Read my interview with Nick Wales on his site, ‘Novel Ideas,’ talking about how I came to write westerns.
Outlaw Publishers, a small publisher based in Texas, has just published the second book in the Daniel’s Journey series, western stories for younger readers. The first, Wagon’s West: Daniel’s Journey, the story of a wagon train journey through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy, was published in April.
Daniel’s adventures, however, don’t end with a wagon train trip. My plans are to follow young Daniel as he grows up in Oregon in the late 1800s, maybe all the way to maturity. The purpose of the series is two-fold; first, to introduce younger readers to the western genre, a uniquely American literary form, and secondly, to show that the American West was populated by more than steely-eyed cowboys and lawmen, dastardly outlaws, and Native Americans fighting to retain their land and culture. There were families as well, including children, and I’ve often wondered what life was like for them. In this series, I’m using my imagination, backed up with a lot of research, to create that world for myself, and hopefully, for a lot of new readers.
In book 2 of the series, Wagons West: Trinity, the little town of Trinity has been established near the ranch owned by Daniel’s parents. it too is experiencing growing pains, as people of different backgrounds learn to live together. I also explore the issue of women’s rights in this story, something that I imagine actually might have happened in a few places considering that the first woman to vote in the US voted in Wyoming.
If you have young readers in your household, or on your gift list, consider introducing them to the western. I’ve tried to ensure that these books contain no material that would be harmful to younger readers, but at the same time, make them interesting for adult readers as well.
I would love getting some feedback, on the books as well as the concept. And, if you happen to like what you read, a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or your blog would be most appreciated.
Wagons West: Daniel’s Journey
Outlaws Publishing LLC.
I’ve written a lot about where my story ideas come from, but my most recent book, Wagons West: Daniel’s Journey, from Outlaws Publishing, LLC; the story of a ten-year-old’s view of a wagon train journey from his home in Iowa to a new home in Oregon, came about through the strangest way yet.
Several months ago, I was contacted by J. C. Hulsey, head of Outlaws Publishing, to be interviewed for his Internet radio show regarding my book about the famous deputy U.S. Marshal, Bass Reeves; Frontier Justice: Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal. During the interview, we discussed our mutual love of the western genre, and ideas on how new readers might be brought to love it as much as we do. One of the way, we both agreed, would be to interest young readers. That led to the idea (I don’t recall which of us brought it up first, but it was likely me) of doing books that appeal to younger people. One thing led to another, and in the end the idea of doing a series of western novellas was born.
After some thinking, I decided that the best way to appeal to younger readers was to have a youngster as the main character. That way, the history of the west, and the genre could be made relatable. Some more thinking, and I came up with Daniel Waterford, a 10-year-old, and his introduction to the West. I started with the title, Wagon’s West, but as I neared the end, I added Daniel’s Journey. I deliberately kept it short, and kept the violence to a minimum, and added no foul language, so it can be read by, or read to, any age group.
I kept the historical input to a minimum, but did try to show the diversity that was the western frontier in the years after the Civil War—including some references to the war itself, and kept the main character front and center. The idea was to show this environment through the eyes of a young person.
Outlaws Publishing did a great job with the cover and editing. The hallmark of a well-edited book is that the Kindle version has no stray margins or glitches that often happen when the manuscript for a paperback is converted to e-format.
At the risk of sounding vain, I think we did a great job with this first book in what I hope will be an extensive series, following Daniel as he grows up on the frontier.
It’s available on Amazon at the following links:
Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/154631640X/. $5.40
Kindle version: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072L35SJF/. $0.99
If you’re a fan of the western genre, or you have a youngster that you’d like to get interested in reading, I encourage you to take a look at Daniel’s Journey. As always, if you like the book, a review on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, or any other book review site, would be greatly appreciated.
Comments here rea welcomed as well.