Real Life That Inspires


It seems the most frequently asked question of a writer is where our stories come from. My first two published books – KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS and THE COWBOY WHO CAME CALLING – came from real life experiences. I didn’t know at the time why certain things happened and why I had to live through them. I didn’t know that I was a writer-in-training and storing up all these life events for future stories.

The Story Behind Knight on the Texas Plains

When I was a child growing up, our family lived next door to a Latino couple. They had a daughter who was a few years older and we became playmates. I was around eight or nine years old. One day an ugly truth came to light and it affected me in a huge way. We learned that the neighbor’s girl wasn’t really theirs. The man had won her in a poker game and brought her to the U.S. illegally. He was really mean. He didn’t work and stayed drunk all the time. He made life miserable for his wife and my friend. I began to wonder what her real father must’ve been like to have wagered his daughter in a poker game. Did she mean so little to him that he could give up his own flesh and blood so easily? I never got an answer to that. But it stayed with me, refusing to go away. That was long before I even knew I’d be a writer one day. I had a burning desire though to give Juanita the happiness that she was denied in life. I just didn’t know how I’d do that.

And then I became interested in writing fiction. I joined writing groups and learned how to put a story together and how to perfect my craft.

A few years later, Knight on the Texas Plains was born. I knew I wanted to write a story about a child that was won in a poker game. I named her Marley Rose.

Duel McClain is a down and out cowboy who’d just buried his wife and son. He’s wandering from town from town, not caring about anything other than dying. So he sits in on a poker game and comes away with an innocent little girl to take care of.

On his way back to where his parents lives, a woman stumbles into his camp. She’s hungry and desperate. He strikes a deal with her-ride along and take care of Marley Rose just until he gets the child to his family and he’ll take her anywhere she wants to go with no questions asked.

Jessie Foltry agrees, only she doesn’t count on the fact that Marley Rose and Duel would wiggle into her heart. All she’s wanted for as long as she could remember is to be a mother. Holding the sweet baby in her arms forges an unbreakable bond. And the nights under the stars with Duel make her dream of things a woman like her can never have.

Trusting Duel was the easy part…living without her knight on the Texas plains would be next to impossible.

This book came out with Dorchester Publishing in 2002. It has recently been re-released as a Kindle e-book for $2.99. I’m so glad that readers who didn’t get a chance to read it now have the opportunity.

The Story Behind The Cowboy Who Came Calling

During the writing of “Knight on the Texas Plains,” I knew I had to write a story about Duel’s brother, Luke. It seemed as natural as breathing. At the time I had just been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and began losing my vision. One day I could see fairly well and the next I could see little more than shadows. It was one of the scariest times in my life. I didn’t know how I could deal with being blind. I was a writer and I had many more books to write.

In Luke’s story he meets a woman named Glory Day. Glory is her family’s sole support. Her father is in prison and her mother has sunk into a deep depression and she’s developed an addiction for laudanum. Glory’s vision begins to swiftly fade and she doesn’t know how she’ll provide for her mother and younger sisters if she can no longer see. But Luke isn’t going to let her find out. He means to do whatever he has to do to help make Glory’s life easier whether she gets as mad as a hornet or not.

He’ll risk life and limb for the woman he loved. And he does.

Today, I’m happy to say that my vision has returned. Unlike Glory I never had to find out what permanent blindness was like. At least not yet. But it sure let me immerse myself fully in Glory’s character.

The Cowboy Who Came Calling was a 2003 release by Dorchester Publishing. It has recently come out again as a Kindle e-book and sells for the low price of $2.99.

Have you ever dealt with something in your life and then found out much later the reason why such a thing happened? Or feel free to just talk about anything.

I’m giving away a Kindle version of KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS to two people who comment.

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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

20 thoughts on “Real Life That Inspires”

  1. Linda what touching stories. And going blind? I can’t imagine anything so frightening. No wonder there’s so much heart in your stories–they’re real. You inspire me, Filly sister.

  2. I’ve never had any episode/event such as yours.. for which I’m truly grateful.. I’m also grateful that your vision wasn’t permanently affected…but had it been, I know you’d still be writing great stories!!

  3. Going blind is one my greatest fears too – I’m so glad to hear it’s no longer a prospect for you.

  4. Good Morning Elizabeth……….thank you for the kind words. It’s good to know that I’m an inspiration to someone. We all go for days, weeks, and sometimes months not realizing that we touch the lives of those around us. I still get tears in my eyes when I think of Juanita. She got very little enjoyment from life. And the saddest thing is not knowing what happened to her. I moved and we lost touch. I still wonder about her though.

    You write some pretty amazing stories yourself, Filly sister. I love to read your books.

  5. Cate S………..bless you! I’m so glad you enjoy what I write. And what you said is true. When I couldn’t see I still had the desire to write however I had to do it. I had lots of help from family and friends. I’ve been truly fortunate.

    I wish for you a day of sunshine and roses and the hope that you continue to find books that touch you.

  6. Pageturner……….thanks for stopping by. Yes, I think permanent blindness would be a real challenge. But you know, there are worse things that could happen to a person. The best part about being human is that we’re good at adapting to whatever we have to. One of my fans from early on is deaf and she manages just fine.

    Have a great day!

  7. I am so glad that you regained your vision. My dad has been blind since I was 2 years old. It has always been a struggle for him.
    Your books sound wonderful.

  8. Good morning CrystalGB………..thanks for taking a minute to stop by. You know a thing or two about blindness then. We all have our trials that we have to go through. I like to think that it makes us stronger. I know it did me. I found a strength deep inside that I didn’t know I had. I count my blessings every day.

    I hope you have a wonderful day!

  9. Linda,

    The inspirations for these stories still choke me up, and once a person reads these the reason there is so much heart and soul in each book becomes clear.

  10. Linda, many of us use real life experience as inspiration for our books, but few of us have had such dramatic experiences as yours. I was particularly interested to hear the story about Juanita because I based my first book on a young woman I once knew who really got the short end of the stick in life. Like you, I lost touch with her but always wanted to give her a HEA.

  11. Linda, I just got teary-eyed about your little friend who had been won in a poker game. Wonderful for your fiction book…but how horrible for real life. Grrrrr. Real life plays into my books and character names all the time. I’m happy to say I just contracted my first-ever Young Adult novel about the Salem Witch trials…the seeds of which came from my long career as an American Lit teacher.
    And my hubby’s cancer battle inspired my inspy Sanctuary. Thanks for the amazing peek into the background of your wonderful stories. xoxox

  12. Kirsten…..this is a repeat for you. Sorry about that. I really enjoyed blotting with you on you website. That was fun. Keeping my fingers crossed you soon will have your own stories in print. Lots of luck!

  13. Hi Allison…….thanks for stopping by. I hope you will get to give your childhood friend her HEA some day soon. We have to lay our ghosts to rest and ease our pain. Wishing you much success with your amazing stories.

  14. Tanya…………I’m glad you enjoyed the peek behind my stories. I don’t usually share so much of my personal life but wanted to today. Congrats on your recent contract for a young adult book! And I’m so happy your hubby is doing so well. That’s great. You may decide to put that in a story someday.

  15. Linda, it’s wonderful that you are able to share Marley Rose’s story with the world, another time! I know it took a lot to dig deep inside to write not just her story, but the others. I’m sitting on pins and needles waiting for Marley Rose’s story as she becomes a woman. It’s going to be so exciting … oops, I might be giving a hint about an upcoming book, huh?

    Sometimes, a writer just knows when a story is “that special story” for them to write. It’s something inside of us kinda like a robin with a worm. It just wiggles around inside and we know that robin isn’t going to let go of it until it’s finished. Those are the wonderful, special books that we love to write and prayfully our readers love to read. They stand out high atop the rest for some reason, and I think it’s because we put our heart and soul in them. You write from the heart, and it shows! That’s why you’re such a wonderful writer to work with. Congrats on your new reissued e-book! Much love, P

  16. Phyliss………bless you! I’m so grateful for your friendship. And no you didn’t let the cat out of the bag. I’m glad to let my readers know that Marley’s Rose’s story after she’s grown will soon be available. Thank you for the kind words about my work. You have some great ones of your own because you write from the heart too.

    Wishing you lots of luck in Anaheim and winning the Booksellers Best Award!

  17. Did you ever find out what happened to Juanita? Such a sad story!

    I’m glad your vision has returned!!

  18. What a sad story and I am so glad you got your vision back. I couldn’t imagine not being able to see. I have had to deal with several bad things in my life and have made it through. My mother was injured when I was eight and was left crippled for the rest of her life. This left us kids to have to grow up before I time because we had to take over the house hold things but we learned from that and I think it made us stronger.

  19. Linda,
    I am so glad your vision is back. Not only would it have been a great loss for you, but we readers would have missed out on some enjoyable books. May there be no return of the vision loss and I hope your health remains good.

    We have had a few cases of sold children in this area the past few years. I cannot understand the callousness or sheer desperation that would cause a parent to do that. Any parent has days when they would gladly give their child to the next person they see, but that is rarely a serious thought and not carried through. How traumatizing if the child is old enough to realize what is going on. Of course is the parent is uncaring enough to do it, the child might be better off with someone else.

    Take good care of yourself. We want you around and writing for a good long time.

  20. Linda,
    Sorry I didn’t get over here yesterday–I was getting my new computer. Still learning my way around it today. LOL Not being able to see is one of the scariest things I can think of. I’m so so glad you regained your sight! I read The Cowboy Who Came Calling and loved it! I was thinking as I read your story behind the story of Knight on the Texas Plains about the child who had been sold…I have a book that is stories written by women from Montana, I think it is, that are true–and one of them was about a girl who was won in a poker game. Her father came home and got her up out of bed and handed her over to the man who’d won her. She was of marriageable age, so they got married and she remained married to him for many years. I can’t imagine that. How awful for her, and how sad, to realize that you had been a “lost possession” to someone who should have been your protector. I loved this post. I always like knowing the story behind the story.

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