I’ve been working on my series, RANSOM CANYON, for two years now. I’ve completed 6 books and two short stories and have just contracted to write 4 more books.
Though my family has been in Texas for seven generations, and I was raised in a ranching and farming community, I have never made my living at either.
So, when I started the series I spent six months researching, studying, and driving around the Panhandle. A dear friend of mine and author, Natalie Bright (http://www.nataliebright.com) offered to let me come out to her ranch and watch how a big operation works.
The first day I climbed into a pickup with her husband Chris Bright, we crossed back and forth over the land often without a road to follow. At the end of the day every muscle in my body hurt from hanging on, but I not only had a better understanding of the land and the jobs, but I had an idea for my first character, Staten Kirkland.
Chris said that he didn’t really think about owning the land. He saw himself as the caretaker. The pride, the responsibility he felt, the worry and the long hours of work was exactly what I wanted to show in my character.
From Natalie I learned not only terms, and how the work changes as the seasons pass, but she taught me about the etiquette of daily life. I even learned a little about cooking for 45; of course I don’t cook very well for 2, so I had a long way to go.
I spent time on other ranches and talking to brand inspectors and cattle men in different areas of ranching as well as reading about ranch life. I met a woman named Bunny who had her grandparents’ original homestead all fixed up. She even offered to let me stay there. No indoor bathroom and all.
Some friends share pictures of grandkids, but Natalie Bright makes me smile every time she sends me pictures of cows. She’s a writer. She knows what another writer needs to see.
I may have had the imagination and the characters dancing around in my head, but I needed the ‘real life’ as well. As a dear lady Bunny Leathers told me once, “bury me in my Levis, because if I’m fortunate enough to make it to Heaven, I want to go in two-stepping one more time.” Somehow, for her, I think there was a country song playing when she passed the Pearly Gate.
Buy Jodi’s newest book, Wild Horse Springs, on Amazon
I look forward to chatting with you today. Please let me know what you’re passionate about, and I will enter you in a drawing to win an autographed copy of my latest book WILD HORSE SPRINGS, the fifth in my Ransom Canyon series.
Remember: In the heart of Ransom Canyon, sometimes the right match for a lonely soul is the one you least expect…