Guest Post from Anna Schmidt

anna-schmidtHaving been born and raised in the hill country of southwestern Virginia and spending most of my adult life in Wisconsin, I am not exactly ‘cowgirl’ material. But I was blessed to have a father who devoured Louis L’Amour novels and loved western films. Later in life I had friends who lived in Phoenix where I visited several times, hiking the mountain and desert trails and marveling at the diversity of landscape this great country of ours has to offer. So when my publisher came looking for someone to propose a Western historical series, of course I raised my hand!!!

LAST CHANCE COWBOYS is a four-book series about a ranching family in Arizona in the late 1800’s. A lot of people don’t realize that the era of the cowboy as depicted in movies like Lonesome Dove was brief. Once the railroads made their way across the country, cattle drives that covered long distances and kept cowboys away from home for weeks or even months at a time were a thing of the past. Another factor that played into the demise of the Hollywood portrait of a cowboy was the huge influx of settlers heading West and taking claim to land—fencing that land to mark their property and in effect ending—or at least seriously limiting—the ‘open range.’ There were other factors as well—resettlement of native peoples among them.

Attending conferences in Denver and San Antonio, I was fortunate to connect with Arizonian Melody Groves . Melody has been my reader for all the books of the series and her contributions to setting and detail cannot be underestimated. I also spent ten days last fall in Santa Fe—first on a group tour that exposed me to pueblo life and history and then for a three day self-sabbatical when I stayed at the Quaker Meetinghouse in Santa Fe—a wonderful adobe building that certainly gave me the flavor of living in those surroundings. I’m returning this fall for a refresher!



Whether I am writing about cowboys, Amish families, World War II or modern-day characters, I see them all as people who experienced or are experiencing the same joys and travails people have gone through for as long as we’ve walked upright on this planet. So a Florida cowboy (THE DRIFTER) looking for a place to call home drifts across the southern United States until he stumbles upon a ranch in Arizona run by a woman. In THE LAWMAN, a prodigal son returns home to build a life and re-connect with his family and the love he left behind.  Neither is all that different from a former hedge fund investor, just out of prison looking to make a fresh start. (Hint: my next project after this Western series!) My characters struggle with similar regrets, hopes, fears and triumphs that drive the choices—good and bad—they make throughout the novel. They may live in different centuries and get around by different modes of travel, but they have a lot in common.

This belief that while the world around us changes daily (sometimes hourly), people are essentially the same in how they go through their lives is what drives my writing. I love walking down a cobblestone street or through a historic building and thinking about those who have walked there before—the choices they faced, the decisions they made.   The human spirit is a fascinating thing!!







Anna will give away an audio copy of THE DRIFTER (Book One of Last Chance Cowboys) to one individual who leaves a comment on this post.




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18 thoughts on “Guest Post from Anna Schmidt”

    • Debra…I hope you enjoy these Western romances…love writing about families and members of those families finding true love!! Let me know how you like the story!!

  1. GOOD MORNING! I am here in Wisconsin one what promises to be a spectacular autumn day. I was all set to take a walk along Lake Michigan when I discovered the elevators in my building have gone all wonky SO the decision is to walk down twelve floors (Yes, I live in a high-rise) and risk having to also walk UP 12 floors when I return or to enjoy the morning catching up with folks like you, doing the exercises my physical therapist has assigned, and trying not to go for that last ice cream sandwich I know is lurking in the freezer. You can help by keeping me busy with your comments!!! Anna

  2. I have lived most of my adult life in the midwest. Born and raised in New Jersey. I found I was most happy living in the midwest amongst the cities and the country.

  3. HI ANNA!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for being on Petticoats & Pistols!!!!!!

    I love getting to know you better!

    Anna and I are in a novella collection together, Cowboy Christmas Homecoming.

    Such a fun collection!!!!!!!!

  4. I read “The Drifter” when it first came out and really enjoyed it. Thank you for such a good book! I have my “new releases” book list marked for the December 6th arrival of “The Lawman.”

    I completely agree with you that while it seems that things constantly change people are basically the same. And I too like to try to imagine the people and history of a new place I’m visiting. I guess that’s why historical spots are my usual targets.

  5. Dear Friends, I have to leave to meet friends for sipper… and yes, I will walk down those 12 flights because the elevator service at last check was still iffy. HOWEVER, when I return I will check for new comments, so keep ’em coming!

  6. Hi Anna, welcome to P&P. We’re so happy to have you. I’m a fellow Sourcebooks author of western historical romances. I don’t know if you’ve heard of me or not. I haven’t read anything of yours but I need to rectify that. Like me, I know you have a lot of stories in your head. Your upcoming one, The Lawman, looks and sounds great. I agree about the end of the open range. That sure changed a lot of things.

    Wishing you lots of success.

    • Linda…
      Sat morning and I just checked this one last time and saw your message. Thanks for the welcome–hopefully we can connect at a conference sometime. I moved this summer so conferences were not a luxury I could afford in terms of time. Hopefully next year!!

  7. Hi Anna, I have not had the pleasure of reading your books yet but I will. My father was also big into reading westerns and I think that is way I love them so much.

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