In Running Wild, Linda Howard and I (Linda Jones) put a woman on the run in Wyoming during the wintertime. We’re both Alabama girls, so trying to do the setting justice took some research. Not that either of us was dedicated enough to actually experience a Wyoming winter. 🙂 Carlin Reed, off the grid in an attempt to hide from a violent stalker, ends up on a Wyoming cattle ranch, where she butts heads with the ranch owner, Zeke Decker.
Below I’ve interviewed Linda Howard about a few odds and ends related to Running Wild.
LJ: Linda Howard, tell me a little bit about what it’s like to live with cows, and did that experience help you in writing Running Wild?
LH: From my experience, cows are both cunning and stupid, with an incredible sense of timing for doing exactly the wrong thing at the worst possible time. For instance, if they’re going to tear down a fence, they’ll wait until I’m the only one here. I don’t do fencing. I can’t do fencing, at least not by myself, which is why I’ve resorted to repairing holes in the fence with Christmas ribbon, tied into big bows at the top. The cows don’t like the bows, so they’ll give the ribbon a wide berth. Works for me. I don’t care what the guys think about it, because they weren’t here to handle the cow crisis — and the cows belong to them, not me — and I did the best I could. On the other hand, the calves are really cute. But I have absolutely no knowledge or experience in collecting bull semen, so when the situation arose in Running Wild, there was lots or research to be done. Needless to say, we found out a lot. Also needless to say, we left a lot of that information out of Running Wild, because it isn’t a subject you want to explore too deeply. The pun wasn’t intended, but it’s almost impossible to avoid :-).
LJ: My only experience with cows has been at Linda’s. A bull followed us through the pasture because it thought we had food. We did not. I was alarmed.
LJ: What’s your opinion of western style shirts? Snaps or buttons? Any thoughts on pocket placement?
LH: Western-style shirts are okay, as long as they’re functional, but regular work shirts are just as good. Snaps are for sissies or strippers, unless something’s wrong with your fingers, such as arthritis, and you can’t handle buttons. Pockets should be FUNCTIONAL. They shouldn’t sit so high you’d have to dislocate your elbow to get anything out of them, and they should be large enough to stuck something larger than a dollar bill (refer back to strippers) into them. Yes, the original cover of Running Wild featured a dude wearing a sissy shirt with sissy pockets. I have strong feelings about sissy pockets. They upset me.
LJ: I agree, pockets should be useful. The original cover model’s shirt had pockets set so high they were almost on his shoulders, and they were about the size of a saltine cracker. The new cover, with no shirt at all, is much better. Thanks to the pocket issue, of course. My opinion has nothing to do with bare chests or abs. Nothing at all . . .
LJ: What’s your favorite scene in Running Wild?
LH: I suppose, given my own history of cooking mishaps, most of the scenes that make me smile involve cooking, such as the Never Fail White Cake, and the Burning Biscuits. But I also like the running-off-the-cliff scene, because I can so easily put myself in that truck seat, and feel the terror.
LJ: I loved the cooking scenes, too, and I also loved the way Carlin and Zeke bantered throughout the book. They made me smile.
LJ: What would you do to prepare for brutal winters in a place like Wyoming?
LH: I’m from Alabama, so preparing for a Wyoming winter, for me, would be like preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse. I’d have battery-operated everything, I’d have heavy clothing, I’d have food and water in every vehicle, as well as candles, and cigarette lighters. I’d have chains on my tires, a winch on both ends of my vehicle <g>, a personal locator so I could signal a satellite if I got stranded or lost, some kind of radio, guns, ammo, a knife, a tent, an Arctic-quality sleeping bag, rope, a hatchet — I wouldn’t be able to buy groceries because I’d have so much STUFF in my car I wouldn’t have room for anything else. Yes, everyone who lives in Wyoming may now feel free to laugh at me. It’s okay.
LJ: This question does not apply to me, because there is no way I’m going north during the winter. Weather weenie here. I try not to leave the house when the temps drop below forty degrees Fahrenheit. Snow is pretty, as long as it doesn’t stay on the ground more than a day. Ice? No, thanks. I have a down jacket and snow boots for Alabama winters, which are plenty cold enough for me.
Food played a big part in this book. Pie, casseroles, feeding many hungry men. Be sure to check out the recipes in the back of the book. They come complete with personal notes. Whether you’re in Wyoming or Alabama or somewhere in between, what’s your favorite meal on a cold winter night?
Please leave a comment…we’ll be drawing one winner for a copy of Running Wild.