USA TODAY bestselling author Charlene Sands shares her tips on writing a wealthy Western. In her own words…
They say write what you know, so what does a city girl know about cowboys and ranches and horses? Well, when I started out my love of the American West included both historical and modern day cowboys and that passion drove me to my research. It helped that my in-laws were from Texas and when visiting them I’d gotten a good taste of Southern charm and grace. The way they speak to each other, the way they interact with their children, the foods they enjoy, the slang they use were all things I was able to absorb and replicate in my own stories. My cousin lives in Nevada and has a dozen horses in his stables. I’ve gotten to know the ins and outs of equine care, learned that horses have their own unique personalities and these animals are intelligent and sweet though sometimes quite feisty.
There’s nothing like personal experience when writing a present-day Western romance, but today, there’s an abundance of information on the internet. I’ve contacted rodeo riders by email and they’ve been kind enough to answer my questions. I’ve taken virtual tours of ranches and mansions. I’ve checked out sports cars and fine jewelry online.
But for me, the most fun is creating my Stetson-wearing, wealthy Western Desire hero. He must be strong, powerful and determined. He must be larger than life in some respect and a man any reader would fall in love with. What sets him apart from other heroes is his strong code of honor, his manners and the way he treats the women in his life. He will have flaws of course, and though granite tough, the right woman would find a way to break through to find the caring, loving man he often keeps well-hidden.