One of the best pieces of advice I received when I was trying to find a home for my first novel came from an agent. She suggested that I not be afraid to try writing a genre western. As I had been writing short stories, articles, reviews, and poems for several years and was taking a big step toward book-length fiction, I was hesitant to try a second novel if my first one wasn’t going anywhere. But with her encouragement, I went to work on an idea for a traditional western. It took me a couple of years, in and around the shorter things I was writing, in addition to my full-time teaching position, but I ended up with a western novel.
is a contemporary western mystery novel with Wilf Kasmire as the protagonist.
It was published by Fire Star Press, an imprint of Prairie Rose Publications,
in November of 2017. As with other works, this one evolved in a roundabout way.
Justice at Redwillow is my
twenty-third western/frontier novel and my fourth with Five Star in its
hardcover frontier line. It was published in August of 2015.
I began working on ideas for this
story line in 2011, but I struggled quite a bit with some of the elements. I
think some of my uncertainties may have come from my status, as this was the
period between the time when Dorchester ended its western line and the time
when Five Star began its frontier line. As mentioned in other commentaries, I
had begun working with an agent, but the various commercial publishing
companies were wary of taking on new writers, and some of them had a rather
narrow idea of what kinds of stories they wanted. I came to appreciate
Dorchester, who, in spite of wanting things to be recognizable traditional
westerns, was willing to accept stories that were a bit atypical and varied.
Don’t Be a Stranger
is my twenty-second western/frontier novel, published by Five Star Publishing
in February of 2015. It was published before Justice at Redwillow, although I wrote them in the opposite order.
I wrote them both while things were getting under way with Five Star and its
frontier line. During that time, Dark
Prairie was going through the acceptance, editing, and production process,
and Across the Cheyenne River was
making its way onto the list.
Across the Cheyenne River
was my second novel with Five Star Publishing and my twenty-first traditional
western. Although that sequence may sound routine, this novel did not make its
way into the world without obstacles.
I describe Poacher’s Moon as a contemporary western novel with a strong element of mystery. It takes place in present-day Wyoming, and it deals with environmental ethics at the same time that it traces the mystery of a missing person.
Dark Prairie is my twentieth novel with an Old West setting. I hesitate to call it a traditional western because it was published as a Frontier Mystery with Five Star Publishing, but in many ways it is a traditional western, and like others I have written, it is a crossover western mystery.