What was the inspiration behind the Colter Sons Series?
The Colters (Will and Hannah) are the central characters from my first series, the Prescott Pioneers. For years, I have wanted to write stories about their children. I love the idea of writing many series about several generations of the same family.
Nothing came of the idea until I brought back a character, Joshua, from the Prescott Pioneers who fancied Hannah before she married Will. Joshua’s unrequited love led me to write a scene where he meets Hannah and Will again after eight years. To hit home the point that Hannah had everything he always wanted, I spontaneously wrote that she had five sons. Only a few sentences sparked the idea for the entire Colter Sons Series. (Joshua’s story is in Joy for Mourning, Book 2 in the Desert Manna Series).
Before I mapped out a series outline or developed the characters, I wrote the introductory chapters in the first person from each of the son’s point of view. Their personalities came to life, and I eventually fine-tuned that writing exercise in Chapter 1 for each of the books in the series.
Where does Deacon Colter fit into the series?
Deacon Colter is the fourth Colter Son, and his book is the fourth in the series. Since he was a very minor character earlier in the series, I refined some of his character traits. (Don’t worry, I write each book in a series to stand on its own, so you won’t miss anything.)
Out of all the Colter Sons, Deacon is the most socially awkward. What made Deacon special for me was that behind his looming, large exterior lies a soft heart and fierce loyalty for those who he cares about. When under stress, his obsessive-compulsive tendencies become harder to control.
Do you normally write a story with over two points of view? Why write the four points of view in The Resourceful Stockman?
Other than my very first series, The Prescott Pioneers, I usually stick with two points of view in my novels: the hero and the heroine.
However, earlier in the Colter Sons Series, I wrote that Deacon Colter became fast friends with Grady Thatcher, the younger brother of the woman who married Deacon’s older brother Sam (The Reluctant Cattleman, Book 1). When it came time to outline the story, I knew Grady’s story had to be told along with Deacon’s. Doing anything else would disappoint fans and leave the story feeling incomplete.
Grady’s quest to solve his parents’ murder provided the perfect catalyst to force the routine-loving, obsessive-compulsive Deacon outside of his comfort zone. Because he is fiercely loyalty, he risked much to help his friend.
Where did the idea for livestock agents come from?
I initially wanted to make Deacon and Grady Arizona Rangers. However, during my research, the timing and even some duties didn’t fit either of these men. I like to stay true to history. Rarely do I take creative liberty because I want readers to learn about Arizona history. Deacon and Grady’s ages put them about a decade before the Arizona Rangers formed.
So, I continued with my research about brand-burning and rustling. When I stumbled on an Arizona Territorial statute to create a Livestock Commission, complete with details on what the duties entailed, I had my answer. The timing and duties fit. Many livestock agents started as veterinarians or ranchers. They had the authority to hunt down the rustlers and deal with disease outbreaks. All this fit with my characters.
And, yes, everything in the novel about their jobs and the livestock commission’s start is true to history, except for the names of real people.
Where can I learn more about The Resourceful Stockman?
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