Rosanne Bittner: Heart of the West

Rosanne Bittner: Heart of the West

Queen of the American Western

It's Reckoning Day in Rosanne Bittner's Latest

By Lauren Spielburg, RT Book Reviews, July 2015. Used by permission.


DO NOT FORSAKE ME on the cover of the July 2015 issue of RT Magazine.       DO NOT FORSAKE ME -- "4-1/2 TOP PICK! More than two decades in the making, Bittner's sequel to OUTLAW HEARTS is an emotional powerhouse! The strong flavor of the WIld West combines with a beautiful love story, creating a true saga of the era. This epic tale of an outaw lawman and the woman who tamed him has everything Bittner fans expect and more. This classic historical western is destined for the "keeper" shelf!" -- RT Book Reviews, July 2015

       I was SO excited not only to receive a fantastic review from RT Book Reviews in their July 2015 issue, but also to be interviewed for the print / online magazine's COVER story! For those of you who may have missed this issue, we have received permission from the publishers to reproduce the entire article below. (Please note that the permission to reproduce this article applies to my website only!) For more information about RT Book Reviews (formerly known as Romantic Times) or to subscribe, please visit their website:

Queen of the American Western
It's Reckoning Day in Rosanne Bittner's Latest

By Lauren Spielburg, RT Book Reviews, July 2015

Banner that hung over Rosanne's table at the big book signing, RT Comverence, 2015       Familiar faces abound in Rosanne Bittner's DO NOT FORSAKE ME (Sourcebooks, July), the long-awaited followup to 1993's OUTLAW HEARTS (Bantam). There's lawless patriarch Jake Harkner, devoted matriarch Miranda Hayes and several decades worth of forgiveness, redemption, and awakening. Family sagas and the American West are two Bittner hallmarks, and DO NOT FORSAKE ME is a story she's waited 20-plus years to bring to the masses.

       "Oh, I wanted to write a sequel right away," the USA today bestselling author shares, 'but at that time the publisher [Bantam] wanted me to go on to other things. That first book eventually faded into the past as I wrote other stories and moved on to other publishers. But believe me, Jake Harkner remained in my heart and in my mind for all those years."

       In OUTLAW HEARTS, (re-released by Sourcebooks this June), the first book of the Outlaw trilogy, Jake is a wanted man. Haunted by the actions of his past, he is led to a life of crime - that is, until he meets widow Miranda Hayes and life shifts out of the darkness and into the light. Born into a life of horrible abuse and neglect, he learns from Miranda, through her essence and her actions, all about love and forgiveness. However, the crimes of his past need atoning for, and Jake and Miranda find themselves perpetually on the run, avoiding the law.

       Fast-forward to DO NOT FORSAKE ME to find out what's become of the couple who stole readers' hearts so many years ago. Jake is a US Marshal, although not by choice, and his son Lloyd rides along with him as deputy marshal. With the new job comes a new set of troubles, and despite his best efforts, Jake retreats into the darkest places of his psyche where "old" Jake has been kept under lock and key.

       ''DO NOT FORSAKE ME is very much a beautiful, beautiful love story - an awakening for Jake in learning to face his demons and accept the fact that he really is loved and that even God loves him," Bittner says. "Accepting love is something that has always has been hard for Jake, who was raised being told he was worthless and who, because of his storied past, just can't quite believe anyone could really care about him.

       "I absolutely love writing about long-lasting relationships. I think the love between a man and woman who have been devoted to each other for years and have stayed together through great hardship is the most beautiful kind of love story."

       The woman standing next to the emotionally stunted gunslinger is Miranda. Early in OUTLAW HEARTS, she learns the depths of Jake's horror-filled childhood and witnesses the harshness born out of that abuse. Yet she still falls madly in love with him. Although Jake valiantly attempts to convince Miranda that she is too good for him, at times even leaving her to prove his point, she hammers home her loyalty time and again - even when Jake finds himself in jail.

The 2015 reissue of OUTLAW HEARTS       Bittner explains about her time-tested couple: "Just look at the book covers. In OUTLAW HEARTS, Jake looks fearsome, but there is Miranda, leaning against his chest with a look that says, 'He thinks he's so tough, but I can handle him.' On the cover for DO NOT FORSAKE ME, you can see the total devotion in Miranda's eyes. And on both covers, Jake has that possessive stance that says, "She's mine. Touch her and die!' The trilogy is about a blending of souls, a love so deep that no one else can touch it or destroy it."

       Hard at work concluding the Outlaw trilogy with LOVE'S SWEET REVENGE (release TBD), the prolific author shares that Jake's past reputation rears its infamous head again, and the whole family faces new challenges, catapulting them into a new era, wherein a man can't exact his own revenge any longer. "Law and order are shaping up the whole country," she says. "But Jake is a man who is used to dealing out his own form of justice, so he gets himself in a lot of trouble in this one. The story is designed to show the transformation from the days of lawlessness into more modern thinking and settlement - and how that affects men like Jake, who have lived in both worlds.

       "I never have writer's block or have trouble coming up with something new," Bittner continues. "The growth of America's Great West was so fast and so eventful that the fodder for plot is absolutely never-ending. The 1880s time period is the best because the West experienced explosive growth - with opportunities for men and women to realize their dreams in a way that will never happen again in this country."

       After almost 35 years of writing, the 70- year- old author is witnessing a rebirth of her career, which she has no plans of putting on hold. After a 10-year literary dry spell, Sourcebooks rebooted her career with the reissuing of WILDEST DREAMS (Feb. '12) and THUNDER ON THE PLAINS (Jul. '12) for their Casablanca line. The partnership was further solidified after Bittner sold them two more new stories - PARADISE VALLEY (Jul. '13) and DESPERATE HEARTS (Sep. '14). With the arrival of editor Mary Altman, who was more than game for an OUTLAW HEARTS sequel - she had read and adored the book years ago - Bittner was ecstatic to revisit Jake and Miranda's world.

NEW for 2015: DO NOT FORSAKE ME, the epic sequel to OUTLAW HEARTS       "I cried," Bittner smiles. "In all my years of writing, that's the best news I ever received. Book two had lived inside me for all that time, and when I started writing, the story just poured out of me - nearly 600 manuscript pages - all in only about three months of writing! I finished DO NOT FORSAKE ME before I even got my check for advance royalties. I think I must have finished it even before the contract was fully settled!"

       Although most of her books take place in the 1800s, Bittner has discovered (and at long last embraced) the benefits of modern-day technology for expanding her ban base. "For a long time I fought social networking, but now with Facebook and Goodreads and Google and a website [] and a blog site [] and numerous other avenues, my career has taken off better than ever.

       "I will never stop writing, unless my health prevents it. I'm 70 years old and feel 40; and I believe I 'think' more like a 40-year-old, too. I believe in 'use it or lose it,' and don't plan to retire. One advantage to my age is having a lifetime of my own personal and family problems and challenges. I totally understand what it's like to be married to the same man for 50 years - and I understand all the emotions and ups and downs of marriage, children and grandchildren. All the things you go through in life can be applied to the characters you write about, and using your own experiences to draw on just makes your characters more real."

       DO NOT FORSAKE ME is Bittner's proudest accomplishment to date, and it's easy to see why. She's consolidated her strengths to write a rollicking historical adventure that appeals to both genders and readers old and new.

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DO NOT FORSAKE ME on the cover of the July 2015 issue of RT Magazine.

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