I’m pleased to welcome new author, Irish Winters, today.
Irish, it’s good to have you here to talk to us, and I want to say thank you in advance for joining us.
K. R. Bailey: Tell us a little about yourself.
Irish: I am the wife of the man of my dreams, the mother of three handsome sons, and the grandmother of six perfect grandchildren. My husband and I live away from the city lights and noise in the countryside of Northern Utah where I spend most of my days writing and every night dreaming of my hero’s next adventure.
K. R. Bailey: Talk to us about your journey becoming a published author. Have you always wanted to write?
Irish: I have written short stories and poetry for as long as I can remember, but only recently decided to write a novel. My daughter-in-law, Katie, inspired me to consider publishing. We bounce ideas off each other, laugh about our fictional relationships, and console each other through rejects and harsh critiques.
K. R. Bailey: I understand you have a new book expected to be released in December, the first in a series of many stories. Tell us a little about your series and your new book.
Irish: The title of my first book is ALEX, the story of an angry man who has lost the concept of joy in his life. Still suffering from the tragic loss of his wife and child, he is at a point in his life where he’s had enough. He just wants to be left alone. The only flaw to his self-pitying plan is an abused woman named Kelsey. It is in helping her that he begins to remember the gentle man he used to be, and that life truly is a gift. Their journey takes them through murder and mayhem, testing their feelings for each other to the limits. It is only when he stands to lose Kelsey that he must face his worst enemy—himself.
K. R. Bailey: What inspired your ‘In The Company of Snipers’ Series?
Irish: The series came about by accident. After I had written ALEX and created his covert surveillance company, it provided the perfect springboard for additional novels. After all, he had to hire specific people for that kind of job. Who better for covert surveillance than ex-military snipers? And who better for a good romance story than a strong warrior who just may have his own backstory, trauma, and angst to deal with? Voila! A series was born.
K. R. Bailey: If you had to pick a favorite character from your stories, who would it be and why would you choose that person?
Irish: I love all my guys and gals, but I am partial to Kelsey because she sees right through the tough guy she married. She reminds Alex of the kind man he used to be and still can. She believes in him.
K. R. Bailey: Can you give us an excerpt from your story?
From ALEX, In the Company of Snipers:
Suddenly, his sniper’s sixth sense pinged. Something wasn’t right. But what? A bear? A cougar? He heard nothing, and the dogs hadn’t raised any alarm. Caution tightened his stride. There sat Smoke, still as stone, his ears pitched forward at something on the porch. He glanced up at Alex, and then right back to whatever—or whoever—was on the porch.
Someone’s in my cabin. Alex pulled his pistol free of its thigh holster. People have a lot of nerve these days.
“What’s up, Smokey?” He kept his voice low, approaching along the side of the log structure with caution. Glancing sideways and around, nothing revealed the source of his anxiety. The weathered porch creaked under his cautious step. He froze.
There stood Whisper on the porch with his lips pulled back, his canines bared, and standing protectively over the splayed legs of—a what? A department store mannequin? A dead body? He couldn’t believe what he saw. Those outstretched legs belonged to a young woman sprawled against his cabin door, her head bowed to her chest, her hands limp at her side, palms up. Covered with blackened patches of blood and bruises, she looked dead.
Whisper growled, for an instant threatening both master and canine companion.
“Knock it off.” Alex brushed the dog out of his way, annoyed the mutt thought he could get away with that kind of behavior. There was no contest. This was no fresh kill, and Whisper wouldn’t have won if it were. The dog whined once and backed away, relinquishing the porch to Alex, his tail tucked between his back legs.
Alex knelt beside the woman, feeling her neck for a pulse. It took a few seconds to locate, but a weak beat stuttered beneath his fingertips. Lifting the tangled mass of hair away from her face, he ducked closer to get a better look. Her eyes popped open.
“Don’t hurt me,” she moaned, shielding her face with her arm. “Please—”
“Who are you?” Instantly, he was angry she would say something like that, but she didn’t answer. Her head lolled to her shoulder. He knelt closer, peering into her bloodied face. Did she just die?
“No,” he ground out between clenched teeth. “You started this. You’d better not die on me now.”
Whisper whined, crowding Alex while he eased the woman to her back. “Back off.” He elbowed the dog. “Get out of here.”
Whisper only stepped back two feet, turned a full circle, and came right back.
Alex pressed his ear to the woman’s chest, holding his breath while he listened for a heartbeat. It was there and fairly steady considering how bad she looked-and smelled. Sweat and dirt was not the welcome he had expected at his cabin. Neither was she. A ragged groan sounded deep in her throat. Okay. That was a good sign. Maybe she heard him. Maybe she actually listened and decided not to die.
He sat back on his legs and blew out a deep breath, his heart pounding at this abrupt about-face to what had been a relaxing afternoon walk. Glancing at the immediate forest around his cabin, he searched for a reason this mess of a woman would be here on his porch. There was nothing. No one. Just her.
He ruffled Whisper’s thick black mane. “Sorry, tough guy, but you’ve got to give me some room to work, okay?”
Still trying to calm down, he checked her pulse again and smoothed his hands over her shoulders, down her arms, hips and thighs. It didn’t look like she had anything major wrong with her, no broken legs or arms, but there was plenty of what looked like road-rash across her extremities and dried blood in her hair. As bad as she looked, he was afraid of a gunshot, but he found nothing. A concussion was a possibility, but it’s not like he was a doctor. He’d had some medical training in the Corps. A man didn't survive warfare without knowing how to tourniquet a bloody limb or plug a sucking chest wound, but this was different. This was a woman.
Damn. What do I do now?
Whisper nestled his big black snout over Alex’s shoulder like he was offering free advice with his whine.
“I know.” Alex scratched the dog’s nose. “You found her. Now what do we do with her? You got any bright ideas?”
Whisper slapped the porch once with his moose-sized paw.
“No. You can’t keep her. She’s not a toy,”
K. R. Bailey: What are you currently working on?
Irish: Self-Publishing ALEX! When I’m not stressing over that, I am polishing Book #11 – ADAM, and editing Book #3 – ZACK. Oh yes, and Book #12 is already 15,000 words and counting, so yeah. I’m a writer.
K. R. Bailey: Who has had the most influence on you as an author?
Irish: My mother, Mary Rose Meagher. She always believed and although she watches me from the other side of the veil today, I know those Irish eyes are still smiling.
K. R. Bailey: What was the first book you read that made you love reading romance? Do you have a favorite author?
Irish: Definitely Jane Eyre, by English writer Charlotte Brontë. Ooooh! The angst of Mr. Rochester, the ideal bad boy – a married man! Oh, my!
My favorite author? Right now - Tiffinie Helmer. I want to write like her when I grow up! (So loved Garrett in ‘Hooked.” What is it about a guy in uniform?)
K. R. Bailey: Do you do anything special to set the mood for you to write?
Irish: I light a scented candle, shut the door to my office, and invite my guys and gals in to join me. I write no matter what. Some days it is total crap, but the next morning, after my brain has worked overnight, a better story emerges from the muck. I get my best ideas when I sleep. Don’t you?
K. R. Bailey: I understand you’re a very prolific writer. Tell us about your writing day.
Irish: I follow the philosophy of Nike—JUST DO IT!
That means I start each day at 5AM (sometimes sooner, sometimes later), enter the alternate universe of my office, and I write in my pajamas until my husband rolls out of bed. Depending on what his plans are for the day, I usually return to my office and write until dinnertime. Sometimes later. Sometimes all day. After all, I am retired.
K. R. Bailey: What’s the one thing you do to pamper yourself?
Irish: A good margarita works wonders.
K. R. Bailey: We’re just going into the holiday season. As an author, how do you juggle your schedule to find time to write and still enjoy the season?
Irish: That is a lot like asking me how do I breathe during the holidays. Writing is not something I have to find time for. It’s who I am. I cannot imagine a day without it.
K. R. Bailey: Do you have a holiday memory that stands out in your mind?
Irish: My first Christmas with my husband. We were so poor and so stupidly in love; could hardly afford a Christmas tree. That was forty plus years ago. My only thought then was that if we were together, that was all we needed. Guess it worked.
K. R. Bailey: If you could give an aspiring writer some advice, what would it be?
Irish: A great man once told me that if you really want to do something, no one can stop you. BUT – if you really don’t want to do something, no one can help you. Follow the advice of NIKE – Just do it. Decide. Now. Today. Do it!
K. R. Bailey: How can readers find out more about your stories?
Irish: Check out my web-site: IrishWinters.com.
K. R. Bailey: How can readers contact you?
Irish: Web-site: IrishWinters.com.
K. R. Bailey: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Irish: Thank you, Kathy for inviting me! This has been fun. To all my readers and fellow writers, Merry Christmas! May you all receive exactly what you wish for in the coming year!
Thanks for joining us. I know I’m looking forward to your In The Company of Snipers books.
Here's the links to buy Alex, Book 1.