Growing up, I always imagined myself becoming a geologist or a forest ranger. We camped a lot in the Sierra Mountains and I loved to go exploring through the woods, rivers and meadows, imagining I was on a treacherous journey through the wilderness–a pastime I never quite outgrew. I was certain no other place on earth could match the beauty of the Sierras–and then I took my first trip to Bryce and Zion Canyons—a forest of Ponderosa pines giving way to an ocean of stone in a seemingly impossible array of colors. Monoliths, hoodoos and shadowy mazes. So much beauty, I wanted to absorb it. I was sure Utah and Arizona was where I belonged–yet once I stepped onto a boardwalk in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I felt as though I’d come home. Hugged by lush mountains and tangible history, I was hit by a very odd sense of nostalgia. My mind began recreating events that ‘could have happened’. Daydreamer that I am, I’m at home most anywhere, but nothing fuels my imagination like these rugged backdrops. It was these stirrings and images which spawned my first historical westerns.
Seven years ago I began plotting my first western romance novel much like I’d plan a road trip—I sat down with my atlas, historical maps and journals and began charting a course, and creating circumstances that would drive my characters through this wild and rugged land. A physical journey to parallel the emotional journey, and taking readers to some of my favorite places along the way. The result was BRIDE OF SHADOW CANYON. When my editor informed me that the cover would be created from one of my favorite scenes in the book—Jed and Rachell watching the sun set over a maze of red rock canyons—I was thrilled. They did a wonderful job—Jed and Rachell do look rather daring, standing so close to that edge. The start of my Wild series began in much the same way—I pulled out my historical maps and plotted a journey in a new direction, new territory with new dangers-at times the land becoming as much of an antagonist as my villain. Writing the sequel for MUSTANG WILD, where my characters stay within the boarders of one state was actually a bit of a challenge. Like the characters of my books, my mind tends to develop a case of yondering fever. Now that the Morgans are settled in Wyoming, I’m ready to pull out some maps and kick up new dust .
This summer I took my family to the Grand Canyon for a tour of the West rim and to check out the new Skywalk, a glass bridge built by the Hualapia Nation at Eagle Point. Wow! Stepping out over the canyon, 4,000 feet above the Colorado River…talk about amazing sights. I look forward to sharing some highlights and photos on my next Friday (gotta find that durn USB cord for my camera).
Which wonders of our globe call the loudest to you?