King of the Cowboys

This afternoon as I watched an old Western called The Bells of San Angelo, I realized why I have given Billie an obsession with a daddy who looks like Roy Rogers. My own daddy looked so much like the King of Cowboys, especially in profile, they might have been mistaken for twins. They both had those wonderfully chiseled cheekbones and that sculpted nose.

Another similarity shared by Daddy and Roy Rogers was a love of horses. Roy had Trigger, and Daddy had whichever horse happened to be closest to the barn.  The one he enjoyed riding most was a perfectly beautiful stallion named Tony, who belonged to my cousin next door. It was a thrilling sight to see Daddy atop that big horse, riding over the farmland he loved.

That’s the magic of writing – when a forgotten memory bubbles to the surface as story, when it fits the character so well it’s hard to tell memory from fiction. As I wrote about ten-year-old Billie’s obsession with Roy Rogers, I recalled the games I played with my baby sister in the backyard, both of us on stick horses pretending to be Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. But it was only when I saw Roy again on the TV screen that it struck me how I had used early memories to make Billie come alive on the pages of The Sweetest Hallelujah.

I’ll be in the Atrium Ballroom at the Marquis Mariott next Wednesday at 5:30, signing books to benefit literacy.  I hope to see many of you there.  Though The Sweetest Hallelujah won’t be in bookstores until July 30, I’ll bring signed bookplates and bookmarks. Also, you’ll get a sneak peak at the BIG CONTEST I’m having for the launch of this book. Your choice of a Kindle, a Nook or a $100 bookstore gift card!

Roy (not the King of Cowboys, but my webmaster) will post details later in the month.  Stay tuned!

7 Responses to King of the Cowboys

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  4. Cat says:

    Begining to wish I lived closer to Tupelo. We used to live near Apple Valley where his museum was. I actually went there once as a wee child. Seeing Trigger in his taxedermy splendor kind of freaked me out but then I still cry when Bambi’s and Littlefoot’s moms died. Can’t wait for the Book. Looking forward to JLC and the next Elvis. Remember to get some rest in amongst all those deadlines.

  5. Lee says:

    Yes, it just sneaks in there. I’m looking forward to seeing you Aug 17 at Lemuria!

  6. When I have those aha moments, I reliaze how the line between fiction and reality blurs. We could have an entire discussion about the extent of autobiiography in a work of fiction.

  7. Lee says:

    Love that! It’s funny how the mind works with our memories!

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