For this novel, I wanted to write something on a par with some of my other recent novels such as Great Lonesome. For the premise of this story, I present a main character who decides he must follow his conscience when he discovers that his boss has expanded his cattle ranch through crooked activity.
As a consequence of his decision, the main character ends up working and visiting among the humbler folk such as farmers and hardscrabble homesteaders. In the end, he has to defend himself against a serious and lethal attack from the people who want to maintain their control.
One way that I have of writing a new story is to go to a new locale and think of the story that will take place there. For this story, I went to an area near the places where I had set a couple of other stories, in an isolated, interior country north of the Cheyenne River and west of the old Cheyenne-to-Deadwood stage route. I stayed overnight at my retreat near the Rawhide Buttes, where the old route used to go, and the next day I took a long day trip to see some country I had not seen before. As sometimes happens, I drove here and drove there, and at one point a scene opened up, and I could imagine a significant part of my story taking place there. I took notes, as is my habit, and I took pictures. I went back to my cabin and spent another evening, to reinforce my impressions and to work more on the story line.
I wrote the novel in my usual way, and when I was revising the final draft for submission, I reviewed the objectives I had stated for myself, which, in summary, was to write something that mattered. I felt that I had done all right. The reviews I have seen so far have seemed to be about the novel I thought I was writing, so that is good. At present, I have Coldwater Range submitted for a couple of competitions for works published in 2022, so I will see how it fares in that way.
Coldwater Range is available at Amazon.