A: The Bone Trail tells the story of investigative reporter Kate Wyndham, who goes to Nevada to try to discover what has happened to two wild horse preservation advocates that have disappeared in the desert without a trace. When she tries to gain information from local and federal authorities she is stonewalled, so she turns to a Shoshone rancher, a horse ‘whisperer’ named Jim Ludlow, for help. In their search for the advocates, they develop a passionate emotional relationship that, if acted upon, will change their lives in ways neither is prepared to accept. And, as they pursue their search, they become embroiled in a web of deceit and intrigue that threatens to claim everything the hold dear, including their lives.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?
A: The two main characters are Kate Wyndham and Jim Ludlow. They are both wonderful characters, likeable and finely drawn. However, they are also both damaged in their own way. The plot centers on how they overcome the hurts of their past and find healing. The setting is in modern Nevada, primarily on a fictional Indian Reservation.
Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
A: When I assemble a character I use real people as primary models, but I put together personality characteristics to fit the plotline as much as possible. Of course, characters do have a tendency to take over once you give them life and air, and I just go with them as a write.
A: I start with an outline with characters in mind then I start writing. I am not a slave to the outline, but I do use it to get from point A to point B.
Q: Your book is set in northern Nevada. Can you tell us why you chose this area in particular?
A: The Bone Trail is loosely based on some real life incidents that have happened in some remote areas of northern Nevada recently.
Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?
A: Absolutely. The setting is critical to the plot!
Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
A: Kate Wyndham is in her hotel in Elko, NV. She is extremely frustrated with the run-around she has been given by the FBI and other federal authorities. Unexpectedly, she receives a phone call from a detective in the Nevada State Police who helps her make a connection so she can continue with her search for the missing women.
Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?
A: This is an excerpt from a part of the book that describes Jim Ludlow’s descent into alcoholism. He is an attorney and lobbyist in Washington, DC. But as a Shoshone, he finds that what he is required to do for his job goes against his moral code. But, he loves his wife (Madeleine), and she had begged him to take the lobbying job in Washington. So he is torn.
“In fact, for all practical purposes, Ludlow had stopped speaking at all. What good did words do anyway? He said very little to Madeleine, and when his boss came into his office on the one day in two weeks he had managed to make it in to work, to tell him he was fired, he had simply gotten up and left. He had sat in the park again that day in his fine suit that Madeleine had bought for him, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. He watched the pigeons as he pulled steadily at a fifth of Jack Daniels. He had given up the pretense of vodka and had just decided to drink what he liked.
Of course, Madeleine had heard about him getting fired very soon after it had happened. She had come home and screamed at him, telling him over and over that he was ruining not only his life but hers as well. He only stared into space silently as she had screamed, even when she had finally collapsed in a chair across from him sobbing. At the time, he distantly felt that perhaps he should care that Madeleine was upset, but he couldn’t remember exactly why.”
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Nell. We wish you much success!
A: Thank you!
Nell Walton is an avid horsewoman and also owns two wild horses, both of which came from a herd near Elko, NV. She is also the founder and managing editor of the online equestrian news magazine, The AllHorses Post (www.allpetspost.org/allhorsespost). She has degrees in journalism and biology from the University of Arkansas, spent many years as a professional journalist and worked as an intern for former President Bill Clinton when he was governor of Arkansas. She lives in East Tennessee on a small horse farm with her husband, four horses, one donkey, two cats and two dogs. The Bone Trail is her first novel.
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