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.