Interview with JR Stokes

What lead to you writing western stories?
I've traveled the southwest extensively during my youth. Both paternal great-grandfathers traveled west from the old states. Otis from Ohio as a youth and Richard, his wife and their three children, from Boston to San Francisco in April of 1868 arriving in late September, three months before Hanna delivered her fourth child, a third son. Needing to save the cost of travel, Richard, a blacksmith by trade, had hired on for the journey across our great land by wagon train. Otis, traveling some years after Richard, had the convenience of train travel.
A year after the death of Hanna, and having left the four children with relatives on a ranch in Hornitas, California, he traveled back into Colorado then into the two southern Territories – Arizona and New Mexico. It was during these travels and through friendships made with rugged frontier families that stories were shared. Some may be ‘yarns’ woven with touches of truth or embellishments from whiskey around warm campfires.
I listened to these stories told not by my great-grandfathers but by my grandfather who listened as his father had spoke of his western travels – of the saloons and their women, of the gun fights and fistfights, the Indian raids, and of families left behind as a father drifted elsewhere seeking a better life for his family. Yes, there were hangings too.
Richard returned to the ranch in Hornitas. He, one of his son’s and the son's family are buried at the site’s historic cemetery. His only daughter, Kate, is buried with her family just down the trail in Cathey’s Valley. These tales have been told only from mouth-to-mouth and from one generation to the next.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do and I've yet to publish it for some reason. The protagonist is a modern day deputy sheriff.
How do you approach cover design?
Photographs that catch my vibes. It's like seeing something in your mind come into view that screamed "That's where my story took place!"
What do you read for pleasure?
I love mysteries and history stories.
Describe your desk
Full! But a nice full. Research of the southwest, old western names I use as add ins to those granddad told and lots of pictures of the west and it's people.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
My influence came from many of the old stories told and my travels to locations he described. Smelling the dry desert air, tasting the coolness of a southern Colorado stream, the smell of a season's change easily fills your mind with the same experiences he must of experienced. Where I grew up did not offer this kind of life experience I now so enjoy.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Life after death. It's about a young cowboy who's killed though he's not aware he's dead yet. He finds he's able to think his thoughts into the mind of a lawman friend who is in need of help in solving two killings - a local sheriff and himself. This was a fun one to do and I'm not sure where it came from. I dedicated it to my sister who passed on too early in her life.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Bringing life to the old stories granddad told.
What are you working on next?
Actually I'm working on three different short stories
-Two old cowboy lawmen - Curly & Gunnoe - forced into one more killing mystery before watching their sun set.
- The third in the series of Rodman Keell, US Marshal, Special Forces.
- A young, handsome saloon owner who's former lover arrives in town with her husband and conflicts both have at seeing the other. Of course, the conflict is helped along with the husband possibly being the villain and a theft of $425,000!
Who are your favorite authors?
John Sanford; Vince Flynn; James Patterson; Michael Connelly; Louis L'Amour; Zane Grey and a hundred other western writers.
Published 2014-11-27.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Half Step outa Hell
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 31,130. Language: English. Published: January 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Finding himself dead, young Bud Shanks sets out to help Marshal John Braun find his killer and 800 stolen US Army Winchesters
Thunder Ridge
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 64,360. Language: English. Published: December 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Who would shoot Hugh Nady? No town folks had knew specially Sheriff John Hardy. Why would anyone kill a likeable, gentle gun shop owner. That is until Hardy discovers thousands of dollars, fancy clothes and deeded ownership in western and eastern lands tucked away in the man’s garment chest and gun store safe. There was more . . . a lot more.
Bobby Joe Barnes
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 54,070. Language: English. Published: March 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
It was the race to Promontory Point and Union Pacific was gona win it or there’d be hell to pay. Ethan Jensen and Bobby Joe Barnes were new to the railroad survey team outa Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory. They did their job until a payroll theft and murder chased after them.
Rodman Keell US Marshal - Series II
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 49,200. Language: English. Published: November 22, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
US Marshal Rodman Keell investigates crime against elected officials, ordinary citizens performing work for federal and state authorities and murder. Kidnapping for ransom is on the rise in the west and Rod Keell aims to put a stop to this new game. If he can't, it turns to murder.
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 142,080. Language: English. Published: November 21, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Marshals Bill Henry and Brett Stone have their man Yazzie Chavez cornered only to have the outlaw escape during gun play with Chavez and his henchmen. Learning later that Chavez has run north, the two lawmen head through Dodge where Henry rescues a young woman and her son from the hands of a ruthless Dodge City Sheriff.
Rodman Keell US Marshal Special Services Series I
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 40,610. Language: English. Published: October 28, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
US Marshal Rodman Keell investigates crime against elected officials, ordinary citizens performing work for federal and state authorities and murder. Kidnapping for ransom is on the rise in the west and Rod Keell aims to put a stop to this new game. If he can't, it turns to murder.
Life Twice Stolen
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 95,110. Language: English. Published: October 26, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Finding his father and brother hanging, his partner and their prisoner murdered and his son Sam nowhere nearby has pushed US Marshal Mike Hansen into a chase he never expected or wanted. His old nemesis, Barnaby Judd, has done the unthinkable human act to draw Hansen into gunplay to settle an old score.