Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reid Lance Rosenthal's Threads West, An American Saga

Today I'd like to welcome Reid Lance Rosenthal, the author of Threads West, An American Saga series – Multiple #1 bestseller (Romance, Historical Romance, Western, Historical Fiction) and winner of ten National Awards including Best Western 2010 and 2012—USA Book Review, Best Historical Fiction and Best Cover Design—IBPA-2011 and Best Romance of the year from the Indies in 2011. 

It is a pleasure to be here today with you and your great readers, Katalyn! Thanks to all of you. 

Tell me a little bit about yourself. 
I'm fourth-generation land and cattle. I'm a rancher, and since slightlyF over two years ago--and much to my great delight--an author!

What do you do when you are not writing? 
Lately I'm either ranching, or writing. Sleep has been a casualty of the dual careers! On lucky days I get to pursue some of my passions – fly-fishing, riding, river drifting, hunting. 
Do you have a day job as well?
Over the last several years my “jobs” have been 20 hours a day, seven days a week. But when you're doing something you love, it's not work. 
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I decided I would write when I was nine. The story is on my website – “Why Do I Write,” I attended Colorado State for both forestry and technical journalism/editorial writing. In my teens and early 20’s I spit out some short stories which won Hartford Courant Awards, but I did not pick up the pen again to pursue my lifelong dream of writing novels until decades later. 
How did you choose the genre you write in?
I am intrigued with universal energies. What greater universal energy is there than romance-- the intrigue and steamy interactions of men and women? What area of the earth better transmits its power than the West, and who, as an American, can dispute that uniquely universal energy and History we share as Americans-- the American spirit. Historical Western Romance was a natural! 
Where do you get your ideas?
Threads West, An American Saga 16 book series is really our story. It is the story of us. The epic saga begins in 1855, spans five generations, and 170 years of history through those complex and conflicted fictional eyes. The last of the novels will be set in the real-time of the contemporary West. 
What sparked the idea for your novel?
Besides my intrigue with history, my reverence for the American spirit and my romantic cowboy nature (big smile) the storyline of the novels--the twists and turns of lives shaped by historical events and forged on the anvil the land--are the whispers of the characters themselves. 
How and why did you start writing?
I think your readers will get a kick out of that “Why I Write” story on the web site. Due to limited space here, let's just say, it's always been a dream and it is my belief that dreams are but the precursors of reality. And so it was with this labor of love. 
What is your favorite part of the series?
The books are a mixture of romance, action, history, pathos, triumph, courage and treachery. Just like life! My favorite part is usually the one I am writing at the time! 
What was the hardest part to write in the series?
I don’t consider any part of the novels or the nonfiction books that I write difficult to put on paper. It's been pointed out (much to my dismay because I didn't realize it), that many of the more steamy scenes are written from the female point of view. Not saying that's difficult – just saying! 
Hahahaha :)
What are some of your favorite authors/books?

Mila 18, Exodus, Battle Cry, and The Young Lions by Leon Uris. The Old Man and the Sea, and For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. These would be the works that I draw upon stylistically and in other ways. I have read each and every one of Louis L'Amour's Westerns; I have his entire collection. So, too, I devoured Larry McMurtry's stunning Lonesome Dove and Max McCoy's two Spur award winners, one of which is Hellfire Canyon. Each book has contributed to my own craft of words and story, style and structure, some—like Uris and Hemingway—more than others. I read many of these books for the first time of a dozen re-readings in elementary school. Many is the night I would huddle under the blankets—dim light of the flashlight I had snatched from the kitchen tool bag—fading and flickering as morning approached. I eagerly turned pages of the books, once in a while poking my head out to study the approaching light from the East, filled with youthful resentment that my reading time was coming to an end for another night. It was that time, around the age of nine, in fact, that I vowed to myself that, I, too would write novels, spin stories, transport readers into the arc of the tale, and furrow their brows with empathy for the characters. 
If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Thomas Jefferson. If you are a history buff, his quotes are phenomenal. He imparts grand worldly and timeless wisdom to a single sentence. 
What was your life like before becoming an author?
I got a lot more sleep! 
How personal is your writing?
Very personal. My books have many, many characters from many cultures, religions, and social origins. They hail from Asia, Europe, and America. They include an elderly black couple setting their life sails for the winds of freedom pre-Civil War, an Ogallala Sioux family experiencing the foreshadow of their tragically changing world. Each of the characters, whether they are the Jewish Europeans, the Mormons on the Exodus to Zion in Utah, the Ogallala Sioux, or even the scoundrels, have a bit of me in them. And they are my friends. So when a part of you is a piece of those people who live in the pages, and they are also your friends, it is very personal. 
What is your writing routine?
My biggest problem is finding a block of time to write. I can write quickly—three to five thousand words a day. The problem is finding the day! 
Which comes first: The character's story or the idea for the series?
The arc of the story and the characters are inextricably intertwined. The characters act the tale in the theater of setting, history and energy. 
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published author?
Simple. Write! 
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I really don't experience writers block. I experience time blockage! 
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I've been writing this story in my head for thirty years. I know it, and I know the players. I've learned that each author has their own formula. Mine, other than the overall description of the sixteen novels which are divided into six different time eras, is a one page chapter listing. Once I have the names and sequence of those chapters, which in some way shape or form drive the essence of each of those separate increments of plot, my outline is done. 
Can you tell me about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I lucked out. Of course I'd rather be lucky than good any day. I attended numerous conferences, with copies of my my first three paltry chapters of my very first book. I handed them out to big-name authors that I was fortunate enough to meet. Publishers called me. 
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your series or getting it published that you would change?
My journey into writing, the book world, and the book business has been punctuated by missteps, wasted time, and I'm sure wasted money. If I had to do it over I'd avoid those mistakes (I am laughing), maybe! 
What are you working on now?
Being a masochist, I am engrossed in several writing endeavors. The sixteen book Threads West epic saga will be almost 3,000,000 words when completed. The first of my three volume nonfiction work, Land for Love and Money, also a #1 bestseller and named Best Real Estate book of 2012 by USA Book Reviews to my delighted surprise, was published in 2012. The next of that series will come out this year and next. Also, I'm now represented by a great agent on a contemporary Western Romance trilogy which I hope readers will find intriguing, delightfully Western, and deliciously sizzling. But that will be up to the readers! 
Can you tell us about the upcoming book in the series?
“Uncompahgre - where water turns rock red”, the third book of the Threads West series, continues the adventure and romance of the brave men and women of 1855. This vanguard of five richly complex generations, having reached Cherry Creek—the embryonic predecessor settlement of today’s Denver--find their lives conflicted by family honor, hidden ambitions, and magnetic attractions forged in the fires of love, loss, hope, and sorrow of their rugged, tragic, yet sensual journey west from St Louis in Book 2, Maps Of Fate. Some face life decisions – return to Europe, abandoning torrid love affairs ignited during the dangerous journey across America, or settle in the untamed Uncompahgre Valley. The elderly slave couple flee for freedom. The Oglala Sioux family struggle to comprehend the assault on their lands and culture. A vicious renegade tastes the first sweet trace of potential partial redemption. New characters catapult into the fast paced, passionate pages of this ongoing historical epic. 
Is anything in your series based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
I have a distinct advantage in writing novels of the West, whether historical or contemporary. I am a rancher. I know the land, the lingo, the life, and the reality. I'm familiar with many of the places of which I write, having spent time there riding, ranching or hunting. And yes, though I won't disclose whom – there's a few of the characters in the novels which, shall we say, share nuggets of personal history with that of my family.
How did you come up with the title?
I've always been intrigued with how at the same time, but in an entirely different, very distant space, the seemingly innocuous actions of you and someone that you don't even know exists begin a chain of events which have a destiny and rendezvous. That style of writing is called converging threads. It is the style that Leon Uris excelled in. This story of us is really of the threads of many different lives from disparate social origins and vastly different cultures. These life threads are destined to weave and interweave across the landscape driven by historical events, personal relationships and the evolution of America and the West. Hence the name Threads West--and the subtitle, An American saga. America is a tapestry, not a mosaic. It is the threads of these lives which weaves the full cloth of history.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
I sure hope so! And judging by the insistent letters and emails many of the series fans, they impatiently share that hope! The schedule for publications of the various books I am working on can be found at the website, under a blog which will bring a grin to your readers’ faces, and entitled, “It's The Focus, Stupid.” 
Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I can say honestly I enjoy writing about each and every character – and there are many, both brave men, and courageous, independent women in this five generation epic saga. 
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Toughest criticism? “Your book sucks". I am laughing. I haven't heard that too awful often. Best compliment? “I love this series. When is the next book?” 
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
First, write. Get it on paper. Then don't be afraid put yourself out there. You will never see your book in print, and you will never be published whether on your own or via in a more traditional model, unless people know the manuscript and you exist. The worst they can say is no. 
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
The best I can tell the fans of the Threads West series and the Land for Love and Money nonfiction series is: first, it is an honor to write for you. Second, that you enjoy the work, get something out of it, are moved emotionally, or in the case of the nonfiction benefit financially and spiritually, is unspeakably satisfying to me. And last, but most important, a huge thanks to all of you! 
Where do you find the most inspiration to write?
My writing inspiration dovetails with the foundation of my spirit. The land. Though I can get chapters done while barreling down the highway (because I use voice recognition) or while traveling, true production does not occur unless I am in the high lonesome, home on the ranch.
If your book were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each characters part? 
There some things percolating which actually have brought this question to mind, but all that is yet another tale. It might be great, Katalyn and lots of fun for your readers, if perhaps you would sponsor a contest to see who the readers think should play the various roles of diverse male and female characters. I would be delighted to chip in some books for prizes. What say you?

I'm in for sure! I'm always in for a good contest, and what better way than to win some books!!
So that readers can get a chance to read your series and get to know your characters, let's plan a contest in a couple of weeks/months.

Which of your characters would you like to meet in person and why?
Though it may sound corny, or strange, the truth is that once I write that initial paragraph or two of a chapter that sets the scene, casts the ambience, paints the energy, I've created a portal through which I can step—soul, mind and consciousness. Once on the other side I am merely a scribe as the characters, my friends, whisper the story. I have already met and know them all. 
Thanks again for meeting with me, Reid. It's been a pleasure to get to know you better, and find out more about your series. 
It has been a treat, Katalyn! Great questions. Thanks much for the invite!

Find out more about Reid at:



View the book trailers: 

Threads West Book Trailer:

Maps of Fate Book Trailer:


  1. Replies
    1. thanks much, leslie :-)...and if you think you can't wait for the next novel--make that 1000x for me! Book 3 has been an interesting journey!

  2. Replies
    1. thanks for taking the time to peruse, KR! and glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Excellent interview and advice, Reid. Can't wait for the next in the series. I will weigh in on that contest, when it time, too!

    1. Hey Annie--glad you got a grin from the Q and A=-- and yep, the contest will be a blast--Katalyn will be getting out the word :-) And Book 3 is a-comin!

  4. Great interview, Reid. Your next book sounds awesome. I enjoyed reading about what motivates you. Thanks for sharing.

  5. My pleasure Sandy :-)...and though as a biased author, I would have to agree with your pre pub thoughts on book 3--let's see what ya think when that last page is turned !

  6. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by, and to Leslie, KR, Annie, and Sandy for commenting. I'll definitely work with Reid in the near future on a contest. :o)

  7. Good interview and like the questions...the contest sounds like fun! Can't wait to get book 3 in my hands, like all your other fans.