Momentous Moments in the Old West You May Have Missed

Rod Miller, how long have you been writing?

Rod Miller author photo

Since the mid-1970s I have written advertising copy for a living. But it wasn’t until about 1997 that I attempted “creative” writing. I started with poetry, and a few years later tried short stories, with my first story published in 2003. Then I thought I’d try writing books, and had a nonfiction book and a novel published in 2005. Along the way I also started writing for magazines. I continue to write in all those areas.

 

Tell us where you were born and where do you live now.

I grew up in Goshen, Utah, a small town on Highway 6 in the far corner of Utah County. I have lived and worked in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada, and for the past 30 years or so have lived in Sandy, Utah.

 

How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?

It’s always a “maybe.” But if the core conflict, incident, and characters seem interesting, with enough complexity and depth and ambiguity to bear exploration, it’s worth a try. That seems to me to be true for both fiction and nonfiction and it has worked so far.

 

Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?

The magazine editor who first published my poetry—Jesse Mullins at American Cowboy magazine—gave me hope that my work was of an acceptable quality. He later gave me many assignments to write articles for the magazine. His confidence spurred me to keep trying new things.

 

What is the name of your book?

During 2015 I have had three books published.

The Lost Frontier

The Lost Frontier: Momentous Moments in the Old West You May Have Missed (TwoDot/Rowman & Littlefield) recounts in each chapter an event or person in Western history that has not received the attention it deserves from textbook historians. It includes accounts of the first crossing of North America (it was not by Lewis and Clark), the first airplane flight (it was not by the Wright brothers), the emperor who once ruled America, the United States Army Camel Corps, and other such obscure but interesting historical happenings.

 

The Death of Delgado and Other Stories (Pen-L Publishing) is a collection of short fiction set in the American West, from pioneer days to the present. A few are published in the collection for the first time; most have appeared previously in anthologies. The title story won the Western Writers of America Spur Award for Short Fiction and another story was a Finalist for that honor.

The Death of Delgado and Other Stories

Rawhide Robinson Rides the Tabby Trail: The True Tale of a Wild West CATastrophe (Five Star Publishing) is an adult-young adult crossover novel. It features the same character as the Western Writers of America Spur Award-winning novel Rawhide Robinson Rides the Range: True Adventures of Bravery and Daring in the Wild West. The book tells the story of herding cats from Chicago to Tombstone to relieve a rat infestation, interwoven with tall tales told around the campfire.

Rawhide Robinson Rides the Tabby Trail

Is there a book trailer for your books?

Rawhide Robinson Rides the Tabby Trail should be available for viewing soon. (I will send a link.)

 

Do you have a favorite character, why?

Mormon frontier gunslinger Porter Rockwell has served me well in both fiction and nonfiction. He was an extraordinarily capable man, very complex, and with a many-faceted character that revealed both goodness and evil. And, he was involved in many important and interesting events in the history of the Old West.

 

What kind of impact do you expect your works to have in the reader’s lives?

I hope they enjoy the reading, learn something, and come away with something to think about. I think it is more important for writers to create questions than provide answers.

 

Do you have any advice for authors trying to break into the industry?

If you are more critical of your work than anyone else could possibly be, you will likely try and try again to make it right. It takes a curious combination of self-confidence and self-criticism to believe you can write something someone else might want to read, then to work hard enough to make it worth their while.

 

What are your new years goals?

There is another book about Old West history waiting to be written, and a line-up of magazine stories to tackle. If there’s another novel in the wings, it has yet to reveal itself.

 

Where can we find your book? 

All my books, including anthologies in which my work appears, will be found on my Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/rodmiller

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