Alexis Harrington: Why We Love Westerns

What is it about cowboys and horses and rugged individualism that brings readers back to Westerns again and again? Their popularity may wax and wane, but the stories of cowboys and the West are constants in the fiction world that might see the rise and fall of vampires, wizards and fantasy. (I’m not criticizing—I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter and Twilight series.) The Western is always there, like a patient, mild horse, waiting for us to come back. And we do.

Even now, I’m often drawn to contemporary feature articles and photos about the vast rangelands on the east side of the Oregon Cascades. Cowboying, though diminished by time, is still alive and well over there, and those vast, wide-open spaces make up a majority of the state’s area. The entire West is huge compared to places in the East. Here we think nothing of getting in the car and driving 25 or 30 miles to have lunch with a friend. Imagine doing that on horseback or in a buckboard with no cell phone, no nearby help, and only your wits and survival instincts to rely on in case of a catastrophe like a horse breaking a leg or a wagon wheel coming off. Those are the characters I write about.

For my latest release, Home By Morning, I updated the period a bit. It takes place during the Spanish influenza epidemic and World War I. Although many cities were bustling places of commerce and modern conveniences, the majority of the US was still agricultural, and the town I created for my backdrop has a mix of both. A few people actually have telephones but most do not. There is a car or two but original, four-legged horsepower is still the primary means of transportation. For my heroine, Jessica, who has lived in New York for a few years, this return to a slower pace of life is a welcome change.

Dr. Jessica Layton returns from the East to her hometown for a visit, only to find the Spanish influenza has arrived as well. Although she has not planned to stay more than a few days, with no other physician in Powell Springs she feels compelled by duty and loyalty to care for the people she’s known since childhood.

Believing Jessica abandoned him for her career in medicine, horse breeder Cole Braddock has been half-heartedly courting her sister.  Jess sees Cole as a fickle and faithless, and yet neither can ignore the heat that still sizzles between them, or recognize the duplicity that drove them apart.

Want to know what happens next? This book is available in both e-book and paperback from Amazon.com.

I’LL GIVE AWAY A KINDLE E-COPY TO THE FIRST TEN (10) PEOPLE WHO SEND ME AN EMAIL AT ALEXIS@ALEXISHARRINGTON.COM.

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18 thoughts on “Alexis Harrington: Why We Love Westerns”

  1. Hi Alexis,

    The time period you’ve chosen for “Home by Morning” sounds fascinating. I like when authors choose different settings or time periods. I agree with Margaret the cover is gorgeous!

  2. Alexis, a big welcome to P&P. We’re so glad you came to blog with us. I totally agree with you. What draws me to stories set in the Old West is their fortitude and wherewithal to handle any problem that comes up. They know more about survival than anyone. History pages are littered with the very people we model our characters after.

    Your cover is gorgeous. I really love the colors and image. And I like that the heroine is a doctor in a time when those were not viewed very favorably. What an interesting time period. I wish you lots of success.

  3. I like the sound of this story. The early 1900’s is a time period rich with stories to be told. The West and the world was changing rapidly.
    I hope HOME BY MORNING does well for you.

  4. Welcome to the Junction, Alexis! For lovers of all things western, you’re in the right place. 😀

    I love that you’ve set your story in WW1. What made you choose that time period?

  5. I love stories set during times of war and will definitely keep an eye on your book. Thanks for blogging at the junction today.

  6. Welcome to Wildflower Junction, Alexis. Being born and raised in Texas, I love the western ways and believe that the code of the west is still alive and well today, at least in our neck of the woods. Your new books sounds fabulous; and the cover absolutely beautiful. I added it to my TBP (to be purchased LOL) list … used to be called my TBR! Thanks again for a great post. Hugs, Phyliss

  7. Alexis, A Taste of Heaven was the very first ebook I ever bought, simply because you wrote it. I saw it on your website and was thrilled you had a new book out. I can’t wait to read this Home By Morning. I’ve been a fan forever.

    Thanks for visiting the Junction today!

    Smooches,
    Cher 🙂

  8. Hi Alexis!
    Welcome to P&P! What a gorgeous, eye-catching cover. Your book, Home By Morning (love the title, too!) looks fantastic. I remember my mom telling stories of her aunt who died during the flu epidemic of 1918. Her name was Julie, and she was the younger sister of my grandfather (mom’s dad, of course) who adored her. She went to one of her young girlfriend’s funerals (they were only 18 or so themselves at the time) and got sick and died a few days later herself. I have always remembered that story and thought of how many were lost during that time. Anyhow, your story strikes a chord with me, so you know I’ll be buying it for my Kindle. Looks like a great read all around!A friend of mine, Sarah McNeal, loves to write books during this same time period.It’s a fascinating time–so many new things just coming into play.
    Cheryl P.

  9. Thank you, everyone, for such a warm welcome! I’m so happy to be participating and I really appreciate your interest in the book I couldn’t sell to NY to save my life! I said nuts to them and decided to indie publish it. It had been available for about a year when Amazon came calling with an invitation to join their new romance imprint, Montlake. I tried it as an experiment and it’s worked out so well for me.

    I’d had a story about the 1918 pandemic roaming around the back of my mind for about 15 years. What surprised me was that even though this pandemic killed about 50 million people worldwide, no one talked about it. I didn’t learn about it in school. I only knew what my grandmother told me. She’d contracted it while she was still living in Europe. At the time (I was little), I thought people get the flu all the time and it doesn’t kill them. But this was so different. Then the Centers for Disease Control and the National Health Institute started talking about the *next* pandemic, and finally some information cropped up about the last one. I figured if the timing was ever right–this was it!

    I also didn’t learn much about World War I and I got curious. World War II seems to be the event that gets all the attention. But WWI was so brutal, such an outrageous killer, such a merciless bloodbath, it still fries me to think about it. And although Armistice was announced as scheduled for 11:00 AM on November 11, 1918, some military commanders made their troops fight and die till the last second. Anyway, I didn’t mean to take off in that direction.

    I’m glad people like that cover–it took some trial and error to get what I wanted but in the end it worked out. Now I have to get Amazon on board with the cover for HOME BY NIGHTFALL, which is coming out in July.

  10. I lie reading stories with intelligent heroines. Dr Jessica sounds like she has her hands full fighting a terrrible disease and a stubborn ex-boyfriend.

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