Why Write Westerns?

I didn’t set out to write westerns. I just wanted to tell my grandmother’s story,. Since she was a bonafide rodeo cowgirl, my books are classified as “western,” although not in the traditional 1800s “old west” sense. I like to say they are “stories of the west,” stories of the heart, of courage and strength.

I love this reason quoted by John Locke in an interview with Jean Henry Meade on her blog, Writers of the West:

“Why westerns? Let me tell you something. Westerns are magic. When you read a western, you’re viewing the world in microcosm, because there’s a fixed time and setting, generally, with endless possibilities. The whole dynamic of a man and woman optimistically venturing into an untamed land with little more than a horse, gun, wagon, meager supplies…and a whole lot of courage—is the very definition of heroism. Courage is at the core of every western. And every good western offers adventure, heart, and a classic confrontation between good and evil.”

I agree wholeheartedly. Courage is the definition of “Cowgirl Up!” something my ancestors and my characters do.

Published in: on July 11, 2011 at 9:06 pm  Comments (1)  
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Gwyn Ramsey Interview Continues

The last couple of days, I’ve been talking with Gwyn Ramsey, author of the novels Journey to Tracer’s Point and Winds of Change.Winds ChangeFront cover copy

Tell us about the sequel, Winds of Change. Does this continue the story of Caroline and John as they seek a new life in the California gold fields? Winds of Change is the second book in the series which brings part of the Anderson family full circle, including John Anderson. This historical family saga is a continuation like Little House on the Prairie and Lonesome Dove. The book brings to life the story about Sarah Anderson, who, after being kidnapped by Indians, becomes the wife of Running Swift, an Arapaho Indian and a mother to his son, Little Feather. Sarah faces the challenges of Indian life, until disaster again changes her world.

What is your next project? My next project is the third book in the series titled Bound for Texas.  It is a life story of another person in the Anderson family and their survival after the trip west, their personal quest to find the Anderson family, and their destiny.

Do you have a favorite author or someone you’ve modeled your writing after? I read many different genres and enjoy them all. If I had to pick two I would say Elmer Kelton and Tony Hillerman. Also I love reading John Jakes and Dana Ross Fuller. But then again I read Karen Rose, Cheryl L. Wilson, Virginia Henley, Jane Kirkpatrick, Ann Parker, Dorothy Solomon, Cindy Sandell, Fern Hill, and of course Heidi Thomas, just to name a few. I could go on and on with names of writers who I have enjoyed reading their works.

What inspires you to write? My characters inspire me daily, nightly, no matter what time of day or what I am doing.  They bother me until I put the words to paper.  Once I begin to write and research for the one small particular piece of information, I can’t quit until my head begins to nod.  Usually that is around 1 or 2 in the morning.  What I truly hate is when I’m swimming laps, scenes and words spill forth. I’m extremely wet with no paper or pen. It’s exasperating.  Of course by the time I’m out and dried, I can’t remember a thing. Ahhhh!

Do you have a schedule you stick to? My writing schedule is pretty sporadic.  I do have to say that I prefer writing at night from 9 to 1 or 2 in the morning. No phone, no visitors and my husband asleep in bed. That time is mine, peace and quiet.  I spread out my books and papers and dig in.

Gwyn Ramsey 2What advice would you give to beginning writers? Writing is not a hobby, it is a business. Of course when you begin, you will treat it as a hobby. The best advice I can give is to love what you do, never give up, and keep your derriere in the chair. The story can’t get out until you decide you will write it. As Cheryl Ann Porter used to tell us at TARA, you can’t fix a blank page. So write, write, write and then worry about editing.

Tell us about the business of writing. There are three phases of writing.  The first will seem the hardest and that is getting your story written and printed out. Once you write “The End,” most new writers feel they are done.  Not by a long shot.

The second phase is submitting to agents and publishers. This takes courage and developing tough skin, for you will receive many rejections. Hey, you won’t be alone. Steven King first two novels were turned down a multiple of times. It wasn’t until his third book, Carrie, that he was published. I personally have three thick folders of rejections on Journey to Tracer’s Point and I’m very proud of every one of them.

The third phase of writing is promoting and marketing. This is a whole different avenue of business. I do believe this part of writing that scares many authors but it shouldn’t. If you’ve made it this far, you are doing fantastic. Marketing is why you decided to write.  You want people to read your story, to love your characters, to stand waiting for your next book.  One thing though…you must keep writing after phase one. If you don’t, you will never have another phase two or three.  So the key word to everyone is to write, write, write.

To be honest I never thought I would be a writer. It was the farthest occupation from my mind. Now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve enjoyed every nail-biting word.

Great advice, Gwyn. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. I wish you the best in your future writing and marketing endeavors!

Thank you, Heidi, for having me on your blog.  It’s been a wonderful experience and a pleasure I will always remember.

Journey to Tracer’s Point and Winds of Change are both available from Treble Heart Books.

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