Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why I wrote Wind and Bones

Here I was, helping a writer with her fiction, giving opinions and basically telling her what to do with her story. I grew three gray hairs when she asked to see some of my fiction to give her an example of my suggestions.

Busted. I hadn't written fiction in years. Studied it...yes. Critiqued it...yes. Got drunk on it...yes.

Having just buried my last parent and coming to terms with my childhood in northern Montana, I decided to write a tribute to one of the last forgotten places in the U.S.

I have two goals for Wind and Bones: First, to entertain. Second, to share a unique place with the reader.

Years of traveling to my hometown, Shelby Montana, to care for failing parents were finally over. I had discovered something important in all those hours in the nursing home, the bars, the hotel. Northern Montana, its geography, history and people, are extraordinary.

There was no way to do the Highline (nickname for northern Montana east of the Rockies) justice unless I wrote the only novel I know how: lesbian romance action.

Okay, so it's not about homesteaders or cowboys or Indians. Well, not exactly, but all those elements inform the lifestyle on the contemporary Highline. Most lesbian novels about Montana focus on the mythical past, on a Montana that never existed or existed only briefly. I wanted to write about the real Montana that exists now with references to a fascinating past that has shaped its current colorful condition.

I wanted to write about the Montana I know; hence, Wind and Bones.

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