Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Author Interview & Giveaway: FIRST HERD TO ABILENE

FIRST HERD TO ABILENE
An H. H. Lomax Western, #5
by
PRESTON LEWIS
Genre: Historical Fiction / Western / Humor
Publisher: Wolfpack Publishing
Date of Publication: February 5, 2020
Number of Pages: 449


Scroll down for the giveaway!

HISTORICALLY SOUND AND HILARIOUSLY FUNNY! H.H. Lomax meets Wild Bill Hickok in Springfield, Missouri, and is responsible for Hickok’s legendary gunfight with Davis Tutt. Fearing Hickok will hold a grudge, Lomax escapes Springfield and agrees to promote Joseph G. McCoy’s dream of building Abilene, Kansas, into a cattle town, ultimately leading the first herd to Abilene from Texas.

Along the way, he encounters Indians, rabid skunks, flash floods, a stampede, and the animosities of some fellow cowboys trying to steal profits from the drive. Lomax is saved by the timely arrival of now U.S. Marshal Hickok, but Lomax uses counterfeit wanted posters to convince Hickok his assailants are wanted felons with rewards on their heads.

Lomax and Wild Bill go their separate ways until they run into each other a decade later in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, where Hickok vows to kill Lomax for getting him fired.

First Herd to Abilene is an entertaining mix of historical and hysterical fiction.

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Writing & First Herd to Abilene
Author Interview with Preston Lewis

Tell me how you write a historical novel like First Herd to Abilene.
I go through three drafts. The first draft is pure drudgery as you are battling the tyranny of the blank screen, just trying to get something down. I note writing milestones along the way, the first page being the initial objective. You can’t have a book without a first page. Then by page ten, I’m in double digits, which is a good sign. Page 100 is a major accomplishment because by then I’m in three digits, and I’m beginning to think this may work out after all.

What about the second and third drafts?
In the second draft, I go back and start editing, cutting out verbiage, connecting plot points, deleting extraneous scenes, and adding scenes that are necessary for the background of future chapters. In the second draft, I am giving the manuscript its first full read and striving for overall coherence. As I write the first draft, I make a list of adjustments I need to include in the preceding pages and work all that out in the second draft. By the third draft, I am interested in polishing the writing, strengthening the verbs, eliminating echoes, and tying everything together before sending it off to the editors.

Do you outline/plot out a novel or just write where it takes you?
I’ve done it both ways. When I was a new writer, editors demanded a synopsis in varying levels of detail, but as I established myself as a writer, I could just give a brief plot description. No matter how I do it, I generally know where I will start and where I will end. With a detailed plot in front of me in the early years, I had a roadmap for the novel. Today I prefer to start writing and see where the journey takes me. It’s more fun that way because you never know for sure what will happen, or which turns your characters will take.

How do you use your research in writing a historical novel?
I like my historical novels to give readers a bit of a history lesson, even if it is fiction. So, I look for facts and characters that interest me or that I have not encountered elsewhere in fiction. Then I try to incorporate them into a coherent story. Before starting First Herd to Abilene, I spent about eight months reading as many first-hand accounts of trail drives and cowboying as well as biographies on Wild Bill Hickok, looking for facts that intrigued me. Then I begin to put it all together.

How would you describe that writing process?
The analogy I use is that writing a historical novel is quilting with words. I had two aunts that lived in the small West Texas community of Blackwell and they were quilters. They would have an idea, cut out fabric, arrange it in patterns, sew the pattern blocks together, put a batting between the pattern and the backing, and then hand-stitch it into the final quilt. Novel writing is like quilting with words. The research provides the idea, the facts become the fabric, and the patterns become the chapters. The stitching is the writing style, which unites the plot and theme (batting and the backing) into a finished product. That comparison works best for how I view the writing process.

Is there any serendipity in what you write?
Certainly. When I first started the Memoirs of H. H. Lomax series twenty years ago, I developed an entire family, with his parents and eight siblings. Lomax had five brothers and three sisters, but for some reason I said Constance, his oldest sister, had disappeared, and I wrote nothing about her. I don’t know why, other than I thought her backstory, whatever it was, might come in handy one day. Constance Lomax shows up in First Herd to Abilene for her only appearance in the Lomax series, but she is critical to the story and the ultimate resolution to the plot.

What historical figures appear in First Herd to Abilene?
Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt fought a classic gun battle in Springfield, Missouri, which is where First Herd begins. Then there’s Joseph G. McCoy, who made Abilene the first major Kansas railhead, and Jesse Chisholm, for whom the famous trail is named, much to the chagrin of Lomax. Finally, there’s Calamity Jane and a pair of undertaker brothers in Deadwood.




Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of thirty novels. In addition to his two Western Writers of America Spurs, he received the 2018 Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Western Humor for Bluster’s Last Stand, the fourth volume in his comic western series, The Memoirs of H. H. Lomax. Two other books in that series were Spur finalists. His comic western The Fleecing of Fort Griffin received the Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association for best creative work on the region.
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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
1ST PRIZE: 
Signed Copies of First Herd to Abilene and Bluster's Last Stand
2ND PRIZE: 
Signed Copy of First Herd to Abilene
APRIL 28-MAY 8, 2020
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4/28/20
Excerpt
4/28/20
BONUS Post
4/29/20
Review
4/30/20
Author Interview
5/1/20
Review
5/2/20
Scrapbook Page
5/3/20
Excerpt
5/4/20
Review
5/5/20
Author Interview
5/6/20
Review
5/7/20
Review
5/7/20
BONUS Post


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3 comments:

  1. Great interview and I loved this. "Novel writing is like quilting with words." Since I'm a quilter and a writer, that really resonated with me. I quilt the same way I write, often with no pattern and no strict plan. Adding and taking away as I go.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Texas Book Lover for posting my interview. Regards, Preston.

    ReplyDelete