Sunday, October 7, 2012

Why Coyote Winds?

Why Coyote Winds? Why this story?

I was working on a totally different book when the idea for COYOTE WINDS  came to me--a story of a boy taming a wild coyote with a parallel story of his grandson’s wish he could have been part of the adventure.   

It was just a few months after my father had died, and I was sorting through his writings, trying to put together a collection to share with the family. In his later years my father wrote hundreds of poems; some of them corny jokes (my father truly loved the pun) and some heartbreaking portraits of loss and loneliness. Sorting through it all was a painful process; so painful, the project is still unfinished. 

Among my father’s writings was a long piece about growing up during the Dust Bowl. I wanted to find a way to use my father’s memoir. The coyote idea came to me while riding in the car, and it seemed a compelling approach.

At first I wanted  COYOTE WINDS to be a simple adventure novel. My father’s memoir was different from anything I had read about the Dust Bowl. He had been quite happy to have the schools closed. He spent his days hunting rabbits and digging up arrowheads. Other than going to church on Sunday, he had a shoeless, fenceless boyhood.  Something more 19th Century than 20th Century. I couldn’t help but contrast that with the life of a modern suburban boy. But as I research the time I discovered a much bigger story. More about that in future posts.

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