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…
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, 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.