“I ONLY READ HISTORY OR NON-FICTION.”
“A FRIEND OF MINE HAS A SON THAT LIKES TO READ WESTERNS.”
“I KNOW AN OLD GUY HAS EVERY LOUIS L’AMOUR BOOK EVER WRITTEN”
“I READ BEST SELLERS. YOU KNOW, MYSTERIES, SUSPENSE, ROMANCE.”
These are the type of comments I’ve heard since I penned my first novel, mostly from people who have never investigated the genre of the western. But I’ve made some converts.
The Old West, of course, is about time and place… but basically it’s about people, as every novel is about people. A western can be a mystery, a war story, a love story, or a taut tale of suspense. It can be drama, melodrama, heartwarming, frightening, a tale of good, of evil and everything in between. (Throwing in a loyal dog, a lovable kid and a good horse doesn’t hurt, either).
I belong to a group of men and women who meet regularly for spiritual study. We also play golf, go to meals together and meet often socially. A few bought my books at a signing I held at a local book store. The reactions of these new readers spurred others to try them. Now I get comments like:
“I couldn’t put it down, Pete. I was up half the night.”
“I need another book. When is your next one coming out?”
“Great read. Is there going to be a sequel?”
“You have any copies with you? I want to send one as a gift.”
Many years ago, with my first manuscript in hand, I attended a WWA conference in Albuquerque, where I was welcomed and befriended by greats like Tony Hillerman, Elmer Kelton, Robert J. Conley, Dusty Richards, Don Coldsmith and others. Some of the nicest folks I’ve ever met, not an out-sized ego in the bunch. It took until 2004, constantly submitting my writing to a long line of publishers, before I was published by Avalon Books… but it has been worth the trip. If you are an aspiring author, don’t give up. And read other fine writers in your chosen genre. I promise you’ll learn.
Granted, most of my readers are locals and acquaintances, having been introduced to my ramblings by word of mouth. But it’s a start toward introducing the western novel to a fresh audience. I have also referred readers to other authors who write tales of the Old West… my own favorites, many of them fellow members of the Western Fictioneers… some of the finest writers today or ever, regardless of genre.
Monday, January 21, 2013
MEET PETE PETERSON!
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“I couldn’t put it down, Pete. I was up half the night.” is my favorite reaction. I love hearing that about any of my books. My biggest convert was my dad. His thought was that reading fiction was a waste of time, until his son-in-law and daughter became writers. He's been an avid reader for 30+ years now. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading about your experiences.ReplyDelete
Got that reaction a time or two myself, Pete. It's good. It's especially good for me when the comment comes from someone who's first language is not English. Good to meet you, Mean Pete, and we'll see ya at WWA in Vegas come June.ReplyDelete
Hey Pete, I really enjoyed this blog. It's hard to keep writing when you think nothing's going to come from it, but you have to just keep on keepin' on. That's the best advice--so many people just get frustrated and discouraged and give up. Those nice comments make it all worthwhile, don't they? When someone says they couldn't put it down, that's the best.ReplyDelete
Good blog Pete. I am a western lover, I read about 30 a year along with another 30 or so books in different genres. I love a good story or a good mysteries, can’t put them down when I find a good one.ReplyDelete
Yeah, I hate hearing stuff like that, too... as though a "western" is something THOSE people read. And whenever someone gives 'em a chance, it seems, they are pleasantly surprised. Keep on preachin' to 'em, brother!ReplyDelete
Good blog, Pete. I think so many writers can empathise with you. If you want to be a writer, you just keep at it. Isaac Asimov said something like 'I write for the same reason I breathe, because if I didn't, I would die.ReplyDelete
Who am I to know the difference between Pete and Pete? To me, Pete Petersen is the pilot who commented from Show Low AZ in a V-tailed Beechcraft. I didn't mean to infringe on Mean Pete's brand and was thoroughly mistaken in calling you such. Still enjoyed the post, Nice Pete.ReplyDelete
My computer gremlin took over again and changed commuted to commented. Man. What a world.ReplyDelete
Ha... this is Nice Pete. We all know Mean Pete, alias Poudre River Pete! (and love 'em both.)ReplyDelete
So, if you want lack of respect, you ought to give western historical romance a try. "Westerns? You mean like Roy Rogers? I'm not into the cowboy thing."ReplyDelete
"Romance? Those trashy novels? Wouldn't touch one with a ten-foot pole."