Silver Grass is my thirtieth western/frontier novel, my eleventh novel with Five Star, and my third young adult novel. I wrote this work in the summer of 2019, and it was published by Five Star Publishing in October 2021. Its release was delayed for about six months because of the pandemic, but when it came out, it received normal distribution and reviews.
This novel features a seventeen-year-old main character named Wilsey Grant, who narrates his story. He is on his own, and he is looking to find his place in the world. At the beginning of this story, he is traveling with his horse and his well-worn saddle on the plains of Wyoming, east of the Laramie Mountains and north of Cheyenne. He meets a down-and-out fellow named Walter Finn, who is traveling on foot after having been robbed and thrown out of a boxcar.
The two of them arrive in the town of Silver Grass, where a number of settlers have gathered in expectation of new land to be opened for homesteading. Some of the people who have already taken up homestead claims resent the newcomers, as do the larger landholders who arrived earlier. Among the newcomers is a girl named Lorena Moor, an orphan like Wilsey and an indentured servant.
Before long, Walter Finn is murdered in Silver Grass. Wilsey goes among the established homesteaders and also finds work at a large ranch, all the while looking for information that will help solve the murder of the harmless wanderer. The owner of the large ranch wages war against the homesteaders and against the townsfolk when one of his hired hands is arrested, and the conflict escalates from there.
As may be evident from the above summary, this story has some similarities with other works of mine, as I continue to explore my interests in fair treatment for people who are disadvantaged and dispossessed as well as my interests in justice in general. I do not think this is a didactic work, but it is sympathetic to people who do not have much. I wrote this work with the idea of its being a young adult novel, along the lines of my earlier novels Good Water and Castle Butte, both of which received awards as well as good reviews. It is different from the previous two works in its narrative point of view, as Silver Grass is in first person. It is also a little longer, reaching 73,000 words, while the earlier two were in the sixties.
At the time of this writing, two months after the book’s release, the novel has done well. It has received favorable reviews in professional magazines as well as on Amazon and Goodreads. I am optimistic about its prospects.