Monday, July 4, 2011
How my world shapes my writing
Each stage of my writing had to do with what was going on in and around me at the time so it only makes sense that I find myself writing about the west. Where I live and the American history I love. Specifically the 1800’s has always been my favorite subject. I love museums, historical sites, and finding bits of history that were so integral to life when this country was spreading and growing.
I think having grown up in a semi–isolated part of the state that was slow to get technology it brought out the pioneer spirit in me. Until I was twelve, my paternal grandparents lived with us. There were seven people in a three bedroom, one bath farmhouse. We had a woodshed where we chopped kindling and stored the wood for the cookstove. When we did get an electric range we still had a wood heating stove and used the wood cookstove when the power went out which was fairly often. The power went out often so we used kerosene and oil lamps, the outhouse, and hauled buckets of water to the house from the ditch. Looking back, it was usually in the winter that the power went out. And on many occasions the pipes from the well to the house froze, and we had to haul water to the house.
These are all events in my life that easily happened in the era that I write about. I can feel the heat of the woodstove, hear the clank of the metal plates as grandma put more kindling in the fire. Smell the acrid smoke that slipped through the chimney standing in the middle of my bedroom. I'd stand as close to it as I could on cold winter mornings as I dressed. Growing up, I lived the life I write about in my historical westerns.
And I grew up in the land of Chief Joseph's Nez Perce and have always had a fascination for them and believe I saw an apparition of a Nez Perce warrior one summer day while riding my horse in the mountains. That moment has stuck with me, and I believe the catalyst that pushed me to write the spirit trilogy.
If you are a writer, what shaped the genre you write? If you are a reader, what is your favorite genre to read and why? I’ll pick a name from the comments and send the winner an outlaw candy bar and couple of other goodies.
Graphic by: http://www.holidaygraphics.com
Photos: Paty Jager