History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

13 March 2007

Welcome, Janette Kenny!

One Real Cowboy
by Janette Kenny
Zebra Debut--Available Now!

Jan will be giving away a signed copy of One Real Cowboy to one lucky poster!

Cord Tanner has a very simple plan: get paid to be Beatrix Northroupe's husband for a month so the prim, but very sexy, Englishwoman can gain rightful ownership to her family's stud farm. Money in hand, he's going to get as far away from Revolt, Kansas, as a fast horse can take him.

But Cord soon finds that he admires his Trixie's reckless courage--not to mention she's one great kisser. Maybe he's crazy to hope for a real future with her instead of heading for the hills, but now that someone's staking a dangerous claim to her farm, Cord's decided to stick around as long as the lady needs protecting. That wedding ring he put on her finger means her reputation is safe--and he's determined to win her heart. Cord Tanner may not be the most refined man on the frontier, but he sure is the lovingest...

4 stars from Romantic Times!

"Kenny's powerful debut -- with its seductive marriage-of-convenience plot -- has snappy dialogue, appealing characters, a passionate romance and a few too-close-for-comfort accidents that will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they turn the pages."

One Real Cowboy is set in Victorian Kansas. How did you become interested in this time period? What you love about it?

The Old West was smack dab in the middle of the Victorian Era and there is no separating the two, and Kansas was crossed by several trails west during that time. The era is a writer's dream—there is just such a vast array of story possibilites to explore. The advent of the UP railroad to California brought culture to the west, as well as a parade of Europeon nobility. In any town from St. Louis to San Francisco during this time, you can find Opera Houses and bordellos, mansions and shacks, and all classes and cultures of people.

What do you like least about this period? Anything that constrained you or that you had to plot carefully around?

I'm always mindful to check and doublecheck facts because things changed so quickly and there was such an explosion of inventions and available transportation. But often it's nearly impossible to verify nagging little details that can trip you up. Plus there's the fact that a lady in the west could easily be wearing outdated clothes. I've also run across differing texts that contradict each other. Nearly impossible to tell which was is factual and which one is stretching it. So I tend to create a small town for my characters and story.

What/who do you like to read?

Wow, I read widely. Naturally I love western historical romance, though the pickings have been slim the past few years. I have treasured copies by: Kat Martin, Linda Lael Miller, Jill Marie Landis, Nan Ryan to name just a few. I also adore Regency set historicals, romantic suspense, contemporary romance and mysteries.

Care to share a bit about your writing process? Are you a pantser or a plotter? Do you write multiple drafts or clean up as you go?

I'm not an intense plotter though of late I've come to appreciate a story board and a synopsis (which I usually end up veering from). If nothing else, the board holds all the sticky notes I make as I'm researching and tweaking a story, and the synopsis is ignored in favor of a one line pitch or high concept blurb that I post on my monitor to keep me focused on the characters' goal, motivation and conflict. Ideally I love to get the rough draft written fairly quickly, but I often go over the previous days writing to refresh my memory and ignite the muse. So a finished draft has been tweaked several times. Still, I rewrite, research more to verify facts, and rewrite again.

What sparked this book? Was it a character? An historical event? A scene you just couldn’t get out of your head?

I'd been researching an area to place my cowboy hero and happened upon the founding of Runnymede, KS—a totally British settlement that flourished for a short time with much partying and frivolity, much to the dismay of the young lords' fathers back in England. From there, my imagintion took over. How would a proper English lady with a prize herd of blooded thoroughbreds deal with a rough and tumble cowboy who'd never had a home or love? My heroine was everything he desired, and way out of his league, so of course I had to try and play matchmaker.

Did you have to do any major research for his book? Did you stumble across anything really intersting that you didn’t already know?

I had to really brush up on British Victorian society so I knew what mores my headstrong heroine could trample. Thanks to what constituted American society at that time, I was afforded leeway because my heroine was Americanizing herself with great glee. And yes, I did stumble across a fact that I implemented into my story—apple orchards were doing well in that part of Kansas, and thanks to Prohibition, bootleggers were making a killing off distilling applejack.

What comes next? Do we have more delicious cowboys waiting in the wings?

My next story is about Gil Yancy, a secondary character in One Real Cowboy. The manuscript is on my editor's desk, and I'm writing the last book in the Born in a Brothel trilogy which I'm loving. Also, I've got an idea for another western historical trilogy with three bad boy cowboys who really need taming—just in case my editor wants to keep me and my cowboys around.

Want to share the story of your sale?

At the urging of a critique partner, I sent a partial to Hilary Sares at Kensington Publishing. She replied within the week, asking for the full. I mailed it to her a few days later, and two weeks after than I got the call. Hilary wanted to publish Common Bond (working title of One Real Cowboy) and asked if I had another western historical. I told her ORC was the first in my proposed Born in a Brothel series. She loved the concept and wanted Gil's story, which meant I had to write it ASAP.


Blogger robynl said...

Hi and welcome Janette. A great name for your cowboy -Cord Tanner. He sures looks like one 'real' cowboy. I love cowboy stories and look forward to this one. There is something about cowboys and the open ranch and riding horses and bunk houses-love it.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm so glad westerns are making a comeback!!! I read a ton of these when I was younger and they were more common . . .

ORC sounds fantastic (even if it does make a bad acronym, LOL!), and I’m always happy to have another Zebra Deb here!!!!!!

I’m curious about the prohibition comment, Jan. I will totally admit to knowing next to nothing about Victorian Kansas. I’m assuming they’d jumped on the wagon early? Please tell me more.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

It's hard to find a good Western romance. This one sounds great. I like the marriage of convenience plot. Congratulations on the new book.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Janette! This books sounds amazing! I love westerns, and the concept in this one sounds very enticing. I see where you mentioned a second book about Gil. Will this be a trilogy, or will the second book be the end of it? Thanks for doing the interview. I always enjoy hearing about the process of how the story came to be!

Hugs, Zara

11:18 AM  
Blogger Susan Macatee said...

Great interview, Jan.

I love cowboy stories.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The name fit him, Robyn.


Special thanks to Kalen, and all the Hoydens for the invite here. Yes, Kansas jumped on the prohibition bandwagon early, starting back in 1855. For many years, it was up to individual towns and counties if they wanted to allow "dramshops", or if they banned them to certain people (Native Indians). It was voted on and vetoed statewide for years. But it wasn't until 1879 that Kansas became the first state to ban liquor entirely, due to the influence of the Christian Temperance Society. However, it wasn't widely enforced, and saloons were scattered across the plains to attract the cowboys driving cattle through. When Texas cattle were banned from coming into Kansas shortly after that due to fears of bringing fevers into the state, the cattle towns died and the open saloons disappeared. But research proved there were plenty of illegal saloons and bootleggers operating in Kansas.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zara, Gil's story is the second of a trilogy. I'm working on the third novel now, which is Reid's story. You'll meet him in the second book. :)

Thanks, Susan!

11:30 AM  
Blogger J said...

Yeehaw for more cowboys! The trilogy sounds great.

12:06 PM  
Blogger txroxy said...

As a born & bred Texas Girl, I have always had a thing for a "good" cowboy. Thanks and keep'em coming!!!

1:09 PM  
Blogger Kathrynn Dennis said...

I have a soft spot for a hero- cowboy. I admit, I go to the rodeo every summer just for the ambiance. Dust, leather, sweat, and the smell of livestock. Mix that in with a cowboy in chaps, and whoa, pure heaven!

ORC sounds like my kinda western!

Thanks for stopping by, Janette

1:10 PM  
Blogger KarenG said...

I enjoyed reading the interview. Very nice cover on your book. It sounds like a wonderful story.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

After reading your interview, I had to check out your website and read the excerpt of One Real Cowboy. I've put it on my to-buy list :D I'm also looking forward to seeing how you turn Gil into a hero in the second book.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Sounds like a great story!

It's really nice to see more westerns coming out.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jennybrat. The trilogy has been fun to write.

I'm trying, TXRoxy! :)

Oh, Kathrynn, you and me both. I love the rodeo. All those hunky cowboys in chaps-- *fanning myself*

Thanks, KarenG.

Jackietoo, Gil was a challenge from the get-go, but he finally met his match. :)

I hope the trend continues, Nicole.

7:56 AM  

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