Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dee Burks - A My Town Monday Post

It is once again my turn to host My Town Monday. I have bragged several times about the amount of talented authors that reside in or around Amarillo. And from time to time I have introduced them to y'all as part of My Town Monday.  Today I'm featuring a lady that is not only a talented writer but a savvy business woman and co-founder of TAG Publishing. Her name is Dee Burks. She is a frequent commenter on this blog and she also has a new novel out just in time for your last minute holiday shopping.

Dee Burks has been in the publishing business for more than ten years. She has written articles for Magazines such as Credit Union Business, Saddle Baron and Route 66 as well as working as a business book reviewer for Kiplinger’s. In 2006 she started a ghostwriting firm with her business partner Liz Ragland and has personally ghostwritten over 40 books including six #1 bestsellers. Dee also has taught writing classes on the collegiate level including Ghostwriting and Freelancing, Writing the Great American Novel, and Writing Your Memoirs. Her first book, Picks & Shovel: How to Cash in on the Gold Rush in Ghostwriting was publishing in 2007 and a new revised and expanded version is due for release in January of 2011. Liar’s Fire is her first contemporary romance.

Hi Dee, thanks for taking time out of you busy schedule to chat with me and my blog readers. You’ve lived in Amarillo for the past 16 years. Can you share with us how you came to be a fellow Amarilloan?
Thanks for having me Travis. Actually my family moved from east Texas to the Panhandle when I was in third grade. My dad had been a ranch foreman and he was looking for a change of pace. I loved living on the ranch. We had lots of animals and I got to bottle feed the orphan calves. In fact we had one that slept on the front porch and thought it was a dog – it chased cars and everything.  My dad knew some friends that lived in a little town about 100 miles north of Amarillo called Gruver. He was born and raised near Plainview and he liked the Panhandle. My mom was raised in Dallas and was definitely a city girl. My parents came to Gruver for a visit and liked it so they moved. The only thing I really remember about the move was my mother boo hooing the whole way while our 40 gallon fish tank sloshed in the back seat. I don’t think she was thrilled at the prospect of living in the Panhandle and she had this intense fear of tornadoes. Of course I couldn’t wait to see one! I was very much a tomboy.

So you got a big taste of small town living?
Definitely! Gruver has, and had, about 2000 people. It’s the one stop light kind of place where everyone knows everyone. It was a great place to grow up. I lived there until 1993 and then moved to Amarillo after my first marriage ended to get my degree.
Does growing up here in the Texas Panhandle figure into your writing?
Its interesting that when ‘foreigners’ (defined as anyone who lives off the Caprock) ask why I live here the answer is always the same – the people. People here are an intriguing mix of tough exteriors, soft hearts, and cowboy ways. They would defend their family and land to the death, but give the shirt off their back to a complete stranger if they needed it. I use those qualities a great deal when I create my characters. In fact, in this new book I’ve got some characters who strongly resemble people I know and used to work with. They are funny and quirky yet the kind of people you really want to know.

Kind of like the character in Liar's Fire who owns a BBQ restaurant?
Yes. My husband managed several restaurants in the Amarillo area for over 17 years. He used to tell me stories about bailing his cook out of jail so they could open for breakfast and running deer out of the parking lot.  In fact some of the scenes – such as when the ice machine goes out and my character uses a heat gun to clear the hoses - came from real events that happened to him. I guess that’s proof that you should never tell a writer anything you don’t want to appear in print at some point.
Will this book be part of an ongoing series? 
Yes. This is the first book in a series focused on the Cooper bothers clan. This one introduces Tyler Cooper, who of course owns the restaurant. There are plans right now for a book on the older brother, Jeff (an attorney) and Sam (a jeep tour operator) and maybe even Justin all of whom the readers meet in this first book. And yes, they will be set mostly in the Texas Panhandle.

When someone reads your book, what do you want them to take away?
It would be perfect if they laughed so hard they peed and cried so hard snot slid down their lip. Those are the kind of books that I remember and that’s what I want to create for the readers.
One last question, what is with the bulldog on your website?
LOL That would be Rocko the current love of my life. He goes by Barky and is so funny that I’m going to have to figure out a way to put him in a future book. You will notice that this book has a dog too – Shadow who is a boxer. Shadow is a real dog (and that is her real name) and she belongs to one of my poker buddies. She’s the only dog I ever met who’s afraid of bunnies….go figure. I like putting animals in books because I really think it makes the characters more human and less sterile. It can also allow you to show a completely different facet of a character that you might not be able to show any other way.

Any of y'all that have read the first chapter of my book, The Feedstore Chronicles certainly know that I do not share Dee's love for English Bulldogs. But I have been to Dee's office and I will attest that Rocko is a lovable beast.

To learn more about Dee, Rocko, or her new novel, Liar's Fire stop by Dee's website. She also blogs at Writer's Path so stop by and say hello.

Hopefully Dee won't mind, but I have also shamelessly stolen from her website and included more info about her novel.

I'm proud to announce my latest book, Liar's Fire is now available from all major retailers and is also available on Kindle! The first in the Cooper Brothers series, its funny, hot and filled with lots of great romantic tension! Here's a quick tease:
Three Dates. Three Hours.
No Commitment. No Kidding.
It seemed like a really good idea at the time to Serena Finley, editor of the Cranfield Reporter-Star. Faking a romance couldn't be that hard could it? No one said it had to be read and if everyone thought she was in love, they'd stop hounding her to find a man. Serena knew could do this and no one would ever be the wiser - best case scenario.

Then Tyler Cooper walked into her life and best case scenario became iffy. He fit her idea of Mr. Wrong in every way. From a failing business, to limited social skills, Tyler would never have made her list of datable men.  He was a cowboy for heaven's sake, who probably wouldn't know cashmere if it bit him in the butt. But she needed his help and he needed hers, which made him perfect. Until tonight.

Somewhere in the midst of the pretend and the lies, her heart had been drawn to his. His kisses stirred her soul while his friendship gave her the strength to deal with old hurts and past heartaches. Serena knew this had no future. She was bound for Manhattan; Tyler was determined to stay in Texas. Would she risk everything for a chance at real love? Or walk away from this flame with her heart in ashes? 
As, always  we'd love to add your link to the My Town Monday parade so drop me a comment here or over at the official My Town Monday blog and I'll get you added ASAP. and check back throughout the day Monday to visit the other MTM participants this week.


the walking man said...

All there is to say Ms. Burks is may success continue to follow in your wake.

So now that you've seen a tornado or two did they rise to your expectations? {;-]}

Old Kitty said...

"It would be perfect if they laughed so hard they peed and cried so hard snot slid down their lip."

Best, best, best interview answer EVER!!! I laughed out loud (didn't manage the snot or pee) but the laugh was pretty loud!! LOL!! Thank you for a fun interview!! Good luck Ms Burke with your novel!!! Take care

dee said...

Thanks! @ the walking man - YES!!! I saw one just a few months after we moved to Gruver it was awesome although I don't think my mom ever recovered from it! @ Old kitty - glad you had a good laugh! Nothing beats an unexpected laugh out loud.

Kathy Holmes said...

Great cover! And Texas does seem to create the best fodder for family ranch sagas. Fun interview!

Charles Gramlich said...

Luck to Ms. Burke. Looks like it's got a lot going for it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I can't remember the last time I laughed at a book. Even Sedaris doesn't make me laugh.
That woman sure looks good in those jeans.

sybil law said...

Great interview!

tripleZmom said...

Cool interview!

Cloudia said...

You have really shown me Texas in a great new light through your posts, Travis

Aloha from Hawaii

Comfort Spiral



Phats said...

This lady had me with the Bulldog! We have a bulldog they are the best :)

I want to be interviewed by Travis hahaha.

dee said...

he's awesome..and I have to say...even though Travis has a bias against them....bulldogs are the BOMB!!!

David Cranmer said...

Top interview.