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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Westerns – Dead? … or Forever in our Hearts? ... Meg Mims


 First of all, Happy Anniversary to LASR!! Party hearty! 
 
Belly up to the bar if that’s your thing, order what you will. Pardon the peanut shells crunching underfoot and duck when you hear a gunshot. Don’t get your corset strings in a knot. The Old West Saloon is a friendly place. Cross my heart and hope not to die.

My book, DOUBLE CROSSING, is a “historical western romantic suspense” – try saying that with a mouthful of salty nuts. Double Crossing is my version of “True Grit” except on the Iron Horse. It’s quite a bit different from the Charles Portis novel, however: a murder arranged as a suicide… a missing deed… and a bereft daughter whose sheltered world is shattered…
 
August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed -- both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey. As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?

Are westerns dead? Contemporary novels have flooded the genre market for years. But to me, a historical setting brings the past to life. I’ve always enjoyed researching details and incorporating them into my novels. Readers can learn a bit of history while enjoying a solid, entertaining story. And westerns, from favorite TV shows like Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Rifleman and others to movies like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, True Grit and even Cowboys and Aliens, will always have a place in Americans’ hearts. Nowhere else in the world can boast our unique western history! So if you’re not a fan, start reading westerns!

Where do we get our ideas? For me, I had the germ of this idea the minute I sat down in a theater to watch Kim Darby, John Wayne and Glen Campbell in the original 1969 True Grit. Odd how that release was exactly 100 years after my chosen time setting for Double Crossing!

I fleshed out my characters by choosing images to help get a “fix” on them. I found a photo of an early silent film star, Mary Miles Minter, for Lily Granville – she looked mysterious.

Mary played a role in the scandalous unsolved murder of William Desmond Taylor, a famous film director. For my rough-and-tumble hero, I chose another tragic actor – Pete Duel, whose troubled life may have ended by his own hand. I remember watching him in a television western, though, and I loved his smile. Together these two make an interesting pair. They may be gone, but they spurred a fresh twist for my story. 

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to comment on the blog posts – each one earns a chance to win the fantastic prizes from Long and Short Reviews. Best of luck!
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About the author: An avid reader of mystery and suspense, Meg Mims believes in justice being served in the end. She lives in Michigan with her husband, a black cat and a white ‘Make My Day’ Malti-poo. Meg earned an MA at Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program, loves NCIS, Remington Steele and Sherlock Holmes, and visiting Victorian tea rooms.


16 comments:

Laura Kaye said...

Sounds like a great story! Loved your comment about trying to say your genre fast! :)

laurakayeauthor at gmail dot com

Meg said...

LOL - thanks, Laura!

kayspringsteen said...

I still love a good western. I've see them come and go and come back again. Because that's what happens - they are never quite gone. Long live the Wild West - at least in fiction!

Meg said...

Hear hear! I'll raise my shot glass of root beer to that! Thanks, Kay! :-)

Stacie said...

I remember that actor on reruns of Alias Smith & Jones. I've always loved westerns and I hope they never go out of style.

User1123 AT comcast DOT net

Na said...

I read a lot of historicals and suspenses which I really enjoy but a historical Western romantic suspense is new to me. I like the sound of it. Lily has quite a mystery on her hands and I think the setting suits it. Vast open land just waiting for action to happen.

Sherry Gloag said...

I enjoy 'discovering' the history within the pages of Westerns. I learn without realising just how much. It sticks better and is by far more enjoyable this way than in any lessons I ever endured.

Leanne109 said...

I love Western romances!

leanne_gag[at]hotmail[dot]com

JenniferDZ said...

Can't wait to read it again Meg! What a great introduction to your story. I love it that you picked film stars for your visuals!

Meg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meg said...

Thanks for posting, peeps!! Don't forget to LIKE my FB book page DOUBLE CROSSING and keep your eye peeled for my release day!

Alison said...

Great post! I"m saying - forever in our hearts!

Meg said...

Love love love westerns, but I also love mystery, steampunk and anything set in the 1800s and early 1900s. While I do read contemps, I just prefer historical settings. Thanks for stopping by, Alison!

shiderly77 said...

Westerns are cool. I read a lot of them when I was a teen.

shiderly77@yahoo.com

Meg said...

Westerns are awesome, and since I put mystery in everything I write, Double Crossing should be even better! ;-)

JohnF said...

Another Steampunk fan here! Best of luck!