Reid Lance Rosenthal writes historical western romances. His Threads West, An American Saga series has won eight national awards including Best western (USA Book Review) Best Historical Fiction (Independent Book Publishers Association) and four awards in Romance--including Best Romance from the Indies. Few men write romance novels but the Wyoming rancher's Threads West series has been successful.
I am intrigued by universal energies. As a rancher, I am drawn by the power of the land. As a man, I am intrigued by the energy of steamy passions and the enveloping flow of heart-felt romance. “But why Romance?” question some with a raised eyebrow. Who reading this has not had a love and has not had some aspect of their lives driven by that emotion? Obviously there are many shades of romance, the dastardly and forced, the purely physical and somewhat cold, the heart hot, sparking passionate—though temporary, and the true love—deeply sensual and long-lasting. Who of us has not experienced one or more of these? And, as we all know, romantic involvement has often driven both history and life.
I muse at times whether I am a rancher who writes, or a writer who ranches. In the most simple terms, I am just me. As with all others who share this planet, I have my shining, and less illustrious sides. I am a Triple-A type personality and with that comes both the good and less than good, inherent to those who suffer the same 24-7 demeanor. Yes, I am driven. I believe dreams are but the precursors of reality. One has only to make them so. I love the land, its special energy, solitude, space, and soul succor. Alone and far from others, whispers of canyon breezes playin' oh so gentle ’cross my cheek, the smell of earth, sage, leaves and horse sweat might just be the only time I truly relax. It is those moments, high atop a windswept ridge, rifle nestled in the leather of the scabbard, that I am transported to ten thousand years ago where I am a native sojourner, clad in a hide loincloth and carrying a spear in quest of fresh meat for the clan. It is cleansing, and real, this time machine of earth energy. The hum of it brings me back full circle to my very roots as a human being. It often creates a synergy with, rather than a division from my writing. The land, its energy, moods, resources, and opportunities, always shapes the lives that play upon its stage, and that is particularly true in America, circa 1850’s. These are the feelings of which I write, and they are universal in their truth of any historical era, though unfortunately less realized today than at any other time in man's history.
Living that life has tremendous advantages in writing detail, too. I know, first-hand how the whispers of a Canyon breeze play gentle across my cheek. I am familiar with the smell of the earth, sage, last year’s leaves and horse sweat. I’ve heard the bawling of cows, smelled their sweet stench, and breathed their dust. The cool waters of creeks and streams have soothed me, the sun has kept me warm, the chill of windy winter nights have crept through my bones, and I have often experienced the wonder of stars that never end above the friendly crackle of a campfire.
Why did you decide to set Threads West, first book in the series, in Europe? Briefly tell us about the plot.
And, of course, Maps of Fate follows the evolving life threads, passions, loves, disappointments, tragedies, romances, and in some cases the pathos filled, lethal experience of the characters which the readers of Book One. Their life threads hurtle through American history towards the cloth of their destinies and still subsequent generations of the series, which begin to emerge in Book Three.
Each and every of the eight national awards the series has earned (including Best Western, 2010 USA Book Review, Best Romance 2011--Indies, and Best Historical Fiction, 2011 IBPA) and #1 best-selling, rankings in more than twelve categories and genres was a delightful shock. And the comparisons by national reviewers to Lonesome Dove, Gone with the Wind and Centennial obviously makes me smile widely (“Are they talking about my books”I ask myself incredulously). But, at the same time this increases the pressure to write the balance of the series and write it well.