JANUARY 2021: If you think the impact of the Bighorn National Forest wanes over time, fear not. Natalie discovers that the cycles of life and death extend beyond her beloved mountains in The Secret, a sequel to The Lumberjack. Spending time in her mind (and she in mine) allows us both to wander through the trails and trees that inspired me half a dozen years ago and that continue to breathe into her and carry her into new roles, ranks, and relationships.
AUGUST 2016: While temporarily working for the United States Forest Service, I explored the beautiful stretches of stillness and seclusion in Wyoming that guided me to the settings I would describe in my first novel, The Lumberjack. With each potential setting I discovered, I expanded my love of the mountains that tempted me away from my routine, rote professional life and into the nomadic addiction that America the Beautiful enticed within me for years.
As I traveled Into The Forest, the aesthetics of nature I explored, united with my fascination for words, lead me into a love affair with the Bighorn National Forest, its settings, the emotions it provoked, and characters that grew from its soil as if granted life like flora from the forest floor. The story that unfolded from my reflections during my time in Wyoming followed absolutely no correlation to my own experiences, but the surroundings, the sunsets, the star-studded nights, and the simplicity of a summer on the Bighorns breathed life into my characters almost as much as they breathed life into me.
Please enjoy the adventures of Natalie. She found her courage, as did I, on the Bighorn National Forest. Please feel free to find your own strength and rebirth on America’s public lands, whether throughout the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, or the U.S. Forest Service.
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