We all keep hearing it. "The Western is dead". "No one reads Westerns anymore, except for old folks."
Well, that just isn't true, although Johnny Depp and Disney have probably done more to kill off the Western movie with their truly awful Lone Ranger movie than a hundred bad books. It was a disaster at the box office, and deservedly so.
But, back to writing Westerns, especially for younger readers. Kids do still read, despite the distractions of computers, video games, organized sports, growing up too fast, and so on and so on. However, you have to write what kids want to read. It's especially hard to write stories that will interest boys. This is where the Western novel fills the bill perfectly. A good Western has plenty of action, which is the main thing boys look for. There's riding, fist fights, laughs, and of course shooting and gunfights, which boys weaned on shoot -'em -up video games eat up. So you've already got something that will appeal to a lot of boys.
Then, you add in a suspenseful plot, usually make the hero, or one of them, a boy of fifteen or a bit younger, and toss that kid into the middle of the action. You sneak in some history, and the reader has a learning experience without even realizing it.
And that's another reason I write Westerns. Too much has been forgotten about the heritage of our own country. Everything nowadays is diversity, and respect for other cultures. That's all well and good, but in too many cases we've neglected, or even worse, made the people who settled the United States and Canada out to be the bad guys. Diversity has to include everyone, and that includes the people who settled our countries and made them great. So I write Westerns to help keep our heritage and history alive. If they're entertaining, and enjoyable to read, then I've done my job. I hope some of you agree with me that I have.