About Carol, the Last Storyteller
After generations of courageous people on both sides of my family, I alone remain to tell their stories, to ensure they do not lie forgotten in their graves. For me, writing is a calling, and telling their stories of courage, faith, and hope is my mission.
To write stories of courage, faith and hope in people who faced dangerous choices to survive in the West. Some of the people I write about walked the earth; the fictional ones walk only in the landscape of my mind.
Where I Live
Together with my husband, Richard, I live in the Flathead Valley in Northwest Montana. Glacier National Park is 30 miles from us. Although it's tough to make a living and winters can be harsh (-26 Fahrenheit), we feel blessed to live here. Every morning I wake up to the Swan Rrange out my window. It's the mountain range this website is named for, and the view is at the top of every page in the site.
I also like the attitude of the people. My father was a cowboy in his early working life. Around here, the word "cowboy" is not an insult, and we understand the "cowboy way."
Returning to Montana after so many years away, I discovered my own "True North." Lisa Simon, Producer of "Reflections West," a program on Montana Public Radio (MTPR) asked me to write something about the West. You can listen to the essay here.
Writing Historical Fiction
Blending accurate research with imaginative speculation, historical figures with fictional characters, historical incidents with fictional conflicts, fact with feeling -- I love it all. No other form of writing has allowed me to engage my right brain to such a great degree.
So as not to mislead you, I'll say right off I don't write traditional Westerns, although everything I have written so far, or plan to write, is set in Montana. Aanother essay, "My Personal West," that I wrote for Richard Prosch's blog, Meridian Bridge, explains why.
Instead of growing up believing Westerns reflected the way the West was, I listened to them on radio or watched them on TV in the company of people who had lived in the real, historical, old West. I was born nearly halfway through my parents' lives, and they both lived to good ages. And then some, in Mother's case (106). My father's aunt, Kitty, was born in the last year of the Civil War and lived into her 90's. They were all living historians of the Old West, and they knew how it really was.
None of them, but my father especially, was bashful about telling me, "It wasn't that way." Followed by how it really was.
That's why the Montana I write about is, to the best of my ability, how it really was. I owe it to them.