Author Interview – Joni Keever

scarsoftheheart

Welcome author Joni Keever

Joni Keever is a Texas native who resides in the Dallas-Ft Worth area with her husband, Joe, and their Westies, Sophie and Jazz.

After raising four children and spending two decades in corporate management, Joni decided to pursue her real passion–writing. Most of her characters come to Joni in dreams, demanding their stories be told. She’s happy to oblige. Joni focuses on developing characters and spends hours researching the historical elements of her books to add interest and integrity.

When she’s not writing, Joni loves spending time with Joe. They enjoy a wide range of activities — traveling, music, sporting events — and are always ready to indulge in a great steak and good wine or a juicy burger and cold beer.

Between them, Joni and Joe have six kids and eight grandkids. Family and friends will oftentimes find their names popping up in Joni’s books, though she promises that any similarities to the characters are purely coincidental!

Tell us about your book

SCARS OF THE HEART is my Kindle Scout winning book.

This historical romance is set on the western frontier in 1865.  As hostilities rage between the native Indians and the white settlers, two strangers find they must reluctantly journey together in pursuit of their own objectives.

KADE ROBERTS must return to Texas to reclaim the ranch of this birthright.  But the road also leads him back to face the jaws of justice, a white man’s version of equity that could see him swing at the end of a rope for the death of his stepfather.  During his journey home, emotional claws from Kade’s childhood pull him off his path when he witnesses the whipping of a young boy in an alley.  Before rational thought regains control, Kade sets into motion a scheme to win the lad in a poker game and eventually finds himself promising to help get the boy to safety.

CARLY DAWSON was plucked from her genteel life in Virginia to trudge across dry, desolate country in search of “The Promised Land”.  Shortly after arriving in Kansas, both of Carly’s parents are dead.  She’s kidnapped by a renegade Indian and traded as a mere possession.  When anted up in a poker game, Carly decides that luck may finally be on her side. The dark, brooding stranger who won her thinks she’s a boy.  If she can maintain
this guise, perhaps she can forever put this savage, loathsome land behind her and return to her beloved Shenandoah Valley.

As this half-breed Indian outlaw and spoiled eastern debutante reluctantly travel together on the turbulent western frontier, they face many obstacles and dangers.  They’re forced to rely on one another for survival.  Pushed to discover strengths within, they must learn to deal with past injustices and to trust one another.  Their journeys of self-discovery may also lead them to appreciate each other’s differences and find love, despite their Scars of the Heart.

What are three things we’d find if we looked under your heroine’s bed? How about the hero’s?


Since these two are traveling the frontier, they rarely have a bed beneath them.  Typically, their bed is hard ground, harder rocks, perhaps some prairie grass.  At one point, Carly does share a seedy hotel room with a horrible brute of a man and another with a mouse (preferring the latter to the former).  If they did have normal beds in normal rooms, you’d find nothing beneath Carly’s.  Her room would be immaculate.  Kade may have a pair of dusty cowboy boots beneath his bed. . . and a pair of smaller satin slippers if some lucky lady as been able to persuade him to share his bed for the night.  😉


What is the theme of this book? 


The theme of SCARS OF THE HEART is acceptance and tolerance of others, acknowledging the differences and embracing their strengths and potential contribution.  In so doing, one promotes personal growth and enlightenment.  It’s a journey toward busting through boundaries created by preconceived notions and prejudices.


Why do you write this genre? 


Honestly, I never wanted to write historical fiction.  I didn’t enjoy history in school.  I blame uninterested, uninteresting coaches that were forced to also teach academics.  (No offense to teacher/coaches in general.  I’m sure there are dedicated professionals out there that excel in both areas.  It was simply not our destiny to cross paths in my formidable years.)

What inspired this story?

These characters and their story came to me in a dream and then continued to needle at my consciousness until I threw in the white towel and agreed to write their story.  Ironically, my second published book, BIRTHRIGHT, is also a historical — as is the one I’m currently crafting.  I’ve come to enjoy the research and delving into history, though I have to admit, it feels like I’m not being productive.  I have to constantly remind myself that it’s crucial to the story; the book will be better for it.

Do you write any other genres?

I have notes, outlines, chapters written on a few contemporary romances and on a series for teenage girls as well.  They’re all simmering on the back burner. 


Any tips to share with fellow authors/aspiring authors? What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?

To fellow authors, especially successful ones, I say remember that once upon a time you weren’t. . . successful.  You were learning, struggling, being rejected, overwhelmed.  Someone, somewhere offered you encouragement, a chance, some help.  Pay it forward.
To aspiring authors, I say if you’re thinking about writing and that’s all you’re doing, that’s not enough.  Write!  And then write more.  Even if it’s bad.  Take a creative writing class at your local community college or online, or both.  Surround yourself with writers.  Join a local writers’ group.  Go to the meetings.  If you can find one, join a critique group.  Be brave.  Be bold.  Put your work out there to be critiqued and then take that well.  Learn from it.  Grow.  Improve.  Don’t shrivel up and quit over one or two negative comments.  Make your writing better.  Do the work.

Excerpt:

Kade caught and held the prize in his free arm. His gun remained steady as the pair backed through the room toward the swinging doors. Once outside, he threw the reluctant youth atop a huge black stallion that stood tethered near the saloon entrance. In a single movement, he gathered the reins and leaped to the back of the mighty horse. Bracing his companion between his arms, Kade wheeled the animal around and raced down the dusty street.

As he suspected, Tiny came blundering through the bar doors, cussing loudly and firing worthless shots at the fleeing pair. Kade figured the drunkard couldn’t hit a buffalo if he was standing nose to nose with one. But he didn’t want to risk it. He leaned forward over the horse’s neck, making a smaller target but nearly crushing his young passenger.
When they were well out of range and encompassed by the black of night, Kade straightened in the saddle. He slowed his horse to a less grueling pace and readjusted his position, allowing more space for his companion. Only then did he realize the little stray trembled like a leaf in the wind.
“Why are you scared? The worst is over.” He turned off the main road and headed south across the open land toward an outcropping of rock on the horizon.
“Wh-why did you do that? Win me from Tiny? What do you plan to do with me?”
The small voice quivered. Kade considered the questions a moment. He really hadn’t thought through what would happen after he rescued the lamb from the wolf. Damn! He had been so caught up in his own tormented memories, he’d let himself be driven by emotion rather than reason. What was he going to do? He had enough complications in his life right now; he certainly didn’t need another. Realizing he hadn’t answered the question, he cleared his throat and holstered the gun he still held.
“Where are you from? Where are your people?”
“I’m not from anywhere. My family is dead.”
“All of them? You have no one, nowhere to go?” Kade understood the hesitation that followed was suspicion, not contemplation.
“I, uh, have an old aunt in Marshall, Texas. At least I think I do. I haven’t heard of her in some time, and she was in poor health last I knew.”
Kade fought the urge to curse. He took the hat from his head and wiped a shirtsleeve across his brow. “Well, I guess we can stop in the next town and try to wire your aunt.” He gazed up at the full moon and realized the ragamuffin had quit shaking.
“You didn’t say . . . I mean, why did you win me from Tiny, if you don’t intend to keep me for yourself?”
After pondering the question, Kade finally answered. “I don’t really know. It was a stupid thing to do.” He envisioned a posse and perhaps soldiers the ruckus had surely roused riding after them. Then he envisioned Tiny.
He inhaled deeply and continued in a voice barely above a whisper. “No one deserves to be beaten . . . not even a skinny, scrawny scrap of a boy like yourself.”

Joni-bio4
Thanks for stopping by this week Joni! Be sure to catch up with her on Goodreads, Facebook, and her website. You can check out SCARS OF THE HEART and Joni’s other books on Amazon here.

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