The Creation of Deputy Tempe Crabtree

Readers often ask how an author came up with a character. Though I do make character charts, when I first imagined Tempe, I knew she was a widow with a small son, that she was Native American, and a resident deputy in a small, mountain community, and that she needed a new man in her life.

The first book I wrote with Tempe as the heroine is The Choice. The second book is Guilt by Association. The fact that Tempe is Native American has no real importance in either book.

By the time I wrote Deadly Trail, Tempe had grown into a different person and if you read Deadly Trail, you'll learn that her interest in her heritage is awakened by a fellow Indian, Nick Two John. The main setting of Deadly Trail is an Inn fashioned after the Springville Inn in the town where I live, though there are some distinctive differences.

I really liked those first two books--which weren't published yet--so I changed the heroine's name and the settings in both books. I self-published The Choice as a Christian horror. Treble Heart Books published Guilt by Association. If you've read the Tempe books, you'll recognize many of her traits and some of her personality in the heroines of the first books.

After Deadly Trail came Deadly Omen which is the book that my new publisher, Golden Eagle Press, wanted to begin with. The action begins at an Indian Pow Wow and continues onto the Bear Creek Indian Reservation which has an uncanny likeness to the Tule River Reservation also located near where I live.

Hard Shell Word Factory published Deadly Trail as an e-book and trade paperback.

Golden Eagle published Unequally Yoked, which has a lot of Native American spirituality in it; Intervention, which is set in a mountain lodge during a blizzard, and Wingbeat, which is about a hidden marijuana farm and a complicated family. Sadly, Mary Lou Romagno, the publisher of Golden Eagle Press and a friend, passed away.

Mundania Press gave me a contract for Calling the Dead, and the books that will follow: Judgment Fire and Kindred Spirits. Tempe has learned a lot about her Native American heritage over the span of these books and it plays an important part in each of the plots.

I know far more about Tempe and her husband, Hutch, than I know about my friends or relatives. It is fascinating to have all these people living inside one's imagination. I keep writing about her because I want to know what's going to happen to her next.


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