A: Mostly from observation. I didn’t grow up on a farm or a ranch but I grew up around all of that. My grandparents were farmers and ranchers. A barn that it is a home to horses has always been one of my favorite places. I even like the smells. That bittersweet mixture of mud, manure, urine, horsehide, hay and leather. As for the calving sequences, l learned a lot on a photo assignment I did for a magazine. I also did quite a bit of research on calving as well. The rest is just a hard wired memory of winter in snow country. And all the hardship, heartbreak, beauty, and bliss it brings.
Q: Almost everyone in your book is an unsympathetic character. Which one was the hardest to write? Who was the easiest? Why?
A: Gosh, I hope they weren’t all that unsympathetic. I’m not sure about how to answer this one. They were each difficult in some respect but easy in others. The one that took the most work was probably Wade. I wanted him to be authentic. To despite all the crap that surrounds him, to at least try to do the right thing. There were times that I was unsure of his path. I also wanted his relationship with his mom to be honest. Glory was hard in that I didn’t want her to be totally one dimensional or cartoonish, but still be a self absorbed, spoiled brat. The easiest to write was Rochelle. Or at least the most fun. We’ve all encountered someone who is outrageous, flamboyant, rowdy and rebellious just for the sake of being so. You just never know what’s going to come out of her mouth. The grandfather was also a pure joy to render.
Q: Your author bio says after college you tried writing the Great American Novel, but couldn’t get past the Great American First Sentence. What was that book about, and how far did you actually get?
A: I started so many things but I just didn’t have much of a story to tell. Or wouldn’t work at it long enough to uncover one. I did finish a play and a screenplay but couldn’t get them produced. They were flawed. But great practice nonetheless.
Q: What would you like to think happened to Wade after the story ended?
A: I like to think that Wade keeps on keepin’ on. That he doesn’t regress. Goes on to college and grows into wherever that takes him.
Q: What’s your next project?
A: I’ve been messing with something I started a few years ago. It’s set in the early 1990’s. The working title is Wild Horses. It’s about Shepard Moon, a Vietnam vet and possibly a former independent contractor for the CIA who is now putting in time as a US Marshall. He’s been sent to central Wyoming, where he coincidently grew up, to find out who’s killing the wild horses. There will be blood, dust, lust and love.
I hope you enjoyed our interview! Be sure to support great independent authors like Jerome, and pick up or download a copy of Calves in the Mud Room here!