Spotlight & Giveaway: Where the Horses Run by Kaki Warner

Posted July 17th, 2014 by in Blog, Spotlight / 52 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome romance author Kaki Warner to HJ!

Hi Kaki and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Where the Horses Run!

Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:

wTHRYou’ve got to love a man who’ll risk everything for a horse and the woman he loves.

Please share the opening line of this book:

“America?” Josephine Cathcart set down her goblet so abruptly water sloshed over the rim of the cut crystal.

Please share a few Random facts about this book…

1.) It was a real challenge seeing England and Scotland through the eyes of a Texas horse wrangler. 2.) The cruel practice of pin-firing is still practiced today to speed up the healing of a popped splint, even though most veterinarians think it does little good. 3.) Many ocean-going steamships also used auxiliary sails on transatlantic crossings. 3.) When railroads transported livestock, they coupled a “drovers’ car” next to the stock car for those men tending the animals. 4.) Condoms, or Preventatives, were made of galvanized rubber, and were invented by Charles Goodyear in the 1850s.

Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?

Rafe Jessup is a Texan and ex-US Deputy Marshall who was badly injured in a gunfight. Now, disillusioned and still recovering in body and spirit, he lives a solitary life, training and helping injured horses—sort of an 1870s horse whisperer. Josephine Cathcart is an Englishwoman raised in wealth and privilege, but shunned because of her illegitimate son. Now on the brink of bankruptcy, she must either lose her beloved horses, or settle for a loveless marriage to the baron who ruined her.

What, in your mind, distinguishes writing a book set in this era vs. another, like Regency romance?

A stronger emphasis on setting, since the Western US of the 1870s was a dangerous place with a harsher climate and terrain, rougher people, and laws based on survival rather than bloodlines or social mores. Illegitimacy was not an issue there, as it was in England, and few in the West worried about what they would wear to the next ball. Their problems were a bit more real.

The First kiss…

It was initiated by Josephine before Rafe left for Scotland:

Fearing she might never see him again, she took his face in her hands and pulled his head down. “You come back,” she whispered fiercely and on impulse, pressed her lips to his. Then astonished by what she had done, she whirled and fled the stable.

Is there a deleted scene that you loved that ultimately didn’t make it into the novel? Please share a snippet of it here and explain why it was eventually left out:

Rafe, charged with keeping Thomas Redstone, the Cheyenne Dog Soldier, out of mischief before they sail from New York, finds the Indian in a barbershop, about to get his long hair cut off.

“You sure?” Rafe asked.
Thomas Redstone nodded.
“But not all of it.”
“It is only hair.”
Crossing his arms over his chest, Rafe shook his head. “It’s more than that, Thomas. It identifies you. Like Wallace’s kilt. Or a priest’s robes. It’s part of who you are.”
“And who am I, Rayford Jessup?”
“An Indian warrior.”
“I am also white. And to honor my grandfather, I choose now to go the white way.”
“You’re only white when it suits you, Thomas, and you know it. You’re a Cheyenne Dog Soldier, which is a lot harder to be than white.”
“I know this.” Thomas flashed that rare and startling smile that always caught people off guard. “And I did not earn that name because of my hair.” After a moment, his smile faded. “I do not like the way people stare.”
A laugh burst out before Rafe could stop it. “Hell, they’ll always stare. And not because of your hair.” He glanced at the barber watching them with wary curiosity. “Am I right?”
The barber nodded, shook his head, and shrugged all at the same time. An indecisive fellow, it seemed.
Rafe gave up. “Ash and Tait aren’t going to like it.”
“Ho. You think that will stop me?”
“But only to your shoulders. Keep the temple braids. Women love them.”
Thomas smirked. “As do you, it seems.”

I decided to cut this scene because it wasn’t important enough to have “on stage” and didn’t move the story forward enough. Besides, this is Rafe’s story. Thomas’s comes next.

If your book was optioned for a movie, what part would you use for an audition scene for Rayford and Josephine?

Rather than having Rafe learn of her illegitimate son through the gossip mills, Josephine tells him herself. He shows little reaction, which upsets her, and she stomps away. (Since this is an audition, I’ve removed everything but the dialogue).

“Hold on. I knew Jamie was your son. He has your smile. And I meant what I said. Any man who would walk away from his own son and a woman like you is a fool.”
“You know nothing about me.”
“I know you’re beautiful. I know that you love your son and horses. And that you don’t like steeple chasing or eating fish with the heads on, and that you’re beautiful.”
“You already said that.”
“Bears repeating.”
“You’re a confusing man, Mr. Jessup.”
“So I’ve been told. Did I pass?”
“The test?”
“You’re still here, so I suppose you did.”

Do you have a connection with horses?

My husband and I owned horses for over twenty years, and bred and raised two colts. But riding the trails in Washington State is a far cry from running a hunt race over the English countryside, and Missouri Foxtrotters are a far cry from English Thoroughbreds and Hanoverian Warmbloods. So despite my general experience with horses, I had a great deal of research to do about equine injuries, steeple chasing, helping horses recover from trauma, veterinary practices, and the English Grand National hunt race held every April for over a hundred and seventy-five years.

What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2014?

My next release will be summer 2015. It’s Thomas and Pru’s story and the last of the six books set in Heartbreak Creek. (Their story began with the first book, HEARTBREAK CREEK, and has woven through all the other stories in the series). Over the years I’ve gotten so many emails, letters and messages asking when their story comes out, so I finally finished it. It was a difficult book to write—paring a Cheyenne Dog Soldier with a half-black, well-educated Southern woman, but I think it worked. Meanwhile, I’m beginning a book that covers the last three decades of the nineteenth century and follows a strong, determined woman’s journey from Texas farm girl and betrayed lover to wealthy businesswoman so bent on revenge she almost loses everyone she loves.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

Giveaway: 2 print copies of WHERE THE HORSES RUN

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Have you spent time around horses? Do you love them, or fear them? Care to share your most memorable experience with a horse? I also love to hear from readers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


She would have drawn Rafe’s eye in any case. He might have been celibate throughout his long recovery, but he wasn’t dead, and he enjoyed looking at attractive women.
But it wasn’t her fine features, or the richness of her deep brown hair, or the two bright spots of color on her otherwise ashen face that caught his attention. It wasn’t even her surprising height. It was her eyes—one brown, the other half-brown and half-blue, as if in infancy they had started to change, then had stopped partway through.
Rafe ate in silence, barely attending the conversation going on around him, and it wasn’t until the lull before the meat courses arrived that Miss Cathcart finally turned to speak to him.
“What are your plans for the horses?”
Rafe set down his fork and looked at her. And couldn’t look away. Those astonishing eyes trapped him, pulled him in. Made him forget what she’d asked him.
“Is something wrong?” she asked, breaking the awkward silence.
“Your eyes are different colors.” Hell. Had he actually said that aloud?
“Indeed?” Without taking her gaze from his, she slid a dainty forkful of something green into her mouth.
Did all women’s lips do that when they chewed? Purse, relax, then purse again, as if contemplating—no, preparing for—a kiss? How had he never noticed that before?
She swallowed, further scattering his thoughts. “I never noticed.”
Realizing his blunder, he tried to cover it. “I saw a horse once with different colored eyes.” Worse. Wiping his sweating palms on the napkin draped over his thigh, he cleared his throat. “He was very smart.”
“Ah. Well.” She tilted her head slightly, as if to allow the eye with the blue splash to study him better. “That makes all the difference.”
Wisely, he kept his mouth shut.
She didn’t. “I’ve never before been compared to a horse.” One corner of her mobile mouth lifted in a comma of a smile. “I rather like it.”

Book Info:

Wounded in body and spirit after a shootout, Rayford Jessup leaves his career as a lawman and uses his gift with damaged horses to bring meaning to his solitary life. Hired by a Scotsman in Heartbreak Creek to purchase thoroughbreds, he travels to England, unaware that a traumatized horse and a beautiful Englishwoman will change his life forever.
Josephine Cathcart loves two things: her illegitimate son and her injured stallion. Faced with her father’s looming bankruptcy, she must choose between a loveless marriage to the man who ruined her, or risk her horse and her future on a handsome, taciturn Texan and a high-stakes horse race. But as vengeful forces conspire against them, will Rafe’s love and healing touch be enough to save her horse and protect her and her son?

Author Bio

In between her years as a mother, teacher, commercial artist, reluctant collection agent and surly secretary, Kaki fooled around with writing. Finally, after twenty-five years of procrastination, she sent her first manuscript out into world. Berkley bought it and later that year, it won the 2011 RITA for Best First Book, and she was off and running. Now she has eight books in print, one digital novella, an anthology and has just finished book 9, which ends the Heartbreak Creek series. She and her husband are happily retired on a mountaintop in the Cascade Mountains of Washington state, doing whatever they feel like doing—which in her case is writing and enjoying the wildlife, gardening, and thinking up stuff for her husband to do. It’s a grand life.




52 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Where the Horses Run by Kaki Warner”

  1. Jennifer K

    I grew up around horses so they don’t scare me now but when I was little, they terrified me. It all changed when I was put on a horse at age 10 and my grandfather spent quite a bit of time working with me and showing me how beautiful horses can be.

    • Kaki Warner

      That sounds like our life–and it’s a great one. Our horses have all died off, but the memories they left with us of riding over these hills will stay with us forever.

  2. Taswmom

    I truly haven’t spent much time with horses, though I wish that was different. Very early in my teens, my cousin, who’s been around horses all her life, and I went out to ride horses. Since I never had before, she said she gave me the calm one. Well, while she and her horse calmly trotted around, mine kept running at the fence, turning, and trying to scrape me off on the fence. We did have some calm time too. Then, when it was time to go, she yelled to head back to the barn, and my horse took off! He ran through a very low doorway, and barely scraped the skin off the top vertebra that sticks up when you’re crouching down low. One I was off, he let me pet him and brush him down with no problem. I have had a few, nowhere near as bad experiences since, but, though I love horses, my experience riding them has been limited.

    • Kaki Warner

      That’s a horrible memory–I’m so sorry you had such a dangerous experience. Your horse was barn sour and ill-mannered, and should have been retrained or used for harness. I’m glad you’re safe. You truly could have been badly hurt. And I admire you for taking care of him after you rode him, despite his poor behavior. Hope you have a better ride next time.

    • Kaki Warner

      Horses scare a lot of people, and rightly so–they are many times larger and bigger than we are. You’re wise not to risk it if you’re afraid, because the horse can sense that and become nervous.

  3. Cari White

    I love horses. They are beautiful animals. I have only ridden a horse 4 times though. The 3 time was the most memorable. I was 16 (46 now, so a few years ago). Anyway, I was horseback riding with a friend that I saw each summer. She owned her own horse and had ridden most of her life. Her horse was stabled about 3 hours away, so we rented a couple of horses. Mine was supposed to be mild and more of a follower. Well, Donna forgot that I was a novice and took off at a gallup after a while. My horse followed! I hung on for dear life, screaming my head off. What seemed like hours later, she came back for me apologizing. We headed back for the stables. I still love horses!

    • Kaki Warner

      Fun and terrifying experience. Glad you carry no lasting animosity. If that was your third ride, and you still went on a fourth, I admire your courage. Way to go!

  4. Leanna

    I grew up in a large city so I did not have much exposure to horses. I did go horseback riding at camp. I was thrown off a horse once. I survived.

    • Kaki Warner

      I’m glad you did. My worst “unplanned rapid dismount” was my 13th. That was the one where I finally realized I wasn’t immortal. You can bet I was more aware and cautious after that .

  5. Penney Wilfort

    This book sounds great! I can’t wait to read it, thanks for the blog today

  6. Damaris

    I love horses. They’re beautiful and elegant animals. I’ve only ridden once during my honeymoon almost 20 years ago. It was in the Poconos during the fall. Lately I’ve been reading lot of cowboy romances and I’m itching to get on a horse 🙂

  7. Bewitching Brews

    Years ago, we spent ever summer at dude ranches. That’s been my only experience with horses. At Peaceful Valley Dude Ranch (we went to that ranch twice), the horse my son was riding bolted and I took off after him and his horse… and caught them! While at a dude ranch that straddled Wyoming and Montana, we went on a trip way up in the mountains along very narrow passageways with sheer drops right next to us. We had to trust our mounts explicitly… When I think back, I can’t believe I did that!

    My only relationship with horses recently has been the horses on the carousel behing Cinderella’s castle at Disney. LOL!I always look for either Prince Charming’s horse or Cinderella’s – they’re my favs.

  8. ndluebke

    I like looking at horses but get uncomfortable when I’m up close to them. Several years ago when our boys were still living at home and were in 4-H, they raised pigs and built rockets. Now don’t start laughing yet. We have to be at the fair grounds everyday so I usually worked at a booth one of those days. Well one of those times, the boys came running up to the booth saying their daddy was hurt.Now what. Turns out he was looking at the horses in the horse barn, and a horse reached out and grabbed his glasses off his face. He ended up needing a few stitches above his nose. He had first aid at the fair grounds and then had to go to the emergency room. When he had to tell them how he got hurt, you could hear laughter all over the place. You can’t really get him near a horse now.

  9. Emily Stemp

    i haven’t be around horses a lot but I love them there the most beautiful animal I ever seen

  10. Colleen C.

    When I was around 9, I went to camp and they had horseback riding… enjoyed it for 2 summers until they stopped the program… my fav horse was named Jackpot! Since then I have collected statues, calendars… even have a throw with a beautiful horse on it!

  11. Inga

    I don’t spend time with horses, but love the look of them and the way they move. They are amazing. The eyes and their grace are something.

  12. Glenda

    I do love horses, but I don’t ride even though we own one. I know, strange. Lots of horse memories but one stands out as unusual. When my daughter was taking riding lessons, there was a pregnant Arabian mare who pretty much hated people. Her owner used her as a brood mare because she was gorgeous and she refused to let a blanket on her back, much less a saddle. For some reason, she decided she liked me and would come over an insist on me paying attention to her. She’d let me groom her as well as insist on scratches and pats.

  13. Sony Killian

    I do love them, strong and beautiful as they are…I’m allergic to them. Last time I went riding I broke out in a bad rash. It was awful, I had to get a shot just so the itching would stop. But I still would love to ride again… one day.

  14. Rita Wray

    In my younger days I was afraid of horses. One time when I was visiting my friend her horse got out of it’s corral. Trying to catch it she told me to go stand at the other end of the yard and wave my arms. I said like hell I will and ran in the house and locked the door. lol

  15. Kai W.

    I love horses from the first time I rode them at camp. I have never gotten over how wonderful riding a horse is. Unfortunately, I live in the city and can’t own a horse due to city ordinance.

  16. Cathy P

    I have ridden horses twice in my life. The first time I rode a horse was when I was a teenager and my mom, brother, and I were in Colorado and decided to take a trail ride. They gave me a gentle horse and everything was fine until we got to the creek. The horse decided it was going to get a drink, and plunged both of us into the creek where she could get her drink. The guide said the horse had never done that before. Trust me to be a first. Lol!

  17. Irma Jurejevčič

    I love horses, I love country books, Laura Moore has got me hooked by them 🙂 Othervise we don’t have them, only a dog.

  18. florryalyna

    I love them. They are amazing and beauty. I loved my grandparents horses and have some childhood memories with them. I also saw some wild horses playing free in my mountain trips.

  19. bettysunflower

    I don’t fear horses, but I respect them. The best horse back ride I ever had was with my son in Jamaica. We were with a guide who took us up into the mountains and then back down to the beach. The saddles came off and we went right into the waves….deep enough that the horses were swimming with us holding on! Then the guide lined us up and we had horse races,,,,in the ocean! It was wonderful and so much fun.

  20. Joye

    I grew up riding horses on the ranch. They are my favorite animals. The horse I rode most often was named Big Red even though he was more brown than red and not very big. I loved that horse!
    Now all I do is paint horses and not much riding. Living in a city not much chance to ride.
    Your book sounds wonderful and I had already included it on my TBR list.

  21. Amy Rickman

    I had a miniature horse (belonged to a co-worker) for rides at my kids birthday party years ago, that’s the most interaction I’ve had with horses.

  22. Selenity Jade

    I adore horses! Used to hang out with them a lot as a kid. I remember riding horses with my mom when I was about 14 and my mother kept switching horses with me because she could never get the horse to listen to her and it kept trying to scrape her off! LOL They were perfectly docile for me. She kept getting upset.

  23. Diana Huffer

    When I was a kid, the family on the hill had horses so, yea, we all went riding! At first, I was a little intimidated by the size of the animals but it didn’t take long to overcome that! A few years after we moved out in the country, we got a Shetland (cart) pony by the name of Trinket. He did not like to be ridden at all! He would try to rub us off on any tree he could get close to! ~LOL~ Other than that, he was a great pet! The farmer that lived next to us would walk around with a bag of tobacco in his pocket. He started giving Trinket a little every so often. Kinda backfired on him though — soon Trinket would sneak up on him, take the bag out of his pocket ever so carefullly, and walk in front of him to get him to open the bag! It was hilarious to watch them!

  24. Diane Sallans

    I’ve always liked horses. Most memorable experience was riding one thru Bryce Canyon in Utah.

  25. Kaki Warner

    Thank you all for dropping by. I hope to respond to all your wonderful comments, but we’re in the dead center of the big Carlton Fire complex in Washington State. We’ll be out of power for 3-6 weeks, and only with the help of several teams of hotshot firefighters managed to save our house. So with power issues and more evacs possible (we’ve evacuated four times already) I may not get a response to everyone before this post goes down, but know how much I appreciate you taking the time to read about my books and leave your comments here. Thank you all.

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