I’m often asked what made me start writing. My answer: a tiny blue airplane.
I grew up on acreage outside the small northeastern Oregon town of La Grande, where my childhood consisted of riding horses, county fair competitions, showing cows, cattle drives, a year as queen of a local rodeo, and flying with my dad in his Cessna airplane.
Dad used the airplane to visit with farmers for his irrigation business. Often his early morning flights would take him over Red’s Horse Ranch—a guest resort in the Wallowa Mountains. On the occasions where he landed at the ranch for breakfast, dad would come home with the most amusing stories about the owner, Red Higgins and the antics of the teenage boys spending the summer under the watch of the crusty old cowboy.
After the devastating loss of my father, waves of memories began crashing over me. As time went by, most weakened to a ripple, but there were a few that held fast. Red’s Horse Ranch was one dad seemed determined I not forget. I hadn’t thought of the ranch for years, and now I was haunted by it. I wrote the story of Red Reins in honor of my father and his undying love of Eastern Oregon.
As it turns out, dad wouldn’t be my only spirit inspiration. The Del series was born from my infatuation with the mystery of the ghost haunting the Hotel del Coronado. The unknown woman died outside the hotel on November 29, 1892, but reports from guests and hotel staff proves she has never left. My stories take the reader through the lives of the three women thought to be the possible victim, who newspapers of the time called, “The Beautiful Stranger.”
When not writing, I like to gather the family to feed our Disney obsession with another wild Disney vacation. The rest of my time is spent raising paint horses with my daughter and watching her show. Several of our horses were used as characters in Red Reins. A few are pictured below, along with our latest baby girl, Joan Simone.