A western is a new genre for me

A western is for Americans, right? Well, I have always loved them and so have a lot of British people, as well as a great many Americans. Up to now I have always written stories set in Britain, because I was most comfortable in my native setting, but sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone. Research and imagination have to make up for whatever you lack.

Why did I choose to write a western?

The real answer is hard to pin down because we are dealing with feelings as much as logic. However, one reason is that the genre id flexible. You can set almost any story in the Wild West: adventure, psychological thriller, romance or, as in my case, a murder mystery. You have to rely on basic detective work, which I love, rather than the forensics and databases that dominate modern police procedurals.

What else is interesting about the western?

The west of the USA in the nineteenth century was a place where almost any character could appear. There were poor people from Britain and Europe, as well as from the eastern states, hoping for a better life, aristocrats seeking adventure, dubious characters trying to get away from the past, and former slaves trying to discover what freedom was actually like. This was a time of great scientific, social and political advance in many of the places the new westerners came from. Therefore there were educated and uneducated people, scientific and superstitious, all heading west. Then there were Native Americans. Any kind of culture clash could occur and the conflicts could be physical or more subtle. What scope for a writer! What possibilities for a reader to look for!

What about the lawlessness of the western?

The spread of law and order was not consistent. The railways brought law and other aspects of civilization nearer. But not everywhere was near a railway. Sheriffs and other lawmen varied in their abilities and characters and were not present everywhere. It is easier to justify a character’s taking the law into his or her own hands in a western than in many other genres. Even lawmen were able to do things in their own way without the constraints of procedures and policies affecting modern police forces. How appealing for a writer!

Why not see for yourself?

Read a synopsis of  my first western, or read the whole book, The Cowgirl Murders, and make your own mind up. Let me know what you think by adding a comment to this blog or to the website’s main comments form. Or post a review on Amazon or wherever you like. So long pardners!

A cowgirl on a horse, the cover of The Cowgirl Murders

the cover of The Cowgirl Murders