Enjoy the Romance of 19th Century Wyoming with Today's Guest - Lynda Cox

Lynda Cox
Please help me welcome today’s guest, author Lynda Cox, a fellow American Historical Romance author. Her most recent book, The Devil’sOwn Desperado was published by The Wild Rose Press.

Welcome, Lynda!

First, what can you tell us about the time period and setting for The Devil’s Own Desperado or some of the other books your working on.

The vast majority of my novels are set in the mid to late 1880s, and they’re set in the American West, namely the Wyoming Territory.

Why Wyoming and why the 1880s? Is there a special connection for you?

I do have an undergrad degree in American History (to go along with the English BA and MA), but I am also incredibly drawn to Wyoming.  I have been ever since I was a little girl and cut my television teeth on programs like The Lone Ranger, The Sisco Kid, The Rifleman, and Bonanza.  Yes, I know most of those were filmed on a back lot at Paramount or DesiLu, and Bonanza was supposed to be in Nevada, but for some reason, it was always Wyoming where I’ve wanted to be.

The Devil's Own Desperado
What do you find most appealing about the time period?

Wow…so much about this time period is appealing…and I’m very aware that 90% of what I find appealing is the blatant romanticizing of the time period.  That being said, there was also a code of honor at that time.  A man’s word was his bond.  At the time, our country was experiencing an economic boom, the likes of which we hadn’t seen (and wouldn’t see again for almost 70 years).  There was also a simplicity to the lifestyle.

If you had the opportunity to visit this time period, what do you think you’d like best? What would you like least?

I know I would like the fact that the only way to really travel was on horseback.  Most people—if they took a train ride—it was a one and only trip, because travel by train was horribly expensive.  I know I would go absolutely INSANE without my iPod, my Kindle, and my laptop.  There are times I’m frightened by how much I rely on electronics.

Have you used any real figures from history as main or secondary characters in your books, or are all of your characters fictional?

So far, all my characters (main and secondary) are fictional.

Is there a real person from this time period that you admire?

Annie Oakley and Martha Jane Canary—better known as “Calamity Jane”

How much time do you spend researching each book?

That really depends on the book.  I’ve spent a lot of time in Wyoming, and my favorite places to go are the little local museums.  They are a treasure trove of information and fascinating tidbits about life at the time.  However, I still research before I start writing, because each book and the characters in the book are unique and I want my facts straight.  The book I’m currently working on for my editor has a doctor as the male protagonist and I needed to do a lot of research on medical practices in the 1880s.

Do you tend to research before you write, or more as you write?

Again, that depends on the book.  If I’m not sure of a fact, I will drop everything and find the information I need.  The book I started for NaNoWriMo has a Confederate cavalry officer as the hero.  I had to gather information on the Confederate cavalry units from Kentucky (I couldn’t make anything about this poor guy’s life easy), Federal run prisoner of war camps, and even tried to track down any information on gold that was supposedly stolen from the Confederate Treasury.

Do you tend to use secondary or primary research sources?

I resort to secondary sources ONLY if I can’t find what I’m looking for in a primary source.  Letters of the time period, newspaper articles, personal journals…again, treasure troves full of the most interesting tidbits.  If I have to use a secondary source, I prefer that it be a peer-reviewed historical entry.

Any favorite sources?

The Cunningham Memorial Library at Indiana State (my alma mater).  As I teach one semester out of the year, I have a current faculty ID, so I have access to all the sources in the library.  So many of the historical journals that used to take up shelf space are now digitized and available online. 

Do you read other authors who write in this time period? if so, who?

Linda Lael Miller. 

Do you read books from other times periods or other genres?

My current obsession is with the American Civil War.  I’ve read five or six Civil War romances, have read about five books on Elmira—the worst of the Federally run POW camps, read another book on the POW Camp Morton (which was on the grounds of the Indiana State Fairgrounds), and am currently reading a primary source written by a member of the 1st Kentucky during his time serving the CSA.

How can readers reach out to you if they want to learn more?

Twitter is @LyndaCox

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