Friday, March 10, 2017

Western Writers or Writing Westerns

I write about the West, some of it old, some new. All five of my adult books are set mostly or partly in Wyoming, my three kids books are set where I grew up in Nebraska. There is an old writer adage that says, write what you know. I like the idea of writing what you know, but also about where you have been. I still spend as much time as possible outside, observing and listening to nature, and anything else that flows in or out. Some of what I take in with my senses finds a way into my stories.

I love watching all sorts of wildlife and listening to anything that breaks the silence. I have found that the smell of a campfire can travel for a mile or more under the correct conditions. That made it into one of my books. A river and lake sound different and both sound wonderful in the rain. Describing the sound can be both challenging and rewarding.
Three Mule Deer - Rare Albino 2-year-old in Front

I call this site, Confessions of a Writer of Westerns, but I really don’t write westerns. Some are in that time period, but they are Historical Fiction, some I classify as Historical Mysteries. Everything I write is out west. Thus I am a western writer. I had a reader email me that read my book of Christmas stories. She had this to say, “The stories are so warm and true to life, I couldn’t put it down.” I thought well, that’s great.
Our Local View

Then she went on to say, “They sure don’t seem like westerns to me.”
In my reply I let her know that I appreciated how much she liked the stories and added, “They may not seem like westerns because they are not.”

 Most people, or maybe I should say many people, confuse the real west with the fictional wild west, where gunfights at high noon and barroom brawls were an everyday occurrence. The wild west of television series fame was a creation of Hollywood and made a good living for many pulp writers for decades. My books tell stories of the west, some old, and some modern, but they are set in a real west.
I enjoy writing about people in the west, some real and many products of my imagination all tied together. I am in the read through the proof stage now on my third kid's book, and my second historical mystery, with my legendary protagonist, Blade Holmes.

For the last few days, I am stepping a bit away from my usual stuff, but still set in the west. The book I am working on is about gardening in the West, gardening takes up much of my time when the weather cooperates. I also have a cozy mystery in the works about a Wyoming Golf Pro/amateur detective. But I will never get away from writing stories involving cowboys, ranchers, Native Indians, townspeople, soldiers and shopkeepers, all out west.
Taking a break - out with nature

Now it’s time to get back to writing and reading. 
Used this Golden Eagle for a scene in my newest novel - available next week

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