Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Author Spotlight Week - Barbara Scott talks about her love for westerns
I think if I followed the advice to "write what you know" none of my books would ever be written. West of Heaven is my first historical Western romance, and I had fun writing it. Certain conventions of this genre make it very appealing. Who can resist the iconic cowboy, the girl who tames him, the vivid settings, and the colorful secondary characters filling the background of most Westerns? All of these combine with classic stories of white hat vs. black to make this genre attract devoted followers.
Historicals of many eras appeal to me. My first book for Desert Breeze was an historical, Listen With Your Heart. It was also set in 1871, but started at the Chicago Fire and moved east to New York, Connecticut, and eventually Ireland. I've written a Civil War ghost story trilogy and a YA historical set during the pre Civil War Kansas-Missouri border wars. I love the research involved. Usually something I come across researching one book is the spark for the next. I guess the consistency is the American focus.
The opportunity to go larger than life with characters is more acceptable in historicals than contemporaries. (Where would a swashbuckler fit in the twenty-first century?) I am very much a character focused writer. If I can redeem a disgraced trail boss who is also a murder suspect, or take a bunch of fallen women and send them on a cattle drive I'm happy.
One of the difficulties with Westerns is their familiarity. With a cattle trail book, you have to expect the difficult river crossings, the stampede, campfire talk, and rustlers. Making these fresh and memorable in West of Heaven was my goal, made easier by the cowgirls that make up the outfit.
I love reading and writing historicals, but I can't help but dabble in contemporary romance as well. In fact, my October book from Desert Breeze, Talk of the Town, will be a contemporary.