SGJ: We very much enjoyed your new release
from Five Star, Rio Ruidoso, kicking off your Three Rivers Trilogy. What
can you tell us about the next two books?
PL: Book Two is titled Rio Bonito and it is at the
publisher. I'll start Book Three next
month after I finish my next book for Wolfpack in The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax
series of comic westerns. Book three of the Three Rivers Trilogy will be titled
Rio Hondo. These are the three rivers and are the scenes of principal
action in each book. The Rio Ruidoso and
Rio Bonito come together in the Hondo Valley to form Rio Hondo.
SGJ: The story of Wes Bracken and his brother, Luther, takes
place against a backdrop of some infamous Western history. How did you approach
PL: I'm not the first person to write about the Lincoln
County War, as you well know, so I tried to look for different angles that have
not been so well covered. The first covers the troubles before the war formal
began and deals with the racist Horrell brothers and the havoc that they
The second book deals with the cattle
thievery and chicanery that the Murphy machine caused, including the principal
events in the Lincoln County War, though sometimes from afar.
The third volume will focus on the Kid
trying to go straight and being betrayed by the governor of New Mexico, Lew
Wallace. There's different opinions about Lew Wallace and a supposed pardon and
it will resolve the ongoing thread with Jesse Evans and the protagonist's
brother-in-law who goes bad.
SGJ: You do a terrific job portraying the relationship between
Wes and Luther in Rio Ruidoso, the love and the inevitable conflict brought on
by Luther’s alcoholism. Do you have a brother?
PL: Yes, I have a younger brother. We have a great relationship and rely on each
other heavily now as we try to manage our nursing home-bound parents in their
90s. We were complete opposites, him the
popular extrovert, me the bookwork introvert.
We had a great childhood with wonderful parents.
We thought our childhood was typical,
though as we've aged and learned of others with the problems they had we
realize we may have had an atypical upbringing.
We hunted, we fished, we camped out, we took great vacations, and had a
wonderful Christian upbringing.
None of us in our family drink so I've
never had to deal with any alcoholism in real life. I just tried to imagine how an alcoholic
might react and the problems it would create when you couldn't trust your brother.
SGJ: The Brackens’ work with horses also comes across with great
authenticity. Did you have horses growing up?
PL: We lived in the country, the most memorable years from
when I was 5 to 10 and we lived on a quarter section we rented where we had a
few cows and a donkey we named Flash, but no horses.
On the foaling I just did a lot of
research so I could make it sound authentic.
I'm sure a genuine horseman might find some issues with my description
but it should pass muster with most.
SGJ: Thanks for chatting with us, Preston. It’s been a pleasure.
PL: Let me know if you have more questions and thank you for
your kind words on and interest in Rio Ruidoso.