Tina Leonard is here today to talk about her love of hunky men, her new Hell’s Outlaws series, and her summer TBR.
Since LAST OF THE RED-HOT COWBOYS is the start of a new series called Hell’s Outlaws, tell us about the players we’ll meet.
Come by www.pinterest.com/tinaleonard1 and visit the Hell’s Outlaws board to meet the characters! Two of my favorites are Mayor Judy and Sheriff Steel Durant. They’ve got a big plan for Hell, Texas, and bringing on a team of excellent female riders to learn bullfighting is the headline—although, as we all know, there are secret plans afoot! No good matchmakers are ever without their secret magic wands! Mayor Judy just happens to believe that to settle the Hell’s Outlaws, she’s going to need some really strong ladies!
Cowboys and rodeos make appearances in a lot of your novels. What inspired your romance with cowboys?
I love all men! I write about Navy SEAL’s, cowboys, firemen—imagine the perfect hunk you’d like to be romanced by, and hopefully he’s found his way between the covers of some of my books! I guess I never really thought about writing “cowboy” romance. We had cowboys in our schools and community, and they were just my friends like everyone else. In a small town, no one really thinks they’re a breed unto themselves. One of my best friends was voted FFA sweetheart. I know they called her the “goat roper queen,” but she was so special and sweet and beautiful that nobody thought that was a perjorative. It was a compliment. I dated “cowboys” but they were just cute guys from nice families. If I had to describe my writing, I think I’d call it small-town or maybe southern fic—because it’s all about the community and the people and the relationships for me. I grew up in a small town in Texas and one in Tennessee—although I went to school in Dallas for nine years and live here now—and I just really adore any kind of community life where people get to know each other. It’s probably why I loved James Herriot’s novels so much growing up—he wrote all about the relationships he had with his veterinary patients—and Pride and Prejudice and Little Women, because we got to know those families and their concerns so well!
Are there cowboy novels that you read either growing up or when you first started writing that you count among your favorites?
I grew up on S.E. Hinton, Stephen King, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the classics. I can’t say I ever read many westerns. Many, many years ago, a male friend handed me a copy of Elmer Kelton’s The Pumpkin Rollers. From reading that book and some Louis L’amour, I knew I wasn’t a classic western writer. I don’t consider myself a western or “cowboy” writer, actually. I write more about families, and relationship stories, than I do about a setting. I’m much more likely to write about babies or military hunks—growing up in a military family, I prefer those types of heroes, even in movies.
What’s on your TBR this summer?
Currently I’m reading The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday (excellent), am listening to PG Wodehouse’s Very Good, Jeeves on my phone (wonderful narration by Jonathan Cecil), and will be cracking open Jill Shalvis’s It Had To Be You for about the fifth re-reading!
LAST OF THE RED-HOT COWBOYS by Tina Leonard/Loveswept/June 24
Ava Buchanan dreams of a career on the rodeo circuit. Winning a spot on a one-of-a-kind team would be her ticket to the life she’s always wanted. Ava won’t let anyone stand in her way—not even a stubborn cowboy whose slow-molasses smile and red-hot swagger set her senses aflame . . . and whose talents as a trainer could make her a star. Rodeo might be a man’s game, but Ava knows the right woman’s touch can tame the wildest heart.
Trace Carter believes his mayor’s plan to raise the town’s profile has disaster written all over it, and he won’t allow the Hell’s OutlawsTrainingCenter to be dragged into the fiasco. Yet watching Ava’s delectable body on horseback proves too much of a temptation, and his fantasies stray to her riding skills outside the arena. Soon Trace is fighting like hell to rein in his unbridled desire for the petite brunette before it becomes a passion hotter than the Texas sun.