Guest blog for Pure Jonel
Looking at the books I write, you’d know one thing about me for sure: I love me some cowboys! With titles like Cowboy Trouble, One Fine Cowboy, Tall, Dark and Cowboy, and Cowboy Tough, it’s pretty obvious I’m obsessed. If you have any doubts, just check out the Decker Ranch Cowboys series: How to Handle a Cowboy, How to Kiss a Cowboy, and now How to Wrangle a Cowboy.
But I didn’t set out to write cowboy romance. When I wrote my first book, I had no intention of writing about cowboys. I wanted to write mysteries, and I wanted to write about chickens.
I come by my chicken obsession naturally, being from a long line of chicken farmers. I apparently inherited some strange chicken-loving gene, so when I sat down to write my first book, I came up with a winning first line that expresses a universal truth:
A chicken will never break your heart.My heroine, I decided, was recovering from a disastrous breakup, and had moved to Wyoming to start an organic chicken farm. She figured she’d be safe from the merciless vicissitudes of love out there on the plains, with only her chickens for company.
But she didn’t count on—what? I needed to introduce some tension to the book, so I asked myself what would be the worst thing that could happen to my heroine. It was either a dead chicken or a man, and the dead chicken didn’t sound very appealing. So a man it was, swaggering up the driveway and into her life.
Things were getting too serious around the chicken farm, so I decided the man should be dressed funny. I pondered the sartorial weirdness of various sorts of men—firemen, bus drivers, fighter pilots, naval officers… All of them dress funny, but none of them belong in Wyoming. In fact, the only kind of man I could picture walking up that driveway, dressed funny, was a cowboy.
Cowboys are the champions of dressing funny. Not because they wear cowboy hats, although Stetsons can cause some amusing blunders when a cowboy tries to kiss you. Not because they wear cowboy boots either, although I’ve always thought the pointy, upturned toes looked like elf shoes. No, it’s because of the chaps. Chaps are leather pants without a seat. Sexy, yes, but also hilarious.
To my surprise, the chemistry between my chaps-wearing cowboy and my man-hating chicken farmer was so hot I could barely keep them apart. Once I let them kiss, they insisted on falling into bed every five or ten pages. So when I started submitting the book to contests, agents, and editors as a mystery, they all said it was “too romancey.”
Too romancey? Having just fallen in love myself, I didn’t think there was any such thing. My hormones were running high, and there was no way I was going to rob my characters of those delightful romps in the hayloft just so I could be a mystery writer.
After finishing my chicken book, I tried my hand at paranormal romance. I wrote one about a Satan-fighting dead girl with a gremlin sidekick, and another one about a dog who is accidentally turned into a lovelorn demon through an amateur witch’s poorly-aimed love spell. The dead girl won me an agent, but before she could sell it, she got a call from an editor who was looking for cowboy books.
“Didn’t you tell me you’d written a book with a cowboy in it?” she asked me.
We sent off the manuscript of the chicken book. The editor liked it, but it was written in first person and she wanted it in third person. She also wanted me to put in the cowboy’s point of view, take out the mystery, and add more romance. And she wanted more sex.
(In the book, that is.)
I had three weeks to make the changes. It seemed impossible, but a funny thing happened. Once I started turning my romancey mystery into a straight-up romance, I found my true voice, and the identity I carry to this day. I’m a romance writer, and I write about the West. Cowboys are my weakness, and love scenes are my strength.
It all goes to prove that you are who you are, and there’s no point in fighting destiny. I have a hot imagination and a heart made of mush, and there’s not a thing I can do about it. Nor would I—because I’d much rather write about love and cowboys than anything else in the world.
That chicken book, Cowboy Trouble, was my very first cowboy romance for Sourcebooks. My latest release, How to Wrangle a Cowboy, is my ninth. I hope you’ll give it a try, and stop by my Facebook page at Joanne Kennedy Books or my website at www.joannekennedybooks.com to let me know what you think of it. I love to hear from readers, and in return I share my life here in the mountains of Wyoming.
About the author:
Series: Cowboys of Decker Ranch #3
Author: Joanne Kennedy
Publication Date: February 2/16 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: contemporary romance
Back Cover Blurb:
Inner-city veterinarian Lindsey Ward always loved visiting her grandfather’s Wyoming ranch, so it breaks her heart to have to sell it. She’ll miss the scent of hay and sagebrush under the wide-open sky, but at least the sale will help fund the clinic she’s always dreamed of.
Was to get roped by a city girl
Ruggedly handsome foreman Shane Lockhart and his adorable son aren’t making it any easier for Lindsey to focus on what has to be done. It’s exhilarating going toe to toe with a rough, tough cowboy whose stubborn idealism matches her own, but it’s Shane’s tenderness that might tip Lindsey’s heart over the fence.
Cowboys are a breed apart. Kennedy definitely proves that with this novel. Shane is the epitome of a true cowboy with a dark past. I love how the author highlights his work ethic and caring nature. His mixed emotions really shine through, creating the full picture for me. Lindsey’s go-get-em attitude really makes her stand out as a character to watch. I loved how fun and strong she was, despite what she’d been through and what she was going through. Together these two make a great couple in the present, despite the fact that they’re regularly at odds, but that’s not all. Kennedy melds the present with flashbacks of the past to create a complete picture of the main characters. Knowing where these two came from makes it so much easier to understand where and who they are in the present.
Once again Kennedy has created a story that epitomizes western life today while also filling it with romance and heat, creating the perfect mix. This is an author and a series that I’ll be following closely in the future.
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