PBS: “Murder of a President” on American Experience

When developing a historical novel, I try to get a sense of what’s going on in the wider world that surrounds my story’s setting. War is always there in the background: impending wars, current wars, wars still haunting the dreams of veterans. But what else happening? What’s scandalous? What’s amusing? What are people reading? What … Read more…

First two reviews of Epitaph!

Have to admit, I flinched at the first sentence, thinking I’d get slammed for too much tedious detail, but then…   Library Journal Starred Review January 1, 2015 In this follow-up to Doc, Russell is on a mission: she will leave no stone unturned, no seemingly tangential character undeveloped, no political maneuver unexamined in order … Read more…

Writer tech: narration, POV and “head-hopping”

Well, here I am, writing a blog post when I’m one chapter away from completing the first draft of Epitaph. Why? Because I woke up at 5 AM with an urgent desire to read a biography of William S. Hart. Bill Hart was the silent film-era Western star who befriended Wyatt and Josie Earp during … Read more…

Yes, I’m writing a sequel to Doc.

When I was writing Doc, I believed it would be a stand-alone historical novel like A Thread of Grace or Dreamers of the Day. I thought the story of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral was so well known, so much a part of American folklore, that there was no point in going back over … Read more…

DOC on HBO

People, I have never kept a secret this long in my life. This has been brewing since June, 2011. Here’s what I heard originally:  Ron Howard’s father Rance Howard has a longtime fascination with Doc Holliday. He read Doc when it first came out and took it to his son Ron, who contacted HBO about … Read more…

Some pianos ARE too awful to play!

This morning, I drove into Tombstone early, hoping to beat the heat and the crowds. Spotted mining archeologist  Carey Granger and had a chance to ask him some additional questions, including, “Wait — they had two ice factories in Tombstone? How did they make ice?” He said they used ammonia and fire. “Did you ever … Read more…

Starting the next novel…

I always seem to do two books in each genre. After resisting the pattern for months, I have bowed to the inevitable. DOC, which will be out in May, focuses on one half of the West’s most famous friendship, telling the story of Doc Holliday’s short and tragic life. I’m now committed to a second … Read more…