Interview & Contest: Joanne Kennedy

Let us welcome Desere, our staff reviewer, and her guest, Joanne Kennedy, to Romancing the Book. Ladies, take it away…

Joanne: Desere, thank you so much for inviting me as your author choice for this event! It means so much to have supportive readers and reviewers like you. Your generosity has helped me find a whole world of readers, and I’m very grateful.  Here’s a short bio to get us started:

Joanne Kennedy celebrates Wyoming’s unique blend of past and present in contemporary Western novels with traditional ranch settings. Her books include Cowboy Crazy, Tall, Dark and Cowboy, Cowboy Fever, and the RITA nominated One Fine Cowboy. She lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming with two dogs and a fighter pilot. The dogs are relatively well-behaved.

Joanne loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website,

Desere: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Joanne: Cowboy Trouble was the first book I ever wrote. At the time, cowboys and Westerns weren’t popular at all. Agents and editors all told me that they liked my writing, but they just couldn’t sell a cowboy book.

So I tried my hand at paranormals, and my first try in that genre won me an agent. But about the time I signed on, cowboy romance took off! We brushed off Cowboy Trouble and sold it to Deb Werksman at Sourcebooks, which turned out to be a great decision. Deb is a great editor, and Sourcebooks got my career off to a wonderful start.

Desere: Is anything in your books based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Joanne: Everything in the books has some basis in reality. Some of it is from my own experience, some from research, and some stolen from other people’s lives. I love talking to people who have experienced exciting things like bull riding and translating their experience onto the page. That was the best part of writing Cowboy Crazy – I got to spend a lot of time at the rodeo, soaking up the atmosphere and talking to rodeo cowboys. I’m very proud of the authenticity of the rodeo scenes in this book.

Desere: What do you do when you are not writing, do you perhaps have a day job?
Joanne: I’m lucky enough to be able to write full time, which is a real luxury. Up until a year ago, I worked with Barnes & Noble for fifteen years, and before that I worked in other bookstores as everything from manager to buyer to receiving clerk. So my life has always revolved around books, one way or another.

Desere: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author and what has been the best compliment?
Joanne: 99% of the criticism I’ve received has been helpful and constructive, but I did have one beta reader who insisted that virtually all my horse scenes in One Fine Cowboy were inaccurate. Since the scenes were taken directly from personal experience, I knew she was wrong—but I panicked, thinking maybe my experience had been so unusual that readers wouldn’t believe me. I spun my wheels for two full days, finding references to back up points I knew were correct, before I realized I needed to trust myself and my instincts—and be more careful of who I asked for advice.

The best compliment I’ve ever received was also for One Fine Cowboy. A woman wrote to tell me that her husband had passed away, and reading about Nate brought him back to her for a little while. It was a very touching note and meant a lot to me.

Desere: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Joanne: I learned to love Westerns from my dad’s old Zane Grey books. The classic Riders of the Purple Sage was my favorite. Not only is it romantic, with a bad-boy gunslinger hero, but it stars a very strong heroine who runs her own ranch—an unusual subject in 1912 when the book came out. It also has gorgeous descriptions of the plains that made me fall in love with the West.

Later, I ate up Louis L’Amour’s Westerns, which taught me a lot about storytelling. And now women have taken over, with great authors like Linda Lael Miller bringing the modern West to life.

Desere: Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Joanne: Yes! I’d like to say thank you , from the bottom of my heart, for letting my cowboys into your life. I love to write and feel so fortunate to lead the life I do. I have five books out now, and it still amazes me that there are people out there reading my stories. It really is a dream come true, and I promise I’ll never take it for granted!

“What was the first Western you ever read? And what is your favorite Western book or author?”


Contest details:

  • The prize is a print copy of Cowboy Crazy.
  • The contest is open to everyone, international readers included.
  • You must answer Joanne’s question regarding the first western you read or your favorite one.
  • Because a valid email is needed to comment in WordPress, if you are ineligible for the contest, but still want to comment, please leave some sort of “don’t enter me in the contest” note in your comment.
  • While following the blog isn’t required, it is appreciated.
  • The contest ends on Sunday, June 17.


28 thoughts on “Interview & Contest: Joanne Kennedy

  1. Desere, thank you so much for inviting me to “Romancing the Book!” I really appreciate al your support.
    Today is our big Cheyenne launch party for “Cowboy Crazy,” but I’ll be checking in throughout the day to see what readers have to say!

    • Desere says:

      Thank you again so much for letting me “pick” your brain with all the questions. Your books are incredible. And I am so sorry for only getting to the party now I was away on holiday and could not comment via my mobile.

  2. Joanne, just stopping by to say hey. I truly do love your books.

    I don’t think I ever read a straight western in my life. But I sure do love romances set in the west. It seems like back in the early 1990s, when I first started reading romances, a lot of them had western setting — both historical and contemporary. And I loved those stories. I wish they would publish more historical romances set in the American west. It seems as if those kinds of stories have gone out of style.

    • Hope, thanks so much for stopping by! We have a mutual admiration society here, because I love your “Last Chance” series so much!
      I agree – there aren’t enough historical Westerns out there. There are a few more than a few years ago, thanks in part to Linda Lael Miller and Jodi Thomas, but not nearly enough! I love Western history and would love to write a historical, but my voice is relentlessly perky and contemporary these days. Maybe someday…

  3. Aubrey says:

    I think it was the first book in Linda Lael Miller McKettrick series. I’ve read everyone that has come out since. I even bought most of her back list in ebook form. I love any Western romance. I feel at peace and like I’m coming home even though I’m a city girl right across the river from Detroit, MI.

    I have read several of your novels Joanne and really enjoy them. I believe I was introduced to them in the back of a Carolyn Brown novel. She is another Western novelist that I adore.

    Congrats on the new release!

  4. Quilt Lady says:

    Hi Joanne you write my kind of books. I just love westerns and have been hooked on them for a while, maybe it because my dad always read westerns. I have read a few of your and they are just awesome so I can’t wait to get this one. Thanks for sharing with us today.

    quiltlady110 AT gmail DOT com

  5. Maria d. says:

    Good interview! I can’t remember the first western I ever read. I know it’s been a while since I read my first one. I do know that I like a lot of western romances and have been reading ones written by Carolyn Brown and C.H. Admirand. I do have “Cowboy Trouble” by Joanne Kennedy in my TBR to read. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Jen B. says:

    The first western book that I remember reading is Rough, Raw and Ready by Lorelie James. Actually, that book counts as first in a lot of catagories for me! Now I read lots of Western books.

  7. I read so many books, I don’t even remember which ones I really loved. I enjoy most of the books I read so it’s hard to pick which western I’ve enjoyed the most, especially because I haven’t read that many western yet.

  8. Carol L says:

    My first western was Linda Lael Miler’s McKettrick series. I love the whole series. I also have read a couple of Carolyn Brown’s books as well.I look forward to reading your books Joanne. Thanks for this opportunity.
    Carol L.
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  9. Mary Preston says:

    My favorite western is also one of my favorite books ever – LONESOME DOVE by Larry Mcmurtry. It is absolutely brilliant. I read it each year. The characters are truly memorable. An epic read that is well deserving of the Pulitzer it won.


  10. Maureen says:

    I am not sure what constitutes a western. I think of them as romances set in a western area of the country. I would say Kaki Warner’s stories are westerns and I think they are great.

  11. Shelley Bagby says:

    I love Johanna Lindsey’s Westerns. Savage Thunder is my favorite. I love all the old Zebra authors too. Thanks!

  12. erinf1 says:

    Thanks for a fun post and giveaway!

    My first western and romance (I think) was For the Roses by Julie Garwood. I was in high school and they just made a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie about it and the grocery store I worked at had the book w/ the movie cast cover. So I bought it and got it past my mom and was blown away! 🙂

  13. anne says:

    Memories of a Dirt Road Town was my first western. Stephen Bly just died and he wrote this wonderful novel. Westerns are always a joy to read. They inspire, are unique and memorable.

  14. Diane Sallans says:

    Gosh – it was such a long time ago that I read my first books I don’t know which was my first western, but I’ve always loved western movies (particularly with John Wayne – love McKlintock). Last year I read all of Linda Lael Millers McKettick/Stone Creek/Creed series – about 29 books – Loved them too. Elizabeth Lowell has done some wonderful westerns too – historical & contemporary. I wish more western romances were made into movies or for TV.

  15. chris bails says:

    I am like Hope, I don’t think I have ever read a true western. The first cowboy story I read was johanna lindseys A Man to call my own. I do love cowboys, they are extremely sexy.

  16. I forget the first but my Favorite Series is the Diamond Back Ranch! HOT HOT Cowboys! <3 Doctor Wears a Stetson by Ann Marie Norvack'

    Thanks for the interview and a giveaway! <3

  17. Mel Bourn says:

    I love a cowboy story. Especially if there is romance! There is something about a man in a cowboy hat and boots. MM MMM!

    My first western every was Lorelei James’s Long Hard Ride. It knocked my socks off…and more! I have been hooked ever since.
    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

  18. Leanna Hiner says:

    The western romance that I bought was Rough, Raw and Ready. I love Lorelei James, she is my favorite western author.

  19. Filia Oktarina says:

    The first western i read was Diana Palmer Novels, The Winter Soldier from Soldiers of Fortune series. I love all her series and i am looking forward her new story 🙂

  20. JoAnne says:

    Great interview. Love cowboy stories. Will have to give your books a try.
    “Howdy” from one JoAnne to another!

  21. I think the first cowboy romance I read and loved was Duncan’s Bride by Linda Howard. There have been many, many more since — there’s something about the way of life and isolation that just makes for a great romance. Thanks so much for the giveaway – Cowboy Crazy looks great!

  22. Jen @ RtB says:

    It’s been a few years since I read my first western, but I believe it was a historical one. I know one of the first I read was Lakota Love Song by Madeline Baker. Cassie Edwards in another good one for Native American historical romances. Like many others, Linda Lael Miller is a favorite of mine (and she’s local to me!). Lately I’ve been listening to audio recordings of Sarah McCarty’s Hell’s Eight series… they’re erotic westerns. *fanning self*

    But y’all don’t care about my Western reading… y’all want to know who won the contest. Congrats go out to Mel. She’s been contacted about her win. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to support Joanne. Now go out and buy a copy…

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