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MAJOR MITCHELL

Collecting Ideas

Yesterday I was asked by a fan on Good Reads where I got my idea for my next book. I truthfully said I didn’t know. It was just there.  That’s the way it has always been, from the time I was a small child to now.

I was the youngest of eight children. My older sister and brother got married young and started having children, so the house became small when my mother started babysitting their children while they went back to work. If I wanted any peace I had to go somewhere and hide. That meant I spent a lot of time alone. I quickly became a day-dreamer and made up a ton of stories inside my head. And because the local theater mostly showcased westerns, a lot of my stories were, of course, westerns. I took the place of John Wayne or Roy Rogers. I always killed the bad dudes and got the girl.

The town I grew up in was a ranching community, so it was nothing to see real working cowboys downtown. Most of the kids in my classroom at school lived on ranches and had 4-H projects raising cattle or sheep. Living within the city limits, I raised a pen full of chickens which I chose not to enter in 4-H. We did get fresh eggs and ate a lot of chicken dinners though.

One of my favorite spots was an old chinaberry tree that grew beside our house and had a perfect sitting area about halfway up into the foliage. On nice warm days I’d climb the tree with a fistful of comic books and spend hours alone with my comic character friends. Other times, I’d strap on my Red Rider cap pistol and wipe out a den of rustlers. It became serious when half the kids in the neighborhood grabbed their cap guns (girls included) and we’d have an old fashioned shoot-out in the middle of the street. I learned a lot in those days.

Where did I get my idea for my next book? I’d have to say from life. While my books are more serious, and wordier, a lot of them came from the games we played. I was able to study the actions and reactions of the other kids on the block. I perfected daydreaming to an art while inside the classroom. What was going on inside my head was a whole lot better than the words coming from my teachers. Yes, my next story came from life.

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