The Earps in childhood

When I base characters on real people, I pay particular attention to their childhood. I believe our first fourteen years are the basis of much of what comes afterward. We build on a solid foundation, or we spend years trying to repair the damage, or we wander in the wreckage of those years.

When writing about Wyatt Earp in both Doc and Epitaph, a single source allowed me to glimpse the father who raised the famous Earp brothers: the Sarah Rousseau Diary. I think Wyatt spent most of his adulthood trying to be a better man than the one who raised him, and I’ve written an article about this for True West Magazine’s April issue. Editor Bob Boze Bell has just posted a very nice teaser about it.

6 thoughts on “The Earps in childhood

  1. Great revue! BBB is a great talent, like you. Maybe you can get him to do the cover art for your next book? All the best.

    P.S. we’ve moved to Florida.

  2. I finished listening to the Doc audiobook yesterday. An incredible piece of work! As with most authentic elements of life, I experienced contradicting emotions: On the one hand, Ms. Russell’s chillingly beautiful craft and Mark Bramhall’s superb performance were inspiring. On the other, I couldn’t help but think, in regard to my own writing, “I don’t know that I could ever discover that level of creativity and magic Ms. Russell displayed. Inspiration and doubtful despair compete.

  3. It might make you feel better to know that it takes me 35-60 drafts to reach that level of “magic.” It’s just endless editing, rethinking, recutting, cutting some more, adding a little detail or snarky remark…

  4. Well, the next book is about a pivotal labor strike in a Michigan copper mine, so I don’t know that BBB will be the right guy for the cover art. In any case, that decision is always the publisher’s, not mine.

  5. So glad to hear a new novel is coming. Just wanted to thank you for your craft. You are my favorite living novelist. I have given away countless copies of “the Sparrow”

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