Of those ninety books, written under 5 pen names—Connie Feddersen, Carol Finch, Gina Robins, Debra Falcon, Connie Drake—nine are a series of tongue-in-cheek mysteries with a country and western setting. There are sixteen Early American settings, fifteen contemporary westerns and thirty-eight historical westerns. I threw several pirates, time-travel and paranormal in the mix, but westerns will always be my first love. Well, except for my first husband. I’m exceptionally fond of him, too.
I love writing fast-paced romantic adventures. Westerns easily lend themselves to action in cattle drives, wild, cross-country chases on horseback or in stagecoaches, shoot-‘em-ups and Oklahoma Land Runs. Since I have a Native American heritage, I enjoy writing about various western tribes and include many mixed heritage heroes in my books.
You just can’t beat a good western, I always say. Add a lively, pistol-packin’ heroine and a rough-and-ready hero, a little humor and you have an action-packed romance to take you back in time and entertain you for hours.
Since we live on a ranch and do farm work ourselves, it’s easy to envision hundreds of plot possibilities in the wide-open spaces. Our cattle ranch is on the historical registry of Centennial Farms, owned and operated by my husband’s family for over one hundred years. It is located near the Chisholm Trail, complete with buffalo wallows from the Indian Territory days. The border of our pastures and wheat fields is near the boundary of the Land Run of 1889, where hundreds of hopeful settlers lined up to claim land taken away from Indian tribes.
My writing routine begins with morning exercises, followed by a mile-and-a-half walk through pastures where our herds of cows, bulls and young calves graze. The cattle are accustomed to having me walk among them, with our black Lab named Bullet—who chases the same jackrabbit every day and never catches it. The cattle rarely raise their heads or move out of the way when we hike past them.
Being outdoors for a brisk walk gives me the chance to collect my thoughts before beginning new scenes or deciding what changes will strengthen a story. If I bog down, a walk in the middle of nowhere, without a distraction, stirs the creative juices so I can return to work.
Another added bonus is having a husband who is so creative that he can toss more inspirational ideas at me than I can work into a story. Plus, he paints Western art. Whether I’m indoors or out, country landscapes, cattle and horses fill up my world.
Although we have traded in our horses for ATVs—they can still buck you off if you don’t watch out—we make cattle drives to various pastures several times a year. We round up and sort cattle that need to be weaned, branded, inoculated or transported to the stockyards. We have a fleet of pickup trucks, tractors and machinery that serve their purposes for farming and ranching, but there isn’t a car in sight.
Wouldn’t do any good to have one. Cars don’t hold up on gravel roads that wash out during floods. If it isn’t four-wheel-drive, you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
In other words, we’re about as country and western as we can get. Writing and ranching is who we are and what we do. It’s our way of life and we’re grateful we can do what we love.
Harlequin Historical Westerns by Carol Finch:
The Love Potion – Nov. 09
The Holiday Husband – Nov. 09
Texas Ranger, Runaway Heiress – Jan. 09
The Bounty Hunter and the Heiress – Aug. 08
Cooper’s Woman – May 08
Carol would love to answer your questions! Come on in and chat! She’ll be giving away three books:
Cooper’s Woman, Bounty Hunter & The Heiress,
and Texas Ranger, Runaway Heiress
To order from Amazon click on covers