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
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
''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.
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.
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
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.
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 [RosanneBittner.com] and a blog site
[Rosannebittner.blogspot.com] 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
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.
More about OUTLAW HEARTS and DO NOT FORSAKE
Order OUTLAW HEARTS Order DO NOT FORSAKE ME
in all e-reader formats, please see my E-book List