The written words of a non-fiction book get their beauty, grace, elegance and validity from the research that has been done to support them.
I do enjoy the research.
Not so much in blowing dust from a written history, but in talking with the people who actually lived that history.
Most of the events in Red White Black – the book I am currently working on – occurred a hundred years ago, or more. But I have been gathering material for this book for almost four decades and during that time have interviewed people who knew the three main characters – Jackson Sundown, John Spain and George Fletcher – and watched them ride broncs at rodeos.
Time passes. People die. They take their memories with them to the grave.
And now in my current research I hear stories from people who say their fathers told them about a particular cowboy, or an incredible ride they witnessed.
I take all these stories that are shared with me and try to weave them together into a text that will be as rich in color, texture and usefulness as a Pendleton blanket, a keepsake to appreciate in life and pass down from one generation to the next, just as the stories have been passed down to me from generation to generation.
Visit my website at Writing the West, http://ricksteber.com for more tales of the Wild West, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs. My books are now available for purchase as ebooks. Subscribe to this blog to find out more about my upcoming book: Red White Black, A True Story of Race and Rodeo.