Saturday, October 8, 2011

Interview on “Page One” - Reid Lance Rosenthal

Reid is fourth generation land and cattle proprietor. His cowboy heart and poet’s pen captures the spirit
 of the western landscape and its influence on generations of its settlers. His long-standing devotion to wild and remote places, and to the people—both past and present—who leave their legend and footprint upon America and the American West is the inspiration and descriptive underpinning of all of his writing.

“If your mind and spirit are seduced by images of windswept ridge tops, flutters of aspen leaves caressed by a canyon breeze, and the crimson tendrils of dying sun…if your fingers feel the silken pulse of a lover and your lips taste the deep kisses of building passion…if nostrils flare with the conjured scents of gunpowder and perfume, sage brush and pine, and your ears delight in the murmur of river current…if your heart pounds at the clash of good and evil and with each twist and turn of interwoven lives you feel a primal throb, then I have accomplished my mission.”
 "The last time I fell madly in love with a Western historical saga, the title was Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry; it won a Pulitzer in 1986. The splendor and adventure of Threads West, An American Saga, Novel One, has now surpassed my long-ago love affair with McMurtry's Western saga. Reid L. Rosenthal, cowboy and rancher, has written a novel that spirited me away to the 1850s-1860s era and provided me with gripping hours of authentic Western history, action, drama, heartfelt romance and something extra special and seldom seen in literature of this caliber: well-written, sizzling sensuality. What separates a good novel from a great one? I close a good novel and feel satisfied. When I close a great novel, like this one, I feel sad that there are no more pages to read. From the first time each character appears in the book to the last time they fade from the pages, I was immersed in the personal stories of the heroes, the heroines, the bad guys, the powerful, the vulnerable, and the brave. I cared about their lives and loves, strengths and weaknesses, and their strife and successes. As they head for their compelling shared and undiscovered destinies, their paths unfurl like a Western sunrise in this new saga of the American West. The Threads West series opens with a bang and closes with a promise of more excitement to come. The story of these enduring characters is destined to stamp its imprint on the spirit and heritage of readers' hearts. The writing is incredible. I'll leave you with this small taste from Reid L. Rosenthal's pen: Dawn on the day of departure was a brilliant palette of indigo in retreat to the west and blossoming fire orange to the east. The Mississippi had a slight chop from the morning wind, the surface ripples reflecting the burgeoning day in a shimmer of color. Five stars are not enough. One book is not enough. Let there be more Threads West. Soon!"  --Eve Paludan, editor, publisher, No Tree Publishing, and Twice #1 writers digest national best selling author of The Romance Writer's Pink Pages, Letters from David, and (Pending) The Man Who Fell from the Sky.

"The book is riveting and the story line captivating. I didn't want to put the book down once I was started. I have never read Romance or Western novels and I thought this read would be a stretch for me but as I got into the story I immediately became engaged and found myself immersed in each word as the tale, the characters and their lives unfolded." --Karen Mayfield, Msc.CC, National bestselling author of Wake Up Women BE Happy Healthy & Wealthy, and co-creator for Wake up Women book series
"Diverse characters interwoven with highly visual prose flow into a journey of gathering suspense. One senses the tightening thread that binds them will unravel with both delicious and devastating results. Rosenthal delivers!"  JOSEPHINE ELLERSHAW, -#1 International Best Selling Author - UK/US/CN Where did you grow up and who were your influences?
Reid Lance Rosenthal: The energy of land inspires my writing. The land is an integral part of my soul, and the foundation of virtually all of my passions. My primary genre, though, will be romance. Why? Romance is of passion and personal interaction; constants which wind throughout all our lives. The weave of western relationships is always the land. The intertwined twists of ranch and romance are fascinating threads which define the men and women of the West. The foundation of my stories is such reality. There is intrigue, adversity, vicious duplicity and triumph that few know of, but which are always at play beneath the idyllic mosaics of inviting canyons and sun drenched plains., I was a voracious reader as a youngster. Flashlights under the covers at three am, and that whole scene.  

I have been influenced by many great authors, Crane, Hemingway, Uris (whose brilliant themes of converging threads of lives have had major affect on my presentation in my novels) McMurtry, L'Amour and Max McCoy, particularly as to his dazzling, principled dedication to historical context. Along the way I have been blessed to have great teachers and mentors, too many to mention here, save one. Thank you to Mrs Jane Karsten, my independent study creative writing teacher in my junior and senior high school years. It is she who whispered incessantly in my ear, sometimes kindly, at others more cajoling..."you can do must do this.. it is your calling." Why do you write?
Reid Lance Rosenthal: I write to share my mind's image and my love of and respect for the land, my heart convictions, and my sense of passion and principle with others. I first wrote creatively when I was nine, at thirty thousand feet. The family was winging its way to the National Park on St. Johns, U.S. Virgin Islands, for a week of camping, exploring, and snorkeling to celebrate my sister's fourth birthday. A mongoose ate my sister’s cake, but that is yet another tale. That morning, overwhelmed with the excitement of my first ride on silver wings, I made my first entry. I  gazed in awe out the plane window, and wrote madly with one of those old style bic pens, the ones with the very thick dark blue ink lines. Cotton ball clouds cast flitting shadows on the emerald corduroy of sea far below., Later, I read my thoughts to the class. I could feel the words transport my audience. Their rapt attention startled me. It was my epiphany. The penning of descriptive scenes and feelings was not an assignment, or work. It was a release for me and a sharing with others. The story, the telling of the tale caught my heart, captured my imagination, and gave me a sense of satisfaction different than any other.

It was at that moment, in fourth grade one sunny winter day many years ago, I made myself a promise. I am not much for breaking promises, and though many years past when I originally intended, I am finally fulfilling that oath a young boy, wide eyed with realization, made to himself so long ago. Briefly discuss your new book THREADS WEST, AN AMERICAN SAGA . 
Reid Lance Rosenthal:  This first book and namesake of the six-novel series is being compared by reviewers and authors to Lonesome Dove and Centennial. I am very flattered!  The tale is filled with the adventure, romance and promise of historical America and the West. 

The epic saga of Threads West begins in 1855 with the first of four richly-textured, complex generations of unforgettable characters.  The separate lives of these driven men and independent women are drawn to a common destiny that beckons seductively from the wild and remote flanks of the American West.  They are swept into the dangerous currents of the far-distant frontier by the mysterious rivers of fate, the power of the land and the American spirit. Threads West is of adventure, romance and the West wrapped in a silver bolo of the promise of America. This is our story. You are a rancher and cowboy so I won't ask "why do you like the western/romance/historical genre" but I will ask you what MAKES the THREADS WEST series  different from other's in the same genre?

Reid Lance Rosenthal: There are many fine westerns, western romances and historical westerns out there. I am incredibly flattered that reviewers, best selling authors, and readers alike are comparing the book to Lonesome Dove and Centennial, and that it has even been referred to as the Gone With The Wind of the West. In fact I am pleasantly stunned.
Threads West is perhaps different from all those classic works in several respects.  Its first generation of characters are of uncommon origin, all but one being from Europe.  This vanguard of brave souls is truly the foundation of this tale of the West and a nation on the cusp of greatness. The first novel begins a saga that will span almost 170 years from the rough and tumble of the 1850's frontier to the complex ranch and agrarian society of the Contemporary West.  There is, again in the words of reviewers and readers, an "exquisite sensuality" not found often, or at all in most western genre in my humble opinion.
Finally, I believe folks are being swept away by this book because its characters are real, far from the stereotypical personalities many expect in a "western". They have both strength and weakness, they wrestle with complex inner conflicts, and they interrelate with one another with the same believable realism, at times less than pleasant--as we all find in life outside fiction. THREADS WEST begins in 1855 - Did you research for this historical setting and time? If so, How?
Reid Lance Rosenthal: Wow! Did I research this.  It was bigger task than I anticipated.  Though I thought I was familiar with this magical moment in American history, I was mistaken.  1855 may be one of the most difficult single years to write of in the history of this country and the West that I have experienced.  The great westward migration was in its infancy. The later turmoil between the Northern and Southern states was just beginning to darken the whispered rhetoric of both sides. Native Americans had rightfully lost trust in the promises of the white men. The Indian Treaties of the years prior, and indeed the compacts between the states as to abolition, had all been broken by one or the other party just within the previous twelve to twenty-four months.  This was the year just prior to the discovery of gold in Colorado, the real precipitator of the tidal wave of westward migration that began in 1858. The Singer sewing machine had just been invented, revolvers were only years old, and the repeating rifle was still just a few years out. It was the year the world, and America breathed in, held their collective breath and readied to exhale with a rush towards the great plains and Rockies.
I was assisted by several researchers to whom I gave very specific tasks.  They are acknowledged as to their contributions in the enhanced Ebook form under Additional Acknowledgements.  In addition, I drew on scores of printed and web sources, and several great non fiction and memoir historical works of that very specific time period., It was fascinating, immensely rewarding, and I hope affords historical texture of a macro depth, detail and scope not typically found in historical western novels. It was a time of both promise and fear, and the beginnings of the second great European immigration, a critical frame just prior to the switch of reels in the living movie of American history; Reel one, the East. Reel two, the West. Who is Johannes Svenson? Sarah Bonney? Zebbariah Taylor ?
Reid Lance Rosenthal: Johannes Svenson was tall, lean and blonde. He was both irreverent and charming, and his military service in the Danish Heavy Calvary instilled in him a worldly, quiet but mischievous confidence. Roguish, adventurous, restless, he and his life are adrift. But Johannes, in his search to find himself, was about to be swept into the swift unknown currents of a rugged foreign landscape by the mysterious cascade of destiny.

Sarah had made her choice. Following the death of her mother the old world held little promise. The glowing letters from her aunt already in America, an ambition and wonder that could be satiated only by exploration, and a strange pull which flowed from the unknown continent across the sea was about to collide with the realities of life, and personalities more experienced and far less innocent than hers.
Zebbariah Taylor was weathered, wiry and wily in the ways of the wilderness. His solitude was of stands of quaking aspens, sun drenched canyons, gurgles of rushing high country creeks and the still waters of beaver ponds which provided the pelts that kept him in supplies. Zeb was not much partial to people, intensely disliked settlements and towns and distrusted most who shared his skin color. His few friends were some of the Arapahoe and Shawnee with whom he traded. Unknown to him the path of tough leathery loner would inexplicably intersect with the life journeys of others, resulting in generational influences far more broad and long term than his lone wolf nature could have ever foreseen. THREADS WEST, AN AMERICAN SAGA  BOOK ONE looks to be a successful series/franchise for you - If Hollywood called today and asked you to cast the film version who would you cast and WHY? 
Reid Lance Rosenthal: Frankly, I would be thrilled to see this epic saga portrayed in the stunning audio and visual of a great film or series. But one step at a time. First, the book just now coming out in print on October 12 (, and then the next steps.  Plot or Character? Which do you feel is more important and why?

Reid Lance Rosenthal: The over arcing essence of the plot is consistent, and will flow through to successive generations of characters, more than thirty eight in all, over the course of the series. This is the tale of personalities of uncommon origins, disparate motivations, their life threads none-the-less destined to weave into the tapestry of an emerging nation, and an untamed West. I cannot identify a single character that is more or less important than another. All have their roles in the story, each has his or her contribution to the tale, the conflict, the triumph, and the romance of their interactions. Together they constitute the foundation of the entire series, their progeny destined, like their predecessors to fight, love, cry, fail and succeed inextricably intertwined with one another and the energy of the vast lands of the Rockies. THREADS WEST is already generating major comparison's to the iconic best selling Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove series - How do you feel about that?

Reid Lance Rosenthal: I discuss this a bit above.  I am both gratified and extremely flattered (not to mention a bit in delighted shock) to have my work, much lest my debut novel compared to any great book by any standout author, much less those like Lonesome Dove, Gone with the Wind and Centennial, which in my mind comprise the very top of the bar of this literary genre. I find the whole surprise inspirational. It makes me want to write, to tell the rest of this story, and to do it in a way that reaches out and touches readers, makes them care for these characters, tingle at the passion of the plot, palpably sense the power and energy of the land, and feel a beat of pride as they recall through the tale our roots as a people, a country, and the unique spirit of America that is the glue that binds us all.  When can readers expect Book Two?,

Reid Lance Rosenthal: Book Two, Maps of Fate is already in the writing and I, and my publisher, Rockin''' SR Publishing are shooting to deliver the enhanced Ebook to all my great readers and Threads West fans in January 2011, the print copy coming soon thereafter. Excerpts and overview of the second novel of the series in fact follow the end of Book One in the Threads West paperback and Ebook. It will be action packed,  passion and romance filled but with scenes that will undoubtedly bring tears to readers, as they do me when I simply pen the story the characters are whispering to me as I write. It will span an approximate twenty year period, to about 1875. It's ending will, as does Book One, leave the readers, and the characters (who will include both new personalities from uncommon origins, and some of the next generation) at a point in the saga which is simultaneously conclusion and suspension that segues into Book Three, North to Wyoming  anticipated in late spring/early summer 2011. What was the last book you read?
Reid Lance Rosenthal: I must admit, Threads West!  :-) What's next?
Reid Lance Rosenthal: Along with Threads West, An American Saga, Books Two and Three over the next six months, I will be completing my narrative non fiction book, Land for Love and Money, an entertaining anecdotal instruction for owners and wannabe owners of all types, sizes and facets of land in North America. The work is based on my long time ownership and career in lands in numerous states, three countries and two continents over the past forty years. Do you have any hobbies? What are they? How do they enhance your writing?

Reid Lance Rosenthal: My hobbies, like my writing are more than hobbies, they are passions, a heat that flows from my soul...and all find their source in the land.  Hunting, fly fishing, river floating, horse back riding, and skiing the steep deep and extreme terrain of the Rockies are among a few. It is this perpetual dance with the land that indelibly prints mind scenes which later find their way to paper, remembered strokes of a natural brush to share with my readers transporting them to a moment. I sincerely hope they enjoy it thoroughly!

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