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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Why I write western.

Lindsay asked that I tell you all a bit about what inspired me to write White Savage (released through MuseItUp Publishing). Below is a shot taken of the Superstition Mountains in Arizona, not too many miles from where I grew up. Now a national park, but this rugged mountain range was once home to Apache Indians.

The view below looks out over the Valley of the Sun, Phoenix and the adjoining cities that have all run into one huge metropolitan.

The view could also be one that many years ago, Cochise and members of his band watched for the army that searched for them. And, if legends are true, descendents may still today, hiding away from the white man, living the old ways. Hikers, campers, hunters, even prospectors go into those mountains to never return and are never found providing fodder to keep the legends alive. Growing up in Phoenix and hearing those legends sparked my interest in the history, most particularly in Cochise, a man feared and hated and still respected by many. He wanted to protect his people and their way of life. Reading about him, reading books, watching movies of that time period all added to that interest. In many of them white female captives returned to their families were featured, but in only one did I see anything concerning a white male captive, taken as a child and returned. All of that combined with the cause of Cochise going on the warpath against the white invaders is the kernel that began White Savage.
For those that don’t know the history a white boy went missing. Cochise, along with a party of his braves including relatives and friends agreed to come in for a parley. A young Lieutenant, freshly graduated from West Point, accused Cochise of kidnapping the boy. When Cochise denied it, he called him a liar and ordered his men to attack, despite the white flag the Indian party came in under. Several were killed then, more captured and hung, but Cochise escaped.
This is a quote from Cochise. “We were once a large people covering these mountains. We lived well: we were at peace. One day my best friend was seized by an officer of the white men and treacherously killed. At last your soldiers did me a very great wrong, and I and my people went to war with them.”
The boy hadn’t been kidnapped, he ran away, but the lieutenant’s arrogance and bigotry ignited a ten year war. In 1872 Cochise surrendered for the final time, taking his people to the reservation where he died in 1974. He was buried in secret, the location of his grave never revealed. One last quote from a fascinating man.
"You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight into our hearts.
Speak Americans. I will not lie to you; do not lie to me."
In reading about the man and the history, White Savage is but one of several stories of my own growing out of facts. Where I live now in Arizona is so filled with history and what actual events don’t fuel my imagination, the geography does. In Twisted Wind (released through Swimming Kangaroo Books) the influence of the mining and cattle industry is the backdrop as well as how diverse the landscape. In a matter of miles you can go from sparse desert to dense forest and out to a high, treeless basin, so easy to do in a car, but mind boggling to think of doing it on foot or horseback. I live just a few miles from where one of the major stage lines ran and the ruins of one of the stage stops as well as one of the first railroads though the station house has been moved. The nearest town boomed in the early 1900s from the nearby mines. Prescott, mentioned in White Savage, is about twenty miles from me. The area where Clay finds Te could be just down the road, the mountains they run to not too far away. On fishing, hunting and camping trips I’ve seen the outcrop of trees and brush around a desert spring described in White Savage. The land and the history, the people are my inspiration.
Larriane AKA Larion Wills, two names one author, thousands of stories
buy links: with eight to choose from
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for today those who send me an email,, will be dropped into a bowl--their name that is--for a drawing. first prize a pdf of White Savage. second prize their choice of a pdf from my back list.


Robin said...

Very interesting!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

it's beautiful and some times very frightening country when the temp reaches triple digets

Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Larion, I write Western, too. No better place, scenery or people. I'm also interested in native American cultures after my career teaching American Lit. Best wishes!

Sarita said...

Gorgeous photos. Thanks for sharing them.

shiderly77 said...

Love the photos! And I will definitely email for a chance to win your book!

JohnF said...

Wow..those pictures are amazing!

Na said...

I just read a book where the setting Arizona played a big role in the story. To the couple it was paradise and they welcomed the scorching heat having endured a bitter cold war. The pictures brings it back. Arizona also has a Western feel to it because of the wide open land and the mountains.

Larion aka Larriane Wills said...

I've settled for midway, not the desert floor where the temperatures get so high, and not high enough to get all that snow all through the winter. there is some beautiful scenery in this state and the history is fascinating. White Savage takes place in the area where i live. the old stage line is about ten miles from me with the remains still of one of the way stations. thank you Tanya, Sarita,Shiderly (i'll look for you email)John and Na. those mountains are awesome and so rugged it would be easy to believe Indians still live up there.