Books-n-Kisses is super excited to welcome Joanne Kennedy to the blog today to chat about her new book “Cowboy Tough”
JK: I’m a transplanted New Englander who fell in love with Wyoming on a childhood vacation. Twenty years ago I fulfilled a dream by moving West. I explored Montana and Colorado before settling in Cheyenne, Wyoming. My passions include dogs, fighter pilots, books, horses, and everything about the Wild West – especially cowboys.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
JK: Yes, but I never believed I could do it. I tried to write in my twenties, but decided I didn’t have the talent for it. As it turned out, I was just writing the wrong things! Once I tried romance, I knew I’d finally figured out what I was supposed to do with my life.
Can you share with us your typical writing day. Is there anything you have to have while writing?
JK: I’m happy to say I can write anywhere—hotel rooms, airports, even on airplanes. All I need is my trusty laptop. I do have a great little office up in the attic, but when I’m home, I start the day at the kitchen table with e-mails and interviews and then move on to the book. I write on and off all day and most of the night, rarely making it upstairs to the office!
Most challenging or rewarding part of writing?
JK: The challenging part comes about three-quarters of the way through a novel. Up to that point, I’m usually crazy in love with my characters and excited about the story, but when I get about forty pages from the end I suddenly just hate it. Everything seems wrong and I want to pile all my characters on horseback and herd them off a cliff! I’ve finally figured out that it’s a phase I have to go through to get to the end. If I just keep writing, the fear goes away, the horses turn around, and everyone, including me, lives happily ever after.
The rewarding part is hearing from readers, especially those who have taken my stories to heart and opened themselves to love because of my books. I have a sign over my desk that says “Love is a risk worth taking,” and that theme runs through every book. I love it when readers hear the message and act on it.
Can you please tell us about your latest book?
JK: Cowboy Tough begins when rodeo cowboy Mack Boyd is forced to return home to help his mother turn his family’s working cattle operation into a dude ranch. His first task is to guide a group of artists through the ranch’s beautiful backcountry. It doesn’t take him long to discover that artists are a lot harder to herd than cattle—especially since they’re led by a talented and strong-willed city girl who makes him see the ranch—and himself—in a whole new way.
How did you come up with the idea for this story?
JK: Before I became a writer, I channeled my creative urges into art. Outdoor painting workshops are very popular in the West, and the idea of a cowboy having to deal with some of the situations and personalities in the art world struck me as funny. I really love to clash cultures together, taking my stories way beyond “country boy meets city girl.” Mack and Cat see the world differently, and it’s not easy for them to find common ground.
Can you share with us your current work in progress?
JK: Oh, I’m so excited about it! I’m working on Here Comes Trouble, the first volume of my new three-book series, The Cowboys of Decker Ranch. The series follows three cowboys who grew up fending for themselves in foster homes until they were adopted by a rancher as teenagers. Their foster father taught them about love, loyalty, and family, but when they start trying to create families of their own, their troubled pasts stand in the way. I love these guys, and can’t wait to introduce them to readers.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
JK: There are so many! I read a lot, in many genres, but in romance I love I love Linda Lael Miller, Jodi Thomas, and Carolyn Brown, among others. I also adore Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristan Higgins, Jennifer Cruisie, and so many others I can’t list them all!
Do you feel that any of your favorite authors have inspired your writing style?
JK: Definitely! I like writers whose style makes it easy for readers to forget they’re reading and get involved in the story. Writers like Cruisie and Higgins have such an easy, breezy writing style that the story just flows through you. That’s how I want my stories to feel.
Open your book to a random page and tell us what’s happening.
JK: Okay… it’s the start of Chapter 14. Cat is looking forward to her painting class’s first foray into the backcountry. She feels like everything’s finally going her way, despite all the mistakes she’s made so far—like kissing her cowboy guide on the day she arrived. She’s admiring the view and when that very same cowboy comes along and spoils her day. He’s not sure he’s willing to fulfill the ranch’s side of the contract, since all Cat’s students are either elderly and out of shape. Just when she’s about to win the argument, the oldest member of the party proves her wrong by hurtling down the hillside at top speed on an out-of-control trail horse.
What is in your To Read Pile that you are dying to start or upcoming release you can’t wait for?
JK: Well, I’m way behind on my Carolyn Brown books, so I’m looking forward to Just a Cowboy and his Baby. And I can’t wait to read Jodi Thomas’s new Harmony novel, Chance of a Lifetime.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
JK: Just a big thank you for inviting me to visit, and a double dose of gratitude for my readers, who let me spend all day, everyday in a world of my own making! I love my job, and it’s the readers that make it possible.
BY JOANNE KENENDY
IN STORES FEBRUARY 2013
She’s hardly a cowgirl…
Cat Crendall left a successful advertising job in New York to teach art workshops in the wild west. The Boyd Ranch is hardly her dream destination, but if the outing’s a success, the company will send her to more exotic locations.
But once a cowboy…
Mack Boyd was in the middle of the best bronc-riding season of his life when his mother asked for help with an artists’ retreat at the ranch. Mack might be able to ride a wild stallion to a standstill but he can’t say no to his family.
Cat and Mack are complete opposites…but when the ranch is threatened financially, can they set aside their differences and work together?
A little more about Joanne: Joanne Kennedy’s lifelong fascination with Wyoming’s unique blend of past and present inspires her to write contemporary Western romances with traditional ranch settings. In 2010 she was nominated for a RITA award for One Fine Cowboy. At various times, Joanne has dabbled in horse training, chicken farming, and bridezilla wrangling at a department store wedding registry. Her fascination with literature led to careers in bookselling and writing. She lives with two dogs and a retired fighter pilot in Cheyenne, Wyoming. For more information, please visit http://joannekennedybooks.com/ and on Facebook.