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LouIsa: Iron Dove of the Frontier
LouIsa, entertainer extraordinaire was halfway through the1st movement of a piano concerto that she was playing at the Cattlemen’s Saloon in Wichita when she saw him approach the bar. He was big and ugly.
“A bottle of whiskey,” he yelled at the bartender.
All eyes focused on Bart Ricklin. He looked mean and sullen, and there was no mistaking he was liquored up.
LouIsa stopped playing.
Bart focused his gaze on her. “So you’re the little squaw lady I been hearin’ about that plays them fancy high brow tunes. People’re a talkin’ about you all across the state of Kansas, Lady. I must say you’re purtyer’n even I imagined. I always wanted to taste me some squaw meat, and by damn tonight I aim to have me some – high class stuff to boot.”
This statement brought some of the local cowboys to their feet, hands on their gun butts. Drunk as he was, the rowdy was still fast. His sidepiece cleared leather, and he fired a shot at their feet before they could blink.
“Any of you fellers thinkin’ of tryin’ to interfere with me and this little lady havin’ us some fun?”
His cold, mean eyes bore right through them. They all backed down and took their seats. He uttered a mean laugh. “That’s more like it,” he barked. “Bunch o’ lily livered cowards.”
He holstered his pistol and turned his attention back to LouIsa only to find himself staring down the barrel of her pistol. She had seized the opportunity of his temporary distraction with the cowboys to retrieve her small .38 “LouIsa Special” she kept hidden beside her on the piano bench under her full skirt.
Her father Samuel Houston had it custom made for her by the Colt Company. It was on a smaller frame than most .38’s, and many a foe were lulled into thinking it was less menacing than it really was. Bart Ricklin made that same mistake.
Bart laughed at the sight of it. “You aimin’ to stop me with that little pea shooter?” he asked.
He reached out and snatched a bottle of whiskey from the bar and pulled a long horn from it. He felt the whiskey spray, and the glass sting his face, before he heard the shot. He looked at her with incredulousness.
“You daughter of a bitch,” he roared. “You shot me.” He growled like a mad dog and lunged toward her; . . .
What inspired you to write this book?
Actually it was a neighbor. We were talking about one of my other books and she said, “You ought to write a book about my great grand-aunt. And I said, who might that be? She said, “LouIsa Houston-Earp. She was Sam Houston’s granddaughter, and she was also a Harvey girl”. And not knowing what a Harvey girl was, I asked her, “What was a Harvey girl.”
She explained to me that Fred Harvey owned and operated high end restaurants in several railroad depots during the 19th century, and these girls were waitresses in those restaurants. Then she went on to tell me that LouIsa had also been married to Morgan Earp, Wyatt Earp’s younger brother. This piqued my interest. We talked a bit more and my creative juices began to flow. Since not much had been written about the real-life LouIsa, I had to create my own character. She was a real person, but not exactly the same person as the one in my story.
How did you come up with the concept of the characters for the book?
Actually, I didn’t. They just came into the story as I was writing it. I don’t write from outlines. I agree with Stephen King. He says outlines kill the creative spirit. He says, “Just write the damn story” so that’s what I did. The characters came into the story as needed.
What did you enjoy most about writing the book?
Anticipating where the characters were going to take me. They actually wrote the book. I just went along for the ride, but I have to say it was a fun and exciting ride. Full of exciting experiences and surprises.
Who designed your book cover?
Do you feel the characters high jacked your story?
I wouldn’t go so far as to say they high-jacked the story, but they did play a great role. I’d have an idea for a scene in my mind and would start to write the scene. The characters said to me: “Sorry, Will, but we don’t agree with what you have in mind. Just sit back and write what we tell you. It will be much better.”
Convince us why your book is a must read.
Because I believe it’s full of interesting situations.
When did you first consider yourself as a writer.
For most of my life I felt I didn’t have the talent to be a writer. Then at age 55, I said to myself, “Will, if you’re ever going to do it, you’d better get started, or it will be too late. So at age 55 I wrote my first book (which, as of this time, I have not submitted for publication).”
Have you written any other books that are not published?
As of this date, the one mentioned in the previous question is the only one.
Who is your favorite author?
I really don’t have a favorite. I have read multiple books by many authors ranging from Robert B. Parker, Jack Higgins, Agatha Christie, Richard Paul Evans, Rosemund Pilcher, Adel Abbot, David Baldacci, Jonathan Cahn, Raymond Chandler, Don Coldsmith, Sydney Sheldon, George Orwell, Janet Evanovich, John Grisham, Winston Groom, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sue Grafton, and many others too numerous to include here.
How would you describe your writing style?
Light—and I hope—interesting.
Do your characters come to you all at the same time?
No, they just appear as the story progresses. They all seem to know when it’s the right time to enter the story.
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|Will Edwinson, Author|