Writer To Reader
Guest Post with Lindsay McKenna
Wild West Adventures!
Most of my readers know that I write either from direct experience, or I'm close to the situation and know experts, doing Q and A with them, or traveling to the area to get a 'feel' for whatever I'm going to write about.
The hero in Wind River Wrangler, Roan Taggart, is derived from my own military service in the US Navy. I held a Secret clearance. Some of my life as a weather forecaster during that time, brought me into the realm of black ops. And from there, I like writing about black op types. Roan is an ex-Special Forces Army sergeant with over ten years in the stealth world. When we meet him in the book, he's been working as a wrangler on the Wind River Ranch for two years. He's got PTSD and decides to leave the Army for a quieter backwater kind of career, instead. He's had enough of combat.
Shiloh Gallagher, the heroine was easy to model after my background. She is a romance author who lives in New York City. And she's being stalked. So was I. There is a terrible feeling of never being safe no matter where you go when you know you're being stalked—but not by WHO. I had to eventually call the FBI to get help on this issue. So it was easy to transfer what happened to me, into her story. Stalking fills your life 24 hours a day. There's no relief and no let up until the perpetrator is caught.
As for the cowboy background and ranching? That was easy too because I lived in the rural West all my life. We had a farm with animals, chickens, a horse, a cow and pigs. Our next door neighbor had a huge chicken farm. At age 13, I bought my first horse, a 2 year old mustang stallion, for $45.00 and saved him from being slaughtered for chicken feed. I've lived a life around horses up to just recently. I'm sharing some photos of our Arabian Horse Farm that we had in Ohio for a decade. I bred, foaled, raised, broke (gently with love) horses, trained and showed them.
All of this experience makes it easy for me to write about ranching life, cowboys and the ups and downs of that lifestyle. I've had horses sunfish on me, run over me, buck me off, kick and bite me. That's just how it goes when you work around a thousand pound animal. When you read this book, just know that it's all non-fiction, that it comes from direct experience and I'm simply sharing it with you.
My 'second home' insofar as photographing wild life, is Wyoming. I've got more photos of the Grand Tetons to share with you, too. When I write about grizzly bears? I know what I'm talking about. The closest I ever came to one was 150 feet . . . and I didn't even hear that 600 pound male cinnamon colored grizzly walk into the meadow where I was at. Considering a grizzly can sprint at 25 m.p.h.! It would take that bear 2 seconds to be in my face. That's why my husband and I each carry a one quart can of 'bear spray' to protect ourselves when we're out in the wilds of the Tetons and surrounding areas.
Wind River Wrangler is also set in a 'make-believe' area called Wind River Valley. The actual valley parallels the western border of Wyoming and is called "Star Valley.” It is flanked on the west by the Wilson mountains and on the east by the Salt River Mountain range. Jackson Hole is fifty miles north of this valley. The only thing I changed was the name, the geography true to what is actually there.
As you read Wind River Wrangler, now that you know how deeply my own personal background plays into it all, will make the story richer and more real. Nothing like real life experience woven into a fictional story to make it jump off the pages to my readers!
And if you loved Wind River Wrangler, I have Book 2, Wind River Rancher, coming out December 27, 2016. And Book 3, Wind River Cowboy will be right on its heels, coming out March 28, 2017!
LindsayMcKenna.com | Read an Excerpt | ReaderToReader Review
Lindsay McKenna's Background on Horses | Lindsay McKenna Photography | Writing Inspirations
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