From danger to integrity, Maisey Yates talks about why we have an enduring love for cowboys and why they make such fascinating romantic heroes!
The appeal of the modern-day cowboy seems to be enduring. The readers who love them are from all walks of life — from Texas to NYC, women who are still at university and women who are retired. Sometimes men working night shifts in convenience stores! — and I suspect the reasons these readers are drawn to the cowboy as a hero are as unique as those experiences. I often ask my readers what they love about cowboys, and I always love reading their answers. They usually vary, but there are some common themes.
He’s a man who works the land, a man who is, in many ways, out of step with the pace of the modern world. Commuter trains and rush hour traffic don’t dictate his schedule. A billionaire hero might have a helicopter to bypass those things, but a cowboy wouldn’t need to anyway.
He makes his own way.
He’s the one cutting the trails on his vast expanse of the land, setting his own course for the day ahead. But he’s not the master of that land, and he knows it. He’s a steward of it, and that’s where that core of honour runs, so deep and strong inside him.
He gets up with the sun, and he finishes work when it goes down. His work changes with the seasons. That’s the great magic of the cowboy hero: he’s comfortable, and he’s dangerous too.
While cowboy heroes might have all those salt-of-the-earth qualities, they also have that slightly dirty, gritty edge to them. The cowboy is tethered to his ranch seven days a week. But at night, there’s opportunity for whiskey and women, and often the cowboy hero is totally up for that. I think in many ways cowboy heroes are the ultimate in having your cake and eating it too. Country boys, born and bred. Good on the farm, better in bed.
“That’s the magic of the cowboy hero: he’s comfortable, and he’s dangerous too.”
Of course, there are cowboy romances where the door stays firmly closed, or there is no sex at all. For me, I come back to the words my readers often use when I ask them what they love most about cowboys: Cowboys are sexy. My readers like things on the sexy side, so my books leave the door open!
I’ve written cowboy heroes that fall all over that spectrum: from the very loyal cowboy who takes love and sex too seriously to play those kinds of games (Eli Garrett from Part Time Cowboy, Connor Garrett from Brokedown Cowboy, and Grant Dodge from the forthcoming A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas) to the laid-back guy who just wants to have a good time and wants every woman who passes through his bed to have a good time too (Jack Monaghan from Bad News Cowboy, Ace Thompson from One Night Charmer, and Luke Hollister from Smooth-Talking Cowboy).
Cowboys are traditionally masculine. They’re men of integrity and honour. They’re hard workers. They’re men who respect women. Those qualities will always endure, and I think cowboys will too.