20 Questions with Rosanne Bittner: Getting to Know Your Favorite (or soon to be new Favorite!) Author

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

20 Questions with Rosanne Bittner: Getting to Know Your Favorite (or soon to be new Favorite!) Author

I’d almost forgotten how much I loved historical romances . . . I hadn’t read one in forever. Where had they gone, all but swallowed in a sea of plaid and ball gowns? One of my first loves was the Western, watching Bonanza, Have Gun Will Travel, and Maverick as a child, getting lost in Lonesome Dove and How the West Was Won. John Wayne, with his iconic saunter, was my hero. Thank you, Rosanne Bittner, for reminding me.

Rosanne and I started out in romance together (okay, she had a head start and was kind enough to mentor me) with the same publisher, Zebra, when westerns ruled a sprawling romance backdrop. We were ‘80s ladies. Our covers toted cactus, six guns, and half-shed prairie dresses. Our heroes were tough, gritty men and our women (and readers) loved them with a fierce determination. Then the publishing landscape changed, as it always will, brushing off the sand and searing sun to move to Regency London and modern million dollar lofts making the western into one of its ghost towns. Thank goodness for the return of the backlist to bring readers – and authors! – back to that first love. And leading the charge is the Romantic Times dubbed “Queen of Western Romance,” Rosanne Bittner with OUTLAW HEARTS.

Give a big “Yee Yah” and welcome back Rosanne Bittner as she takes on my getting to know you 20 Questions . . .

1. Blue jeans or party dress? Always blue jeans over a party dress! But I’m still a party girl, so the jeans have to be worn with lots of “glitz!”

2. Spa or gym workout? A spa day over a gym workout. I’d rather be pampered than sweat my buns off!

3. Early bird or night owl? I am definitely an early bird. Up at 5:00 am every morning, even if I’ve been writing till 2:00 a.m. that same morning.

4. TV at home or movie night out? Prefer TV at home so I can lie around in my PJ’s while watching a movie.

5. 5 words you’d use to describe yourself? Passionate, energetic, opinionated, dreamer, hard worker. 

6. What would you do if you had a free afternoon? I would just sit in my garden and watch the birds and rabbits or put earbuds in and listen to my favorite music (which is sound tracks from big, big classic westerns – or really, really good Christian music like the Gaithers – or Bon Jovi. I know, that’s a really wide range!

7. Your favorite book(s) from childhood? All the Nancy Drew books – most favorite of all is A LANTERN IN HER HAND by Bess Streeter Aldrich. An unforgettable story about a woman who gives up her dreams and follows her husband to Nebraska when there was virtually nothing there but tall grass. It’s a very memorable, tear-jerker love story.

8. Something quirky about you? I love to “doodle,” especially filling in the holes in words on things where it doesn’t matter if I mess it up – like filling in the “o’s” in “doodle.” I also love to color in coloring books because again, I’m “filling in” something. Yes, I’m weird.

9. Favorite comfort food? Dark, dark chocolate, especially with almonds in it. 

10. Fiction hero you’d would run off with? My beloved Jake Harkner. I ran off with him 22 years ago and we’re still together.

11. Favorite books I could read over and over? This sounds like bragging but it really isn’t – to this day if I pick up one of my Savage Destiny books to check something out, I end up reading it all over again – any of them from #1 to #7. I wrote those books over 30 years ago and to this day they are still my best sellers and when I read them I feel like someone else wrote them. I have no memory of how or when I wrote them myself or how I managed to follow so much history so well. They read like Michener’s CENTENNIAL. The other book I can’t ever put down is my own OUTLAW HEARTS, which is why being able to write the sequel DO NOT FORSAKE ME meant so much to me. And now I’m writing a third “Jake” book that’s coming in 2016 – LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE. I can’t get enough of Jake.

12. Plotter or free range pantser? Definitely free range pantser. I don’t do outlines or synopses. I tell my editor in one paragraph or so what the book will be about and after over 60 books she knows I’ll come up with a good story. I don’t even worry about the required goal, motivation and conflict. Those things just naturally come into play as I write.

13. Live to write or write to live? It has ALWAYS been “live to write.” For years I worked full time so that was my income, but then the writing income became primary and I quit to write full time. However, I would write for nothing just to be able to share my stories with others. I love, love, love writing. It is never work to me. It’s a pleasure, and it sometimes affects me emotionally because I tend to take on the emotions of my characters. They become very real to me and I can’t wait to get back to the computer and re-join them.

14. Do you have a set writing schedule? No. I “cram” write – Every spare moment. Mostly I write into the wee hours of the morning because that’s when it’s the most quiet and when the best ideas come.

15. How do you get back on the horse after a rejection? I had probably 100 rejections “back in the day” when I first tried writing. They made me very angry because I knew they were good stories, so I just kept sending out and sending out over and over. I wrote one book after another and had them all out there circulating all the time until I finally sold the 9th book I had written – which became my classic SAVAGE DESTINY 7-book series.

16. First person you call when I get a sale? My husband of 50 years. He has put up with a lot and lives like a widower when I’m writing. He’s a very patient, very honest, very good man.

17. What’s your biggest hurdle to getting words on the page? None. I can’t write fast enough to spill out all the books I want to write. I did go a few years without selling anything but that was because I was trying other genres. Once I decided to go back to what I love the most – the “Old West,” I pumped out a book in two months and sold it within another month. I’ve never gone back to trying other genres.

18. How do I get in the mood to write “those” scenes? Oh, Lord, I’m usually so in love with my hero that I can hardly wait to WRITE those scenes!! Pretty embarrassing to say, but I’m not writing “about” the heroine. I AM the heroine and loving every minute of it!!

19. What’s on your desk? A lot of junk. My laptop should be on my desk but for some reason I end up writing on my kitchen table. I feel like I am closer to my poor lonely husband who is nearby in the living room watching TV. And for years I never had an office and sat up into the wee hours writing in the kitchen. I guess I can’t quite get over that habit. It just feels natural and more comfortable.

20. What’s next? My next book is out right now – OUTLAW HEARTS (June 2015) and DO NOT FORSAKE ME (July 2015). Next will be “Jake” #3 – LOVE’S SWEET REVENGE – in September 2016. In between, THUNDER ON THE PLAINS will be reissued in mass paperback in September 2015 – WILDEST DREAMS will be reissued in mass paperback in December 2015 – and all 7 of my SAVAGE DESTINY books are now available from Amazon in print with new covers! For those of you who have old copies of those books that are falling apart, or those of you new readers who have never read the series, you can finally get them in print again – and all my books are available as e-books also.

Be sure to check out my Website and my Blog for the latest happenings and what’s coming. I am also on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest and a zillion other social networking sites. Enjoy!

Outlaw Hearts
by Rosanne Bittner
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBook | Kobo Books | All Romance
Genre: Historical Western Romance
Release June 2, 2015
Published by: Sourcebooks
Length: 576 Pages

Fall in love with the epic, sweeping romance of Bittner's beloved Outlaw Hearts, called by New York Times bestseller, Heather Graham, "a wonderful, absorbing read, with characters to capture the heart and the imagination."

United by chance, bound by fate, consumed by passion.

Miranda Hayes has lost everything-her family, her husband, her home. Orphaned and then widowed, desperate to find a safe haven, she sets out to cross a savage land alone...until chance brings her face-to-face with notorious gunslinger Jake Harkner.

Hunted by the law and haunted by a brutal past, Jake has spent a lifetime fighting for everything he has. He's never known a moment's kindness...until fate brings him to the one woman willing to reach past his harsh exterior to the man inside. He would die for her. He would kill for her. He will do whatever it takes to keep her his.

Spanning the dazzling West with its blazing deserts and booming gold towns, Jake and Miranda must struggle to endure every hardship that threatens to tear them apart. But the love of an outlaw comes with a price...and even their passion may not burn bright enough to conquer the coming darkness.

About Rosanne Bittner

Aptly title THE QUEEN OF WESTERN ROMANCE at the 2015 RT Convention, USA Today bestseller and award-winning novelist Rosanne Bittner is highly acclaimed for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity. Her epic romances span the West—from Canada to Mexico, Missouri to California—and are often based on Rosanne’s personal visits to each setting.

Rosanne's stories are deep love stories, often family sagas told as a series. It is the hero and heroine’s love that holds them together through the trials and tribulations of settling America’s western frontiers. Rosanne absolutely love the Rockies, the Tetons, the Sierras, and the wide-open plains, prairies and desert land west of the Mississippi. In her books, she strives to tell the truth about the settling of the West and how it affected our American Indians, as well as the gritty depth of what our brave pioneers suffered in their search for free land and a better life.

Rosanne lives with her husband and two sons in Michigan and is a member of the Nebraska and Oklahoma Historical Societies, her local southwest Michigan historical society, Women Writing the West, Mid-Michigan Romance Writers of America, the national RWA, National Rifle Association and a local charity group called the Coloma Lioness Club. 

My Review

In reading OUTLAW HEARTS, Rosanne's re-release and introduction to two new books following the same gutsy hero and heroine, I found everything that makes a historical work – the larger-than-life stoic hero with a dark past, the determined heroine forced from naiveté into survival mode by tragic circumstance, the gritty, gun-toting, tobacco-spitting, cuss-word tossing streets only the brave (or foolish) dared tread after dark, and the miles and miles and miles of nothing but the lonesome howl of a raw, unbroken land. Her prose pulls you into that world with meticulous but non-intrusive detail until you feel the callouses, smell the scorch of coffee over an open fire, experience the freedom, exhaustion and sheer terror of taming a wild and unpredictable west. Now, I find myself eager to shake the dust off my own Dana Ransom books and get back in the Western saddle.

Y’all come back next month when we celebrate the release of DO NOT FORSAKE ME, the next book in the trilogy, by interviewing Jake and Miranda Harkner!!


  1. Wow. Great interview, Ladies. The first Rosanne Bittner book I read was "Love Me Tomorrow." I want to echo what Nancy said in her review about Rosanne's prose pulling you into the world of her novel. That's what I experienced too. When Rosanne autographed the book for me, I remember telling her that her writing made the story seem so real that I felt I was right there with her characters on the trail, experiencing everything they did. She thanked me--and I think she blushed. :)

  2. Great interview. I always want to ask a million questions at our meetings, but feel pushy to do it. Thanks for answering the POV question--it is Rosanne.

  3. Wonderful to finally get the fangirl moment here and read more about you. Like Rohn, I've been a fan and wanted to know all the information! I'm so glad that westerns are back in vogue! All the best!

  4. A big thank you to Nancy Gideon for posting this and to everyone else for your great comments! And yes, Nancy and I go way back to the days when western romance was huge! Now it's coming back, and that's just fine with me. I hope Nancy tries another one because she's so good at it. I am already 300 pages into "Jake" #3! Can't get away from this man, but it's also the kind words from my fans that keep me going back to the computer. Happy reading to all!

  5. Jake sounds like the kind of badboy hero I love to meet & I enjoy a good authentic western romance. Added Outlaw Hearts to my tbr list. Great interview!