Hi, readers! I am pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our twenty-first official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.
We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Xina Marie Uhl to ILRB! 😀
Marie Lavender: Hello, Xina. Please have a seat.
Author Xina Marie Uhl: Hi!
Marie: Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!
I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.
Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…
Xina: I’m a freelance writer with a specialty in history. I’ve written a number of nonfiction books for young people (history, biographies, technology, even some sports) as well as assessment questions and other educational projects.
Yes, I’m quite good, or so I’ve been told. I really enjoy history (I have a master’s degree in it), so whenever I can work on a history project I am all over it. I like seeing books with my name on them as well, though I do admit that some projects are better than others.
That’s fantastic! 😀
So, tell us…what is your family like?
Xina: Weird, small, and made up of more animals than humans. At one point I had 23 cockatiels, 2 turtles, 3 cats, and 3 dogs. I’m down to just one cat and 3 dogs now. My husband is very patient with my various obsessions, including animals.
Marie: Wow, so many!
Let’s try something else, okay?
If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
Xina: It was a ranch style home in Phoenix, Arizona, with diamond-paned windows, a humongous wooden roof beam in the living room, a good-sized back yard, and about 15 full-grown agave plants around the edges of the front yard. I remember it quite well, even though it was torn down about 25 years ago in order to build a freeway.
Marie: Aww…that’s unfortunate! 😥 But it sounds like it was such a great place to live. 😉
Do you have any hobbies, Xina? What do you enjoy doing?
Xina: I love to hike with my dogs, travel around the US and Europe, and read (but this is a given, right?).
Marie: (Laughs.) True! 😀
So, what is your greatest dream?
Xina: To have my fiction in thousands of libraries all around the world. To live and die well. To hold my great grandkids. To travel through the Arctic. It’s hard to narrow it down to just one thing.
Marie: Sounds like a plan. ♥
Let’s try another question.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Xina: I wish I had more stamina and endurance. I have bipolar too, with mild highs, but with plenty of lows. It saps my energy and I have to be careful with the amount of things I take on because there are times when I’m just out for the count. It sucks, but it’s my lot in life.
Marie: Oh, I understand. I have a chronic illness too. 😕
So…who was your first love?
Xina: My husband, Dave. I was fifteen when we met, and he was eighteen. We’ve been married for more than 30 years now. I’m blessed because he’s very supportive, smart, and funny.
Marie: How wonderful! ♥♥♥
(Sighs.) I love romance.
Okay, with the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much, but we are curious…
What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Xina: I would have to say my illness, mentioned above. I’ve lost whole years of my life to it.
Marie: Sorry! 😥
Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Xina: When I was quite small, I wanted to be a cheerleader. No, I never even tried. Too much bouncing around. I also recall wanting to be an actress, another idea I never followed up on. The truth is that I don’t like being in the limelight, which is why writing is the perfect career for me.
Marie: Oh, I can’t blame you there. I was always more of an introvert, but in some ways, being an author has forced me to step out of my comfort zone quite a bit.
Who is your role model, Xina?
Xina: Jesus of Nazareth. Can’t get any better than him.
Marie: Well, let’s try something else.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Xina: Yes, there’s a certain pushy someone in a group I’m a part of. I just find her obnoxious and self-centered. I don’t pretend to like her; I just try to be pleasant.
Marie: I guess that’s a way to cope with the issue! It seems like a lot of people are very confrontational now, and it causes more trouble than it’s worth.
Next, we’ll shift a little here…
What is your deepest desire?
Xina: To reach my potential as a human being.
Marie: Nice! ♥
Let’s go for a different approach now.
Just curious, but what is your greatest fear?
Xina: To lose my daughter or grandkids.
Marie: (Nods.) That’s an understandable fear. It is odd sometimes to realize how very short life is.
Let’s switch gears for a second.
If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.
Xina: A computer with WiFi, a dog, a comfortable bed, a good knife, and a refrigerator filled with pizza.
Marie: (Chuckles.) There you go! 😀
Okay, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.
We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story, Alec Malone. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?
Xina: He’s a handsome, charming, rogue of a fellow who likes dapper clothes, women, and gambling. As a teenager, he realized that he was never going to fit the mold his father had cast for him—that of a studious, upright lawyer. When he grew up, he set out on his own and never looked back.
And what are Alec’s greatest strengths?
Xina: He’s able to improvise in dangerous or uncomfortable situations. He’s charming to both men and women, and he’s confident.
Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?
Xina: He’s a scoundrel who causes trouble wherever he goes, and he doesn’t mind breaking the law when it comes to petty thievery.
Let’s try something fun, shall we?
What are Alec’s favorite foods?
Xina: Whiskey, wine, barbequed chicken, and flapjacks.
Marie: Just not all together! 😉
How about another question?
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Xina: He’s loyal to those he loves, though he doesn’t necessarily love easily, and this can be painful for him.
Marie: (Nods.) It is tough to open your heart again once it’s been bruised.
Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Xina: They will like him if they have a tolerance for a person who operates outside of the bounds of normal behavior. He’s amusing because he gets himself into some hilarious, unexpected situations. He’s also a smart ass and since the woman he falls for has a sharp tongue, the two of them bicker and banter frequently.
Marie: Awesome! 😀
Now that we have a real taste of Alec, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.
What first gave you the idea for Lady Law and the Texas DeRangers?
Marie: Oh, I remember it! Jessica Alba in her early days…
It’s fascinating how the muse works, huh? 😀
Let’s try something else.
What is your writing style like, Xina? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Xina: I’m a plotster. I used to be a pantster, but that just wasn’t efficient because it took me forever to finish anything since I would have to go back and fix errant plot lines and fret over them. Now I plot story points out and it is SO much better. I like a little wiggle room for creativity, though.
Marie: Cool! 😉
And I have to agree. I am a little of both, but it does take me a long time to finish certain projects.
So, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Lady Law and the Texas DeRangers or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Xina: It went pretty smoothly since I ran it through my writing group as I wrote it, which allowed me to fix any problems right away. It took me about a year to finish it and by the end, I was thoroughly sick of it, but apparently that’s just my process because I write slooooowly. What I’ve done differently on my current project is to fill in my outline more instead of winging it.
Marie: Sounds like a plan!
Well, it was a total pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Lady Law and the Texas DeRangers appears to be… ♥
Let’s learn more about this book.
Title: Lady Law and the Texas DeRangers
Genre: Historical Romance, Western, Romantic Comedy
Publication date: October 1, 2019
Here is the blurb:
A Rollicking Ride through the Old West…
Cowboys, Indians, and outlaws.
It may be 1892 but the Old West is still alive and kicking in the dusty west Texas town of Abalone. When a bad batch of coleslaw kills Texie Cortez’s father she takes over his old job:
She’s proud of how she keeps the gunslingers away and the cowpokes in order. Then HE comes to town.
Gambler Alec Malone aims to attract attention with his handsome face and slick smile. One look at the sassy sheriff and his womanizing ways get the best of him. Too bad his mysterious mission keeps getting in the way.
The appearance of an outlaw gang proves that Alec is just the kind of distraction Texie doesn’t need. She’s determined that his smart mouth and soft lips won’t keep her from tracking down the weirdest bandits in Texas!
Romancing the Stone meets Blazing Saddles in this hilarious adventure!
Xina is giving us a peek at this story as well…
Texie was striding back to the sheriff’s office when a commotion over at the Desert Rose caught her attention. Lord Almighty, it sounded like someone was skinning a passel of cats. Yowls and high-pitched shrieks and crashing about. Which was to say, a louder sort of chaos than usual on a Tuesday afternoon.
She rushed through the batwing doors just in time to see a naked man tumble down the stairway. His pale white ass flashed on each revolution. He landed Indian fashion at the bottom of the stairs, eyes crossed and blood leaking from the corner of his lips.
She took in the looks of him. A whole lot of lean muscles, the occasional mole, a nicely defined waist, the outline of which pointed down in a vee to . . . well, no need to examine that since the fellow might soon be dead if the violence of that fall was any indication.
He shook his head and his eyes righted themselves.
All right, then. He would likely live another day.
Carlene Gibson and that new maid, Mary Ann, appeared at the top of the stairs. They clawed at one another and lurched around, screeching like owls in flight. Only louder. Carlene had lost a shoe, and the sleeve of her fine ruffled dress had been ripped clean off. Mary Ann’s red hair stuck straight out like a flag. Her uniform gaped open at the chest and her udders swung around with each lurch and blow. The women’s flailing tore the beaded curtain, and glass beads scattered everywhere.
Carlene shoved the maid aside with an indelicate grunt and dashed down the stairs to pounce on the naked man like an enraged polecat. Long red wheals appeared on his biceps and chest and marred his all-too-pretty face before he captured both of her wrists with one hand. Then she set to kicking him. Her face looked like that of a devil from the fiery pit—red and puffy, teeth bared, with eyes that shone with downright evil glee.
The stranger managed to haul himself upright, but his considerable height advantage over her did him little good. She aimed the pointed tips of her laced-up boots at his shins. He twisted around to avoid that fierce foot of hers, but she struck his shins with uncanny accuracy.
Texie slapped Ole Hank on the brass railing so hard that it rang like the Liberty Bell. “What in the Sam Hill is going on here?” She used her deepest, most commanding voice.
No one paid a lick of attention to her. In fact, it seemed to spur the women on!
Carlene kneed the man in the love hatchet. He let out a high-pitched shout that ended in a pitiful mewl as he bent over at the waist and attempted to protect himself with his free hand. From the scrunched up look on his face and the sweat popping out on his forehead, he wasn’t having much luck.
Carlene ripped her hands free from the poor unfortunate’s grasp and went for his ears. She seemed intent on ripping them clean off.
“Get your hands offa my man!”
Mary Ann leapt again at Carlene. The lot of them fell to the floor in a mass of writhing bodies.
Texie didn’t much like using Ole Hank to brain women, so she jabbed it in between the bodies and levered it with a hard yank. The women flew one way and the stranger flew another. Before they could scramble up again, she brought Ole Hank up to her shoulders in a horizontal position and rammed into them with all her strength.
Somebody yipped. Someone else took the name of Baby Jesus in vain. A third person whimpered like a half-smashed goat.
“Get over here and help out!” Texie commanded the dumbstruck saloon patrons.
Several lanky cowhands rushed into action, and within a breath or two, all three of the combatants had been restrained.
With undiminished enthusiasm, the women continued to hurl invectives at one another. Two whippersnappers held up the naked gentleman, who sagged between them. He looked a sight. Haggard and streaked with scratches, a goose egg rising on his temple from that tumble down the stairs, and half of the patch of chest hair on his sternum ripped clean off. A quick glance at his nether regions told her that they’d survived mostly intact. Some future female would likely find that most pleasing. That and his smooth jaw, which had a nice manly cut to it.
A moment later, and he’d recovered enough to draw himself upright. He didn’t seem intent on violence himself, so she nodded at the cowboys to let him loose. He adjusted that fine jaw of his and shook himself like a horse who’d just finished rolling around in the dirt. She saw the moment he noticed her. His eyes widened and he slicked back his light brown hair. He straightened up to his full, impressive height. A smooth grin unfolded across his face.
“Who do we have here?”
She snorted. Men!
The chaos started again when Carlene tore free of her imprisoners and grabbed Mary Ann about the throat. Lusty throttling ensued. The noise of the gathered crowd rose in pitch, and Texie flung herself at the she-cats again.
One of the women pulled her hair and stomped on her instep with a pointed high heel. A bony elbow made jarring contact with her ear, but Texie managed to separate them without further injury.
It took four men to pin Carlene down that time.
“Somebody tell me what’s going on!” Texie demanded.
Female voices chorused.
“She’s a whore!”
“He’s a bastard!”
“She tried to stab me with an eyebrow plucker!”
“It was a nail file, you dimwit!”
Texie glanced at the newcomer. He shrugged, a ’what, little old innocent me?’ look on his face. His brilliant blue eye—the one that wasn’t swelling up—twinkled.
“He attacked my girls!” Carlene shrilled. “Hang him high, Sheriff!”
“I did no such thing!” His eyebrows wrinkled up and his lips flattened. “You’re the sheriff?”
“You got something you want to say about that?” Texie snapped.
He gave a little shrug. “No, ma’am. A woman can surely lock up miscreants as good as a man, I suppose.”
“Not about that, you jackass. About assaulting Mrs. Gibson’s girls.”
He drew himself up indignantly. “I have never assaulted a lady of the evening in my life. Look at me. Why would I need to get after a woman? They get after me quick enough themselves.”
Texie restrained herself from rolling her eyes. Instead, she tried to look impressed and stepped up to him, adding a swish to her hips.
“You got a point there, Mr. . . . ?”
He extended his hand. “I’m Alec Ma—”
She flipped out her handcuffs—fastest draw in the West—and snapped them on one of his wrists.
“Hey! What’s this all about?”
Texie jerked his handcuffed arm behind his back and locked the other wrist, too. “You’re under suspicion for assault. Don’t make it resisting arrest, too.”
She took his firm, muscled upper arm and hauled him out the door.
Looks like quite an adventure! 😉
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/m0r0yV
Publisher link: http://xcpublishing.net/lady-law-and-the-texas-derangers/
Add it to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47517248-lady-law-and-the-texas-derangers
What are people saying about Lady Law and the Texas DeRangers?
“Perfect choice when you want light and funny. I was lucky enough to be an advanced reader for this novel. It’s a riot! Laugh out loud funny with characters you root for, even when they’re up to no good. Will be re-reading me when my spirits need a lift.” – Sue Campbell, Amazon
“Avant garde western. A fun read. Definitely not your usual Wild Bill Western. Just the right blend of earthy humor. The righteous among us will be titillated but not scandalized. The blase among us will be amused but not bored.” – Thomas A. Smith, Amazon
“A hilariously funny western! I loved this book! It was well written and immediately drew me in. Not only was it easy to get into, it kept my attention and I didn’t want to put it down! The book was easy to read and was very light and funny! If you’re looking for an easy read, this is it…this is the first book I’ve read by this author, but it definitely isn’t the last! I highly recommend this book!” – Annmarie Reddick, Amazon
“I liked Texie, one strong-willed lady if I ever saw one. Alec, now there is one charming rogue. Can these two really get together? The cast of characters were a group of magnificent goofballs and a hoot to read about. This western was so different and unique, I loved it. I did receive a free copy of this book and voluntarily chose to review it.” – Crystal Crossings, Amazon
“A bucking, wild ride! What a fun book this was! This is a quirky book I’m so glad I got to read. Feeling down about the state of the world? This is better than binge-watching Netflix as it is cleverly crafted and rich with both detail and humor.” – Rachelle, Amazon
“Charming Old West Comedy Romance. I don’t normally read comedy romance novels, but this was one was charming. I really enjoyed seeing a lady ‘lawman’ and reading about the town of Abalone. The names of the characters were fantastic and the love story was very sweet. This book offers a great escape into a light version of the old west, which I highly recommend.” – Cara C., Amazon
Wow, great commentary, and I love the book cover!
We’ll be sure to get a copy of this western romantic comedy! ♥♥♥
A resident of Thousand Oaks, California, Xina Marie Uhl has a BA and an MA in history. As a freelance writer of non-fiction kids books, she’s written more than thirty titles including history, biographies, technology, and career readiness. She’s published a number of novels and short stories in various genres, including fantasy, historical romance, humor, and western through XCPublishing.net.
Join her mailing list for a free short story in the Lady Law universe, and news about promos, sales, and more: http://bit.ly/30qhIAS
And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Xina Marie Uhl, here are some author links…
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Xina-Marie-Uhl/e/B00E7AKNR4/
Newsletter Sign-up: http://bit.ly/30qhIAS
Once again, I want to thank Xina, the brilliant author of this western romantic comedy, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥