Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Allow Me to Introduce Jessamine Randall by Alison Henderson

Actions may speak louder, but often the best way to get to know someone is through her own words, so today we’ll pose a number of revealing questions to Jessamine Randall, the leading lady of my western historical romance, A Man Like That.

So who IS Jessamine Randall?  Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Please call me Jessy.  Only my parents call me Jessamine, and it always makes me feel I’m about to be scolded.  Not that I ever do anything worth being scolded for, of course.  It’s just that my mother can be so all-fired proper.  Now let’s see…one hundred words.  I don’t think I can possibly restrict myself to one hundred words, so I’m not even going to try. 

I’m the only child of the town judge in Weston, Missouri.  Some might call me spoiled, but I prefer strong-minded.  When I see something that needs doing, I do it.  At the start of the recent disastrous War Between the States, my parents sent me to Philadelphia to keep me as far from the fighting as possible.  Little did they imagine I would take up the abolitionist cause and return to Weston to establish a Freedman’s Bureau school for the children of former slaves.  That set my mother’s social circle on their collective ears, I don’t mind telling you.

You sound as if you enjoy being a bit of a rebel.  However, like it or not, we are often products of our past.  Can you share one happy memory?
Although I may complain about my mother’s elevated notions of propriety, I actually had a lovely childhood.  Some of my favorite memories are of wonderful Christmas celebrations filled with parties, presents, and treats prepared by our cook.  I also have my own horse, Princess, who has carried me on many an adventure and a best friend to share my secrets.  I wish everyone could be as fortunate.

How about your romantic past? 
In the years before the war, I never had the time or inclination for romance.  So much to do; so little time.  Besides, I’ve known all the boys in Weston since we could walk, and none of them is very interesting.

What about now? We know there’s a special man in your life, so tell us about him.  
Morgan Bingham, now there’s an interesting man.  Above all, he’s a survivor.  He had a miserable childhood, was wounded in the war, and when I first met him, he was riding with the Jesse James gang.  He says he gave it up because of me, and naturally, I believe him.  When he risked his life to pull me out of my burning schoolhouse after some vigilantes set it on fire, I knew he was the man for me.  Unfortunately, he didn’t recognize his destiny right away, so I was forced to follow him all the way to his family’s cabin in the Ozarks to persuade him. 

What do you like most about Morgan?  And what do you like least?
Morgan Bingham is the most selfless man I’ve ever met.  He puts everyone else’s needs ahead of his own.  In fact, he won’t even admit he has needs.  He also refuses to acknowledge he’s worthy of love or even comfort.  His attitude really brings out the redhead in me.  All I want to do is make life better for him and his family.  Is that such a crime? 

Also, by now, you’ve probably guessed I enjoy lively conversation, so imagine my frustration with a man who’s stubborn as a Missouri mule and talkative as a rock!

Thanks for stopping by.  We know you’re a busy woman.  Is there anything you'd like to add before getting back to work?
I’d like to thank you for inviting me to visit today.  There’s nothing I like better than a good chat.  If you’d like to understand why Morgan makes me so crazy, you can read a bit of our story below.

Here’s an excerpt from A Man Like That:

Jessy took a step forward and slid her arms beneath his jacket and around his waist. “Now aren’t you going to kiss me?”
He grabbed her wrists and threw her hands off him as if she harbored a dread disease.
“Are you sure you don’t want to kiss me?” she persisted. “Aren’t you glad to see me?” Her seductive tone was pure torture.
Morgan scowled and didn’t answer. He had no intention of answering the first question and wasn’t sure about the second. At the moment, it required every ounce of strength and resolve he had to keep from jerking her into his arms and taking everything she offered and more.
He stared down at Jessy’s face in the flickering firelight. Her sparkling eyes beckoned him. Her moist lips parted in invitation. But the same fresh innocence that had always stopped him held him back again.
He could take what he wanted; he knew it. There was no one around to stop him, and Jessy wouldn’t resist. She was crazy enough to think she loved him.
           It would be so easy to give in, so easy to forget the past and the future for a few sweet hours in her arms, to forget their differences and lose himself in the generosity of her love. But he couldn’t do it. To take her and leave her would be to steal something more precious than her virginity. He would be stealing the bright fire that formed the essence of her, the fire that had drawn him from the beginning. As much as he wanted her, he prayed for the strength to resist her.

If you'd like to read more of Jessy and Morgan’s story, contact me through my website to be entered in a drawing for a free print copy of A Man Like That!

Alison Henderson


Jannine Gallant said...

Jessy is full of spunk! Love her zest for life. Great interview, Alison.

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks, Jannine. She was fun to write.