Saturday, July 9, 2011

Publisher Gives Author Free Rein in New Western Book


Surprising everyone, Moonlight Mesa publisher Becky Coffield, gave Western author Jere D. James free rein in his forthcoming title, High Country Killers. Coffield has been adamant that the Westerns published by Moonlight Mesa must be "traditional" in terms of language and sexuality. However, to say FREE rein might be a bit overstating.

"I still don't want much for bad language in the books," Coffield said, "but I think a bit more "intimacy" wouldn't hurt. I was worried about Apache and the relationship between the Indian and the woman, but Apache has been an outrageously popular book. People really have liked it. So, maybe I shouldn't be quite so concerned."

In any event, James' new book will get the same close scrutiny as his other titles. "If it gets to be too too much, I'll ask him to tone it down, but what I've read so far in the first few chapters is totally acceptable, yet still a bit suggestive and racy."

"I feel like I'm on probation," James said, laughing. "I'd like to juice the books up a bit. Makes it more interesting for me, too. After I read Silici's great romance (A Way in the Wilderness) that Becky published, I thought, Hey! I can go at least this far! I loved writing Apache because I could write more like a man, and not so much like a pollyanna. I tested things quite a bit in Canyon of Death, too, in the relationship between Betsy and Jake. That got real interesting."

James went on to say, "If I could involve Jake Silver with other women, I think that'd really add to the books, but I know there's a big Betsy fan base out there who don't want to see that. I'll just have to see how things go in the new book."

James is setting High Country Killers in the high country of northern Arizona. The book will be out by mid-2012 if all goes well.


A big debate has continued for several weeks around the Moonlight Mesa office. The question being debated is, do readers prefer Westerns written by men rather than written by women? Two are adamantly saying yes, and two are just as adamant in arguing no.

We're taking the argument to our readership here: do you prefer Westerns written by men or women? Hope you'll help us out.

"I just have to think that readers prefer Westerns written by men, unless the book is a romance," said Coffield. "I think people don't think women know enough about guns and fighting to be believable. Many women DO know about guns and fighting, but I suspect more don't."

"It's the same with suspense writing. By and large, men are the preferred authors when it comes to suspense. You'll never convince me otherwise...unless you have some pretty darned good proof. Just citing one popular author's success won't do it."

Renee Witty disagrees, however, claiming that the world has changed and men and women are pretty much considered equal nowadays. And the argument goes on.

Give us your opinion. We'd like to hear from you! Do you prefer Westerns written by men or women?

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