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After All Emily Richardson


D


eborah Collins, pen named Emily Richardson, takes readers on an adventure through the American West. WriƩ en with great detail and care, Collins delivers imagery in the pages of AŌ er All.


Growing up in England, what inspired you to write AŌ er All, a book about seƩ ling the American West? From a liƩ le girl I have been raised to be self reliant and independent, to always think for myself and to be prepared. My Mum read many kinds of stories to me and my brother, but it was the American Westerns that captured the spirit of adventure and the type of person I wanted to be. Growing up I had few friends and was a bit of a loner. I am mildly dyslexic, but was never diagnosed. When my Mum asked a teacher she trusted, she was told, “don’t


worry she will grow out of it.” So I idenƟ fy with the struggles of ⇒ ghƟ ng against diĸ culƟ es, yet sƟ ll having the inner strength to believe my dreams were possible.


My love of horses also played a big part in liking the American fronƟ er, however, horses in England were for the rich and elite. My family couldn’t aī ord one and had no knowledge of them. I do not come from a farming/ranching background, directly, though it runs deeply in my veins, as a member of my family was King George V’s gun bearer when he was shooƟ ng in Royal Windsor, Berkshire, on his estate.


Your pen name, Emily Richardson, is a tribute to your grandmothers. What did they contribute to you and your wriƟ ng that made you want to honor them in such a signi⇒ cant way? They were both strong, but quiet, unassuming women. They were like thousands of others, yet they gave me my most valuable asset: my Mum and Dad. I wouldn’t change them for anything. In honoring their parents and families, I honor them and all they have shown and taught me. Without that foundaƟ on and support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.


The detail in AŌ er All is rich and full; you do readers a great service by placing them in the scenes. I imagine I am there, living, feeling, touching and smelling the Ɵ me and place. I see my story as a full moving picture in my mind. I know my “people” (characters); I know how they will react in certain situaƟ ons, what they want to or can do. The story becomes almost real, to me at that moment that I am wriƟ ng. I get lost in “their” world.


The history of the American West is paramount to this story. Are you a history buī , and if so, how did you become interested in a foreign history? I enjoy reading about the history of the American West, I enjoy diaries of people who actually made the westward journey. The struggle to survive and, more importantly, to explore, which is in us all to a degree. We are sƟ ll ⇒ ghƟ ng, each in our own way to broaden our horizons and our own individual world, whether we live 2 miles from where we grew up or 6,000 miles from our land of birth. I love history as I think we can learn from it. Or at least we should. I have taken literary license with dates, etc. I am not a “buī ” or adamant


about speci⇒ c Ɵ mes and places. For me, it is about the journey, the characters and their struggles in life that is important.


So many fronƟ er and western books are about the men that conquered them. Why did you deliver this story through a woman’s eyes? I believe that behind every man, there is a stronger woman. Women have been portrayed as weak for too long and it just isn’t true. They were not then, we are not now. Women are tough, adaptable,


resourceful and all-enduring. They survive against many odds or die ⇒ ghƟ ng along the way. I was brought up to be responsible for my acƟ ons, for my life. I learned that from those that made this journey before me. I think as we get older, we realize to have someone stand beside you, is more important than who is out in-front.


I have equally strong female and male characters, but to me these are “people,” living their lives just like we are, the issues that make them who they are and how experiences mold them, is as relevant then, as it is today.


It had been a hard decision, but one made for the sake of the family and by the family; it had been their choice. Watching the wagons pull out without them was agonizing. They knew they might not live to regret it. . .


I want to know more about Mary and Aggie. Is a sequel in the works? Yes, there is a sequel, half wriƩ en. My problem is that I am a “guilty writer.” What that means to me, is for me to sit down and write is a totally self-indulgent and a sel⇒ sh luxury. Everything, and I mean everything and everyone else, has to be taken care of ⇒ rst--ranch chores done, house cleaned, horses rode, dogs walked, job, family taken care of--wriƟ ng is last on the list because it is all about me. I don’t like to be interrupted! My goal has always been to just tell a good story that many people can and will enjoy, so once you pick it up, you cannot put it down


How can members get their own copy of AŌ er All? Copies are available at The Book Exchange at 3 North Adair Street in Pryor, or if your readers email me at uklady123@gmail.com, I have copies on hand and can mail them for $8.99 plus postage. z


December 2016 - 5


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