A Character Interview with Dillon from MOUNTAIN BLAZE, plus a conversation with author Debby Grahl!

Today we're bringing something different to Writing in the Modern Age in the form of a character interview. These character interviews, now and in the future, should prove to be very enlightening for all of us.  
We have the pleasure of meeting Dillon McCoy, a character from Mountain Blaze. 

We'll get a chance to talk to the author, Debby Grahl, in a bit, but now we have on the stage...Dillon!  

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Dillon. Please have a seat. 

Character Dillon McCoy:  Hi, Marie.
Marie:  Great to have you here! We're going to start out with some simple questions, okay? 

Dillon:  All right.

Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?

Since I was old enough to sit on a horse, I’ve wanted to be a rodeo rider. I went to college in Montana, then joined the rodeo circuit. I won both a silver and gold buckle.


Marie:  Wow! That's amazing.

Tell us...what is your family like?


Dillon:  I grew up in Cedar Bend, North Carolina. My grandparents own the Lazy M ranch, where there are cabins to rent and horseback riding. I come from a large friendly family who are spread all across the US. We love to gather at the ranch for holidays.


Marie: Okay. 

What did your childhood home look like?


Dillon:  When I was young, my parents, my two brothers and I lived in a log cabin on the ranch. When I was a teenager, we moved to Asheville, but I spent most of my time at the ranch.


Marie:  Let's try something else.

Do you have any hobbies, Dillon? What do you enjoy doing?


Dillon:  When I’m not riding, I enjoy hiking in the mountains, reading Louis L'Amour westerns, listening to country music, and, when at the Lazy M, taking guests on trail rides.


Marie: Nice! 

Now, what is your greatest dream?


Dillon:  To be a famous rodeo rider.


Marie:  Sounds like a plan!

Let's try a different question.  

Look...I know it might seem like I'm prying here, but readers are curious.


So, if it's not too painful or personal, can you tell us one thing? Who was your first love?


Dillon:  This is a tough one. When I was young, I had a few girlfriends, but when I met Tonya, I thought I was in love. When I discovered she’d betrayed me, I realized I didn’t love her as much as I thought. When I saw Diana for the first time, I lost my heart on the spot.


Marie:  And what's the most terrible thing that ever happened to you, Dillon?


Dillon:  Witnessing my buddy Stew get seriously injured while riding a bronc I was supposed to be on.


Marie:  Ouch! So sorry to hear you went through all that - about your buddy, and your ex betraying you.  :'(

You're not alone, believe me. I've definitely dealt with my fair share of bad stuff...


Let's try another question, shall we?

(Guest nods.) 

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved that dream, why not?


Dillon:  I used to sit for hours watching rodeos on television. I was determined that one day that would be me. When I won the national championship, I had fulfilled that dream.


Marie:  That's fantastic! :)

Well, I want to ask you something else...

Who is your role model?


Dillon:  That would be my grandfather, Chester McCoy. He’s an honest, hard-working man who cares deeply about his family and has made the Lazy M a successful business and a happy place to grow up.   


Marie:  How admirable!


Now, is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?


Dillon:  I try to think of myself as an honest guy. If I dislike someone, I don’t pretend otherwise.


Marie:  Well, I respect your stance on things!

So, tell us...


What is your deepest desire?


Dillon:  I made a huge mistake with Tonya. Now, I’d like to find the right woman to marry, have kids, and take charge of the ranch.


Marie:  And what is your greatest fear, Dillon?


Dillon:  Losing the land that has been in the McCoy family for over a hundred years.


Marie:  I certainly appreciate your candor, and no one could blame you for worrying about that.

Well, it looks like we're running out of time, Dillon. Thank you for visiting us today.

It was so interesting getting to know you! 


(Waves at her guest as he heads off the stage.) 

Now, let's shift over and get the author's perspective. We have Debby Grahl on the stage today! 

Hi, Debby!
Author Debby Grahl:  Hello! Glad to be here!  

Marie:  (Smiles.) Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age!

So, we just got to talk to a male character from your story...Dillon McCoy. Quite an interesting guy. Can you tell us a little about him?
Debby:  Back in the 70’s, an actor named Ben Murphy played a character called Kid Curry in Alias Smith and Jones. I fell in love with Kid Curry, and he’s been my inspiration for creating Dillon. I wanted to give Dillon a little outlaw bad boy personality along with having a big heart.     
Marie:  Intriguing...
So, tell us.  

What are your character's greatest strengths?
Debby:  Trustworthiness, loyalty, the ability to love fully, and family devotion.

Marie:  Awesome!

So, what are some of his greatest weaknesses?


Debby:  Dillon tends to blame himself for occurrences which are out of his control.


Marie:  Yep, I'm sure a lot of people can relate to that.

And do you know a few of Dillon's favorite foods?


Debby:  He likes thick steaks, charred, loaded nachos, and a big country breakfast.


Marie:  (Chuckles.) Well, you definitely can't go wrong with a country breakfast!  :)


What's a positive quality that your character is unaware he or she has?


Debby:  Dillon can come across as a badass, but he’s really a big softie.


Marie:  Great! 


So, will readers like or dislike this character, and why?


Debby:  Who doesn’t like a handsome, sexy cowboy with a killer smile and bedroom blue eyes?


Marie:  Well, I won't say no to one! ;)

Now that we have a real taste of Dillon, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Mountain Blaze?


Debby:  I decided to write a series which would take place in the Carolinas. My idea for Mountain Blaze came while touring around Asheville with my cousins. It was Fall, and the spectacular display of color against the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains was breathtaking. We hiked a while and discovered a scenic overlook which revealed a stream winding through the valley below.

We came upon a small ranch with cabins to rent and horseback riding. As we waited for the horses to be saddled for a trail ride, my writer’s imagination replaced the nice older man with a handsome cowboy. Now, what would be his story? As we rode through the lush woods, the air fragrant with the smell of pine, Dillon McCoy took shape in my mind.

We drove down the mountain into Waynesville. This is a great little town where I discovered Mast General. A fun old-fashioned country store, this is one of my favorite places to shop. We decided to stop in a café, and while sipping a delicious cup of coffee, I noticed an attractive woman seated at an adjacent table. Her clothes were stylish. She looked as if she had just walked off Fifth Avenue. Once again, my writer’s imagination took over, and Diana Thompson was born. Now, what circumstances could bring the cowboy and the wealthy city girl together?

In all my books I like to have some type of mystery. So not only do Diana and Dillon need to meet, but they must also discover what outside force is determined to keep them apart and endanger their lives.


Marie:  Wow! Isn't it cool how the muse works? ;)

So, what is your writing style like, Debby? Are you a pantster or plotter?


Debby:  I write by the seat of my pants. Since I write both paranormal and contemporary romance, I choose the genre and location. Then I make a short outline, but after that my characters take over. Sometimes a character who is supposed to have a minor role will end up being the star.         


Marie:  Great!

Well...I'm throwing this one in for our aspiring writers.

Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Mountain Blaze, or getting it published? What would you do differently next time?


Debby:   I discovered if you want to be an author, take writing classes. I thought you just wrote the book, submitted it, and waited to hear back. I found out quickly how wrong I was. There’s a number of what I refer to as no-no’s in the writing world. I had one editor tell me that I had a good book, if I could only write it. In red, she pointed out all my beginner writer’s mistakes. And trust me, there was a lot of red on the page. That’s when I started taking online classes, and my writing improved after the first class. There’s a number of groups that offer these classes, and they’re reasonably priced. You could have a great story, but if you don’t follow the writing rules, an editor will reject it in a minute.


Marie:  True!

Well, it was such a pleasure having you on Writing in the Modern Age, Debby. We hope you can come back sometime soon!


Debby:  Thank you for giving me, as well as Dillon, a chance to visit your blog.

Marie:  Of course! :)

Readers, here is the blurb for Mountain Blaze.

Can Dillon and Diana elude a killer while their newfound love grows?

Disillusioned by his wife’s betrayal, rodeo star Dillon McCoy comes home to the mountains of North Carolina to lick his wounds. When he agrees to take over the family ranch, the Lazy M, he’s unaware danger waits.

Diana Thompson is having doubts about her engagement to Trent Sawyer. She agrees to leave Chapel Hill and spend Thanksgiving with her friend Jenn at the Lazy M. When Diana and Dillon meet, neither can deny their attraction, but both must resolve past relationships while fighting their growing desire.

After Dillon turns down an anonymous offer to purchase the ranch, attempts are made on his life. When a body is found, Dillon sets out to discover who wants the McCoy land enough to commit murder.


Here's an excerpt from the book.


Dillon smiled and Diana thought it the sexiest smile she’d ever seen. There was a slight cleft in his chin, and fine lines formed at the corners of his eyes. Diana inwardly groaned. The butterflies were back.

“I’d hold onto you. I wouldn’t let you fall,” he softly said.

With his slow southern accent, the words sounded like warm honey rolling off his tongue. The depth of his eyes and the sound of his voice mesmerized her.

The horses stood side by side. Her and Dillon’s legs touched. He leaned toward her, and the light aroma of wood smoke, hay, and his spicy cologne filled her nostrils. Diana knew what he was about to do but had no willpower to stop him. He cupped her cheek and their lips met.

Gentle at first, his lips glided over hers. He increased the pressure until she opened her mouth and his tongue slipped in. Diana moaned and wrapped her arms around his neck. His arms around her waist, he deepened the kiss. Before she realized what he was doing, without breaking their kiss, Dillon lifted her from Flora and placed her across his lap.

Cradled in his arms, Diana clung to him, delicious sensations filling her. Her body came alive in a way that surprised her. The only thing that mattered was this man and this moment.

Flame moved, bringing her back to reality. Diana’s eyes fluttered open, and she stared into Dillon’s, deep with passion and need.


Purchase Link:

Universal reader link:  https://books2read.com/u/mgznwx

This book sounds so good! Readers, don't forget to pick up a copy of Debby Grahl's western contemporary romance novel with a holiday theme, Mountain Blaze! :)  



 About Debby Grahl:


Award winning author, Debby Grahl, lives on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with her husband, David. Besides writing, she enjoys biking, walking on the beach and a glass of wine at sunset. Her favorite places to visit are New Orleans, New York City, Captiva Island in Florida, the Cotswolds of England, and her home state of Michigan. She is a history buff who also enjoys reading murder mysteries, time travel, and, of course, romance. Visually impaired since childhood by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), she uses screen-reading software to research and write her books. His Magic Touch, a paranormal romance, was released by Wild Rose Press December 5, 2018. Her latest book, Mountain Blaze, was released November 2, 2020.


Author Links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/debbygrahlauthor
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DebbyGrahl
Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/Debby-Grahl/e/B00B34HM26
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6862089.Debby_Grahl
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/DebbyGrahl/  
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/debby-grahl   
Debby's Books:







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A Character Interview with Dillon from MOUNTAIN BLAZE, plus a conversation with author Debby Grahl!

Today we're bringing something different to Writing in the Modern Age in the form of a character interview. These character interviews, ...