I have a confession to make.
I’ve never actually known a real-life cowboy.
I’m strictly a suburban girl with parents who loved books and poetry and antique cut glass, and whose outdoor playtime involved things like sailing and tennis. I’m a native Floridian. Beach sand, traffic jams and unruly Irish setters…yes. I live with these problems. Mud, mountains, rattlesnakes and wild horses? Not really.
So why do I love writing about the West, and about cowboys?
Well, for the easy answer, check out Gray Harper on the cover of BETTING ON THE COWBOY, my July Superromance. Good grief…is that sexy or what?
But there’s more to my fascination with these rugged men than their beauty. Seriously. I promise. J
My interest in cowboys goes way, way back. Before I became a romance writer. Even before that boy from Texas, with his drawl and his stories about his hound dog, moved into my subdivision and swept me off my feet and onto his bicycle handlebars.
The cowboy thing goes all the way back to when my parents watched a TV show called Have Gun Will Travel. Richard Boone wore a black hat, and I fell inexplicably in love with his craggy face. He was far too old for me. (Okay, I was a pre-schooler, so technically everyone was too old for me.) Still, I thought he was absolutely swoony, and when I announced I loved him more than Gene Autry, my family howled with laughter.
Later, we watched Bonanza, and I fell in love all over again. I understood that I was supposed to like Little Joe, but my heart belonged to Adam, the older brother. Why? I have no idea. It was love. There’s nothing logical about love.
After that, I met James Dean in Giant. And Butch Cassidy. The Sundance Kid. Shane. Maverick. The Virginian. I don’t remember the order in which I met them. I don’t even remember whether I saw them in the original shows, or in reruns, or in college film classes or at midnight showings of camp movie classics. All I remember is that I was endlessly enchanted by their clothes, their hats, their horses, their twinkling eyes, their old-fashioned courtesy, their courage, and their quiet strength.
So when I’m dreaming up a hero, my imagination often returns to those men. I’ve never met a real life cowboy…but I’ve loved some amazing ones in my imagination.
How about you? I hope you’ll share your cowboy stories! I’ll be giving away signed copies of BETTING ON THE COWBOY to three posters here today. So tell me, who are your favorite screen cowboys? Do you know any real ones? Do they live up to their fictional counterparts?
One request, though. If they don’t…please break it to me gently.
***Kathleen's winners are Emily Baucom, Mary Anne Landers, and Yvonne Simpkins! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing details!***