I have always loved westerns. As a kid, I can remember lying shoulder to shoulder on the TV room floor with my older brother as we watched Clint Eastwood shoot and snarl and glare his way through a host of spaghetti westerns. I thought he was the coolest thing on earth and couldn’t decide if I wanted to marry him, or grow up to be just like him. My mother suggested neither was a viable possibility, given the age gap and the fact that she would ground me forever if I even considered shooting my way through life. But those dire warnings did nothing to curb my love of the Old West.
My weekend viewing consisted reruns of Bonanza and The Big Valley. I then graduated to Little House on the Prairie. When they made a mini-series of Lonesome Dove, I was in heaven. Even the television series that followed staring Eric MacCormack and Scott Bairstow was must see TV for me, although it wasn’t really until they reformatted the program in the second year to “The Outlaw Years” that it really got interesting. I even watched Young Guns. If that doesn’t show my dedication to the genre, I don’t know what does.
Even now, my DVD shelf is riddled with westerns. Unforgiven, 3:10 to Yuma, Deadwood. The latest version of True Grit was probably one of my favourite movies of 2010 and I can’t wait to add that to the shelves.
My brother was no help with my addiction at all. If anything he was my number one enabler. With his Time Life Old West series and love of the great Indian chiefs, he became my go-to source for information and bedtime stories. And my brother, great storyteller that he is, had plenty of tales to tell. Sitting Bull, Custer’s Last Stand, all things Comanche. Even now, his Time-Life Old West series are my first stop for research. Thankfully big brother only lives a few streets over and is willing to lend the books out for an extended period with no late fee being charged.
I can’t say there is any one thing about the western genre that draws me, but rather a plethora of things. The way of life was gritty and harsh, the justice meted out with an immediacy that didn’t always allow for fairness or rebuttal, the landscape was harsh and uncompromising. But there was an honesty about it as well, a sense that they were building something new and important and were willing to risk what they needed to and work themselves to the bone to get it.
With all of that going for it, who wouldn’t want to write a story set in the Old West? When I started writing romance, it was even a question for me. It didn`t matter how many people told me westerns were a hard sell. I knew I loved reading them and surely I couldn`t be alone in that. Turned out I was right and THE OUTLAW BRIDE found a home at Carina Press. It seems only fitting that my dream of becoming a published author would be brought to fruition by a story set in a period that is near and dear to my heart – the Old West.