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Author Interview with Kari Holloway

Today, we have something different on the blog. Tank and I read and reviewed the Laughing P series by Kari Holloway. They are about a couple of brothers and the family ranch, and the everyday struggles they endure.

Author Bio from Goodreads:

Kari  Holloway
Kari Holloway is an American writer who grew up in Leesburg, Georgia. She dabbles in southern romances filled with iconic components of sexy cowboys and firefighters, explored the unexplained in her paranormal series, found her way to the battlefields of the Civil War, and to love's first kiss under the weeping willow through various anthologies.

Unsure of what her future holds, Kari enjoys writing what captures her attention in the evenings. During the day, she chases her kids around, laughing at their sassy ways and the depths of their curiosity.

Her motto in life: Show the world the best version of you, for our actions of today make tomorrow.

Author Interview:

Questions about the book:

1. Where did you get the inspiration for the basis of this trilogy?

Not a clue. After I had written it, I  realized I had fictionalized the alcohol abuse of my mom in the internal trials of Damien. It wasn't until the scene in Mistwood kitchen that I realized it was not going to be the typical romance novel. During the editing phase, it was suggested that it could be a duology or a trilogy. It didn't take long before the next two were penned.

2. Who was your favorite character to create?

It's a toss up between Maw-Payne, Miss Thomas, and Red.

3. How long did it take you to finish? Did you have any unexpected obstacles arise?

Approximately 3-4 months per book.

4.  Did you have to cut out any material?

A couple of paragraphs, but nothing major.

5. What kind of research did you do for these books?

The ranch experience is first hand experience. I grew up on a farm, and the town I'm from is so small it only has a single caution light.

6. How long did it take you to finish the trilogy? Was is going to be a trilogy at the beginning?

About 9-12 months total. Didn't realize it would be a trilogy until the editing phase of Cracked But Never Broken.

7. How did you come to create Damien? Was it a personal experience?

He's a mix of all the negativity of my mom, and all the hopes that her demons could be overcame.

8. Will you continue the trilogy? Will we find out what happens to Alice?

It's not off the table, but my next two years are dedicated to the Devil's Playground. There's also a handful of short stories that show some of what happened before, during, and after the trilogy. Those stories are found in the Laughing P collection Vol. 1. I hope to eventually return to the Laughing P, but at this time, I don't know where that journey would lead.

9. How many unpublished/half finished works do you have? Do you have anything going to be published soon?

As of 06/05/2018, Mark of Cain, book 3 in my paranormal/urban fantasy series the Devil's Playground goes live. I've currently have two books ready to be released in the second half of 2018. The Howling King is book 4 in the Devil's Playground, and in October, the sweet/clean contemporary romance set in Charleston, South Carolina. I haven't officially released the title of it yet, but that will happen in August when it goes on preorder.
I'm working on book 5 in the Devil's Playground, and I hope to have a draft completed by the end of June or mid July. As far as half finished, I tend to be focused on one story at a time, and if I'm not working on a long work, I'm working on short stories for various anthologies.

Personal questions

1.  When did you know that you wanted to write?
It fell into my lap. I wrote as a kid, but for various reasons hid it and ultimately stopped writing in high school/college. When my second kid was born, I became a stay-at-home-mom. Not used to being bored, I began to write again, and I haven't stopped since.

2. How much time/day do you spend writing?

I'd love to say it's the only thing I do. But between Facebook Groups that I am an admin in, the formatting I do for others, and trying to stay ahead on marketing, I spend about 3 hours a day on actual writing... until I hear "momma, Thing 2 did...". LOL.

3. Who's your favorite author? What's your favorite book?

Brent Weeks did the Night Angel Trilogy. He's my favorite. I also am a huge fan of Louis L'amour and his Sackett series.

4. What's your favorite favorite color and why?

I like anything other than red. My favorites tend to rotate between blue, gray, green, purple, and black. Colors can inspire in so many ways. Some colors are calming. Some are exciting. Others are warm and inviting, and some just want to swallow you whole... and some days, I want that.

5. What do you do to get yourself in the creative mood to write?

I don't think I have an off switch. My mind's constantly turning over my current work's plot as the characters decide what they are going to do in the current chapter.

6. Are you a coffee or tea drinker?

Sweet tea. I don't like coffee.

7. What do you do for fun besides writing?

I play video games. Current favorites are Hearth Stone, Dragon Merge, Pokemon Go, Smite and Monster Hunter World.

Cracked but Never Broken (Book 1) Book Blurb from Goodreads:
Cracked But Never Broken (Laughing P #1)
Marine. Rancher's son. Twin.

Damien returns from duty as a Marine, thinking he would slip right back in on the Laughing P and fill the shoes that Granddaddy once did. His family and the small town he calls home have moved on without him though, and there's no easy position for him to fill, not even Granddaddy's.

Lexi, the quiet girl next door, has held his heart since high school. Stepping in and taking the burden that was once Granddaddy's, she's now the ranch manager with rustlers and secrets of her own, leaving little time to entertain a high-school romance.

When secrets Damien thought were safely buried rear up, he can no longer tell friend from foe.

A stranger in a town that should be home, with no one on his side, can love save him, or will he be consumed by his demons?

The first in the Laughing P trilogy will leave you wanting more as we discover the strength of family, the strong women who hold it all together, and the incredible lengths one woman will go to have her happily-ever-after. A twist on the classic western romance, Kari Holloway spins the ties of love in the pine-filled woods and mountains of the south, leaving us with southern charm and small-town secrets.

Warning: For Adults. Contains one (1) scene of graphic violence; just skip chapter 5.

Book Review:

Thank you to the author for a copy of her book. This is my honest opinion.

When Kari Holloway approached me to read her Laughing P Ranch series, I said yes right away. I love to read about ranching and westerns. Part of it is because I will read anything that has anything about horses in it. The other part is because Tank and I live on a small ranch. It's fun to read how life on a ranch is portrayed to others!

*Cracked but Not Broken* was billed as a  contemporary romance. It was not what I expected at all. I have read a lot of ranch romances, and I expected it to be the usual guy likes girl but there is some trouble preventing them from being together. Then, the problem gets solved, and they live happily ever after with lots of babies. Sounds about right?

*Cracked but Not Broken* threw me for a loop. The story is told through Damien's POV. Damien is a marine that had ended his career in the military and is coming home to the ranch. He is ready to step back into the life he had before he left, but it is no longer there. The ranch is no longer the same, Alexa is guarded, and there are things happening he doesn't understand.

The most fascinating thing about this book is how the reader gets to see inside of Damien. We get to see him fight his inner demons, battle alcoholism,  and come to the realization that only he can save himself. It was heart wrenching to watch him struggle. Even though I didn't agree with his decisions, I can see how he came to his conclusions.  Will his actions prevent him from getting his girl? Can he pull himself together to find love again?

We give this a 4 paw review because it was an intense read. I do wish there was more romance and ranching in it though.

Cracked But Never Broken
Google Play:

Behind the Lens (Book 2) Book Blurb from Goodreads:
A single moment. A lifetime of waiting.

This year would make one hell of a scrapbook, if Lexi was into that sort of thing. She's been stalked, held hostage, tortured, had a shootout that would rival the OK Corral, and to top it off, she turned over the reins of the Laughing P.

Needing space, she saddles up for her annual hunting trip, but nothing seems to be going as planned. An all too familiar man with eyes the color of topaz, a smile as charming as his wit, and a body more sinful than chocolate invites himself along.

Trapped in the high country with a man who branded her soul before, will she take a chance on their future while knowing their past?

Book Review:

In this second book of the series, the reader gets to see things from Lexi's POV.  Lexi is stuck between the two Payne brothers, Damien and Darien. In the first book, Damien and her have grown apart. Lexi decided to end it between them so Damien can focus on controlling his demons. Damien is not happy about letting her go. Then she has to figure out her feelings towards Darien and if he feels the same way towards her.

Lexi's character really grew in this book. She was able to see that living life is not about just getting by. It is about LIVING and treasuring the special moments. This is my favorite part about this book.

The plot itself wasn't as physically oriented.  It was more centered around her growth as a person. There wasn't the danger as there was in book one. Instead, the story showed more of every day ranch work, riding horses, camping in the line cabins, and hunting in the beautiful wilderness.

As stated with in the previous review of Cracked but Not Broken, Kari Holloway has an unique way of  telling her story. I have read authors that would have made this a dual POV with Lexi and Darien. I am just dying to see things from Darien's POV. I guess I will just have to read the next one as it is written from Darien's POV.

Tank and I give this a 4 paw rating. The story was great. It really drew me in.

Behind the Lens

Never Too Late (Book 3) Book Blurb from Goodreads:

Love knows no bounds. 

Darien Payne's been in love with the girl-next-door since he first seen her sitting on the swing hanging from the oak's branches. Determined to win her heart till death do they part, he sets a plan in motion that could make it or break it for their friendship and his family's legacy. 

But a death hangs over the happiest day of his life, his brother is missing, and some unsettling news about a certain blonde has him worried that the two are intertwined. 

Can he carry the weight of what it means to finally fill Granddaddy's shoes and become the patriarch of the Payne family?

Book Review:

This is the third book in the series. In this one, the reader gets to see things through Darien's eyes. It was pretty interesting as it started from the same spot that the second book did except through a different POV.

I am having a hard time deciding how I feel about this book. I skimmed the beginning 1/3 as it covered the same ground the second book did. I enjoyed the character development as each person had growth and learned about themselves. Yet, they were realistic. They each had their flaws.

I felt that this book was a nice conclusion to the trilogy. Most of the problems were resolved, but there is enough left of every day life for the author to write spin offs. I enjoyed the way she approached the characters and how she made them realistic.

Never too Late


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