Monday, August 5, 2013

Are Romance Novels True Westerns?

sex in the westSeveral of my fellow writers lament that it’s almost impossible to break into Amazon high ranking for Westerns due to Romance Novels filling all the slots. Actually, many of the top slots are held by some great Westerns, like These is my Words, The Sisters Brothers, Lonesome Dove, The Son, and All The Pretty Horses, but it’s true that the remainder of the Top100 tend to be romance, 99 cent books, or Western writers of yesteryear.

sex in the west

Romance Westerns are popular, but they’re not new. Arguably, The Virginian was the first Romance Western. After all, the hero doesn't ride off into the sunset; he marries the schoolmarm and visits Vermont to meet her family. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valancemy favorite Western movie—is a romantic story in more ways than one. As for titillating tales of the West, they've been around for ages as well.

I don’t begrudge the popularity of Romance Westerns, but I have to admit I’m jealous of their sales. Maybe that’s why I slipped a romantic theme into my latest Steve Dancy tale, The Return

Actually, I didn't do it on purpose, it was Steve who insisted.

sex in the west


  1. Interesting post. I think you may have the crux of the matter when you say the 'romance' western sells better. Maybe it is due to women buying and reading more on the whole and they do like the 'happy' ending. It allows them to dream of something better than dishes, kids, bills and car pooling. I will be interested in what others think.

  2. After reading over 100 early westerns from 1880-1915 for my own book, I can say that there is a romance in 95% of them. Andy Adams was one of the few who refused to include one.

    Today's romance writers seem to make romance the main subject of their novels, so that readers can vicariously enjoy a love affair with a handsome cowboy in all its steamy details. The tables are turned, of course, if you're a guy, and you can read what it's like to be regarded as a sex object.