I’m glad to be part of Nocturnal Nights. I write as Josie Malone for BookStrand and under what the kids call my real name, Shannon Kennedy for realistic young adult fiction.
I am a writer. I have always been a story-teller. It’s a family tradition. I remember my grandmother as the queen of pithy comments who served putdowns at her Sunday dinners, along with her pot roast. Grandma never swore. It wasn’t ladylike, but insulting someone’s intelligence, morality, behavior, manners and children or mate was an art form. Grandma ran the Pine Tree Tavern below First Avenue in downtown Seattle, and kept a “cuss jar” for her clientele. Funds collected from the foul language paid for the annual Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas party at the bar, while the leftover money went to Children’s Hospital in Seattle.
I started writing down Grandma’s stories as a young teen although I knew nothing about the techniques or mechanics of what would become my passion. Most listeners, my parents, my aunts, uncles, cousins squirmed at her turn of a phrase. I always admired Grandma’s use of language. When I graduated from high school, I was determined to be a writer. My creative writing teacher had told me I had talent and suggested college. I came from a poor, single-parent household, and higher education wasn’t possible. No one in our extended family had ever attended college. The girls got married and the boys went to work.
Over the years, I wrote books, studied my craft, rewrote my books. I sold magazine articles and two young adult novels. And then I wrote another romance. I love to watch a story unfold on the pages. Nothing compares with the feeling of success when I read my words in a newspaper, magazine or between the covers of a paperback. It’s the writing that matters most of all. I agree with other writers who say if they never published again, it would not matter – only the writing does.
In 2010, BookStrand bought one of my romances, A Man’s World, a historical about a woman who masquerades as a man in the old West. Later that summer, they bought a second book, a contemporary about a divorced mom who runs a pony farm and falls in love with her new horseshoer. The teenage dream I had of being a romance novelist came true, even if Grandma never saw it, but she always believed in me.
Grandma’s love of language was the legacy she passed on to me. As she told me more than once, “Your words have power. Use it wisely. Don’t shout when a whisper will do.” So, when I chose a pen name for my romances, I opted for part of hers as a tribute. Josie Malone.
A Woman’s Place came out April 3rd and it was a fun book to write since it was a spin-off of the first book I did for BookStrand, A Man’s World. In that historical western romance, Trace Burdette masqueraded as a man, fooling everyone but new neighbor, ruggedly handsome Zebadiah Prescott. With their love on the line, they had to deal with the past and the outlaw who killed her grandfather and stalked her. By the time that A Woman’s Place begins, Trace and Zeb have been married for just over six months when renegades rob the bank she owns in the town of Junction City.
So, our hero, Rad Morgan, the marshal of Junction City sets off to capture the miscreants. Along the way, he meets his match, and Iraqi War veteran/homicide detective Beth Chambers takes no prisoners. She’ll fit right into 1888 Washington Territory. Of course, I had to figure out how to get a woman from 2012 to the Old West and why she was even there, but that was part of the adventure and the paranormal elements kept escalating. Much to Rad’s initial dismay, Beth and Trace become fast friends.
I suppose growing up on a pony farm, reading Louis L’Amour novels with my grandfather and still teaching horsemanship after all these years made writing western romances a natural fit for me. I adore my cowboys and the sassy cowgirls who harass them – and love them. I live and work on the family farm so when I’m doing stock chores, teaching riding lessons, training horses, working at my day job as a substitute teacher, I also plan out my books. I have to think of something when I shovel horse stuff in the stalls or dump muck buckets. By the time I hit the computer at night, I usually have the scene that I want to write ready to go in my mind. And I try to write every night – from 8PM to 2AM if I don’t have to go to school. If I do, then I stop around midnight.
I have two different websites so if you like cowboys and western romances, pop in for a visit at www.josiemalone.com or if you’re ready to go to Stewart Falls, see me at www.shannonkennedybooks.com
Either way, it was good to meet you!
Shannon Kennedy / Josie Malone