Rosanne Bittner: Heart of the West
Frequently Asked Questions
Many of you have emailed me or commented on Facebook with questions about my work. Some of the questions were so good (and asked so often) that I thought I'd share the replies with you all here.
Please also see my About me, Advice to Writers, and Articles and Blogs pages, as well as my Complete List of All My Books and Books in E-Reader Format pages elsewhere on this website. Then, if you still have questions about my writing, don't be shy about emailing me! You may see your question and my answer right here!
Q: The #1 question I am getting lately is, will there be a sequel to some of my older books?
I am delighted that you love my characters so much you want to read more about them -- I wrote SO many books that I wanted to continue at the time! However, the publishers always wanted me to go on to other things, and the publishers had the final say. When I originally answered this question a while ago, I wrote that, with my older books 10 - 30 years old. it was unlikely that there would ever be sequels to any of them. However, Sourcebooks' totally unexpected reissue of and request for a sequel to OUTLAW HEARTS has taught me NEVER to say Never! I now write independently for Amazon, so yes, I have many sequels planned!
Q: How do I view the research process as far as describing the beauty of the American West?
For me, research is the best part of writing! I have a great passion for the West and its grand landscape and exciting history. My husband and I have traveled the West for close to 40 years and I have visited nearly every historical site written into my books. I continue to be totally fascinated by how fast the West was settled, its ecological effect as well as its emotional effect on Native Americans, and the pace at which people poured into the West, especially the fanatical quest to find gold. The Western landscape can be compared to no other, from the vast plains and prairies with endless horizons, to the looming greatness of the Rockies and Sierras. It's difficult to describe the beauty and grandeur of our American West to those who have never been there, but I try hard with my descriptions, which is why the West is a place that must be visited in order to properly describe it - even then it's often difficult to find the right words. How many ways are there to say "vast" and "grand" and "splendid?" If I sound redundant in describing the country I love so much, it's because there just aren't enough words.
Q: What sparked my love for the 1800's Old West?
Probably what sparked my love for the 1800's Old West was watching so many westerns on TV and in the movies when I was growing up. Of course many of the TV westerns and older western movies left a lot to be desired as far as accuracy, but I was impressed by the stunning landscape. If you watch old John Wayne movies, one of the grandest things about them is the background scenery. It is often quite spectacular, and it always fascinated me. When I was older my husband and I were finally able to drive out and visit such places, and I was even more awestruck when I saw them with my own eyes. What led to my wanting to write about the West and pioneers was A LANTERN IN HER HAND by Bess Streeter Aldrich - and THE PROUD BREED, by Celeste de Blasis. My quest to tell the truth about our Native Americans came from Dee Brown's BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE. And if you want to read about eastern Indians and the earlier history of our country (which I write about in my Westward America trilogy), pick any book by Allen Eckert. It's some of the most fabulous writing of true history I've ever read. He brings it all to life.
Q: Do I become attached to my characters?
Thank you for your comment that my characters are so explicit and detailed that it's almost as if they really are a part of history - and you wondered if I become attached to them. That's a definite YES! I absolutely hate leaving my stories and characters, which is why I love writing big, fat books - so I can stay with these people as long as possible - and so I can properly flesh out all my characters and show how they become involved in real American historical events. The love for my characters is also why I have written I've written several trilogies and series -- notably my Savage Destiny series (40 years old and still selling), and my Outlaw Hearts series ( I wrote the first book in 1996 and finished the sixth book, BLAZE OF GLORY, 25 years later!) In my book IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOUNTAINS, the heroine builds a monument to her father just outside of Denver, Colorado. The characters in that book were so real that I had readers write to me wondering where that monument is so that they can visit it!!! It doesn't exist, but they thought the people in my book really lived, and that is a wonderful compliment!
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