Rosanne Bittner: Heart of the West

Rosanne Bittner: Heart of the West

More About My Life and My Work

Updated 20 September 2023

Here's a Complete List of All My Books  divider graphic  Here's How To Get Them


Rosanne Bittner, Sept. 2019 Rosanne Bittner when she first started writing -- on a typewriter. Ca 1985-96       For those of you who have not yet read my books, my stories are generally set in the American West of the 1800's and feature vividly-described, historically accurate settings that span the US from Missouri to California, from Canada to Mexico. Many of my books portray the poignant history of our Native Americans, and though the characters are my own, I use real historical locations and events in all my novels. I must be doing something right, because more and more men are writing to tell me how much they enjoy my westerns, too. Louis L'Amour has always been one of my favorite writers, and I am very flattered that my male readers compare my books favorably with his! I write gritty, realistic stories. No flowers and cupcakes here.

       I’ve been writing all my life – wrote my first poem in 3d grade and my first short story in 4th grade. I was editor of my high school newsletter and wrote many, many poems and articles for the local newspaper. I have been writing novels since 1979 – sold my first book in 1982 and haven’t stopped since then! The photo of me at my typewriter was taken ca 1985-86, after I had five books in print -- I just finished my 74th book, with lots more to come! I never, never stop thinking about that “next book,” and I can’t get enough of western history. And I love the western hero – tough, take no crap, can handle himself – but he loves his woman to no end and will offer his life to protect her – and the women in turn are strong and brave and a real match for the heroes.

Dee Brown, Author of BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE and me, ca 1984       I have won numerous writing awards over the years and I plan to write until the day I die. I absolutely love my subject matter and love America’s western landscape and its history. My husband and I have traveled the west extensively over the last 40 years, and I have visited every location I’ve written in my books. I also do a great deal of research for every book, and have my own research library for everything from how people dressed to how to churn butter. I can relate to hard work, dirty hands, and sweating on a farm because I helped my husband plant and pick asparagus for years. I’ve picked fruit, planted potatoes, gutted and cleaned rabbits and fish and have cooked plenty of wild game, so writing about rugged work in the 1800’s has that extra ring of authenticity because I understand it first-hand. (By the way, the photo, right, is me with Dee Brown, author of BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE, at a Western Writers of America conference in Montana, ca 1984. What an honor! I have the big hard cover version of BURY MY HEART, and he signed it for me. I will treasure it forever.)

       I hope (and I have received thousands of comments verifying this over the years) that readers come away from reading my books with memories of characters who will stay with them forever, and with a new knowledge of American history – something they never learned in school. Most of all I hope they come away with an appreciation for the courage and strength our pioneers needed to settle untamed lands.

       On 26 June 2015, in celebration of the publication of my 60th book, I did a really fun radio interview with "Wild Bill in the Morning" on 97.5 Y Country, and you can listen to the podcast here!

The Grand CanyonLake Tahoe and mountains       For me there is nothing more beautiful than the magnificent western landscape. Big - huge - incredibly beautiful - endless horizons - there just aren't enough adjectives to describe the dramatic, even emotional views you find in the American West. You have to see it to truly appreciate it. My favorite states are Colorado, Montana and Wyoming. You'll find a lot of my books are set in those areas. The two pictures here are of Lake Tahoe in Nevada and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

The St. Joseph MI lighthouse, which is just a few miles from my house.       As for myself: I live in rural Southwest Lower Michigan, about five minutes from Lake Michigan. That's the iconic St. Joseph Lighthouse to the right. My husband Larry and I have been happily married since October 2, 1965. We graduated from high school together in 1963 but didn't date until after high school. We have both lived in this area all of our lives, and have two sons, three grandsons, and a great- grandson. My three grandsons are handsome young men, who have graduated and now hold full-time jobs. We are very proud of all of our "boys!"

My home officeMy bookcase with research material.       When we sold the family business in 2017, I had to move my office from the large space I had at that building back to my house. This involved considerable down-sizing. I now work in a cozy little office at home, and I love it. As you can see, there isn't a lot of space, but I find I work better here at home. I still have my favorite pictures with me, mostly big paintings of the covers to my Outlaw Hearts series. I think they are beautiful!

       I still have most of my research books in our entranceway, but I was able to unload hundreds of those books due to the fact that, of course, we now have the internet to turn to for research. However, I have favorite research books that I will never give up and that still give me more information than I could get even from the internet. And I have volumes and volumes of hand-written notees that I have kept over the years and I still use.

       This is Jessie Florentine (Boussum) Williams, my half-Potawatomi grandmother. As a child, I often "stayed over" in her small house with no running water or modern conveniences. She cooked with a wood-burning stove and her refrigerator was an old ice box. When she finally got electricity, we would sit and listen to stories on the radio, including "Gunsmoke" and "The Lone Ranger," which instilled in me a love of westerns and the pioneer spirit. I learned to love listening to a good story, and from that, later grew a desire to write my own. I often feel her guidance as I write, and I know I owe much of my success to the things Grandma taught me.

Jessie Florentine Williams, my grandmother.

Rosanne's father, grandparents, and aunts       This my Sicilian grandfather (front row, center) and his wife and 7 of his 8 daughters and his ONE SON, who was my father, Frank Reris. My dad was a memorable man - so good-hearted and well-liked. I will miss him forever.

        I have some wonderful memories of our family get-togethers. When a bunch of Italians get together, there is a lot of hugging and joking. Family is EVERYTHING! You'll see that theme running through my stories -- very strong in the Outlaw Hearts series -- whether it's the family you are born into or the family you make.

       I can't help but wonder what my grandparents, father and aunts would think of the world today. "Back in the day," they never would have dreamed that this picture would be posted someplace where the whole world could see it. Can you imagine cell phones for our pioneers, who left their parents and siblings and friends in the east knowing they would likely never see them again?

My Bichon Frise, LashonLashon at work.

       The Queen of the household, my little white dog, Lashon, left us on 16 April 2007 at the age of 16-1/2 years old. To this day, I still miss her. Lashon was a Bichon Frise, angel soft and as sweet as can be. Lashon was my best friend. We walked together every day, and she went just about everywhere with me, including to the office. She was sized just right to sleep on my desk. .

       Lashon was also a writer. In fall, 2000, her short story, "A Day in the Life of Lashon the Bichon" was published in a book of pet stories called "TAILS" TO TELL to benefit two wonderful animal organizations in our area. I've put her story right here on my website.

       Bichons are smart, loyal, fun, clean, obedient, easy to train, and have great personalities. We still miss Lashon terribly, but I feel she'll be with me in spirit forever, as she'd been at my side night and day her whole life. All of you who have had a pet companion will understand exactly how I feel. You can read my Tribute to Lashon here..

Rosanne Bittner, March 2021       I am excited and pleased to announce that I was the winner of the 2011 Mid-Michigan RWA Angel Award, "for devoted service and inspiration to other writers." Though all of my writing awards are special to me, this is an extra special honor, voted on and presented by my fellow MMRWA members!

       I also owe much of my success to my readers, whose encouragement keeps me going through seemingly endless rewrites, and who send me poems and letters and photographs--some of which provide inspiration for future projects! You are what makes long hours at the keyboard worthwhile.

       You can find a full listing of my books, Books in E-Reader Formats and ordering information for print books elsewhere in my website, as well as being able to take a peek at the numerous foreign translations of my books. Don't be shy about sending me email, either. And if you would like to receive a bookmark or other promotional material, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope every six months to:

Rosanne Bittner
PO Box 1044
Coloma, MI 49038

       If you can't make it to one of my personal appearances, you are also welcome to send me a bookplate or blank label in a SASE, and I'll autograph it so that you can have a signed book!

       And for more on how I write, please check out my Advice and Frequently Asked Questions pages!

       I am also honored to have been interviewed on 28 July 2014 for Romance Books 4 Us. You can read that interview here!

Bow & Arrows

       "I wanted to pay tribute to someone who has taken me on a journey. A journey through mountains, and desert plains and prairie grasses and a journey through so many emotions that I just can't even begin to name them all. She has lifted me up when I was down. She has made me love these characters like I know them in person. She has created an alternate world for me to escape to when I need a break from this one. She takes me back into a time where things were simpler and people were friendlier, but at the same time more dangerous. She makes me laugh and she makes me cry. So I ... pay tribute to a woman who has given me so much, this is just my little way to say Thank You Rosanne. You inspired me." --Dale, 31 August 2016

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