Friday, March 11, 2011
Why I Lean West
Posted by: Marie Harte
When I think of the West, I think of the picture above. Open spaces, vast deserts and beautiful skies. I also think of this.
Mountains, water so clear it looks like a mirror reflecting heaven, and dark green pines filled with life. The notion of living during the old days--in the Old West--when one could explore without tripping over another human being is thrilling for me. Lawless lands, wild places, and interesting people who sparsely dotted the West make for terrific fodder for storytelling.
When it comes to books, I know a lot of readers are taken with the Victorian age and England. But for me, the American West has its own lure. Rough, unconventional, and a place where only the strongest can survive. And let's not forget some truly important characters. Cowboys.
These muscular, er, tough guys, spent most of their time under the sky and stars. Sleeping on bedrolls in the fields while they watched over cattle or rounded up wild horses. Sure, I'm simplifying, but part of the Western sell is that times were simpler. No technology, at least, not the kind we think of today. Back then, folks used horses or wagons for transport. What you ate was what you killed or grew, without chemicals, thank you. And a man or woman made do with what they had in life. They didn't sit for hours on end in front of a computer dreaming. Nor did they date through Match.com. Everything was so much more real. Visceral. Touchable.
A man and his horse pretty much ruled the landscape. Farmers, mountaineers, cowboys, lawmen, shopkeepers. Occupations that are so much more understandable than the things people do today to earn a buck. And they all involved manual labor. (Hence the muscles on the fine cowboy above.)
I'm also especially fond of Western dress. The duster and hat are just killer. What person wouldn't look sexy wearing that combo, man or woman? Chaps? Lassos and leather? Granted, I'm not so fond of female garb back in the day, but I'm all for jeans and a button down shirt. And don't get me started on boots. I LOVE 'em.
There are so many, many reasons why I lean West when it comes to reading and writing. Next month I'll introduce a whole new Western steampunk world when my debut with Carina comes out. But that's next month. So for now, enjoy the West. It sure is a magical place--and time.
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author, avid reader, owner of Romance Junkies Book Reviews. Loves romance books, coffee, and chocolate--not necessarily in that order.