Sunday, September 3, 2017

I'm so happy to be joining Berkley in celebrating the  September 5 paperback release of
Book 20 in the Wind River Mysteries
by Margaret Coel
with a Guest Post!

Margaret Coel’s New York Times bestselling series concludes as Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O’Malley discover that a centuries-old mystery is tied to a modern-day crime on the Wind River Reservation…

In the midst of a blizzard, Myra and Eldon Little Shield found an abandoned baby on their doorstep and brought her inside. Five years later, no one has come back to claim the little girl now known as Mary Anne Little Shield. But now that she’s old enough to start school, her foster parents fear social services will take her—a white child—away from them.

Determined to adopt Mary Anne, the Little Shields hire lawyer Clint Hopkins, who wants Vicky as cocounsel on the case. But before their plans can take shape, a black truck deliberately runs Hopkins down in the street.

Enlisting Father John to help investigate who would kill to stop the child’s adoption, Vicky unravels a connection between the five-year-old girl and a missing alcoholic Arapaho wanted for robbery—only to uncover one of the darkest secrets in Wind River’s history…

The Idea for Winter’s Child
By Margaret Coel

Where did the idea for Winter’s Child come from?

   Without doubt, the most frequent question fielded by authors is what I call the “idea question.”  I’ve always liked the answer Willie Nelson gave when asked where he got ideas for songs.  Ideas are floating around in the universe, Willie explained, and from time to time, one drops into his head.

   But there is something more. Your head has to be ready. Ready, open and welcoming.  You have to be on the constant lookout for ideas.  The mat must be out: come on in, make yourself at home. 

   Because, as Willie says, ideas are indeed out there. Everywhere.  And they are looking for you—writers, musicians, artists. The billboard you just passed, the commercial interrupting your favorite show, the little old lady shuffling by in the parking lot, the phone conversation annoying you in the airport.

   And books, of course.  Books are chock full of ideas.  I have gotten ideas for lots of stories from books.  Often I’ve been doing research for the novel I happened to be working on when, wow!  An idea for the next book jumped off the page.

   That’s how the idea for Winter’s Child  came. I was writing Wife of Moon and doing research about the Wind River Reservation in the early years after 1878, when the Arapahos settled there. Tucked in a footnote I had almost overlooked was the mention of Lizzie Brokenhorn, a white woman who had grown up Arapaho on the reservation. Interesting, I thought. I made a note about Lizzie and filed it into my ideas file (if you don’t capture ideas when they drop into your head, they have a way of evaporating into the mists.)  I finished Wife of Moon, went on to write other novels, and thought no more of Lizzie, until the idea popped up in another book.  This time, I paid close attention.  I began to look into the story of a white woman who had come into the tribe as a child.

   The idea of such a child captured me. What if a white child were growing up on the reservation today, I wondered? What if she believed herself to be Arapaho?  What if she had been brought to the reservation because of a horrific crime, a crime the villain would stop at nothing, even murder, to keep secret.

   And what if Vicky Holden, Arapaho attorney, and Father John O’Malley, Jesuit missionary priest, were drawn into the mystery surrounding the white child’s background and began to unravel the truth?  What might the villain do to stop them?

   I started writing, and the result is Winter’s Child, a novel that sprang from the germ of an idea in an obscure footnote while I was researching another novel.  But you never know when an idea might present itself. I have learned to be ready and to be patient because the idea for the next novel is always on its way.  It could drop into my head from anywhere.

About Margaret

Margaret Coel is the author of four nonfiction books and many articles on the people and places of the American West. Her work has won national and regional awards. Her first John O'Malley mystery, The Eagle Catcher, was a national bestseller, garnering excellent reviews from the Denver Post, Tony Hillerman, Jean Hager, Loren D. Estleman, Stephen White, Earlene Fowler, Ann Ripley and other top writers in the field. A native of Colorado, she resides in Boulder.

Now available for pre-order
Release date:
September 5!

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Want to follow my blog? 
Click on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page!