I say romance, you say historical. I say romance writer, you say woman man. That’s right, we are talking both historical romance and male authors today. Welcome Leigh Greenwood!
I do enjoy wine – I prefer reds – but I don’t know much about them. I usually have a glass or two each night so I have definitely learned which ones I like the most. I belong to a social group which hosts wine tastings several times a year so I get introduced to new wines that way. My favorite vintner is Beringer. Their wines are dependable and affordable.
Lexi: Western romances are classic, not exactly the classics you use to read but classic for the romance genre. What was it about your first romance, that your wife made you read, that so entranced you that you ended up writing, numerous, romance novels?
That first romance was Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades. Anyone who’s never read it needs to go out and find a copy right now. It has a powerful romance, a really nasty villain, a hero who makes other alpha heroes look tame, a page-turner of a plot, and characters so real they still live in my mind forty years later. As great as it was, that book didn’t start me writing romances, but it did convince me that I liked to read romances. More than a hundred books later (which included every book Georgette Heyer ever wrote) I started writing my first romance.
Lexi: I think for every reader here, it is those moments of pure emotion that keep us coming back. And you have mastered the ability to convey those strong feelings with a few words. Your newest release, To Love and to Cherish, has a widow and a rancher throwing their destinies together. What was your main emotion you wanted Laurie and Jared to show your readers?
Is it okay to say lust? People familiar with my books know I usually hold off on that first love scene until the characters have fallen love, but in this case I wanted the physical attraction to be so strong they couldn’t wait for love to bloom. Both Laurie and Jared were set against any permanent relationship so I had to do something to give them a push.
Lexi: Jared is a rancher with his own personal issues, ones that get in the way of his happiness. As women readers you must have many fans who can relate to being involved with men like Jared or numerous other heroes in your novels. Have you received any fan mail gushing about your male leads? Do you feel that you put a piece of yourself in your heroes?
I have received a lot of mail over the years about my heroes (actually more about my heroines), and it’s always been positive. Most of the time they say I portray men the way they really are, not like women want them to be. I expect a lot of myself seeps into my heroes. My ex-wife and my children swear I’m not romantic, but there’s always been a lot of love in our family. I’m just not one for talking about it. I tend toward the alpha male side. I’m a problem solver and a doer. I might as well have a sign on my desk that says The Buck Stops Here because I’m the one they come to for help or advice. They don’t always take it, but they ask. I’ve always said it’s my job to give them advice, and their prerogative to ignore it.
Lexi: Each release is a piece of yourself in a way, and you as an author continue to put yourself/your work out there. As a male romance writer, have you noticed any trends or big changes over the past years in the romance community?
I’ve been reading romance since the 70s so some of the changes have been dramatic. The first change was away from the bodice rippers of the first decades. I’ve seen the popularity of historicals wax and wane, go from being set all over the world to the American West, then the British Isles, and finally settle into the Regency/Victorian era. Hopefully stories set in the American West are becoming more popular.
Outside my own genre, the big changes have been expanding the contemporary romance from the traditional Harlequin/Silhouette/Loveswept to settings that included time travel, futuristic, and paranormal elements. From there we had the move toward women’s fiction. The latest trend has been toward erotica. I’m sure there are those who would disagree with me or say I’ve missed lots of changes, but that’s how I see it.
Lexi: I could sit and pick your brain for hours, but there is book reading to be done. A certain historical romance is calling my name. Thank you so much for visiting with us today Leigh. Congratulations on the release of To Love and to Cherish! Stop back when you have news on Cactus Creek Cowboys #3!