Monday, March 1, 2010

Guest Author -- Joanne Kennedy

Here at The Romance Dish we love introducing our readers to debut authors. Today we are happy to welcome debut author Joanne Kennedy! After working several years in a book store, Joanne decided to give writing a try and from reading her first novel, I would say she has a bright future as a romance writer. Please give Joanne a warm welcome as she discusses her road to publishing and just how girls get into Cowboy Trouble.

Joanne, we are so excited to have you visiting with us today at The Romance Dish. We all absolutely love debut authors. There's nothing quite like discovering a new author. Can you tell us why you wanted to be a romance writer?

It was an accident, I swear! When I started Cowboy Trouble, it was going to be a mystery, but Luke and Libby fell in love and took over. I discovered that it’s very natural for me to write romance, probably because I’m very lucky in love myself. My life is a romance novel!

Lucky in love, huh? That is wonderful!

We would for you to share your call story with us?

Two days before Christmas 2008, my agent told me Deb Werksman wanted to buy Cowboy Trouble. I screamed, whooped, hollered, and danced around the house with my very bewildered dog (my honey wasn’t home). I will never, ever forget that feeling of total joy!

Did you do anything special to celebrate your first book?

On March 2nd, we’re having a launch party at the Barnes & Noble in Cheyenne, where I’ve worked for the past eight years. After the launch we’re moving over to a local watering hole to continue the party with all my friends, including the bookstore staff. My friend Todd Dereemer, who is a very talented singer/songwriter, will be providing the music. I can’t wait!

That sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate! Sure wish I lived closer to Cheyenne :)

Please tell us a little bit about your debut novel, Cowboy Trouble.

Cowboy Trouble is a mix of humor, suspense and romance with a dash of spice, all wrapped up in a small-town setting with lots of quirky characters. It’s about a big-city journalist who moves to Wyoming to fulfill a childhood dream of owning a farm. Her transition to rural living is a challenge, but she gets a lot of help from her neighbor Luke Rawlins, who looks like Elvis, talks like John Wayne, and cooks like Martha Stewart. When she starts investigating the town’s one and only unsolved mystery, Luke pitches in and the two of them discover that their small town holds a lot of secrets – and that they’re meant for each other despite their differences.

When I first starting reading Cowboy Trouble, I giggled because your heroine Libby is frustrated with the city life in Atlanta. See, I live around Atlanta and can totally sympathize with Libby. What made you pick Atlanta as the metro area your heroine would be fleeing? Have you been to Atlanta? Have you lived here?

I’m from Massachusetts, and I originally intended to have Libby come from Boston – but she’s just not a New Englander. With her spunk and sense of humor, she struck me as more of a Southern girl, so I decided on Atlanta.

I’ve been to Atlanta, but I’ve never lived there. I love Southern novels, though, and if I wasn’t so attached to Wyoming (and its cowboys), I’d kind of like to try Southern living!

Spunky and a sense of humor? Sounds like several Southern gals I know ;-)

Needless to say I was completely intrigued when first introduced to Luke Rawlins, the hero in Cowboy Trouble. I love his quirky sense of humor and that he can turn on the charm with a snap of a finger. Please tell us your inspiration for this character.

Luke is based very much on my honey, who’s tall, dark, handsome, and yeah, quirky and charming, too. He’s not a cowboy, but he sure looks good in the hat! I can’t get him to wear chaps, though.

Joanne, I think it is wonderful that you based your very first hero after your honey!! Maybe one day you can get him in chaps! LOL!

Can you tell our audience what you are working on now?

I have a second book, One Fine Cowboy, coming out in September 2010. It’s about a psychology grad student who travels to a Wyoming ranch to learn about interspecies non-verbal communication from a horse trainer. Naturally, she learns a lot! I’m putting the finishing touches on that one and working on my third book – another cowboy romance about a rodeo queen who’s trying to shed her goody-two-shoes image with a small-town bad boy.

Oooh, both of those sound really good!! I hope you write fast!

Now for a Quick Pick segment.

What was the last book you read? Lucky in Love, by Carolyn Brown. Full disclosure: she’s also a Sourcebooks author! But I truly love the wit and humor in her books, and her cowboys are delicious!

What was the last movie you watched? When in Rome. The reviews were awful, but I thought the movie was cute. Just a fun bit of romantic fluff, which is just what you need sometimes.

Heels or sneakers? Definitely sneakers! Like Libby, I’m almost six feet tall, so I tower over everyone in heels. I’m also a klutz, so I fall down a lot in anything but sneaks – unless cowboy boots are an option!

Chocolate or vanilla? If we’re talking ice cream, I’ll take both, please! But I’ll dump chocolate sauce all over either one, so I guess I’m a chocolate girl.

Beaches or Mountains? I love a beach once in a while, but I couldn’t live without the Rocky Mountains in sight.

Thanks for visiting with us today Joanne! We have really enjoyed having you here. Is there anything you would like to ask our readers?

First of all, thanks right back at you! I love your site and I’m thrilled to be here. For the readers, I hope you enjoy reading Cowboy Trouble as much as I enjoyed writing it.

What I’d like to ask is this: Which matters more to you as a reader: a strong heroine, or a great hero? I’ll pop into the comments and check out your answers!

Joanne has graciously offered two copies of Cowboy Trouble to two random posters (US and Canada residents only).

Also, be sure to check out my review of Cowboy Trouble below.

~ Buffie

Fleeing her latest love life disaster, big city journalist Libby Brown's transition to rural living isn't going exactly as planned. Her childhood dream has always been to own a chicken farm—but without the constant help of her charming, sexy, cowboy neighbor; she'd never have made it through her first Wyoming season.

Handsome rancher Luke Rawlins is impressed by this sassy, independent city girl. But he yearns to do more than help Libby out with her ranch…he's ready for love, and he wants to go the distance. When the two get embroiled in their tiny town's one and only crime story, Libby discovers that their sizzling hot attraction is going to complicate her life in every way possible…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR -- Joanne Kennedy has worked in bookstores all her life in positions ranging from bookseller to buyer. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and won first place in the Colorado Gold Writing Contest and second place in the Heart of the Rockies contest in 2007. Joanne lives and writes in Cheyenne, Wyoming. For more information please visit


  1. Good morning, Joanne, and welcome to The Romance Dish!

    Congrats on your debut. I'm looking forward to reading it, and your next two books sound interesting as well.

    I can relate to the heels! I'm six feet tall, and while I occasionally wear heels, flats are my friend. LOL

    Great question! I guess I'd have to go with a strong heroine--I'll just assume the hero will be great. ;-) I like a heroine who can take care of herself, but has a soft heart. No "too stupid to live" heroines, thanks very much! *g*

  2. Hello and welcome to The Romance Dish, Joanne! Congratulations on your debut! I love contemporary westerns and have yours added to my TBB list. :)

    Great interview, Buffie and Joanne!

    I'll have to ditto what Gannon said -- I'd go with a strong heroine because I always assume that the hero will be great. And in fact, the hero is usually great because of the heroine. If he had a weak heroine, then he just wouldn't be so great in my eyes.

  3. I'd have to agree with Gannon and Andrea and go with the strong heroine. I like a heroine who is independent, but still needs her hero. :)

  4. Congratulation on your debut, Joanne. Cowboy Trouble sounds like a fun read.

    I'm anti-either/or choices myself. I prefer both/and--both a strong heroine and a great hero. The h/h I find engaging deserve one another, and a great hero certainly deserves a strong heroine and vice versa. :)

  5. I want both the heroine and hero to be strong, compelling characters. Your book sounds very good. Congratulations on your success.

  6. Congratulations on your debut novel, Joanne!

    I like a great hero over a strong heroine; however, I like my heroines to be spunky and cute and intelligent.

    (Maybe that all means strong, but when I hear or see "strong" it gives me a negative vibe.) I'm also old-fashioned enough that I like the heroine, no matter how independent, to still rely on the hero for support and such. I'll use myself as an example. I was independent when single, fixed things that needed fixing, took care of my own car, etc. But now that I'm married, it's nice to know that someone else is there to help me do what needs to be done or just plain do it for me!

    Thanks for being at TRD today!

  7. Congrats on your debut novel, Joanne! It must be so exciting for you to be doing the blog tour of your very first book! You need to print out the interviews, reviews, and comments and create a special scrapbook to mark the occasion. I wish you great success with this book and the books to come. :-)

    To answer your question, I am going to have to say BOTH. I agree with Janga that a great hero in a story deserves a strong heroine and vice versa. It wouldn't be a compelling couple if half of it was weak.

  8. Hi Joanne! Congratulations on the release of COWBOY TROUBLE. I had to laugh at your description of your post-call celebration. As the "mom" of two dogs, I know that bewildered look well! LOL!

    I like both a strong heroine and hero. I want them to be well matched in their strengths but I also want each to be vulnerable to the other. Does that make sense?

    I'm a big fan of westerns so, of course, I'm looking forward to reading COWBOY TROUBLE.

    Btw, I saw my very first rodeo in Cheyenne. Loved it!

  9. Joanne, it is wonderful to have you with us today. Thanks for answering all my questions :-)

    I have to go with everyone else and say I love a strong heroine. Confidence, but yet still needs to feel safe in the arms of her hero.

  10. Good afternoon, I would have to go with the strong heroine as well. I don't like for to be rescued so much as aided. Given enough time she could probably get herself out of whatever she is into but our hero can get her to goal a little faster. I like spunky.

  11. I like characters to compliment each other, but I think I have to say that I enjoy strong heroines, and don't mind nerdy or reclusive heros... still liking alpha heroes too!

    Congrats on your series, it sounds good!

  12. I prefer both a strong heroine and great hero!

  13. Thanks, everyone! I'm sorry I'm arriving late to the Romance Dish party! I had a long workday (yes, I still have a day job, but at least it's at a bookstore!) and then had to pick up my son from the airport for our party. But I feel terrible, because here you all are commenting and you must thing I've abandoned you! I so appreciate the chance to talk to readers, so I'll try to redeem myself.
    I agree that both the hero and heroine need to be great characters - Deb, I see your point about "strong" sounding almost negative. I really liked what PJ said about the hero and heroine being vulnerable to each other. I think it's wonderful when the heroine herself is the hero's only weakness:).
    And while I like alpha heroes, I like my men to be sensitive, too, and not afraid to show it. Too much bluster and tough-guy swagger turns me off!
    Thank you all again for commenting. I'll be dodging in and out today to see if you have anything else to say

  14. Thanks for stopping by Joanne! Believe me when I say we all totally understand about busy work days and the responsibilities of home.

    I hope that you had a wonderful celebration last night. I bet it was a lot of fun!