Reading the Denver Post article made me want to shout out with joy! They always say – what goes around, comes around (or is it the other way around?) !! Either way, that is so true, and I believe that romance in general is coming back around. I am talking about the good old-fashioned '80’s bodice-rippers but with better writing and better plotting and more realism. The comments in the Post article reflected what I have been saying all along – deep in the hearts of most of us there is always a soft spot for westerns. They actually warm our hearts, revisiting a time when men were men and women didn’t worry about wrinkles and perfect fingernails. Yes, the men were, in general, more chauvinistic, but they were MEN – who for the most part would have died before they even thought about waxing their chests or getting manicures. They didn’t have to go to a gym for six-pack abs. All they had to do was walk behind a plow and toss hay into a loft or cut down trees with an axe. Few wore fancy suits, and none had spiked, gelled hair.
Women stayed in shape scrubbing and sewing and baking and cooking and hauling wood and usually running after a brood of kids. (They needed big families back then to help with farm work, and of course, birth control was a whole different and more difficult matter “back then.”) For the most part men highly respected women and there were such things as manners and honor and dating protocol.
Of course life in the Old West was hard and people didn’t live as long; but neighbors knew and depended on each other. Something as simple as a picnic or a barn building was considered an exciting event, and obeying the law meant something. That can be comforting compared to today’s “anything goes” attitude and the stress of the insecurities we have today. As the Post article points out, stories set in the Old West provide a kind of solace to today’s viewers. In the reading and/or viewing of Westerns, we know that there will be the “good guys” who represent law and order and on whom we can depend to be honest and strong and a nice shoulder to lean on - and there will be the “bad guys” who get their due. However, as in most of my books and other really good westerns, like the stories of Louis L’Amour, no character is written as all good or all bad. As in real life, our characters have to be mostly gray. We have to give some reason for the bad guy to do what he does – and the good guy (and I’m talking about women, too) will usually be presented with a challenge to their honor or might carry a secret that “shades” their perfection and brings them to a life-changing decision.
America’s history is complex and driven by contradictions and change as the west turned from raw, unsettled land to a growth in cities and manufacturing and a surge of “Eastern” civility into the West’s wild and unruly ways. Back then an outlaw could end up a lawman, and visa-versa. There are outlaws like Billy the Kid who actually were protected and respected – and there were lawmen whose lives truly bordered on lawlessness, like Wyatt Earp and his brothers.
Some of the new shows coming so reflect a lot of my books that I was lathering at the bit with hope that maybe these programs will bring attention to my older books all over again, especially since a lot of them are so similar to books I have already written. One of the new shows is called “Hell on Wheels” which is set against the building of the Transcontinental Railroad – just like my book THUNDER ON THE PLAINS. That program is already going to start airing Sunday November 6th at 10:00 p.m. on AMC. I can’t wait! Another program in the works is called “Longmire” and is set in Montana’s Big Sky country, just like my book WILDEST DREAMS. Both of my books mentioned here will be reissued next year in print and as e-books from Sourcebooks! Another new program coming will be set post-Civil War and reflect how that war changed so many lives and changed the West, just like the book I am currently writing, DESPERATE HEARTS.
Another program, “The Frontier” is about a group of people heading west in the 1840’s. I can’t count the number of times I’ve written that theme – my entire SAVAGE DESTINY series began with a wagon train headed west. The Post article claims many of these programs will be written from a woman’s point of view – as are nearly all my books!
As the article claims, and I’ve been saying for years – THE APPARENT REVIVAL OF THE WESTERN HAS BEEN A LONG TIME COMING! They are calling this a “western gold rush” for TV. Maybe it will also turn into a gold rush for writers who made a name for themselves in the genre, and for new writers who want to get in on something that’s going to be BIG!! My own agent is already talking to a Hollywood rep about giving some of my stories consideration because of the new popularity of westerns. Maybe one of my stories will finally hit the screen – at least a TV screen!
I’m ready, folks! I’m ready!