Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why Westerns?

The first time I ever tried to write a novel, I wrote about a Scottish lass who's mother was kidnapped. The kidnapper, of course, was a strapping Scottish kilt-wearing hunk who was forced to commit the kidnapping in order to pay a debt. Needless to say, this story hasn't seen the light of day in quite some time.

The second story I completed was a vampire tale - again, sucked. My third story was an erotic contemporary piece that became my first published work.
It wasn't until after my fourth story - which was a medieval historical - that I realized I was dabbling too much. I was writing good, but my heart just wasn't fully into the characters and plot lines I was creating. I needed to find a niche - the genre that I could relate to and feel passionate about.

Have you ever had that happen? For some time, I almost felt lost. Like I had lost my best friend or moved away to a new town where I knew no one. It's like trying to decide what path to take in life - which door to open - but not knowing exactly what the name of the paths were.

Then one day I was researching and stumbled across a link for Historical Towns of Texas. Immediately I became hooked on the information available for the late nineteenth century - the hardships of the west, the trials of women and what it took to raise a family, the struggles of men and desire to expand their horizons. It was amazing! I consumed so much information and bought so many research books - (sshh..don't tell the hubby).

The time period hooked me quickly. I love the tales of outlaws, sheriffs, the cowboys who sweep our ignorant Eastern heroine off her feet and the land that captures our hearts. Thus far, I have written three historical western romances - two published with The Wild Rose Press and one just about done.

I know someday I may write in another genre. There's nothing to say that I can't. But right now, my heart is in those western historicals and I'll continue writing them until it becomes time to move on again.

What genre interests you most? Why? I'd love to hear your answers and one lucky commentor will win a copy of my e-book "Lover's Bargain" - of course, a western romance published by The Wild Rose Press!!
Thanks for stopping by!
Shannon Robinson


Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Shannon, great blog! I love learning about authors and "behind" their books.

I grew up in the West, went to college in Nebraska and have always loved the cowboy code and history. So that all combined into writing western historicals. I'm thrilled, though, to now have two contemporary western inspirationals going on.

Good post. Keep up the good work!



Jason Barret said...

Hi Shannon,
I can relate to everything you wrote in this blog. I wandered for years; a haphazard start on a rebellious novel as a youth, poetry, contemporary, and then tried to shoehorn my contemporary into the romance genre which didn't really work. When I started to write paranormal I began to enjoy writing again because it gave me freedom to use my imagination and create the world I wanted to write about.

I really enjoyed Lover’s Bargain and do believe you have found your niche. Good luck and congratulations on your next release!

Holly Greenfield said...

I'm so glad you found your niche. I agree, westerns are your forte. :) I think the west is a good home for you.

Kathy Otten said...

When I was little I watched The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers and John Wayne. When I was older I got my first Quarter Horse and fell in love with Louis L'Amour's Sackett brothers. Westerns romances are all I want to write. I just hope they make their comeback soon.

CJ Parker said...

It was in the sixth grade that I discovered the old west. At the beginning of the school year our history teacher told us we had to pick an historical person and write an essay about him or her. I spent about two weeks in the library going from one famous woman to another but couldn't find what I wanted. Then I heard the librarian talking to another kid about characters from the old west. He decided on Wyatt Earp. I walked around the section and found a book about Wild Bill Hickock. I took the book home. I've been in love with Will Bill and the old west since.

Lise said...

I've been a fan of the wild, wild western US ever since childhood when I pored over the American Heritage publication. Gory and gruesome photos of bad men meeting a bad end; wild horses; daily fights for survival against those bad men, the indigenous American Indian tribes, the elements, even neighbors when you get into the cattle wars. The inherent drama of the time makes for wonderful, sweeping, epic, romantic tales. And the breadth of characters - robber barons, lawmen, gunslingers, trackers, saloon girls, ministers and schoolmarms. Where else can you have such a rich canvas and so many terrific characters to tell great stories with? I write Westerns but, like you, enjoy writing other historical genrse, too, in particular World War II historical fiction w/ romantic elements. Because likewise, the canvas of that event was huge, complex, dangerous, and heroic. Congrats on your latest release - may it be the first of many.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I've always known I wanted to write in the 1849 California gold rush era. I live where it happened and the living history is everywhere. It must be in my blood because even though I am told over and over again it is a very hard genre to sell, it doesn't seem to matter. My hero always seems to be a Scot who happens to end up in my gold rush town (lots of Scots were here during that time so it works great). I feel comfortable in the timeperiod and the women during the gold rush were awesome, strong and ingenious at coming up ways of surviving.

Best of luck with your westerns.

L M Gonzalez said...

Interesting post, Shannon. I like to read historical westerns. However, I like to write stories set in the 40's and 50's, probably because my dad has told me so much about his growing up during that time. But, I also like to write contemporary.

It depends where my next idea comes from. Right now, I'm working on a contemporary with rodeo cowboys and singers.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Shannon,
Great post. I might be an Aussie but I love westerns. Little Joe Cartwright from Bonanza is my hero, love that man. Our early pioneering history in Australia is similar to yours in the US. Rugged men and brave resourceful women who came to a savage frontier and tamed it.


Paty Jager said...

Westerns for me, too. I grew up in the west, lived in a small isolated area that lived by the old codes of the west. I feel at home writing about characters like that and showing the adversities as well as the good life.

Mary Ricksen said...

I'd love to write a Western, I may try my hand at it though. I love to read westerns, so I'm a part of the way there.
Good luck Shannon! Love those Westerns!!

Shannon Robinson said...

Thanks for posting everyone! It was great to read about your favorite genres or why you like to write westerns too. Very fascinating!
The lucky winner of my western historical romance e-book LOVER'S BARGAIN is.....drum roll please...

Paisley Kirkpatrick!!

Paisley, if you could send your email address to me (my email is shanc2281@yahoo.com), I'll email over your e-book copy.

Thanks to everyone for commenting!

Deborah Schneider said...

I've been seriously in love with the West since college when I read, "Wilderness and the American Mind" as part of my major in American History. So much so that in 1979 my husband and I packed up, and moved 3000 miles away from our families to actually live out here. The only sub-genre that interests me as much as the Western is Steampunk -- but that's because I put it in a Western setting.

Anna Small said...

Great blog! I love all kinds of books - but mostly historical fiction (romance or otherwise). I like getting lost in another time and place.