I’ve always been an avid reader of both romantic suspense and cowboy stories, but it never once entered my mind to write the latter.
Nor did I consider the fact I grew up with horses, and for a time, lived in the outback, and have loads of family still living there.
My name is Cheryl Wright and I write Contemporary Western Romance.
So how does a romantic suspense author suddenly start writing western romance? Funny you should ask. 😊
Some self-published friends had been trying to convince me to write western romance for a couple of years, but as mentioned above, I was contracted to a publisher, and they were not willing to let me write anything other than romantic suspense.
But to be honest, I was quite scared to try self-publishing. After all, I’d been contracted to publishers since 2003. And the indie world of publishing was unnerving. To me anyway.
After a number of negative events with the publisher, I decided to pull all three of my published books and give self-publishing a go.
I had a novella length book almost finished that was to go to the publisher, but they were not interested in a novella, and I was not prepared to “fluff it up” just to satisfy the publisher’s book length requirements. This book would be my first foray into the world of indie publishing.
So in January 2017 I published Deadly Debt, and also republished my previously contracted books. They all sold slowly, but regularly, and I was selling more than I had with my publisher for quite some time.
My friends continued to try and convince me to write western romance, and I continued to resist for quite some months.
I could do it, they said. I knew more than enough to write these books, and I now know they were right.
After all, I grew up with horses. My dad’s first-ever job was in a rodeo, and he took my sister and I (along with our mother) to as many rodeos as he could when we were old enough. He also spent some time breaking in horses. In addition, my uncle worked with horses in his job, taking tourists on trail rides. Quite often I was able to convince him to let me ride with them – when there was a free horse.
As I got older and had my own money, I spent every spare cent on weekend horse-riding trips.
So finally I gave it a shot.
I was told series were the way to go, so I sat down and worked out names and backgrounds for four brothers. I worked out their occupations and their situations, as well as their future girlfriends/partners and their occupations.
I wanted the stories to be set in a small town, since I enjoy reading small-town series the most, and decided on a fictitious town called River Valley, in Montana. I decided where in Montana my fictitious town would be set, and did some research about foliage, landscape, and animals/creatures in the area. I now had the bare-bones for a cowboy series. The Callahan Brothers series.
I’ve been a slow writer for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always put that down to be an organic writer. (Some prefer to call it being a pantser.) And I’m certain that did slow me down, but the first book virtually wrote itself.
I didn’t have to think about the story, it just flowed.
I felt so at home writing this story, and realised western romance is what I should have been writing all along.
Book one, almost 20,000 words long, was finished in three weeks.
The first copy sold in about two hours. It was one of the biggest thrills of my writing career. Having never written in this genre before, and have someone buy a book from a writer not known in the genre was totally amazing to me.
Several more books sold that day and have continued to sell ever since. This same book, The Cowboy’s Sweetheart, hit #1 on Amazon in Western Romance not long ago. (It stayed there for a few days only, as they tend to do.) That was the absolute biggest thrill of my writing career to date. It is still amazing to me, that one of my books could hit that ranking.
But I digress.
I have since written books two, three, and four, with each having ‘light sprinkles’ of suspense throughout, and each book being well received.
I already have plans to include “Aunt Lizzie” from Aunt Lizzie’s Kitchen, which has featured quite prominently in the series. I am even contemplating giving her a series of her own.
My own dear Aunt Lizzie, who died about 45 years ago, was a fabulous cook, and a wonderful lady, and was the inspiration for this cunning but lovable character.
I have to admit that I wish I’d listened to my friends a few years ago and started writing western romance back then. After writing in this genre for about eight months, I already have a good following, which is amazing to me.
As a result of the Callahan Brothers series, I was asked to write a historical western romance for the Soiled Doves series, which I did, after much research, and have since been asked to write a second book.
I’ve also been asked to write a book for a series that will be released next year. I cannot tell you about that one, because it’s all hush-hush at this point. I can tell you though, that the main character of my book is a very sexy cowboy!
None of this would have happened if I hadn’t begun to write western romance. Some things are just meant to be.
About the Author: Award-winning and best-selling Australian author, Cheryl Wright, former secretary, debt collector, account manager, writing instructor, and shopping tour hostess, loves reading. She writes contemporary western romance and romantic suspense.
She lives in Melbourne, Australia, and is married with two adult children and has six grandchildren. When she’s not writing, she can be found in her craft room making greeting cards.
The Cowboy’s Sweetheart:A relationship is the last thing on Rory Callahan’s mind when he pays one of his rare visits into River Valley, Montana. By the end of the night, his entire life has changed.
Missy O’Reilly is a singer with a dark secret that could cost her life. She does her gigs in small town after small town. Always on the run, never staying in one place for long. What will she do when she meets her soul mate, Rory? Dare she stay in River Valley?
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