Meet Carrie Bennett (Character Interview by Andrea Downing)
Meet Carrie Bennett
Character Interview by Andrea Downing
December 19, 2015
Please tell us your name and a little about your background.
My name is Carrie Bennett and I’m a USA Today and New York Times Best Selling author. I’ve been told I’m sort of Nora Roberts and Danielle Steele rolled into one, but I like to think I’m a bit more individual in my romance writing than that implies. I had a fairly normal upper-middle-class upbringing and was destined to be a stay-at-home Mom until I got divorced just three years into my marriage. I have a wonderful daughter, Paige, resulting from that union, although she’s currently struggling with her own loss at the moment. I guess you could say I was a stay-at-home Mom anyway since I took up romance writing the day my husband walked out on me.
What is your greatest fear?
I suppose my greatest fear is being rejected again! When you’ve met the man of your dreams and you think your life is about to unfold like a fairytale, and then it comes crashing down around you, it’s difficult to ever trust anyone again. Maybe I was naïve when I married, but then, doesn’t everyone go to the altar believing this is the happy-ever-after you’ve dreamt about?
What is your greatest strength?
My greatest strength has been the ability to pick myself up and get on with my life and achieve everything that I have. I set out to prove to my ex that I was strong and could ‘make it’ on my own without his help, that I wasn’t the little empty-headed, vain, dependent woman he seemed to think I was. And I’ve done that. I’ve remained strong, independent and successful while being a single parent. I reinvented myself from Day One when he left, and I’ve been single-minded in my accomplishments. There are certainly things I’ve put aside, certain romantic entanglements being one of them, but I’ve doggedly pressed on with my achievements and raising my daughter on my own.
Is there someone special in your life?
I’m hesitant about answering this as I don’t want to give too much away, nor do I want to give a certain gentleman hope that our acquaintance is headed anywhere. I met this rancher, Ray Ryder, while doing research down in Texas, and he let it be known that he’s interested in pursuing a relationship with me. I’m very undecided on this; obviously, it’s difficult with me living in New York and him in Texas—plus the sort of life I lead, writing books, going on tour, flying out to L.A. about scripts and so on—how could we have a relationship? But I do like him; he seems like a very caring, down to earth, straightforward sort of guy.
What obstacles stand in the way of your happiness?
In short: me, myself and I! I’m just too damn scared of it going wrong again. Plus Ray’s a bit of a drinker so that’s a worry, and he has problems of his own—blaming himself for his older son’s death being one, and there’s something fishy about his divorce as well. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I feel anymore. It’s so difficult…
Andrea Downing has spent most of her life in the UK where she developed a penchant for tea-drinking, a tolerance for rainy days, and a deep knowledge of the London Underground system. In 2008 she returned to live in the city of her birth, NYC, but frequently exchanges the canyons of city streets for the wide-open spaces of the West. Her love of horses, ranches, rodeo, and just about anything else ‘western’ is reflected in her writing. Loveland, a western historical romance from The Wild Rose Press, was her first book and a finalist for the RONE Award for Best American Historical in 2013. It has recently been re-released by Amazon Encore. Lawless Love, a short story, part of The Wild Rose Press ‘Lawmen and Outlaws’ series, was a finalist for Best Historical Novella at the RONE Awards and placed in the 2014 International Digital Awards Historical Short contest. Dearest Darling, a novella, is part of The Wild Rose Press Love Letters series, and came out Oct. 8th, 2014. It won ‘Favorite Hero’ along with Honorable Mentions for Favorite Heroine, Short Story and Novel in the Maple Leaf Awards. It has also won The Golden Quill Award for Best Novella and placed third in the International digital Awards for Historical Short. Dances of the Heart, her first contemporary novel, came out in February, 2015. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West.
Successful, workaholic author Carrie Bennett lives through her writing, but can’t succeed at writing a man into her life. Furthermore, her equally successful but cynical daughter, Paige, proves inconsolable after the death of her fiancé.
Hard-drinking rancher Ray Ryder can find humor in just about anything—except the loss of his oldest son. His younger son, Jake, recently returned from Iraq, now keeps a secret that could shatter his deceased brother’s good name.
On one sultry night in Texas, relationships blossom when the four meet, starting a series of events that move from the dancehalls of Hill Country to the beach parties of East Hampton, and from the penthouses of New York to the backstreets of a Mexican border town. But the hurts of the past are hard to leave behind, especially when old adversaries threaten the fragile ties that bind family to family…and lover to lover.
“You know how to Texas Two-Step?” he asked.
“No,” she said, laughter just below the surface.
“Well, sweetheart, you have come to the right place. Or at least got yourself the right man. By the time I finish with you, you’ll be the best dang stepper on the floor.”
Carrie looked around. “There isn’t anyone else on the floor at the moment, Ray.”
“Well, heck, I know that. That’s perfect for learning.”
As soon as his hand closed around hers, the leather of his palm a strange glove over her own fingers, a sudden frisson of connection ran through her she hadn’t known in a very long while. He moved her to face him squarely on, a small smile tipping the edges of his mouth, the dark, impenetrable eyes shining with his captured prize.
“Just follow me,” he said as his right hand went to her back. A cover of a Vince Gill ballad started, the mournful tune setting a moderate tempo. “Perfect.” He held her right hand high and applied slight pressure to move her backwards. “Fast fast slow slow, fast fast slow slow.”
Carrie felt a light bulb go on. She got it. It was good. It was fun. And she relaxed in his embrace. He was an excellent teacher, a fabulous leader on the dance floor. Would wonders never cease?
“You’re doing well. You’re doing fine,” he assured her. “We’re gonna try a little promenade now, and then a twirl, so get ready.”
Carrie couldn’t stop herself from smiling, anticipation bubbling for just a second. And then out of the corner of her eye she caught Ty watching them, beer half-raised in salute and a smirk plastered on his face. A moment’s hesitation and she missed the step.
“What happened there?” asked Ray, oblivious to the effect the on-looker had on her.
Other couples were finally joining them on the dance floor, but despite the company, Carrie’s discomfort increased. “That boy, that Ty,” she told him. “He was watching us. It made me feel…uneasy.”
Ray scanned the sidelines, but Ty had gone, nowhere to be seen. “Oh, don’t pay him any mind. He’s harmless enough.”