Last year I made a resolution to read all of the novels that had been nominated for a RITA in the contemporary romance category, and I discovered a few new favorite authors. Joanne Kennedy was one. Her stories of ranch life in Wyoming are full of heartbreak and joy, laughter and tears – exactly what I want from romance novels!
I’m so happy she’s here today, and she’s giving away a copy of her latest release, Cowboy Crazy. Welcome, Joanne!
Thank you! I’m happy to be here, too. Your blog was a great discovery for me, too. You seem to like the same authors I do, especially in contemporary romance. And I loved your review of “Cowboy Crazy.” Of course I always like positive reviews, but you seemed to really “get” the book in a way that made me feel like I’d succeeded in what I was trying to do with the story.
1. Many of your stories feature a character who has been transplanted from somewhere else – or who’s been away from home for several years – and has to get used to life in Wyoming. I know you’re not originally from the West, so what took you to Wyoming, and what was the biggest culture shock for you?
I guess you could say I ran away from home. I’m not sure what I was looking for, but I definitely found it in the West. The biggest culture shock was a good one; I was surprised at how much tradition and history are blended into modern life here. There are still cowboys and ranchers, and people are very friendly, with old-fashioned manners and values. Out on the back roads, there are still small towns with no chain stores, just mom-and-pop businesses and a real sense of community.
2. I have to confess, the cover of Cowboy Crazy is one of my all-time favorite romance covers. Give me a man full of good-humor any day over a sultry, unsmiling hero. Do you have a favorite cover?
This one comes very close to being my favorite! But it might have been eclipsed by the new cover for Cowboy Tough, which is coming out in February. There’s something about a man in a white T-shirt…and the chaps don’t hurt. He’s not smiling, but the Sourcebooks art department did such a good job of finding my hero that I know there’s a sense of humor under that hat!
3. Ooh, I can’t wait to see that one! How did being a finalist for a RITA award last year change your career?
The best thing about the RITA nomination was that it gave me confidence. Even though I’d received good reviews, I was never sure I was hitting all the right notes. I never expected the nomination—I didn’t even have my phone with me that day!—and it changed the way I saw myself as a writer. It’s allowed me to take more risks in my stories, because I have more confidence in my own voice and my instincts.
4. As well as writing romance, you also write mysteries, thrillers and short stories. Have any of them been published? Are they available to buy anywhere?
No, I’m afraid not. I’d eventually like to publish in some other genres, but right now I’m focused on making my Western romances as good as they can be. I never want to put out a book that’s not my best work, so I take all the time I can with each story. I wish I could write faster, though, so I could let some of my other stories out into the world!
5. What can you tell us about your next book?
Cowboy Tough is about a rodeo cowboy who returns to his struggling family’s ranch to turn it into a dude ranch. The first guest is an artist from Chicago who’s leading a group of students on painting tours of the back country. As head wrangler, Mack Boyd is supposed to make the trip go smoothly, but things get complicated. It’s a fun book because the hero and heroine are such total opposites. She likes wine and gallery openings; he likes shooting beer cans off fence posts. But deep down they have a few important things in common, including their attraction to each other.
Joanne’s giving away a copy of Cowboy Crazy to one luck commenter. I’ll randomly choose a winner on Tuesday June 26th.
She kicked the country dust off her boots a long time ago…
Sarah Landon’s Ivy League scholarship transformed her from a wide-eyed country girl into a poised professional. Her job at the Carrigan Oil Company has given her the sophisticated life she longed for, but when she meets her boss’s black-sheep brother, she realizes her roots are showing.
But he’s ready to remind her she’s a cowgirl at heart.
Rebellious rodeo cowboy Lane Carrigan is determined to save the Wyoming community of Two Shot from the ravages of energy development, but Sarah’s convinced her old hometown needs a swift kick in the pants from the march of progress.
When a lapsed cowgirl collides with rodeo royalty, it’s bound to be a wild ride—and somebody’s going to end up in the dirt.
Buy Cowboy Crazy at Barnes&Noble
Buy Cowboy Crazy at Amazon.com
Great interview. Love finding out stuff about authors that I like. Read a few of joanne’s books and have loved them. I also am a cover lover and this ranks up in top 10 fav covers. Thanks for the great giveaway.
Oops, Chris. Your reply is below. Guess I’m not the technological whiz I thought I was…
Very nice interview. Nice covers. The books sound good.
Thanks, BN! And thanks for following my blog posts and interviews. It’s nice to see familiar faces:)
Great interview. it’s a new discovery for me so i will have to check it out when i can
all the best and thanks you a lot for the giveaway
Miki, thanks! I hope you enjoy the books.
Gotta love those cowboys. Never read anything by Joanne Kennedy, but I certainly will now. Great blog.
Sounds like a great read. Loved the interview. I cannot think of a favorite cover. It is all I can do to remember a book after reading it. LOL. Getting older does have its drawbacks.
Patoct, I know exactly what you mean about getting older! The good part is, we can read the same books and watch the same movies over and over and never get bored:)
Great interview and I do enjoy stories set in beautiful places that I have never had the chance to see.
I totally agree with you, Maureen! Books are a great (cheap!) way to travel.
Books are probably the best way for you to travel, Kat, because judging by yesterday’s post, when you actually go places we never know if you’ll come home!
Ha! I know my parents would agree with you there, Joanne. 🙂
I agree, Maureen. But I always want to work it the other way too, and write about the places I’ve traveled. My two favorite destinations were Scotland and Peru, and I’d love to write books set in both places. Especially Scotland. The small towns there were so quirky and interesting!
Chris, thank you for the kind words – for me and for my cowboy! I’m glad to hear you’ve enjoyed the books so far, and I agree – this is a stellar cover! Sourcebooks rocks!
A belated good morning Kat! I see everyone else is already out visiting:) It’s great to be here, and I’ll be stopping by throughout the day. I have to run down to Colorado for an appointment, but I’ll be back to see what everyone has to say…
Sounds so exotic! Hope it’s fun.
I guess it does sound exotic! But it’s just that there’s hardly anything here in Cheyenne, so we go down to Fort Collins for doctors and dentists, as well as some of our shopping. So it’s not as fun as it sounds!
Love Joanne’s books. Great interview! I have read One Fine Cowboy and Tall Dark Cowboy so I can’t wait to get the new one. I have been hooked on cowboys for a while.
Glad you liked the interview, Quilt Lady, and that you love Joanne’s books!
Hi, Quilt Lady! **waves from Wyoming** Thanks for stopping by! I hope you like “Cowboy Crazy” as much as the others:)
I haven’t read any of Joanne’s books before… I’m always looking for someone new to read. Is this a series or are they stand alone books? If it’s a series, which book do I start with?
Hi, Kim – The books are all stand-alones. They’re similar in that they’re all contemporary romances set on traditional ranches, and of course they all have hot cowboys for you to enjoy! But though you’ll get a flash of a familiar character from another book once in a while, the stories are all completely independent. So you can start with whatever book strikes your fancy!
That’s a great idea to read the nominated RITA books – I’m going to find that list & see how well I’ve done. I love a good contemporary western – this certainly looks like one I would like.
Check out last year’s contemporary single title category, Diane! I read them all and I had some very tough competition. There wasn’t a single book nominated that I didn’t absolutely love. They’ve been really good this year too, but I haven’t read them all yet.
I agree – the competition was fierce! And the books were fab. I haven’t read all of this year’s nominees, but I loved Jane Graves’ two nominated novels – I interviewed her last year, and she was lovely.
I absolutely love cowboy stories and a contemporary to boot! I can’t wait to check out this new addition 😀
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So happy to know about this interview and glad to know about Joanne Kennedy. She is wonderful and I get so much inspired to her. Thanks a lot for sharing this and I learn a lot of things!
Great interview, i enjoyed it. I love cowboy stories. Would love to have Joanne book on my collection.
Thanks a lot for sharing this 😀