Tuesday, August 17, 2010
It All Began with a Pair of Roy Rogers PJs!
SB: Folks often ask me if I always wanted to grow up and write books about cowboys. Nope. Not me. I never wanted to be a writer. But I did grow up on a farm and wanting to be a cowboy. I had Roy Rogers PJs and curtains and a plastic statue of trigger on my dresser.
But what really caught my fancy was history. I liked the nonfiction accounts of life in the Old West. I learned to grab all the University of Oklahoma and University of Nebraska titles that I could find.
After I married and started raising kids of my own, I read lots of western fiction. One birthday my mother gave me some Zane Grey stories. Then, I picked up novels by B. M. Bower, Owen Wister, Will James, Luke Short, Ernest Haycock, Elmer Kelton, Vardis Fisher and, of course, Louis L’Amour. Somewhere in the middle of the 63rd L’Amour book, the idea struck m: I can write one of these.
By then, I had a dozen nonfiction books to my published credit, so I knew I could fill the pages. But I didn’t know if I could spin a tale people would want to read.
As it turned out, that was just one of many tales I was allowed to write. I haven’t run out of ideas yet.
As to your other question. . .westerns are about the triumph of good over evil that includes some shootin’ and dyin’. There can be plenty of humor and romance along the way too.
SB: The themes of most every one of my novels involve forgiveness, redemption, and taking a stand against evil. I receive letters from many in prisons who tell me they relate to the stories and the action of some character causes them to want to make something different of their lives. Many other fans love to give my books as gifts to relatives or friends who enjoy westerns (authors such as Louis L’Amour, Larry McMurtry or Zane Grey), but have no spiritual commitment. They pray that the books may prepare their hearts to receive God’s truth.
SB: This is not an easy market time for western writers, especially ones just starting out. There’s many (somewhat complicated) factors for that -- economics and marketing and culture-wise. However, there’s still plenty of fans of westerns here in the U.S. and across the seas. Each author must figure out how to find them and connect. Each writer must find their own opening, his or her own venue.
SDC: We all have good days and bad days as writers, it’s clear. That’s part of life. Some writers even have a theme verse they select for their stories. What would you say is the one verse that sustains you and your writing partner and keeps the two of you in focus?
Janet’s theme verse is “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which He has prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). From the early days that she gave her life to Christ, she has always been on a search, at times a restless one, to do the things that God directs her to do.
SDC: Two great verses. And I love Janet's especially! Before you tell us about your newest book, Steve, who do you enjoy reading the most in your spare time?
SDC: I love researching through that era too, Steve. I understand you have a book you would like to share with one of our readers if we receive enough responders. Tell us a little about it. Also, what question would you like one of our viewers to answer to help me select the winner?
SB: Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon. . . (A little about it)
A 10-year-old boy wearing red straw cowboy hat, cap gun, leather bullet belt with silver-painted wooden bullets, visits his granddaddy summer of 1954. They spend an afternoon with six old cowboy pals in the lobby of the Matador Hotel in Albuquerque, who love to play cribbage and tell windy stories of the old trail days. Meanwhile, a damsel’s in distress. A drama develops right before them. They all hop in a ’49 Plymouth with open trunk for a last cowboy stand.
SB: You can get hold of me via e-mail at email@example.com or interact at our website (which includes a bookstore) http://www.blybooks.com/ or our “On A Western Trail” blog: http://www.blybooks.blogspot.com/
I sure don’t mind if you order any of our books from an online source such as http://www.amazon.com/ or through your favorite local bookstore, or even check them out at your public library!
SDC: Thank you so much Steve. We have greatly appreciated having you here at A Pen for Your Thoughts. It's great having you here.
SB: I thank you very much for the privilege of allowing me some space on your blog. Greatly appreciated! Look forward to sending a copy of Cowboy For A Rainy Afternoon to one of your followers. . . .
TO GET YOUR NAME ADDED TO MY DRAWING, DROP IN AND LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS. STEVE HAS ASKED A GREAT QUESTION FOR YOU TO PONDER (see above). WE LOOK FORWARD TO WHAT YOUR THOUGHTS ARE IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS.