Thursday, December 1, 2011

Author Joanne Kennedy Discusses Writing And Offers A Giveaway

It’s always a pleasure to welcome the lovely author Joanne Kennedyjoanne kennedy author photo 2011 back to Thoughts in Progress to talk about her writing and her latest release: TALL, DARK AND COWBOY.

Here’s a brief synopsis of the book: She’s looking for an old friend…
In the wake of a nasty divorce, Lacey Bradford heads for Wyoming where she’s sure her old friend will take her in. But her high school pal Chase Caldwell is no longer the gangly boy who would follow her anywhere. For one thing, he’s now incredibly buff and handsome, but that’s not all that’s changed…

What she finds is one hot cowboy…
Chase has been through tough times and is less than thrilled to see the girl who once broke his heart. But try as he might to resist her, while Lacey’s putting her life back together, he’s finding new ways to be part of it.

Thanks to Joanne and Danielle at Sourcebooks, I have 2 copies of TALL, DARK AND COWBOY to giveaway to 2 lucky visitors who comment on this post between now and 8 p.m. (EST) on Monday, Dec. 12. The giveaway is open to residents of U.S. and Canada only. Be sure to leave your e-mail address if it’s not included in your profile.

Joanne has graciously answered several questions for me about her writing.

Mason - As a published author, has your perspective of authors changed?

Joanne - Yes. I never realized how hard they work! When you’re an aspiring author, you tend to see publication as the ultimate goal. Once you’re published, you have about five minutes to dance around and say “I made it!” before you have to get to work staying published. You have to promoting your books, establish a name with readers, and most important, write another, better book to build your reputation. Getting that first offer flings open the door to a great new career, but it’s up to the writer to make the most of the opportunity, and that means lots of hard work.  

Mason - In what order do your characters come to life - name, physical description, personality?

Joanne - It feels like they come to me as whole people, with their physical appearance and personalities defined—but they don’t usually have names right away. I usually picture them in a scene—for example, I pictured Chase Caldwell of TALL, DARK AND COWBOY sitting behind the counter at his used car lot, looking very out of place. My heroine walked in, he reacted, and we were off! I develop characters as I write, watching how they respond to situations and other characters. It’s fun to watch their personalities unfold.

When I sit down to write them, I assign them names that feel right at the time—but these sometimes change. For instance, my agent once suggested that a character’s name was too much of a “good girl” name and I needed to change it.
Mason - Of these three elements (name, physical description, personality), which is the easiest to develop and which is the hardest?

139983338Joanne - Names are probably the hardest for me, because they determine how a reader will see the character and everyone’s perception of a name is different. Creating the characters themselves—how they look, how they walk and talk—is the fun part for me, because it’s such a process of discovery. It’s like getting to know a new friend.

Mason - How would you encourage someone who has never read your genre to give it a try?

Joanne - I love this question, because I firmly believe that men should read more romance novels and have made it my mission to talk them into it. I stress the humor and suspense elements in my books, and mention romance writers who have made the crossover into mainstream fiction, like Sandra Brown. I have a secret weapon in the former sportswriter at our local Cheyenne paper. His first assignment when he moved to the features department was to read and review COWBOY FEVER, and he loved it. He wrote a wonderful article on reading romance from a man’s point of view.
Mason - What can readers look for next from you?

Joanne - My next book, COWBOY CRAZY, will be out in June 2012. It’s about a rodeo cowboy from a wealthy Wyoming oil family. He’s doing his best to “get real” and shed his privileged past, but then he falls for a small-town girl who can’t get away from her rural roots fast enough. It’s my favorite of all my books, with my hottest hero yet. I love rodeo and did a lot of on-site research for the book, which was a lot of fun!

Joanne, thanks so much for guest blogging. I love your response about getting men to read more romance. They don’t realize what great books they’re missing by not reading ‘romance’ novels. Besides, you’d think they’d be more interesting in finding out what their wives and girlfriends enjoy about them. 

Now for a little background on Joanne. She is the author of three previous contemporary Western romances for Sourcebooks. She brings a wide variety of experience, ranging from chicken farming to horse training, to her sexy, spicy cowboy stories. 

Joanne is a 2011 finalist in the prestigious Romance Writers of American RITA© Awards, for ONE FINE COWBOY. She lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where she is working on her next book, COWBOY CRAZY (June 2012). For more information on Joanne and her writing, be sure to visit her website at

Whether you are a writer or a reader, how would you encourage men to read romance novels? From the men out there, have you read romance novels and not told anyone about it? Remember the giveaway for 2 copies of TALL, DARK AND COWBOY ends at 8 p.m. on Dec. 12th. Be sure to leave a comment. Thanks so much for stopping by.


  1. I honestly can't immagine how I'd get my Hubby to read a romance novel. Of course, he barely reads any fiction. Romantic suspense would be a good starting point for males who read mysteries.

    Thanks for a good interview. (Email in profile.)

  2. I think romantic suspense or an adventure plot with romantic subplots would be a good place for a guy to start out.

    Interesting interview, Mason and Joanne!

  3. Joanne, thanks again for guest blogging. I must say I admire writers more each day for all the 'extra' work you have to go through besides just writing the story. Wishing you much success.

  4. LSUReader and Elizabeth, I think y'all hit on a good genre to start men on. Telling them it's a suspense or adventure story wouldn't be a lie and the romance side would be a nice extra.

  5. Mason, thank you so much for inviting me! It's always a pleasure to visit here. And speaking of work, I'm amazed at how much you and other bloggers do to promote and encourage our genre.

    I agree that romantic suspense is the key to getting men to read romance. The other one is humor. I have male friends who love Janet Evanovich, for example. Of course, I also have male friends who flip through my books and only read the sexy parts!

    At the books store where I worked, we once had a big, brawny biker dude come in and ask for J.D. Ward books. He was pretty upset when he discovered they were in the romance section! With their super-macho vampire heroes, I can see how those books would appeal to bikers:)

  6. I really enjoyed this interview. Thanks for sharing!
    Joanne, what qualities do you think make the best hero?

  7. I'm not really sure how we would get men to read romance novels but I think they need to know it's not just about the romance. I think there are some things that might work in regards to changing the look of the book:

    Change the covers - put the shirts back on the heroes and put them on top of a horse or in the race car or whatever activity they're supposed to be doing in the book.

    Have some well known male non-romance book authors or athletes read and give reviews prior to publication. Market it more like "literature" instead of a romance novel.

  8. Thanks, Natalija! It's nice to hear from you. Hmm...qualities in a hero...An sense of honor is a biggie, but it needs to be balanced by a sense of humor. Kindness (especially to those weaker than himself) is a turn-on, but of course general studliness is important too!

    And a willingness to read romance novels would be nice, too:)

    Maria, you should work in publishing! I think your ideas are exactly right, and I especially like the one about featuring the hero's activity of choice. Thanks for your comment!

  9. Men I know would never read romance. They read non-fiction and adventure. They don't need an escape as do we. Lovely post today. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  10. Cowboys should appeal to most men since they exemplify the importance of being a male. Your b ooks are indeed a draw for most. best wishes. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  11. Traveler, I think men need to escape too, but they do it differently, in more physical activities than we do. It makes me glad I'm a woman - I can drift off into another world just by reading a book! It saves me a lot on hunting and fishing equipment:)

    Petite, thank you! I can honestly say that I've gotten rave reviews from the few men who have read my books - and those men range from a sportswriter to a long-time rancher. I sold some to men at my last signing, and I'm waiting to hear their responses.

  12. My husband reads romance books, if they are set in the old West. He loves them and has his favorite authors!!

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

  13. This was a good (and entertaining) interview from Joanne! I do think I'd have more of a chance getting my hubby to read a Western romance than perhaps a different sub genre! Keep up the cause! :)

  14. It was an interesting interview and I do like Joanne's idea of getting more men to read romance. I think the first problem is the covers. I can't imagine my husband or son picking up a book with some of the covers that are on the stories.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.