by Joyce B. Lohse
Those who watched the Lone Ranger on television a half century ago might remember clusters of ranchers or townsfolk, pondering the identity of their idol as he rode off into the sunset, stopping near the horizon to turn and wave from his rearing white horse, yelling, “Hi-yo, Silver, away!” Staring in amazement, they said, “Who was that masked man?” Their hero remained nameless, anonymous, and forever masked.
As administrator for Women Writing the West, people often ask me questions about our group. One common question is, “What if a man wants to join WWW?” This question is sometimes delivered in a challenging tone. The answer is simple. Women Writing the West is open to all persons worldwide with a common interest in women’s stories in the American West. I then hand them a membership brochure.
The following profiles provide a glimpse at three male writers—W. Michael Farmer, Bob Foard, and Bill J. Scott—who are currently members of WWW. Who are they? What do you know about them?
W. Michael Farmer lives in Suffolk, Virginia. When asked how his affiliation with our group came about, Michael said, “I had finished the manuscript for my first novel, Hombrecito's War, when I attended the first Tony Hillerman Writer's Conference in Nov 2004. Jann Arrington Wolcott, a sweet lady and very personable, gave one of the better talks about writing. She grew up in the Las Cruces, NM area and knew the history I used as the basis of my story. She generously agreed to read the manuscript and give me a few pointers about how to improve it.
"A few months later she sent me an e-mail that started: Wow! Wow! Wow! She was effusive in her praise, insightful in her comments and pointers, and set [this] Ph.D. physicist on the road to finding truth through fiction. Unable to find an agent, I published Hombrecito's War through a POD publisher and in 2006 it was named a finalist for Best First Novel by the Western Writers of America and was a New Mexico Book Award Finalist for Best Historical Fiction in 2007.
“My third novel, Conspiracy, Trial of Oliver Lee and James Gililland was published by Treble Heart Books, a real publisher, (in 2009) and I've just finished my fourth novel, a story about Pancho Villa, Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright. Jann, who was one of the founding mothers of WWW, suggested I join WWW because I'd find lots of useful writing nuggets on the list serve and meet some class acts in the writing business. And, I have.
"I support WWW because Jann Wolcott originally suggested it was a good place for any western writer - she was right, and because the organization is a class act of the best of writers keeping faith with the myths and memories of times and places that uniquely transcend the American soul.”
Join us next week for bios on our other WWW men, Bob Foard and Bill J. Scott.
Joyce B. Lohse, WWW administrator, writes historic biographies for Filter Press. Her books have won several awards, including two silver WILLA Awards from WWW.