Why I Write

I have made up stories since early childhood, just as most of us did and left behind as we aged. I worked on short stories and poetry by the time I was in my forties. Marrying a New Mexican took me into the southwest frequently over the years of our life together. Place has always been a character in my work and never more so than when I started writing historical fiction. I draw on my journals frequently to retrace an experience or impression of a site or emotional experience.

In the ’70’s, I started on two historical novels only to leave them on the shelf. Ten years later, my brother-in-law told one liners around a New Year’s Eve fire in northern New Mexico, about his grandmother Josephine. At 3:00 am, I sat in the family bathroom with pencil and a tiny tablet writing down his one liners like: “She met Geronimo; rode in a cattle drive disguised as a man; had a child out-of-wedlock and lost him; met Pancho Villa; had a romance with a Buffalo Soldier, etc.”  From this came my first book in the Huachuca Trilogy: Huachuca Woman, a fictive autobiography.

Writing stimulates my imagination, opens new doors and shows me aspects of my own history and character that I hadn’t recognized previously. Writing has brought me new and strong friendships that I value.

Look for the first two books, Huachuca Woman and By Grace, to be published in the near future.

21 thoughts on “Why I Write”

  1. Well, look at you, Girlfriend! Congratulations on your new blog. And, big congratulations unending that your trilogy will finally find its way to our bookshelves.

    I look forward to hearing more from you and I’m happy to claim you as a blogging buddy. Your poems and comments on Riehlife in the early days of 2006 meant the world to me. You can still be easily found there by typing your name in the search box at the top.

    I didn’t register your New Mexico connection. One of these days we must chat about that.

    Janet Riehl

  2. Dear Janet,
    As always, I welcome your generous support! This has been a long time coming and it will be a while before I learn my way thru all its byways and highways. We have come such a long way from quill and parchment, not willingly at times. So, watch out cyber world, here comes another challenged writer!

  3. Great blog, Arletta! I love the photo you chose. And I love your summary of the wonderful things writing has brought to you. Here’s a cyber-thumbs up from one of your long-distance friends!

  4. Kathleen,
    I should have known I could count on you to check in. Thank you for your nice commentary. I’m slowly finding my way around this new planet and the promises it holds. How’s the second adult mystery unfolding?

  5. Hi, Arletta!

    Nice to see you in cyber-space :) Great first entry on your blog. Wonderful that you shared some of your writing journey with me here. I’ll be sure to bookmark your blog so that I can visit with you often.


  6. I’m sure some day soon I can brag I have a published author for a sister in law. I can hardly wait to read your books. I have enjoyed living in a historical western setting and understand the pull of the stories that are heard about an area. I think there will be equally intreging stories I hear in south Texas where I now live. Make this your next stop.

    1. Ineta,
      You are one of my built-in fans! you are family and I love your suppoprt. Jim and I spent 6 weeks touring Texas, including Victoria, and I know it is rich in tantalizing stories…including some of our own.

  7. You’ve got a great blog going, Arletta. Congratulations for taking the plunge. When I first started mine, I didn’t know how I would find the time to keep it up, but I think it really helps me to sort out my writing life.

    What a treasure Josephine was–what stories she could have told!

  8. Dear Julie, Mary, Jean and Nancy,
    Without the suppport of Women Writing the West members like y’all, I’d still be sitting here wondering who out there was also writing about western women. What a group and what nice comments y’all have left. (Yes, I write my books in the verboten accents/language of the era and my characters.)

  9. Thank you to Heidi and to Cynthia Becker (who posted under “About.”)
    Both write historical fiction: Heidi about her rodeo riding grandmother and Cynthia about Chipeta, strong woman of the Ute Nation.

  10. I agree with you, Arletta, about the importance of place in writing. I always start with my local. And my characters spring from the way they interact with their surroundings, either in positive or negative ways. It sometimes seems as though I understand my surroundings more than I understand myself, or at least what drives me. After ten years of writing, I have come to understand that I am a romantic, but not a writer of romances, a Christian, but not a writer of Christian novels, a woman of the West, but not a writer of Westerns. Where does this leave me? An inspirational writer of the woman’s experience in the American West. That’s where my heart is. Not so sure that’s where the $$ is. Good luck with your blog. Hope to join you soon.

    1. Dear Anne,
      So good to hear from you and your thoughts about place are unique. Since I happen to know your locale and home setting, I understand how that drives you to tell your stories. In my writing, my characters have special attachments to their environs, espcially those who live in and near the Huachuca Mountains of SE Arizona. The magnetism of the area drew me in and forced me to expel my tales!

  11. Learned things I didn’t know — but how the hell did you have time in the 70s to write, and where are those manuscripts? Were they lost in the floods? Go go godzilla (I mean blogmonster).

    very proud to have such a sparkly mom with an expressive mission

    p.s. she made me do it.

  12. It’s true, I did insist you do it, daughter dearest and onliest.
    As for the ’70’s mss, they’re still around and waiting for that day when I take them up again: a memoir of early childhood and a novel about the Leopoldville disaster in WWII……now you can sleep tight.

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