Today, however, I received that rare thing, an e-mail from a reader I don’t know that really made my day.
I was paging through the latest issue of Writers' Forum and to my great interest came across 'How To Break Into Westerns' which included an interview with your good self. As a long time devotee of Westerns I thoroughly enjoyed reading the comments and it inspired me to get off my rear and purchase Write A Western In 30 Days and finish it in two days. I have also ordered several reference books you recommend. As a result of your inspirational book I am putting aside another book I am attempting to write and concentrating on a Western.
My first love of the Western came about when growing up in South Africa in the fifties and every Saturday would find a group of us down at the local cinema swapping comics and enjoying the latest goodies v. baddies sagas. At this time I also sent a 1/6d postal order to the UK to join the Hopalong Cassidy Fan Club and was duly rewarded with a signed photo of Hopalong himself!
Something I have discovered that makes my writing easier, more enjoyable and even more interesting is to use Google Earth.
After research via the Internet - Google, Wikipedia - and books, I insert icons on Google Earth at the locations mentioned. For example, my Wyatt Earp folder includes his birthplace, grave and places in between pinpointed with the appropriate icons (Stetson, boots, revolver etc). An added plus is that you can have border outlines, cities etc., or turn off the markers and just have the continental USA in bare geographical splendour. I divide the characters into outlaws, lawmen etc.
What has struck me is how much the characters travelled during their lifetimes. Considering the size of the country and the means of transport, they certainly got around. I am also setting up the different trails - Santa Fe, Chisolm etc. Time passes quickly when you get absorbed in this.
Once again, thank you for the interview and your fascinating book. I will be purchasing your other works as well.