Kristie Jenner: The Great Western Drive


Our special guest today is a reader and reviewer who shares our passion for westerns–and I mean she’s passionate about them in a big way.  Kristie Jenner has made it one of her personal missions to interest readers in the genre; in fact, she came up with the idea for the Great Western Challenge this week, and the Fillies here at P&P were delighted to jump on the cowboy train with her.


Kristie says that while she loves a good historical set in England, she thinks many readers may be ready for a change from dukes and earls and other various and assorted titles. And she believes that if readers are getting a wee bit tired of vampires and shift changers and other otherworldly worlds, a good western is just the thing.


Cheryl: First off, we all thank you for providing the cowboy eye candy today! Please explain The Great Western Drive challenge to those who may not have heard about it.


outlaw-heartsKristie: The long answer: I recently put up a poll on my blog for readers to pick their favourite genre.  While I love all genres, my special fave is westerns even though I started out reading English set historicals.  When I saw how low westerns scored, I realized that probably many readers just haven’t tried the right ones.  So I rounded up my posse – Sybil and Wendy, who are just as passionate about this genre as I am and set about getting readers to at least try them – hoping that the stories capture their imaginations as much as they have me.  If I, once a dyed-in-the-wool English historical fan, can love a western, I think many a romance reader can too.


The short answer – I thought Little Joe was Hawt when I was young and just noticing the other side of the gender!


Cheryl: I confess I was a Little Joe junkie, too. So Kristie, tell us why you are such a big fan of westerns.

ecbc512Kristie: I’ve always been more a fan of blue-collar type heroes then the white-collar type. I just love a hero who works with his hands and isn’t afraid to work up a bit of sweat now and then. I love a hero who is willing to labour for everything he has rather than just inheriting it. And no one works harder than many a western hero, whether it’s being a marshal, a cowboy, a gambler, a gunslinger or even a reformed outlaw.


And a western heroine is one I can identify with so much more easily.  I don’t know if it’s my age or ’cause I’m more average myself, but while the girly girl in me likes reading about all the fabulous balls and dresses and things in historicals set in Europe, I very much prefer the realness of the conflicts a western heroine goes through. 


Another feature the western has going for it is that you won’t find one of those annoying fake rakes in a western. I find the heroes in just about every western as real as it gets, again because they are real. They don’t play games. They are what they are, whatever their profession.


And while I’ve read a few with Pinkerton agents, westerns don’t have the overabundance of spies of many English historicals.


And I’ve found that many more westerns have that certain poignancy that I find more majorly appealing than any other genre as a whole.


sweet-lullabyCheryl: Certainly none of us can understand it, but why do you suppose some readers are averse to trying a western?


Kristie:  One of the reasons I’ve heard for not trying westerns is because readers don’t find the setting attractive.  I think differently.  I find it very attractive to read a book based on our own history.  Ok — so maybe I’m making myself an honorary American for this one, but what can be better then reading about a setting that’s exciting and lawless and new?  An English historical can’t offer readers that.  And if you like a bit of down and dirty, well the Western has that too!


Another feature I find more often in a Western is the heroine saving the hero. Think about it; a bounty hunter, wounded, needing care makes it to the steps of the heroine who has control of life or death over the hero – yummers! Now that, I find sexy.


And there are none of the class distinctions that get tiresome. It doesn’t matter where the character started in life; it’s a more level playing field in a western. We aren’t pulled out of a story because the heroine is acting too friendly with the staff. We aren’t pulled out wondering if all the too-handsome dukes and earls and viscounts will ever run out. There simply couldn’t have been the abundance of them that fill up the pages of English historicals.


ecbc517Cheryl: So, it’s the cowboys that hold a place in your heart, isn’t it?


Kristie: Western heroes seem to me to be more manly man type heroes.  I think if you are a fan of the alpha hero, there would be many more alpha heroes to choose from in the Old West than there would be in other locations.  I think if you are a fan of the lone wolf hero, then the Western is your genre.  I imagine after spending that much time in the saddle, they would be looking for a little female companionship.  And who can resist a wounded outlaw type hero?


Seriously, all of you western/Lost fans, can’t you just picture Sawyer in that role, and let’s see–me as Etta Place.  And if you go for the more law abiding type hero, who better than a marshal?  No, no, get Matt Dillon out of your heads–he’s not a good example *shudder*.  He kept Miss Kitty dangling way too long!  And he just wasn’t handsome.  But Jack maybe?  With Sayiid as the mysterious bounty hunter?  Yeah, I like that.


Cheryl: There are a few favorites I’d surely love to see in a cowboy hat, too.  David Boreanaz for one.  Oh my goodness.  But back to books . . . will you share a few of your all-time favorite western romances with us?


joes_wifeKristie: Well first off – Joe’s Wife – no really!  I love this book.  Sweet Lullaby by Lorraine Heath is another one that comes oh so close to making me cry.  The only reason I didn’t mention it is because I know it’s very hard to find – I’m always seeking out copies at UBSs without luck, and I wanted to feature books that were readily available on either Amazon or UBSs or even better – still in print.  Outlaw Heats by Rosanne Bittner is another favourite.  It really has an epic flavour to it and much to Wendy’s amazement – since it is a large book, I’ve read it a number of times.


Cheryl: I was tickled pink that Jill Marie Landis is writing westerns again. She was always one of my favorites, ever since her first book, Sunflower. And Margaret Brownley has tossed her hat back into the ring. I can’t wait until her new western comes out. She’ll be blogging about it with us here at P&P. Is there an author who has turned to another genre that you would just flip over to have them write a western again?


ecbc500Kristie:  We’ve lost so many Western authors over the years, haven’t we?  Jill Marie Landis is one of my choices too!  I loved that whole series.  I love her westerns.  I’d love to see Patricia Potter out with the number she used to write.  Susan Kay Law and Alexis Harrington are authors whose westerns I miss!  And if Lorraine Heath were to return to her western roots, I’d be dancing in the street.


Cheryl: I am so there with you on Pat Potter, Alexis Harrington and Lorraine Heath. I would also add Catherine Anderson to my wish list. Coming Up Roses is an all-time favorite of mine.  And I’m still in mourning over Maggie Osborne’s retirement.


If you could pick one recently released western and send one to 500 new readers to introduce them to the genre, which one would it be?


rachel-and-the-hired-gunKristie:  Yikes!!  That’s a tough one!  My reading is down – though my buying is up *gulp* and there aren’t quite the selection there used to be, but one I read this year that I very much enjoyed is Rachel and the Hired Gun by Elaine Levine.  And one we are all looking forward to with GREAT anticipation is Never Love a Lawman by Jo Goodman.


Cheryl: Now that is a glowing endorsement! Hope Elaine and Jo drop by this week—they will if they have their google alerts set.


We have just celebrated two extremely successful years of blogging and promoting all things western here at P&P, so that tells us there is an interest in westerns.  Is there anything you’d like to say to the authors who’ve continued to write westerns and those just breaking in?


Kristie:  We are doing our best to spread the word.  Sybil has more of an ear to the industry and I think she has some interesting news coming up later this week.  I know it’s tough to write something that is harder to sell, and romance goes in cycles.  If a couple authors take off big time, I think publishers will be willing to go there again.  They just need something like a JR Ward of the western.  In the meantime, there still are many readers who love them, and as a spokesperson for those readers for today – thanks to all the writers who are still writing a genre we love.


Cheryl: Thank you for being our guest today at Petticoats and Pistols. We appreciate your dedication to the western romance and wish you a successful Great Western Drive!


never-love-a-lawman1You can visit Kristie at her blog, Ramblings on Romance


Read more about the challenge at The Good the Bad and the Unread and at Wendy the Super Librarian’s blog.


So, how about you, blogger friends? Are there other reasons you love romance? Is there a celebrity you’d like to see in a cowboy hat? Which author would you like to have write a western?


And…most importantly, since you’re already western lovers, will you accept the challenge and give a friend a western romance novel this week?

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42 thoughts on “Kristie Jenner: The Great Western Drive”

  1. I LOVE a good western. I’ve always had a passion for cowboys and loved reading books about horses as a kid. A celebrity I’d like to see in a cowboy hat? Hmmm…How about Nathan Fillion (spelling??) from Castle. Can’t see him as a serious cowboy, though. More of the teasing kind with a spark in his eye. Matthew Fox is another one.

  2. Hey, Kristie! and Cheryl!

    Great column today. I love your description on the western setting. I’m an Arizona gal, and my first novel, All or Nothing, is set in Tucson of the 1870s…

    Cowboys, cavalry soldiers, bandits, and the women that love them… It’s romantic.

    Remember the Gregory Peck movie, Big Country? The ship captain who battled with Charlton Heston all night, for the love of a good woman?


    As a teen, the sight of Jon Bon Jovi in a cowboy hat singing Blaze of Glory? That did me in, sure enough!

    Thanks for your post!


  3. Kristie,

    Thanks for stopping by today. And a huge THANK YOU for your Great Western Drive. I’ve been keeping up each day and am loving the discussion.

    Lorraine Heath is one of my favorite western authors. And I’d like to see Elizabeth Lowell knock out another western series. I loved the Only books.

  4. Wonderful blog! I love a good American western historical — it’s one of my favorite genres! I adored Rachel and the Hired Gun, too. The author, Elaine Levine, is a chaptermate of mine, and boy can she write a good hero ;). Some other western authors to check out are Tanya Hanson, Cheryl Pierson, and Kathy Otten. All great!

  5. Great column, and Cheryl I know Kristie was just tickled to answer your questions 🙂

    I love westerns for a lot of the reasons Kristie already stated, but to reiterate, the conflict is a real draw as is that fact that the characters tend to be on a more even playing field. Certainly class distinctions exist in American culture (then AND now!) but it’s not nearly as defined as across the pond. Also, westerns naturally feed into two of my favorite themes found in romance novels – second chances and redemption. So many people traveled west looking for a fresh start, a new and better life for themselves and their families.

    Cheryl, I am SO with you on Maggie Osborne. I also miss Lorraine Heath and Nicole Jordan publishing westerns. Heck, I miss Avon publishing westerns period – because they used to publish some very, very good ones.

    And favorite actor cowboy? Hand down, Sam Elliott. That man could read the phone book to me and I’d melt.

  6. Helen: When Sybil, Wendy and I were sending back and forth a flurry of emails on what we should do during The Great Western Drive and various and assorted topics, Sybil sent us a link to Elaine’s next book I got real excited – then groaned that I have to wait until February *sigh*. And thanks for the rec’s on the other authors. I will be sure to check them out too 🙂

    Tracy: You are most welcome! It really is a labour of love doing it. And going back and remembering all those books I’ve read and loved has been great! I have a library in my basement – no really – it’s a wall to wall to wall to wall room FULL of all the books I’ve collected over the years – well over 1,000 and I was squealing like a teenager pulling many of the Westerns off the shelves and bringing them upstairs to love and to hug again.
    And another author we would like to see write another Western is Nicole Jordan. She wrote a couple of real good ones a number of years ago. And YES to Elizabeth Lowell. She wrote some great ones too didn’t she?

    Ashley: Oh be still my beating heart!!! Bon Jovi singing Blaze of Glory. I LOVE that video – and I love that song!! Another Western song I adore is Billy Joel’s ballad of Billy the Kid off his Piano Man CD/Album. We had the album back in the day and when CD’s came out I had to get it that format. And *smacking head* thanks for pointing out Calvary men – and Scouts – another type of hero that are great in Westerns!!

    Melinda: YES to the reading!! I’ve always been a reader and that was what attracted me most to my husband way, way back – that reading was just as vital to him too. I hear people say they hardly ever read a book and inside I think how very sad and they truly don’t know what they are missing.

    Vickie: Aren’t Westerns a wonderful genre?? There are so many romance readers who have either never tried one or used to read them but then kind of put them on the back fence when other genres became popular. The aim of The Great Western Drive is to bring them back and remind those who used to love them to get back and hopefully interest those who have never tried one to be curious enough to see what they are missing. The toughest sell will be those who may have read one of two in the distant past and decided they just weren’t for them. I used to think vampire romance wasn’t for me but then I found a couple of authors who wrote in that genre that I DID enjoy. If we can convince some of them to try one or two again – and they like them, then Sybil, Wendy and I will be very happy cowgirls indeed!

  7. Wendy!

    You just have to say the NAME Sam Elliot and my heart goes – Ba-BOOM! Wow. That voice, those eyes. A tip of the hat. The way he says, “Ma’am” with a nod…and a slight grin.

    Toes are curling! and it’s only 9:30 AM!

    Note to self! Sam Elliot will star in my next western! Researching now about the Empire Ranch in Vail Arizona…

    *getting out fresh yellow note pad*

  8. Hi ladies,
    I enjoyed the interview very much. Keeping westerns alive and kickin’ is a good thing. Let’s all do our part and read them! I’m a sucker for a cowboy and I hope the Great Western Drive brings readers back in droves!

  9. I absolutely love a good western! I have read some great ones by the fillies here. P&P has a wonderful group of western authors.

    I have also enjoyed westerns by Linda Lael Miller and Jodi Thomas. Nora Roberts also did an historical western that I really enjoyed. I would love to see Nora write a western series.

    A good blog about historical westerns is Love Western Romances.

  10. Cheryl and Kristie – Wonderful comments! I wanted to stand up and shout amen. You mentioned your crush on Little Joe from Bonanza. Remember the older brother, Adam? He was the Cartwright who set my heart all aflutter.

    The time seems about right for western romance to make a comeback. Some of my favorite authors in the genre are Jodi Thomas and Linda Lael Miller.

    I write western romance for the Christian market and we have been fortunate to have a solid base for this genre since our heritage sparked from the Prairie Romances that emerged in the 1990s.

    As for celebrities we want to see in cowboy duds?Hugh Jackman would get my vote. I adored him in Australia. It wasn’t Texas, but I could pretend. (Grin)

  11. Karen, I went to see Australia three times while it was still in the theater and then I bought it the day it was released on DVD. Love it!

    Wendy – the Shadowriders, yeah, baby. Love me some Sam Elliott.

    Kristie, any one of us would be in seventh heaven in your library room. I confess I had to purge the last time we moved. I narrowed the paperbacks way down. And yet there are still too many.

  12. Great interview love Westerns and I’m looking forward to finding some of the Authors mentioned.


  13. Great post. Oh, I loved Vinnie in The Magnificent Seven, even if I wasn’t that crazy about the series. And Adam was my favorite Cartwright too. You’ve mentioned all the reasons I love the genre.

  14. I went back and forth with if ‘Australia’ counted when I was putting together a post for this week. Cuz their outback sort of fits… right? Candice Proctor has some wonderful books I wanted to include but in the end decided to stop making up my own rules.

    Ok I ran out of time to come up with some sort of half ass way to explain it

    Nicole Jordan goes into my Avon done did me wrong column along with Lorraine Heath and Elizabeth Lowell. ::pout:: All three need to finish western series. YES I know the Texas series is finished if you look at it as a trilogy but really THINK of RAWLEY! poor kid.

    We should toss Susan Kay Law in there too but she at least didn’t have an unfinished series, not that I am bitter. ::sniff::

    Oh I also forgot Kasey Michaels… loved her The Homecoming, The Promise, The Untamed err think that is backwards

    GREAT interview ladies, should have said that first 😉

  15. Hi! Please email me ASAP with your email address. You were nominated in BBAW’s Best General Review Blog category and we need to send you an email. Thank you!

  16. Oh. Kristie and Cheryl, what a terrific interview. And Kristie, thanks for all you do to promote Western romance. I grew up on TV Westerns and camped endlessly as a child, so I was hooked since about age five. We just drove in from Palm Springs which is why I’m a bit later getting to the junction today, and passed through Rocky Peak, a picture-perfect setting that just starts my heart pittering. Sigh.

    I love English history and enjoy British-set romance, but I’m more medieval than the ton. But give me a cowboy any time.

    Thanks again, ladies, for a fantastic post. oxoxoxox

  17. Oh, Sam Elliott is always #1 with me. I love Katharine Ross, too. Just think, gals. She gets to see him naked. Hubby met them both while he was a fireman in Malibu and said they are just fabulous, downhome downright nice people.

  18. I’ve only been to California twice, and have not
    visited the Missions although I have done some
    reading about them. I have followed the Texas
    Mission Trail, of which the Alamo is part, on
    several occasions. Visiting the various chapels
    in some of the Missions is a most restful activity
    for me!

    Pat Cochran

  19. Great interview! The romance genre in general is still getting less respect than it deserves. If the book appeals, I’ll read it no matter what part of the romance world it is in. Westerns have their own special feel and characteristics. You ladies give your characters and their stories a special life of their own. I’ve given them to some of the men that read westerns at our library. Some have come back asking for more by that author.
    Keep writing those wonderful stories and we’ll keep reading them and telling others about them.

  20. Kristie! I can’t thank you enough for the shout-out on my book! I’d love to offer a couple copies of Rachel and the Hired Gun to Petticoats & Pistols if they’d like to further your Great Western Drive by picking 2 posters for me to send them to.

    You’ve all mentioned some great reads. One I just finished and LOVED was Catherine Anderson’s reissue of Comanche Heart. What a gut-wrenching, heart-warming story!

    And Helen–another fantastic Western author–thanks for making sure I popped over here!


  21. For those who loved Little Joe – I found a great Little Joe video I posted, as well as the theme song from The Good, The Bad, The Ugly – which now makes me think of Sybil 🙂

  22. Wow! Great recommendations from all of you! I haven’t read many of the authors you mentioned, and so now I have an entire new list started for my TBR pile! A western romance I loved is Rosanne Bittner’s Thunder on the Plains. And yes–her Outlaw Hearts in on my keeper shelf too. The ending still makes me cry every time I read it. So poignant.

    One thing my husband and I DO agree on is our love for the western genre–

  23. My favorite western romance author is Jodi Thomas. I really enjoyed Elaine Levine’s book and and can hardly wait for her next one. I am always looking for good western romances and they are harder to find find these day.I love to see what others are reading and have found great books by taking recommendations from all of you!

  24. Loved the blog! I am so into western. They have long been a favorite. I often share my books, although I have more trouble sharing Cheryl’s because most of my copies are autographed and I don’t want to lose them. I have taken care of that by buying a second copy at garage sales or at the used book store to share.
    I met Little Joe up close and personal when he ran into me as I was crossing through the tunnel to go to the show he was doing at the county fair I was attending. and you’re right , he was HOT.

  25. Kristie, I’m converted, and thanks for the recs. You’ve yet to lead me stray, so lead on!! But don’t forget the modern cowboys, too.

  26. Ag: Most Excellent! We thought of doing comtemporaries too – but our hearts are really with the Historical Westerns and I think they need our help more – but yes – I love a good Western Comtemporary too.

    Connie – you met Little Joe? That would have been the awesome!!

    Susan: although I have all Jodi Thomas’ latest Westerns and I do plan on reading them, I also love her older ones. The Tender Texan is my fave and I just reread it a few months ago and loved it all over again.

    Kathryn: Just the other day I went to my ‘library’ and pulled out some of my older Westerns and Thunder on the Plains was one of them!

    Elaine: Your are welcome!! And thanks for the addition at Sybils. I also have one of your for a giveaway too now 🙂

    Patricia: Thank you – and you are so right!! A Western does have something different to it – a ‘realness’ that most other genres don’t have. And hopefully with The Great Western Ride, we can get others to try them and appreciate this aspect of a good Western.

    Tanya *gulp* I’ve never seen Sam Elliot in a Western.

    Jennie: *g* And what about Candy? Remember him? Of course now he’s the dastardly Adam Chandler on AMC – but I still remember him from Bonanza.

    Charlene: I just picked up a copy of one of your books yesterday! Taming the Texan it was *g*

    Karen: I challenged myself to get into the Inspirational Western market and I already have my first book!

  27. excellent post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not notice this. You should continue your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’ base already!

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