Tuesday, April 3

Meet Author Joanne Kennedy!

Today Wrangler D'Ann Linscott-Dunham talks to Joanne Kennedy about rodeo - and writing!

Joanne, you and I met when I commented on blog post you did about rodeo cowboys.  I commented that I liked the post, and being cowboy to the bone, I was impressed by your accuracy.  One thing led to another and I discovered you write cowboy books! 

Thanks, D’Ann! Rodeo is one of my passions. I’m happy to have a chance to talk about it some more on Word Wranglers!

Had you thought about writing a cowboy book before you moved west?

My literary aspirations were all over the place when I was younger! I spent my misspent youth mired in bad poetry and even worse literary fiction. It was probably good training, but thank goodness I discovered romance – and cowboys!

Did the west, and real-life cowboys, meet your expectations?
Both exceed my expectations every day.  I’ve always been fascinated by Western history, but to be honest I didn’t realize there were still real cowboys until I moved to Wyoming. Once I realized I was meant to write romance, it was natural to make them my heroes. And the landscape just stunned me. Trying to show other people the beauty of the high plains is a constant inspiration.

What are your writing days, or nights, like?
They’re long! I’m almost always either writing, planning, plotting, or squirreling away details I can use in my books. I take care of the business and promotional side in the morning, and then write in the afternoon and evening. I’m not a fast writer, but I try to put out two books a year—which means I work a lot! But the time flies when I’m immersed in my fictional West. I’m lucky to be able to spend so much time doing what I love.

What was your journey to publication like? 
Even after I got serious, it took five years, three manuscripts, and 90 rejections to get published. I’m proud of the fact that I stuck to my dream despite the challenges. I still have all my rejections, and I’m grateful to the many agents and editors who took the time to encourage me even though my work wasn’t quite right for them. The process of submission and rejection isn’t  just the road to publication; it’s an education.

If you could sit down with any romance author, past or present, who would it be, and why?
I’ve been lucky enough to meet most of my favorites, so I’m not sure I have a wish left! What I’d like to do is get all my favorite cowboy writers together: Linda Lael Miller, Jodi Thomas, Carolyn Brown, and all the rest. I’ve never met Diana Palmer, and I just discovered Kaki Warner’s amazing historical Westerns, so they’d have to join us. It would be one heck of a party, and all you Word Wranglers are invited.

Back to cowboys…what is the allure, for you?
It takes tremendous will and courage to live a life that depends on the land in this day and age – especially when that land is Wyoming! Ranch life is still steeped in tradition, and there’s a code of values and honor among cowboys that I really admire. Of course, I admire the chaps too, and those smooth-fitting jeans…

Do you think the pull of cowboys is the same for your readers?
I think so. We all long for a man who works hard and stands up for what he believes in. But I do think cowboys seem more exotic to readers who haven’t been to the West, while for Western readers it’s the authenticity that matters.

If you could flash back to the old west, who would you be?
I’m not sure I’d want to be any woman of the old west – their lives were incredibly hard! But if I had to choose, I’d be Lucille Mulhall, one of the first cowgirls and an early practitioner of today’s kinder, gentler methods of horse training. She was an amazing woman.

Who would be your hero?
Pick a rodeo cowboy – any rodeo cowboy! I’d love to go back in time and see Jackson Sundown at the 1916 Pendleton Roundup. As a Native America rider, he fought incredible odds to make history. And as a Nez Perce at the end of the Indian wars, he lived it.

What’s next for you, and will you stick with the cowboy genre?
My next release is Cowboy Crazy, which will be released June 5th. It has lots of rodeo scenes and my hottest hero ever. After that comes Cowboy Tough, which I’m just finishing now. There are a lot of things I’d like to write, including romantic suspense, YA, and even paranormals. But I’ll always keep one foot in the world of the West. I love it too much to leave.

Thank you!
Thank you, D’Ann! It’s been fun talking about the West with a fellow rodeo fan.

About Joanne Kennedy 
RITA© nominated romance writer Joanne Kennedy celebrates Wyoming’s unique blend of past and present in contemporary Western novels with traditional ranch settings. A lifelong devotee of cowboy culture and all things horse-related, she is the author of “Cowboy Trouble,” “One Fine Cowboy,” and Cowboy Fever. Her most recent release, “Tall, Dark and Cowboy,” is available at bookstores, online, and in mass market outlets nationwide. Two more Western romances, “Cowboy Crazy” and “Cowboy Tough,” are scheduled for release in 2012.
Joanne’s books are filled with heart and humor, along with suspense and a little bit of spice. “Library Journal” called her first book “a new take on the contemporary Western romance” and Romantic Times says, “ Kennedy has the genre down pat with romance, intrigue, danger and some truly laugh-out-loud moments.”     
At various times, Joanne has dabbled in horse training, chicken farming, and bridezilla wrangling at a department store wedding registry. Themes that have remained constant throughout her life are Jack Russell terriers, a tendency to confuse fiction with real life, and a fascination with literature that led to careers in bookselling and writing. She lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming with two dogs and a retired fighter pilot. The dogs are relatively well-behaved.
Joanne loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website, www.joannekennedybooks.com.

56 comments:

  1. Joann,

    Congrats on your success in the Western romance genre. Best wishes for your continued success.

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    1. Thanks, Jackqueline! I'll keep creating cowboys as long as readers want to write about them. But I love suspense and thrillers like yours, too. I'd love to combine the two and write a Western romantic suspense.

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  2. Ah, who doesn't love a cowboy? Your books sound great, and this was a terrific interview! Thanks, ladies.

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    1. Thanks, Liz! Your books look good too - congrats on the upcoming release of "One More Summer!"

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  3. Enjoyed your interview! Your cowboys sound terrific!

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    1. Thanks, Patricia! They are (wink, wink, nudge, nudge;)

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  4. Joanne, thank you for including me in that group of authors...I'm honored. And I LOVE, LOVE your books!

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    1. Carolyn, you know I love, love you right back! Congratulations on your recent RITA nomination!

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  5. This is so true--> The process of submission and rejection isn’t just the road to publication; it’s an education.

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    1. Sharon, I just presented a workshop on dealing with rejection at the Northern Colorado Writers Conference. I think it's so important to realize they're not roadblocks; they're an inevitable rite of passage on the way to publication.

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  6. Wonderful interview, ladies. I love cowboys and as someone that grew up in a cattle area, with our own rodeo, I appreciate authentic detail. Good luck on 2012 releases.

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    1. Temepeste, I'd love to know where you grew up. And thanks for the luck! I can't wait for "Cowboy Crazy" to come out in June, just in time for rodeo season:)

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  7. Thanks for introducing us to Joann...wonderful interview D'Ann!

    All I can say is you can never go wrong with a cowboy!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Christine. I share your philosophy;)

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  8. It's a pleasure to meet you, Joann. "We all long for a man who works hard and stands up for what he believes in. But I do think cowboys seem more exotic to readers who haven’t been to the West, while for Western readers it’s the authenticity that matters." You hit the nail on the head with that one! I love to read about a world I'm not too familiar with!
    Good luck on your sales,
    Neecy

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    1. Neecy, I'm an Eastern girl who moved West, so I love sharing my new world with readers who haven't been to cowboy country.

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  9. Nice to meet you, Joann! I love a good (or bad, bwahaha) cowboy. Your books sound fab, I'm off to go grab a couple.

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    1. Kristina, it's nice to meet you too! My cowboys love to get "grabbed." If you're looking for a bad by, try Teague Treadwell in "Cowboy Fever." And you'll also like Lane Carrigan in "Cowboy Crazy," which comes out in June.

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  10. Great interview and who doesn't love hot cowboys and horses? Who ever they are, they need help ;) LOL

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    1. They do, Anya! And we are here to help them:)

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  11. I'm a little bit late getting up today (late shift at work), but welcome, Joanne, to Wordwranglers. Thanks for coming by.

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    1. I'm up late too, Ann. I was working the "late shift" at the computer, working on the new book ("Cowboy Tough" - out in January 2013!). Thanks for sharing breakfast!

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  12. The integrity part appeals almost as much as the horse flesh and scenery. Include cute cowboy among the scenery.

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    1. I agree, Julie. It's not just about the boots and the hat (although they sure do add something to the view).

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  13. Joann, I LOVE cowboys! And I, too, love men in chaps and tight fitting wranglers.
    Well, I'm headed to get your books. Have a great day and keep writing!

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    1. Thanks, Summer! And you keep writing too!

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  14. Thanks so much to everyone for stopping by! I'll be around all day, poking my head in to answer comments and questions. And thanks to D'Ann for the fun interview!

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  15. Wonderful interview. Loved hearing more about you Joanne.

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  16. Great interview, ladies. I love a hero cowboy. They just push all the right buttons.

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    1. Thanks, Allison. They sure push my buttons:)

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  17. Wonderful interview, ladies! So nice to meet you, Joanne! Definitely adding your books to my TBR list!

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    1. Nice to meet you too, Jennifer. Is your TBR list as long as mine?!?!? I'll never catch up - but I'll never complain that I don't have anything to read!

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  18. I love reading all your books, cowboys are on the top of my list, and I hang-out with a few so I have a real taste of them. they are loyal and heros all one package. this one guy needed help and i was out of work so were helping each other out,he's been a big help and I thank him for the job.I've never ridden a horse but i can muck out stalls and clean house and cook so when he comes home from the road he has things taken care of with no worries. love yur interview!

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    1. Bookworm, it sounds like you might have a little story of your own going on there. He's lucky to have your help. Thanks for chiming in with a true cowboy story!

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  19. There's nothing like a good cowboy romance. I grew up reading Johanna Lindsey and Karen Robards. Love those type of books. Great interview.

    Nichelle

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    1. Nikki, I like those authors, too. Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. Thanks, Cindi - I have your book, "The Woman Who Loved Jesse James," on my TBR list. I love historicals and who doesn't love an outlaw?!?!

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  21. Joanne, I've long admired your work. And the fact that you write about cowboys is right up my alley. I live in Texas and can't go far without seeing a working cowboy but I never take them for granted. I feel they're a dying breed with technology taking over. Hope that's a long way off though.

    Good luck and much success!

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    1. Hi, LInda - it's great to see you! I've done a lot of traveling but for some reason I've never been to Texas. One of these days, I'm going to take a road trip.
      It does seem like technology is endangering the cowboy life. You see more and more wranglers on four-wheelers, but there are some jobs you can only do on horseback. I'm happy to say that I don't think the traditional ways will ever completely go away - the man/horse partnership works too well!

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  22. Joanne, It's good to meet you. Your deep immersion in the cowboy life is what makes your books so great. Good luck with all your writing endeavors.

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  23. It's good to meet you, too, Paty. That's a high compliment! I'll try to be worthy...

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  24. Living on a ranch, and being tied here, I enjoy reading about someone else's cowboy way of life. It's not an easy business, but I wouldn't trade it for any city living!

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    1. Sheri, you must love it since you read about ranch lives like your own rather than running off to Regency England or something! I love hearing that real cowboys and cowgirls enjoy my books. I try to keep them authentic and real, while adding a little extra romance!

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  25. I enjoyed reading your interview. Very awesome! Thank you for sharing your road to publication and for letting us get to know you better. Nice to meet you!!

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    1. Martha, it's nice to meet you, too. Working toward publication is a long road, but looking back on it, it was so exciting to know that my life could change with a single phone call! It took a long time, but it finally happened - and I love it!

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  26. Hi, Joanne,
    Your cowboys sound dreamy. And I love your titles!

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    1. Thanks, Shawn! I have to give my editor Deb Werksman and the folks at Sourcebooks a lot of credit for the titles. It's definitely a team effort!

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  27. Wonderful interview. Your books sound great. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Casea. D'Ann did a great job on the questions - she knows her cowboys!

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  28. I love your cowboys, Joanne... I'm one of those wannabe cowgirls. Born and bred on a Pennsylvania farm and ashamed to say I've never been west of Ohio. But I love the West. There's just something about it, and the more I learn, the more I love it. Great interview, ladies.

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    1. Sara, that was me once! You never know what will change in your life. I highly recommend a trip to Wyoming! You just might discover your real home, like I did.
      But I do love Pennsylvania farms! Those old stone houses, those beautiful barns...and you can actually grow stuff in that climate:)

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  29. Joanne~
    Blogger does weird things to my name.
    This is me. LOL
    Thank you a gazillion times for coming and spending your day with us here at wordwranglers. Please come again.

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