Today, we have a special guest visiting us at Delighted Reader. Remember that gal who writes the scrumptious, hard, and gritty western historical romance (and don’t you dare think ‘which one?’)? Well we are giving a warm welcome to Rosanne Bittner.
I am so “delighted” to respond to “Delighted Reader,” and even more delighted to be described as writing “scrumptious, hard and gritty western historical romance.” In most of my stories it’s the powerful and emotional love shared by the two main characters that holds them together against the sometimes monumental challenges of settling an untamed land. And from reader responses, it’s the love stories in my novels that stay with readers for a long, long time. In fact, I still get comments about how beloved and memorable Zeke and Abbie are in the hearts of my readers. Zeke and Abbie are the main characters in my first books – my Savage Destiny series – published over 30 years ago!
Thirty years of writing is a splendid legacy and I have no doubt that there will be several characters from your books that will stick with me for thirty years. You have written so many fantastic western historical romances and you do them so well with those authentic settings and characters. What got you started/interested writing this type of book?
I grew up on westerns (me, too, thanks to dad) and all I read about and studied growing up was pioneers and Indians. I have no real explanation why I have such passion for that era, other than I am totally fascinated by how fast America grew, and I deeply admire the strength and courage and stamina of our ancestors who struggled against the danger and elements of an untamed and lawless land to settle this great country.
Yes, well said! I admire those traits in those with the pioneer spirit and one of my reasons for enjoying Western Romance. In this latest book, you wrote about a pair, Sunny and Colt, who met while her father pursued his dreams of a transcontinental railroad. They come from different backgrounds. Would you tell us something about your hero and heroine? What do they like/dislike about each other?
Colt Travis is a half-Indian (and of course tall, dark and handsome) scout for a wealthy railroad magnate who wants to take a look at the land where the Union Pacific will build its transcontinental railroad. Sunny Landers is the daughter of that wealthy railroad man – and wow! Sunny and Colt could NOT be more different! He’s dark and rather brooding at times – a man who’s been on his own since the age of 14 and though not schooled, he’s very educated in the matter of survival in a lawless land – schooled in tracking Indians and outlaws – schooled in how to deal with those same elements – handy with weapons – brave – but he knows nothing about living the life of a wealthy, schooled, pampered, civilized young woman like Sunny Landers, who is from Chicago and has known only the best in her upbringing. Sunny is blond, beautiful, sophisticated, highly educated, rich, and yet surprisingly sweet. Sunny knows absolutely nothing about the hard life of the pioneer, and Colt knows nothing about the kind of life Sunny leads – nor does he want to know. He’s just not the kind of man who could live that way.
Oh yes, I can almost see the fireworks between these two. And because I love bits of trivia, share some ‘behinds the scenes’ stuff about this book? Any fun facts about the research, settings, characters, plot?
I really just loved the subject of building the U.P. – and with the success of the AMC series HELL ON WHEELS – now there is even more interest in the subject. I hope reissuing THUNDER ON THE PLAINS will see good sales because it speaks on the same subject as HELL ON WHEELS. I do have to say that my husband helped me with the plot insofar as finding a way for Sunny to inherit her wealth through a means other than marrying into it. I didn’t want to use that plot because it’s so common. So he suggested her father be the wealthy character – not a husband – and off I went! And I ended up dedicating THUNDER to my husband.
And, rightly so, he deserves a pat on the back for that bit of pivotal insight. J
Just for fun, if you lived in The Old West, would you be a pioneer lady going west in a covered wagon, a rancher/farmer gal, or a saloon hall dancer/hostess? Or hey, e.o. and all, would you be the gunslinger or outlaw?
Well … most likely I would be the pioneer woman on a wagon train – and sometimes I think I really did live that life in another time, because all my westerns feel so real to me – and I ALWAYS identify with the heroine. Part of me would like to be that saloon girl! If you’ve read many of my books you know I almost always include a saloon girl or prostitute in my stories – always with a big heart, like Belle in GONE WITH THE WIND (loved Belle). If I was a man, I’d be good with guns, but more likely a lawman than an outlaw. In real life I do carry a .38! *whistles appreciatively and glances over at the measly .22 in the gun safe*
And finally, please share a quote or scene in Thunder on the Plains that was special to you or that you really think is the moment that will hook readers in.
As far as hooking readers, I think that will happen on the very first page, where Sunny is writing in her journal. It is a kind of short prologue that takes place in 1869. She notes she hasn’t written in the journal since 1857 because she didn’t have the courage or desire to make an entry, but now there was an ending to her story … or was this just a beginning? She picks up her fountain pen and makes another entry – and this should hook the reader right away.
“Our love was born on the Great Plains, as wild and untamed as the land itself. Through these many years it has endured … like the land – solid, unchanging, always beckoning –“
Right away you know this is going to be a great love story. Yep, I’m a fan of setting things up for something big, moving, and powerful. And if that doesn’t hook the reader, the opening chapter will, just from the description of our rugged, handsome, wild hero, Colt Travis.
Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Rosanne. You are one of my top favorite western historical romance writers and I’m glad you were willing to participate aka endure an interview. J
I am so happy to see THUNDER IN THE PLAINS hitting stores soon – and in January Sourcebooks will also reissue WILDEST DREAMS in mass paperback. I’d love to share some insights on WILDEST DREAMS also if you will have me back in January! It’s a date! That is a completely different story and another fabulous love story/family saga – my favorite kind of writing! I hope all of you enjoy THUNDER ON THE PLAINS. It is so fulfilling to be able to share some of my earlier books written over the last 30 years – stories that a wealth of new readers can now enjoy! And for other faithful readers who might have already read THUNDER ON THE PLAINS, you can now get a new copy with a new cover, just in case your old copy is a big dog-eared and worn out. Happy reading!
With more than 7 million books in print, RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award–winning and USA Today Bestselling author Rosanne Bittner pens a historical Western romance filled with dangerous cowboys, capable heroines, and an epic love story that sweeps across the Old West.
IN A LAND OF OPPORTUNITY
Sunny Landers wants a big life—as big and free as the untamed land that stretches before her. Land she will help her father conquer to achieve his dream of a transcontinental railroad. She won’t let a cold, creaky wagon, murderous bandits or stampeding buffalo stand in her way. She wants it all—including Colt Travis.
ALL THE ODDS WERE AGAINST THEM
Like the land of his birth, half–Cherokee Colt Travis is wild, hard, and dangerous. He is a drifter, a wilderness scout with no land and no prospects hired by the Landers family to guide their wagon train. He knows Sunny is out of his league and her father would never approve, but beneath the endless starlit sky, anything seems possible…
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