I’d feel lower than a snake’s belly if I didn’t inform you all about the charm of western romance novels whether they’re historical or contemporary.
We’ve all felt that visceral pull when a man in tight blue jeans, cowboy boots, T-shirt or a long sleeved work shirt, and a cowboy hat comes into view. Before you even see the face, you sigh. We all watched Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and The Virginian growing up. Or the western movies with John Wayne, Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott… I could go on and on.
In our culture the cowboy means chivalry, honor, duty, loyalty. Traits we all cherish in a hero. That’s why I like to write westerns- historical or contemporary. The cowboy way of life and spirit is embodied in the heroes I write. My heroes may not all be cowboys, but they have the mentality to fight for what’s right, treat a lady with respect, and love children and animals. The hero, Brock, in Perfectly Good Nanny an EPPIE Award winner, owns a ranch. And while he’d do anything to keep his family together, he won’t compromise anyone to do it. He battles the land to keep his family fed and clothed and he battles his own demons while helping the heroine conquer her own.
And the great characters in the secondary western characters… Gabby Hayes, Tonto, Festus, Trampus. I use the secondary characters I’ve loved in movies and TV shows to make my secondary characters in my books. In the Halsey books, I have a widowed woman who takes the Halsey brothers under her wing when their parents die. She’s a bit nosy but only because she cares. And though she’s a tiny thing she doesn’t think twice about taking one of the grown brothers by the ear and making them do what’s right. And they listen to her because she is their elder and a woman. A cowboy trait. In Perfectly Good Nanny the sidekick is an elderly Klamath Indian who helps the hero’s daughter order a nanny online, sets the hero straight when he needs someone to vent to, and finds a way to disappear when trouble is brewing. A good secondary character gives levity to a story in my opinion.
Another reason I write westerns could be the fact I grew up riding horses on a 200 acre ranch and exploring the mountains around our house. The early 1900’s ranch house we lived in had a wood cookstove, an outhouse, and a woodshed, also an earth cellar. We butchered chickens and rabbits, made butter and ice cream. I lived a life similar to the lives of the characters in my historical books. Owning 350 acres raising hay and cattle, I live the country life that I put into my contemporary westerns.
Western romance books whether they’re historical or contemporary are about the lifestyle and the cowboy way of life that we all love: God, country, respect, honor, loyalty, and duty. And that’s why I write westerns.
Why do you like westerns? Who is your favorite western character either in a book, movie, or TV show? Why?
And excerpt from Perfectly Good Nanny
Carina pushed strands of wet hair off her face as the lightning illuminated the sagebrush dotted landscape. She smiled. You’d never see a sight like this in Chicago. She held her breath watching nature’s artistry.
“Ms. Valencia, are you going to come in out of the rain?” Brock’s deep, soothing voice chased away the chills of her rain-soaked clothing.
The screen door creaked open, and she stepped through the doorway. Standing inside the door, she looked down at the puddle around her feet.
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” She hurried to the utility sink, grabbed a hand towel, and dropped it on the puddle, sopping the water from the well-worn linoleum. Her wet hair fell into her face. She pushed it back and stopped. Brock’s large hand grasped her upper arm, hauling her to her feet.
“Why don’t you get into some dry clothes?” His gaze moved from her chest to her eyes with reluctance.
Carina glanced down. Her nipples were vivid peaks against her clinging, wet, silk shirt.
“Good idea.” She hurried down the hall and up the staircase to the guest room. Closing the door behind her, she leaned against it.
The heat glistening in his eyes as he told her to change reflected a man who hadn’t spent an evening with a woman in a while. The grip on her arm branded her skin. Wiping a hand across her warm face, she quelled any sexual reaction she might have to the man. She needed a place to heal, without any distractions.
Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 25+ novels and over a dozen novellas and short stories of murder mystery, western historical romance, and action adventure. She has garnered a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award for her Action Adventure and received the EPPIE Award for Best Contemporary Romance. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters.