Why Not A Western?

Linda Rae Blair: Posted on Monday, August 01, 2011 7:02 PM
I recently read a book by a very popular e-book author. He recounted how he had been urged by his friends that it would be literary disaster to write a western!

This advice made me ponder the reasoning, so I read further. It seems, so he was told, that there are so few lovers of westerns out there in the reading world that he would never make any money off of his book “Don’t do it…” they pleaded.

Now, in case you haven’t noticed, I have a so-called western of my own out there! “100 Years of Brotherly Love”. No, there are no shoot’m ups! In fact, very few guns are even mentioned. There’s a bright red sports car; a black Jag; a rancher who loves his blood brothers more than money–of which he has a great deal, by the way. 

There is romance, sometimes hot, steamy romance. There is arson, blackmail, murder, all sorts of bad goings-on. Not one cowboy shooting another one! But…it is a western. What else would you call a book written about New Mexico, ranches, veterinarians (large animal type), denutting calves, poisoned salt licks, colorful sunsets, mustangs, buffalo, wolves. Okay! I get it…I wrote a western!

And, guess what? Nobody cared! Well, that’s their loss, I told myself. I even changed its name, to see if that helped. Gulp, gasp!

If “100 Years” takes 100 years to find its audience, so be it! It’s one of the best books I’ve ever written. The characters are so rich and real, I miss them. The scenery was written right out of my memories of New Mexico. It’s filled with history, beauty, romance, and mystery. It’s full of family!

One person, who had to be bribed to read it, said it was tremendous and she wished there were more stories about these characters! That’s well and good, but dear reader, if I had to bribe you to read it…well, you get my point.

So–if you are a lover of beautiful places (including deserts, mountain lakes, mesas, sunsets that make you weep) and rich characters (a maternal tribe of Pueblo Indians and their hereditary chief and vet, a rancher who is descended from a chief’s daughter and the Pony Express rider who saved her brother’s life; and a half-breed Apache lawyer with contacts in high places)–well, maybe you’d enjoy a western that’s not a typical western.

What was that old saying? You can lead’m to water, but you can’t make’m drink. I guess it could be true. But, personally, I’m hoping that out there somewhere in the big world of readers, there are enough people who enjoy good reading without thinking that westerns aren’t worth reading–well, maybe you’re one of them–that “100 Years” deserves a chance.

What do you think? I double dog dare you!

4 thoughts on “Why Not A Western?

  1. If you read the new blog “Success Saga” you know that all my books got caught up in the buying frenzy on Amazon. I am happy to say that this included “100 Years of Brotherly Love.” At last, I’m not the only person that loves it!

  2. Got a 5-STAR review of “100 Years of Brotherly Love”. This is the 2nd 5 star review (one under its previous name “Tiwa Valley Brothers In Blood”). So nice to know that it is being enjoyed at last.

  3. The following comments were submitted to this blog in its previous location:
    7 Comments to Why Not A Western?:

    Comments RSS
    Lawrence Block on Monday, August 01, 2011 8:50 PM

    Over the years I’ve had several books fail to find an audience, and part of that’s my fault. If I’d had the good commercial sense to write the same sort of book every time, I’d have established a brand name and built a following a lot quicker. OTOH, I’d probably have long since bored myself into another line of work. There is, no question, a substantial bias against westerns, held by many people who’ve never read one. Part of this is the genre’s own fault; decades of western pulps and B-movies left the public with the impression that the field was hip-deep in cliche and stereotype. The consequence is that fine novels set in the Old West are automatically rejected by readers who never have a clue what they’re missing. Once in a while one succeeds with a literary audience—think True Grit. But that doesn’t happen often, and what’s remarkable is that readers who wouldn’t miss a contemporary crime novel by Elmore Leonard or Lpren Estleman won’t go near westerns by the same authors. I like Leonard’s westerns as well as his contemporary novels—they;re essentially the same, same kind of characters, same kind of situations. And I may like Loren’s westerns even better than his Detroit books—although those are awfully good as well. My late friend Lee Hoffman wrote several wonderful westerns; that was her metier, and she made it work. I will say this. If you’re writing a western, you’re best advised to aim at the people who already read the genre, not to try to convert your contemporary fan base. And, if you don’t mind a specific comment, I don’t think your title serves you well. I’m not sure exactly what 100 Years of Brotherly Love sounds like, but I can’t imagine a Louis L’Amour fan touching it with a barge pole.
    Reply to comment

    Linda Rae Blair on Tuesday, August 02, 2011 9:37 AM

    Comment spot on. Since a LL fan WOULDN’T like it, UR on my point. Taking place in NM doesn’t make it a true WESTERN.
    Reply to comment

    Wayne W. Whicher on Friday, August 05, 2011 2:02 PM

    But…. But… I LOVE both Creed and Emmett Love!!!! So, I am infinitely glad that JL didn’t listen to the people who told him not to. Have read every single one of his books and will buy anything he writes. I can only aspire to create such a loyal following. Write what you want to.. And write what you love… Write to make people escape from life for awhile. That, right there is pure entertaining pleasure for most readers. Escape to wherever.
    Reply to comment

    Linda Rae Blair on Friday, August 05, 2011 2:20 PM

    I know! Isn’t it frustrating when people won’t give a book a try just because it has a western setting? I could have put the story of friendship, loyalty, family, tradition, and love in any setting. But, I chose New Mexico and that seems to keep people from reading it. Well, it truly is there loss. Those brave enough to try it, have said it was the best book they ever read. Now I’m NOT Brown, Jackson, or Roberts–but by golly I’ll take that praise! I just wish others would at least give it a try. These characters just grab you and don’t let go.
    Reply to comment

    Kenra Daniels on Saturday, August 06, 2011 11:06 PM

    I’m guilty of not even reading the back covers of westerns and western romances these days. I read them avidly from childhood until a dozen or so years ago. Then, it seemed like decent westerns of any kind disappeared. They couldn’t be found, or ordered anywhere I looked. The ones I did manage to dig up were horrible. So, I stopped reading them and concentrated on other genres I also liked. Recently, hubby – a dedicated LL fan – has found some decent westerns by two different authors at the bookstore. So I have hope that good westerns are making a comeback. If the market isn’t ready for your book at the moment, wait. It’ll change in 15 mins. BTW, the “Brotherly Love” part of your title? Makes me think of hardcore gay erotica or something of that nature. ;-D
    Reply to comment

    Linda Rae Blair on Sunday, August 07, 2011 1:12 PM

    Ahhhhh, Kenra read the blog but didn’t look at the book cover on the site! “Watch them become men their families can be proud of and their women can trust!” And to use the photos of 3 young boys would be way out of line for “hardcore gay erotica”.
    Reply to comment

    Alec Adam on Friday, August 12, 2011 2:41 PM

    Locke is unconventional. That is why he has had success. The book is full of good information. Hope I do as well with my new book Through the Sun.
    Reply to comment

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