Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Interview with Charlene Whitman, Author of Wyoming Tryst

The author of “heart-thumping” Western romance, Charlene Whitman spent many years living on Colorado’s Front Range. She grew up riding and raising horses, and loves to read, write, and hike the mountains. She attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins as an English major. She has two daughters and is married to George “Dix” Whitman, her love of thirty years.

The Front Range series of sweet historical Western romance novels (set in the 1870s) includes Wild Horses, Wild Hearts, set in Laporte and Greeley. Colorado Promise, set in Greeley, Colorado; Colorado Hope, set in Fort Collins; Wild Secret, Wild Longing, which takes readers up into the Rockies, Colorado Dream (Greeley), and Wyoming Tryst, set in Laramie, WY.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in California but lived in Colorado for some time. I rode horses since I was little and always loved Westerns, playing cowboys with my brothers. My fondest memories are the ones at my summer camp in the mountains, where I rode horses through pastures and across rivers and sensed what it must have been like to live in the old West, in a simpler time and place, without the fast pace of life we experience now.

When did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. I wrote poems, short stories, and prose from childhood. I didn’t consider writing novels into well into adulthood though.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I usually write a few months out of the year, and when I sit down to write a novel, I’ll do that nearly full-time for a few months until the book is done.

What is this book about?

Wyoming Tryst is a close parallel story to Romeo and Juliet, opening with the same scene ideas and following the plot closely, though set in 1878 in Laramie, WY, between two feuding ranching families. However, my characters get into all kinds of Western scrapes, including running afoul with the law and the heroine being tossed into the state penitentiary. And don’t worry—it has a happy ending, though the climax is almost identical to the tragic moments in the Bard’s play.

What inspired you to write it?

I’m a big Shakespeare fan (who wouldn’t be?), and I loved the challenge of adapting his play into a Western story. Plus, I saw a “cowboy” version of Comedy of Errors at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that was so hilarious, I just had to do my own version of Shakespeare in the Old West.

Who is your favorite author?

I have a lot of favorites, but for Westerns, no one matches Zane Grey. I feel my writing and love of setting are similar to his, and Riders of the Purple Sage is one of my favorite novels, even though written nearly a century ago.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

I self-publish my Front Range series, so it’s been fairly easy publishing.

If you knew then what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have started writing novels a long time ago, and I would have first studied novel structure.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

All my books are available on Amazon exclusively (Kindle), and all the full-length novels are also available in print/paperback.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Take the time to study novel craft, attend workshops, study best sellers in your genre. Don’t get too far in the writing without getting a writing coach or an editor to help you. Critique groups are often counterproductive because they are usually made up of people who don’t have expertise in novel writing and/or publishing. Always get your work edited and proofread before submitting or publishing.

What is up next for you?

No doubt there will be a book 7 in The Front Range series, again set in Laramie.

Is there anything you would like to add?

While my novels can be read in any order, it’s best to start at the beginning, with the prequel novella, Wild Horses, Wild Hearts. If you sign up for my mailing list, you will get that book for free! From there, I hope you’ll be hooked and immerse yourself into the world I’ve created in the 1870s. I do a lot of research and try to make my stories as authentic as possible. They are sweet romance (no sex), and have complex characters and deep themes. Enjoy!

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