I like to welcome Joanne Kennedy back to Over Coffee. Joanne believes in Romancing The West. She's a bonafide denim and lace western girl who writes about hot cowboys. Her believable stories have towns and critters, romance and love, along with danger and suspense. She is also a RITA finalist for One Fine Cowboy.
What draws us to cowboys? Maybe a touch of the rebel, for sure a bit of bad-boy, but there is also the image of tradition, respect, and moral strength. The strength to fight against the odds. At the core, they're men and women of the land.
They're almost larger than life, aren't they?
Still, cowboys are everyday people with quirks, foibles, good and bad. If you're writing cowboys or any character you have to make them realistic and three dimensional. After all, you are telling a story about people which your readers will love, hate, like or dislike. Give them personalities they can to relate to.
Joanne chats a bit about her characters, two and four legged, and the world they inhabit.
A compelling plot and great writing draw us into a story—but what we stay for is the characters. Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy; Jane Eyre and Rochester—what’s a romance without great lovers who come alive on the page?
Giving life to characters is the best part of writing. I love creating a small town of my own, peopled by characters who hopefully come alive for the reader. They’re certainly real to me!
I spend a lot of time in my fictional universe, and my characters become like friends—or maybe more like family, because much as I love them, they sometimes drive me crazy. Demanding, difficult, and determined—they’re just like real people!
Teague and Jodi have been with me a long time, waiting for their story to be told and gradually revealing who they are and what they want. By the time I actually sat down to write the book, they’d taken on so much personality that it was all I could do to keep them under control. It wasn’t easy to keep them out of bed, either. These two were definitely made for each other.
The best part about having a new book released is knowing that my characters are out there in the world, living in readers’ minds as well as my own. I’m thrilled when readers love them as much as I do, and reviews that praise them warm me up with the kind of pride you feel when your kid gets a straight-A report card.
And it’s not just the hero and heroine I love. Every one of my books has a whole community of characters, animal as well as human. Here’s a partial roster of the cast of Cowboy Fever:
- Teague Treadwell is possibly my favorite cowboy hero ever. He’s a good man overcoming a rough past, working hard to turn his life around and earn a place in his community and the heart of the town’s golden girl. He’s turned his alcoholic father’s played-out ranch into a first-class roughstock operation, raising bucking horses and bulls and competing in rodeos.
- Jodi Brand is a former Miss Rodeo America who’s been back East modeling and earning a degree in special education. She once promised to return and make her hometown a better place, and she’s keeping that promise by starting a therapy riding program for children with disabilities. She’s also coming back to see Teague, but that’s not something she’s ready to admit to herself.
- Troy Treadwell is Teague’s older brother and Jodi’s inspiration for working with the disabled. He has Down’s Syndrome, but his disability doesn’t define him. Troy wants to live an independent, fulfilling life of his own, but it’s hard for his brother to let him go; it’s taking care of Troy that inspired Teague to turn his life around.
- Courtney Skelton never really had a chance. The daughter of difficult but wealthy parents who bought her everything she wanted but paid little attention to her, she’s spoiled, self-involved, and accustomed to getting whatever she wants. Right now, she wants Teague—and that’s where the trouble starts.
- Cissy is Jodi’s best friend. She married her high school sweetheart only to discover he’s abusive. Now she counts on Teague for protection—but can he keep her safe without risking a return of the rough streak that made him the town bad boy?
- Vegas is Teague’s old horse. He plays a part in all Teague’s best childhood memories—and Jodi’s, too. Now nearly blind, he’s ready for a new life as a therapy horse.
- Luna, Teague’s bossy border collie has one goal: getting Teague and Jodi together.
- Beelzebub, a.k.a. Beelzy, is a goat who’s supposed to keep Vegas company, but he spends most of his time dreaming up devilment.
- Honeybucket, Courtney’s teacup Pomeranian is a pocket pet who wants to be a real dog.
That’s just a partial list of the dramatis personae of Cowboy Fever. There’s a small town full of people who help Teague and Jodi’s story spin out, but in the end what matters most is the love they’ve had for each other all along. It’s not easy to leave the past behind, but I think you’ll agree that these two deserve a new future—and they deserve to spend it together.
Animals play a big part in my books.
Do you have a favorite animal hero or heroine from romance?
Miss Rodeo Wyoming Jodie Bryce is back from the big city to find that her childhood friend Teague Treadwell’s rugged cowboy charm never looked better. But Teague thinks Jodie’s success lifted her out of his reach, and now he’s got to shed his bad boy image to be worthy of the girl next door. Excerpt.
A member of Romance Writers of America and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Joanne Kennedy won first place in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest and second in the Heart of the Rockies contest in 2007. Her first novel, Cowboy Trouble, was released by Sourcebooks Casablanca in March 2010, and will be followed by One Fine Cowboy in September 2010. Two more contemporary western romances are scheduled for release in 2011. Joanne lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming.