I have been eagerly looking forward to introducing this wonderful Anthology called "Passion’s Prize" to my blog friends. We have a treat lined up for you. Each day, we'll meet one of the three authors who worked together to produce this book. I don't know about you romance readers, but personally, I have always enjoyed love stories set in the Wild West. Having three of them under one cover is fantastic!!
Today, we begin a special series of interviews with E.E. Burke, Jennifer Jakes and Jacqui Nelson, three award-winning authors whose fascination with the TV series “Hell on Wheels” led to a historical romance anthology they wrote together.
Thank you, Mimi, for hosting us and letting us share about our new release, Passion’s Prize. We’re calling it an anthology, but it’s actually three interlinked novellas that revolve around a historic railroad race across the Kansas plains in 1870. Passion’s Prize is the first release in the series, Steam! Romance and Rails, which will feature stories from America’s golden age of steam railroads.
Jennifer: I laughed. Because Hell on Wheels is one of my favorite shows. It’s like a required “course” for Western Historical writers. So I was all about using the HOW era as a base idea.
Jacqui: I love it when someone’s done a lot of research and I can just build on their knowledge. And I was thrilled when Elisabeth and Jennifer contacted me after that conference and asked if I would join them on this project.
Elisabeth: Something about railroads calls to my romantic nature. Maybe it’s the passion and excitement of a long-ago era when America expanded its boundaries as fast as men could lay track. I wanted to give readers a glimpse into that exciting time period.
Jacqui: Jennifer and Elisabeth had me onboard at Hello. And after watching season one of Hell on Wheels at Jennifer and Elisabeth’s urging, I was even more hooked on writing a railroad story. The Hell on Wheels characters are amazing, compelling, tortured, passionate, determined and multi-dimensional. Everything a writer dreams about.
What have you enjoyed the most about working together?
Tell us a little about the story of Passion’s Prize.
Passion’s Prize is based on an actual construction race between two railroads with very long names that were dubbed The Border Tier and The Katy. The race took place primarily in 1870, when both lines were laying track through Kansas as fast as they could to be first to reach the border of Indian Territory (modern day Oklahoma). Congress had promised the winning line free land and the exclusive right to pass through Cherokee lands into cattle-rich Texas.
Adella’s Enemy by Jacqui Nelson
The race heats up as former Rebel spy Adella Willows receives her mission from a Washington senator—play havoc with the Katy and derail its bid to win the race. The senator craves wealth. Adella craves revenge against the man responsible for her brother’s death. But her plans crumble into chaos when she matches wits with the railroad’s foreman, a handsome Irishman torn between two desires: winning the race or winning Adella’s heart.
Passions rise when a beautiful madam must rely on an Army major for help. Eden Gabrielli lives by three rules: Never trust the wealthy, do whatever it takes to survive, and never again believe a decent man could love a whore. But when a blackmailer threatens, she will do anything to protect her sister—even if that means deceiving the handsome and determined Major Bradford, the one man who tempts her to break her rules.
Fortunes fall as the Katy Railroad battles the Cherokee Nation over land rights. With bankruptcy looming, railroad heiress Kate Parsons takes negotiations into her own hands. Her plans go awry when she’s abducted, and worse, finds herself attracted to one of her Cherokee captors, a man so sinfully handsome he could steal more than her fortune if she doesn’t escape. t.
Our Opening Paragraphs
Standing on the fringe of a courtyard full of women, Adella Willows waited to make a bargain with the Devil. Not that the Devil himself was coming to meet her. He was sending a fat, yellow-bellied Yankee senator dressed in a suit as fine as President Grant’s.
Rain, rain, rain. Eden Gabrielli stared out the saloon window. The droning downpour seemed never ending. Memories flooded as fast as the creek south of town. Memories swirled in her mind—good, bad. Happy. Sad.
"The Indians call it a smoking dragon.” Kate’s father gestured to a framed image of a locomotive hanging in his private railcar.
Passion’s Prize has just been released and those who are interested can purchase it from Amazon as an ebook or paperback. It will also be available at B&N Nook store and the Apple iStore.