As a writer of Westerns, I often hear other writers say, "I hear Westerns are making a comeback?" I think what they are saying is that with most of the romance settings in Regency England or Scotland, where has the cowboy been?
When I first started reading romances, in the late seventies, there were so many wonderful settings to choose from, including the American Civil War, India, Colonial America, the Victorian age and the West. But if you look at the review magazines and count the variety of settings from mainstream publishers, the choices have narrowed.
I don't have anything against the Regency era, with Lords and Ladies cavorting at balls, wearing pretty clothes and playing at being rich like nineteenth century Kardashians or Paris Hilton. I'm sure the fact that we are reading about wealthy nobles who don't have to work is part of the appeal.
But I prefer stories about people who have to work hard for what they want, and at its core the Western is about how we as Americans faced a vast wilderness, and with ingenuity and grit, created a country.
So, while I know that the Western romance never went away, I'm hoping there will be more choices in the romance reading world. Certainly the development of the Ebook has paved the way for more variety in settings and characters.
Deborah Schneider is the author of Promise Me, available now from The Wild Rose Press
Promise Me won the 2011 EPIC Award for Best Western Romance
Deborah was named Librarian of the Year for 2009 by Romance Writers of America
Learn more at her website: www.debschneider.com