Written in the Cards 

About the Book

Title: Written in the Cards
Genre: western historical romance
Author Name: Lauren Linwood
Book heat level (based on movie ratings): PG13
Maggie Rutherford jilts
her too-perfect society groom at the altar and flees New York for the American West, where she turns
her travels into dime novels that she writes and illustrates under the pen name
Lud Madison.
After the Civil War,
veteran Ben Morgan marries his childhood sweetheart and takes her to homestead on
the Great Plains. Losing her and their unborn child
in an Indian attack, Ben detaches from emotion and becomes a roaming gambler. When
he kills a cheating opponent in self-defense, the man’s gunslinger brother swears
revenge upon Ben.
Ben hides on a cattle
drive and brings in a herd to Abilene,
where a waiting Maggie wants to find a rough and tumble cowboy to interview for
her next story idea. Sparks fly as the dangerous
drover and popular novelist wind up living in the same household, running a general
store east of Abilene.
But with Black Tex Lonnegan hot on his trail, will Ben run from his growing attraction
to Maggie and the gunfighter’s promise of death–or will he make a stand for his
life–and love?

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Interview with Maggie Rutherford:

Tell us about yourself,
please.
I’d be delighted to. My name is Maggie Rutherford, and I grew
up in New York City.
I was the

one who spoke up and objected to being married at my own wedding. I rushed
out, leaving hundreds of society gossipers to rake me over the coals. I decided
that I couldn’t marry a man I didn’t love or respect, and so I’ve made my way across
the West. I write dime novels under a pen name for my family’s publishing company.
I thought my stories of adventure would sell better under a man’s name, and I definitely
didn’t want my brother, the head of Rutherford House, to give me a pity publish.

What is your family like?
My mother died when I was quite young, so I don’t remember her
at all. Papa totally ignored me for his publishing empire, disappointed that I was
a girl. I worshipped my older brother Marcus, and I’ll admit he spoiled me rotten.
I traipsed after him and his best friend Frank, who’s truly family to me. If they
rode, so did I. If they took fencing or boxing lessons, then I was their shadow
and learned every move. My aunt Harriet feels she’s failed me somehow because I’m
not interested in needlepoint or the necessary social graces to be a success in
society.
What special skills do
you rely on?
Outlaw Muse
My brain is my largest muscle, and I flex it every chance I get!
I don’t understand these empty-headed females—or at least those who pretend to be
empty-headed. I’m blessed with two skills that are helping me support myself since
I’ve moved to the West. I have quite an imagination, and I draw upon it heavily
as I write my dime novels. I’m also quite handy with pen and ink or charcoals, and
so I also illustrate my books. The money I’ve made as a dime novelist has helped
me pay my way without relying on my family’s publishing fortune.
If someone from your past
showed up, who would you NOT want it to be, and why?
I would not want to spend a single minute in the presence of
my former fiancé. Richard was not the man I thought he was, and that was bitterly
disappointing. He would never have let me spread my wings and soar. He wanted to
keep me in a cage that would have become my prison.
Are you happy with the
way your story ended? Why or why not?
I couldn’t imagine being any happier than I am at this moment.
I’ve found a career that I can be proud of. I’ve discovered the town I’m meant to
settle down in, with my dearest friends Frank and his fiancée Rebecca, who’s become
as close as a sister to me. Most importantly, I plan to spend the rest of my days—and
nights—with the man who has changed me for the better. Ben Morgan brought love and
laughter into my life. He respects me. He challenges me. He’s almost too good to
be true. I can’t wait to build a life and have a family with him.

About the Writer

Why did you choose to
write about this character?
I thought it would be interesting to create a heroine who was
a writer as I am. It’s funny just how much we have in common as we try to research
and write our stories—even if we’re writing more than a hundred years apart. I’ve
always loved the name Maggie and saw her in my head for a long time. She was smart,
feisty, and talented, and I just loved her red hair! I simply had to wait till the
right story for her came along.
Was there anything you
discovered about this character that was a surprise to you?
Maggie was much more vocal (in my head) than some of my characters
have been in the past. When I wanted to make Ben the dime novelist in my story,
she wouldn’t hear of it! She believed she had the talent and drive to be the writer—and
she was exactly right. That freed Ben up to become a gambler on the run, and it
made for a unique, stronger storyline.
When you wrote about this
character, what made you the most happy? What made you the most sad?
I was always happy writing about when Maggie was experiencing
new things, especially her growing attraction to Ben. Maggie’s just as much a gambler
as Ben is. She will try anything and relish the opportunity she’s been given. It
was hard to allow her to let Ben go when Black Tex Lonnegan came to town to kill
him. Rationally, she knew he needed to leave to save his life . . . but giving him
up was like cutting away pieces of her heart and soul. That was difficult to write.
Why do you write?
I am compelled to write. I feel I have so many stories to tell.
I want to bring the kind of pleasure to my readers that I’ve known as I’ve read
books over the years. I want readers to be entertained. To laugh aloud. To cry.
To feel they’ve discovered new friends.
What other character from
this book do you want to write about? Care to tell us why?
I might try to write Marcus’s story one day. He’s such a terrific
older brother to Maggie. He’s a good friend to Frank. He’s a successful businessman.
The US
was on the brink of change at this time in history, and it might be interesting
to see those changes through Marcus’s eyes. Another character that would be fun
to follow would be Tim, the teenager Marcus takes under his wing. To go from being
the son of a hotel desk clerk to helping develop a new town and a publishing empire?
Hmm…I’ll have to think about this one!
A Game of Chance 
Is there anything you’d
like to say to your readers?
I just want to express my gratitude to those readers who have
bought my books and told me they’ve enjoyed my characters and their stories. That
puts a smile on my face.

Author Bio

Lauren Linwood became a teacher who wrote on the side to maintain
her sanity in a sea of teenage hormones. Her romances use history as a backdrop
to place her characters in extraordinary circumstances, where their intense desire
and yearning for one another grow into the deep, tender, treasured gift of love.
Lauren, a native Texan, lives in a Dallas suburb with her family. An avid reader,
moviegoer, and sports fan, she manages stress by alternating yoga with five mile
walks. She is thinking about starting a support group for Pinterest and House Hunters
addicts.

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