of the Sunbonnet Mercantile, owned and operated by Billie Larsen, the only relative Savannah had left in Sunbonnet.  Or anywhere else, as far as anyone knew.  The old general store was a gallery of pictures of Savannah dressed in pretty suits and glamorous evening clothes.  The catalogs were stashed underneath the counter.  Billie was proud of those, too, but she didn’t tack them on the wall. 
Whenever anyone asked, Billie said that her niece was taking some time off from her modeling career.  The response hadn’t changed in five years.  Conventional wisdom calculated that it had probably been five years since Billie had heard from her once-famous niece, and the conventionally wise were not surprised to hear she’d come home with her tail tucked between her legs.  It just proved that New York City was no place for a nice girl from Wyoming.  It was bitch eat bitch in places like New York and L.A., or so the females of Sunbonnet had heard.  And so they were fond of saying.    
The males of Sunbonnet still weren’t saying much.  They couldn’t imagine pastures any greener than the pages of Lady Elizabeth’s Dreamwear Catalogue.  The thought of that tail and those legs coming home to Sunbonnet seemed too damn good to be true.  They’d have to see to believe, and so far the sightings had been few.  
But she was surely back. 

Visit my website for the rest of this scene.  I’d love to be your friend on Facebook, and do check out my group blog, Riding With The Top Down, and the gang at The Story Garden, “where good books make good friends.”
There’s an autographed copy of one of my Wild Horse Sanctuary books—your choice—for the randomly selected writer of one of today’s comments.


  1. Kathleen and Marilee,

    Thank you for such a fascinating interview. Kathleen, your life could inspire many romance novels.

    I appreciate your advice to writers. Writing can be a lonely business and it's so wonderful to find writer friends who understand the voices you hear.

    "The Last Good Man" sounds like a beautiful story. I can't wait to read it, but I have a feeling I'll need the kleenex close at hand.

  2. I'm so glad you're publishing your backlist! Good books should be out there all the time! I'm looking forward to reading The Last Good Man, and I love the cover, by the way.

  3. Wow - obviously living a love story helps in authoring a love story. I am dying to read The Last Good Man!


  4. Kathleen, hi! This makes me so excited to read all your books all over again. And you KNOW how much I love the new ones too! Anything with cowboys and horses in them the way you do them is awesome! Congrats on the new partnership with Belle Bridge; I wish you a whole new wave of huge success! Thanks for never failing to share your personal, amazing love story in so many beautiful ways!

  5. Hi, guys!

    Thanks so much for stopping by to cheer THE LAST GOOD MAN on as he steps out in new (at least new to my work) formats. I love it when people ask me how I came to write about Indian cowboys. Thanks, Marilee!

  6. One image that floats through my mind is your long ago description of the first time you laid eyes on Clyde -- a cowboy with a paperback novel riding up in the back pocket of his jeans.


    Can't wait to read The Last Good Man.

  7. What Pat said! *love that image*

    My great great grandmother was a Blackfoot, and I long to know more about her and her life, but I hit one dead end after another when I try to find out. I'd love to write about her, even if fictionalized, and in a way I do, though not overtly.

    A wonderful post! And Bellebooks is Grand!

  8. Last summer, we drove to the Devils Tower in north east Wyoming. Love the Indian legends about its creation and plan to use one of them in the final book of my series. Beautiful country with real cowboys, not the Hollywood version.