Jacquie Rogers is a former software designer, campaign manager, deli clerk, and cow milker as well as a bookworm.
is her passion--westerns, fantasies,
historicals of any era, especially with a dash of romance. If an author can
make her laugh, she says she'll buy every book that writer ever wrote. She owns
the Romancing The West blog, featuring western authors from traditional to thriller,
romance to steampunk, and founded the Western Historical Romance Book Club on
Facebook. She’s also a monthly contributor to Cowboy Kisses, a western
historical romance blog as well as Calico Corner, and
international e-zine. Her western novels include: Much Reading Ado About Marshals, Much Ado About Madams, Much About Mavericks, and Down Home Ever Lovin’ Mule Blues. Ado
Jacquie, I know you’ve written romance as well as paranormal and futuristic novels, but why did you decide to combine romance with westerns?
I love westerns any way I can get them—always have. I love reading western novels, watching western movies and television programs, attending rodeos—all of it. Combining Westerns and Romance genres is easy because both are about the good guy triumphing over evil, and both have a Happily Ever After in some form. Louis L’Amour was the first Western Romance author that really caught my attention. He was the master at building sexual tension and creating a romance arc. Problem was, he always stopped at 80%, we have the big shoot-out, and in the epilogue the romance arc was complete, but the reader never did know how that last 20% worked out.
Yes, I write Romance, but my big confession is I avoided “those books” for years because of the bodice-ripper stigma. What I (and many people to this day) didn’t get was that style of writing was obsolete by the late 1980s. So here it is 25 to 30 years later, and Romance still carries this stigma. Believe me, you won’t find any of that in my books or any of the books I read. How I got hooked on Romances? It’s my daughter’s fault. One day, when I was recovering from pneumonia and had run out of reading material, my teenage daughter convinced me to read a Romance novel. Out of desperation, I did. It was
Eagle’s Fire and Rain, and what an
awesome book—the Old West, romance, a hero to die for, and a heroine who has
brains, all in a complex dual plot. Ms.
Eagle is a fabulous author and to this day, that’s one of my very favorite
Then I got to thinking about Louis L’Amour. What if he’d included the whole story in his books? Wow—real characters, real emotions, and the big shoot-out, coming together to completion of all the story arcs—gotta do it. So there’s the story of how Western Historical Romance captured me forever.
Tell us about your latest novel, Much Ado About Mavericks.
Much Ado About Mavericks is the third in the Hearts of Owyhee series. I mixed it up a little in this one because the heroine is a tall redheaded ranch foreman who cusses, fights, and ropes with the best of them. The hero is a
Boston lawyer who is in
to settle his father’s estate, which is the ranch run by the heroine. Idaho Territory
We’d also like to know how you chose your protagonist.
The only person I can thank of that could have ever possibly played the heroine in this book is Maureen O’Hara. The heroine’s name is Janelle
Katherine O’Keefe but everyone calls her Jake, short
for J.K. She’s tall, beautiful,
competent, and all business.
I think Jake came to me because we hear so much about the super-mom of today. Jake is everything rolled up into one package—a boss, a nurturer, and a provider. She’s decisive. Not much gets past her. She’s one of my favorite characters of all time.
Which characteristics do you share with your protagonists and how different are the two of you?
We’re both decisive, that’s for sure. But I’m a short, fluffy brunette, and I never could rope worth a darn. The rest I can do, although she’s better at everything than I am. Maybe she’s the type of person I wanted to be when I was a kid.
You’ve had a number of diverse jobs. At what point did you decide to write?
I dreamed a book, so I wrote it. My mom wanted me to be a writer so of course I never wanted to be a writer at all. I wanted to be a baseball announcer. But shortly after my daughter introduced me to the romance genre, I started writing. It has never been a driving compulsion with me and in fact, still isn’t. What is a compulsion is storytelling. I have always love to tell stories and how I do is less important that the story itself.
Which western writer influenced your own work and why?
Definitely Louis L’Amour. What a master of character-building! I loved all his books, especially the Sacketts.
How do you feel about the future of western novels?
I think with the advent of ebooks, we now have at least a shootin’ chance, because both authors and readers have choices. Small town stores don’t carry any books other than the top ten NYT Bestsellers, so most of the readership never see new print releases. But with ebooks, and yes, many rural people love ebooks because they don’t have to drive two hours each way to buy them, our readership is much better served.
So for the first time since I began writing, western novels are viable in the marketplace both for midlist authors and new writers.
Has the ebook revolution dramatically changed your sales?
Yes, sales have gone way up. In fact, my publisher hasn’t released the print version of Much Ado About Madams yet, but the ebook has outsold all my previous small press books combined. Those books have strong reviews and won awards, but small press books don’t have the luxury of mass distribution. A few free days on Amazon, and sales on Madams zoomed, plus those sales pulled along Much Ado About Marshals, too.
We’ll have the print version of both Madams and Mavericks out within a month, though. I firmly believe it’s important to provide books in whatever format readers need, and it’s not for me to tell anyone how they like to read best. That’s why I refuse to get into an ebook vs. print book argument. For me, there’s no argument because I’m not able to read print books, so ebooks are a blessing. For someone else, ebook might not be a viable option. The reading platform is of no consequence—story is what matters.
Advice for fledgling authors?
This is a business. Study the business just as you would if you were going into engineering or dentistry. Learn your craft first, read voraciously, learn how to market, then dip your toe in the pond. There’s so many more choices today. The NY route still offers the best distribution. Just because a lot of people are talking about self-publishing or going indie doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue all options before choosing the right one for your career at this moment.
And never forget to thank your blog host. So thank you, Jean, for hosting me here. I love your blog, and look forward to hosting you at Romancing The West.
You can learn more about Jacquie Rogers at the following sites:
Coming this weekend: Much Ado About Mavericks
Willow, Wish For Me (Merlin’s Destiny #1 – short story)