After retiring from careers in the United States Air Force and civil service, E. Joe Brown began a third career as a writer. He is now an award-winning author who focuses on historical fiction and memoir. A Cowboy’s Fortune (Artemesia Publishing, January 2024) is his newest fiction release and the second book in The Kelly Can Saga set in early twentieth century Oklahoma. You’ll find Joe on his website EJoeBrown.com and Happy Trails blog, as well as on Facebook and his Amazon author page. For more about his work, read his 2022 SWW interview.
Distill the story you tell in A Cowboy’s Fortune into a few sentences.
The main characters, Charlie and Susan, are recently married and we follow them as they take charge of The Kramer Group (business empire of Walter Kramer, Susan’s father) and grow as people as they expand the business. They deal with some very bad people along the way.
For those who aren’t familiar with book one in the series, A Cowboy’s Destiny, tell us about your main character.
Charlie is a young ambitious cowboy who meets his future bride Susan as he travels across Oklahoma heading to the Miller’s 101 Ranch, the largest and most famous ranch in the state. Charlie proves himself as a cowboy, a man, and a leader at the 101.
Did your characters surprise you as you wrote their story?
Yes. I had ideas as I began, but I let my characters tell me the story as we moved through the pages.
Two books into The Kelly Can Saga, what have you found are the most challenging aspects of writing a series?
The research required to keep the story honest to the time frame as I incorporate real people into the storyline.
Is there a scene in either of your books you’d love to see play out in a movie?
Actually several. There are action scenes where Charlie shows his character, and there are scenes where you see his romantic side and Susan’s response that would jump off the screen in my opinion.
What makes this novel unique in the historical fiction market?
I don’t know of any other novel that focuses the reader on what was happening as society transitioned from ranching, farming, and rural life into what we call the Industrial Revolution. At least not in Oklahoma.
Was there anything surprising you discovered while doing research for this book?
The oil business and the overall population exploded during this exciting period in my home state of Oklahoma. After World War I many folks came West and homesteaded 160-acre parcels.
What did you learn in writing/publishing A Cowboy’s Fortune that you can apply to your future projects?
I continue to learn more about time management as an author. It takes a lot of time to write, revise, edit, and market a book.
What is the best compliment you’ve received as an author?
People have told me time and again how much the enjoy the storyline and how readable my writing style is.
Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? How do you feel about research?
I love the creative side and truly enjoy research. I’ve always enjoyed history.
What advice do you have for writers still striving for publication?
Attend conferences and conventions and meet publishers. It helps when you develop a relationship with a publisher.
What writing projects are you working on now?
I’m writing book three of at least five books in The Kelly Can Saga. I’m also working on more memoirs.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I appreciate my readers more than I have the words to express.
KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at klwagoner.com and writes about memoir at ThisNewMountain.com.