Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Author Spotlight - Paty Jager

I've featured Paty Jager and her books on my blog before. If you've been reading me for a while, you know how much I love her new adventure/suspense romance series with Isabella Mumphrey and Tino Kosta.  I'm keeping close tabs on when her third book in that series will be available.  

Action/Adventure books are Paty's latest series, and a departure from her Pacifc Northwest locales. Paty has been writing and publishing for 8 years and in that time has published 20 books total. That is 18 novels and 2 novellas are currently available for her readers between Windtree Press and The Wild Rose Press. I suspect she will easily hit 24 books total in 2013 and maybe even more. Her current novels include 2 Westerns, 2 Contemporary romances, 9 Historicals,  3 Paranormals, and 2 Action/adventure romances.  Her western-themed novellas are split between one historical and one contemporary. The thread that keeps all these books together is her love of the west and her love of history. 

That makes sense as Paty lives on a 350 acre ranch in eastern Oregon. She and her husband raise cattle, and grow grass and alfalfa.  I am dying to get out there one day and see for myself the beautiful land she writes about in many of her books.

Connect with Paty: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Windtree Press |

Spotlight Interview

In this spotlight, I thought I would ask Paty questions about her life, her writing, and how she manages to produce so many books every year with all of her ranching chores and family obligations.  I can tell you, the thought of being up at 6am every morning is not at all appealing to me. :)

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to me today, Paty. I'd like to get the interview started talking about your life outside of writing.  Now that it's spring, could you give us an idea of what a typical day at the ranch might entail? Please include how you fit writing into that day too.

Springtime is the busiest time for us. Mainly, because we have two places to clean up from winter and get ready for the growing season. The 70 acres where we currently live, has 30 head of mother cows, their calves, two bulls, three horses and a burro. This time of year, we move the animals out of the “winter” pastures, where we’ve been feeding them hay all winter. That means I add to my list of “ to do’s” harrowing the pastures. This is dragging a huge chainlink looking piece of equipment behind a tractor to break up the piles of manure and spread then out over the fields.  

So a typical day right now, is getting up with my husband, making him breakfast and sending him off to his “day” job. Then I get on the computer and do promotion and visit blogs until about 8- 8:30. Then I go out and feed the horses, mosey to the barn and toss hay in the feeder for the four head of calves we are weaning and check their water. Then the dogs and I wander back to the house and I sit down to write blog posts. When that’s done I write on my current work in progress. About noon, I eat lunch and go out and start cleaning up the yard. I do this for about an hour, then back to the computer and I write or format the next book until about 4:30 and start something to cook that will be done when we finish feeding cows. 

Right now, we are still feeding hay to the cows, so I go down to the barn and feed the calves again, then start up the tractor and wait for my husband to get home and we feed the cows. We eat quickly then go out and clean flood irrigation ditches with a tractor. My job isn’t hard. I move the large chunks of sod that fall back into the ditch as my husband drives the tractor pulling the ditcher. This time of year I don’t usually get back to the computer before bed. 

I understand you've been involved in 4H for a number of years.  How did you get started and are you still involved today?

4-H is a passion of mine. I’ve never been involved with a program that helps children learn to be good citizens and learn life lessons. I was a 4-H member eons ago, first as a clothing member and then a foods. But I only participated in each for one year. Then when my children were small the neighbor girl who babysat for us came over one day and said her leader was quitting and wanted to know if I would be her leader. I gathered information and said I would. I ended up being a 4-H leader for 22 years! All the way through my kids and beyond. I enjoyed working with the kids and teaching life skills. I taught sewing, cooking, crocheting, and cake decorating.  My husband also had swine and beef 4-H clubs. Through being a leader so long, I was asked to join the extension staff as a 4-H program assistant and I worked there for eight years. Now I get my 4-H fixes by traveling around the state to county fairs and judging the clothing, foods, and expressive arts 4-H exhibits and clothing and foods open class exhibits.

Your books about western living, both historicals and contemporaries, seem like a natural choice given your background.  Many romance authors who grew up on ranches or currently live on them tend to write contemporary cowboy love stories. What drew you to concentrate primarily in western historicals instead?

I have always been fascinated by U.S. history. How people immigrated to the U.S. then how families moved by covered wagon, ships, and eventually trains to seek a better life. It took tough, independent people to populate the western half of the U.S. and I enjoy writing stories about that courage and grit. I also like being able to find tiny tidbits of history to use in my books while I’m entertaining the reader. I like setting the stories in real towns and communities. I used the gold mining area in NE Oregon around the Sumpter area for the home where the five Halsey brothers from the books, Marshal in Petticoats, Outlaw in Petticoats, Miner in Petticoats, Doctor in Petticoats, and  Logger in Petticoats, live and capture the hearts of the feisty women they each fall in love with. 

There’s a certain freedom in writing about the past in that few—well, really no one— is still alive to say that house wasn’t on that street or that person couldn’t have said that.  I do lots of research and if I use a real life character in a story, I work at keeping any dialog or actions I give them to be as accurate as I can having researched them. But there is no one alive who can say emphatically, they wouldn’t have acted that way.  And I grew up in a rural area with an outhouse, a cellar, a wood cookstove and can use those memories to make my stories feel real.

Though your paranormals are definitely historical western settings, they are a departure from your previous books.  They feature the Nez Perce People.  How did you learn about their beliefs and myths, and what drew you to write this group of books?

I could write a book on why I wrote the spirit trilogy. ;)

I grew up in Wallowa County, Oregon. The area where the Wallowa band of Nez Perce summered and wintered. During my childhood the only time I saw a Native American in the county was during Chief Joseph Days. When there was a rodeo, parade, and carnival.  We were taught very little about the Nez Perce and I yearned to learn more about the proud people who spent so much time in the county before they were banned from their homeland. I even believe I saw a spirit of a warrior one sunny summer day when I was riding my horse on the mountain behind our house. 

My infatuation with the Nez Perce grew as I became older. I read a lot about them and came to feel they had a story that needed to be told. I wasn’t sure how to do it, but when an editor at a writer’s conference said they were looking for historical paranormal, I immediately zoned in on Native American spirits and how I could show the Wallowa Nez Perce’s story. To prepare to write the books, the first thing I did was join a Nez Perce yahoo loop and buy the books they recommended as the most accurate about their people.  On the loop, I could ask questions and found two members who were willing to work with me answering questions and finding out information I couldn’t find in books about the Nez Perce culture at the time of my stories. 

I set the first book, Spirit of the Mountain, in the time before the Whiteman came to the valley to show the deep-seated love the Nez Perce had for the Wallowa Valley. I used the spirit entity to show the mortal’s love of the mountain and the land, throwing in some evil to cause more conflict. 

In the second book, Spirit of the Lake, I showed how the Nez Perce tried to get along with the Whiteman and how the Whiteman treated them as if they were half-witted. Again, I used a spirit entity to help the mortal prove the Whiteman’s deceit and keep the Nez Perce strong. And the third book, Spirit of the Sky, shows the army chasing them to Bear Paw Mountain in Montana, just short of the Canadian border. How they suffered, how they remained strong, and how they were once again treated as if they were less than human when, previous to the chase, they had killed or harmed few Whitemen.  

This book not only has the mortal/spirit love conflict it also has a Cavalry officer/Nez Perce conflict.  I read books from the army’s side of the chase and the Nez Perce side of the flight and mingled both side’s thoughts and incidents into the story, ending with the outcome for the Nez Perce—being banned from not only their homeland but the reservation closest to their land.  As you can see, I’m passionate about the plight of the Wallowa band of Nez Perce.

Your latest series are completely different from anything you've written in the past. The Isabella Mumphrey Adventures have so far taken place outside of the U.S. and to be one part mystery, one part action/adventure, and one part romance. When did you conceive of this series, and can we expect more books?

I tend to write what I’m passionate about, not what I’ve already written. I was complaining to another writer about a book I read that was nothing like it had been dubbed- A female Indiana Jones. We were riding in the car on our way to a writer’s retreat on the Oregon Coast and my friend challenged me to write what I thought that kind of book would be like. We brainstormed on the way over and back and Isabella Mumphrey was born. 

I came up with a genius IQ heroine who was sheltered and shuttled from one prestigious school for gifted to another until she entered college at a young age and became a doctor of anthropology. 

I wanted her to go to exotic places and while she knew the culture would be more book learned than life experience. I put a handsome Latino who has had too many life experiences in her path and watched the fireworks. 

Secrets of a Mayan Moon was the initial meeting of Isabella and Tino in Guatemala. The second book, Secrets of an Aztec Temple, has Tino undercover with a drug lord he has sworn to avenge for the deaths of his family and Isabella walking into the drug lord’s home and putting a kink in Tino’s plans. Book three will have the two back in the U.S. but dealing with Hopi artifacts and people trafficking. If these books start selling well, then I will be more than happy to continue writing more adventures for Isabella and Tino.

Your career has certainly been broad and prolific.  Now that you are doing Action/Adventure, does this mean your readers will not see westerns from you in the future?

Oh no! I will always write westerns. It’s the genre that broke me into the industry and the one that I get the most fan mail for. In fact, I have four volumes of,  what I’m calling
Western Duets, coming out this year. They are ebook only novella length works with two historical western short stories in them. This is to appease my historical western audience until I can get the next book in the Halsey family written. The next historical project will be a trilogy with the three young men who are brought to the Halsey family via marriages.

I'm really excited for all of your new books.  If readers wanted a chance to meet you in person, do you have any author signing events coming up in 2013 you can share?

I’ll be at the Romcon Romance convention for readers in Colorado Springs, CO June 21-22. September 7th I’ll be at …And Books, too! In Clarkston, WA and I’m thinking about the Emerald City conference in Bellevue, WA in October. I also need to set up signings in the Portland area. But this year I’m trying to not book too much as we are hoping this is the year we will be moving. ;)

Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about your current and future plans?

I’m in the process of checking out having my books turned into audio books. I think this is the next big step to make as an author. I’ve had several people ask if my books are available in that format.  By the end of 2013 I hope to have the first book of a mystery series published, the western I told you about and the third Isabella book ready to publish. Wish me luck on staying on track! And you can purchase my books, some in print and all of them in ebook at Windtree Press, an author cooperative I've joined. Windtree Press has all the popular ereader formats and you can purchase the Halsey series as a box set with a 24% discount.

It's been a true pleasure to have you here, Paty.  I can't wait for all the new projects you have going to come to fruition.

Maggie, Thank you for having me here and asking wonderful questions!

Follow the Rest of the Paty Jager Author Spotlight Tour

  Each stop has different opportunities to learn more about Paty and her book. If you are just joining the tour, you can always go back and catch what has happened before. I think I've updated to direct links to the interviews or guest posts.

April 2nd
Pure Jonel - Interview
The avid Reader - Interview

April 9th
Stop 2.

April 16th
MK McClintock Blog - Guest Post
Toot's Book Reviews - Guest Post

April 23rd 
Maggie's Meanderings - Interview (You are Here!)

April 30th
Books & Tales - Guest Post

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