Q&A with Jeff Guinn

Elise Cooper: Do you think this book is a realistic look at the western frontier?


Jeff Guinn: Yes, which is why I included blowing dust, bad whiskey, and smelly outhouses. Seriously, conditions in that region were very extreme and hard. Anyone who survived out there in one way or another was a hero, both men and women. What was written in this book reflects what was going on all over the frontier. That is why I included the quote, ‘The simplest conveniences in civilized places were complicated in Glorious.’


EC: Did you want to contrast Saint Louis and Glorious?


JG: Yes. Saint Louis was the line of de-embarkation with civilization to the East of it and the primitive frontier to the West. People have this romantic notion of getting into a Stagecoach and traveling to the west. In actuality, you would get seasick and your rear end would start to hurt from bouncing up and down on plank seating.


EC: Is Glorious a real town?


JG: I drove around Arizona trying to find a spot. There is this real silver mining town called Superior that is east of Florence, at the base of the Pinal Mountains, with a creek by it. The settings in the book include the real places of Queen Creek, Apache Leap, and Picket Post Mountain. It is sixty miles west of Phoenix and is one of the most beautiful places in this country.


EC: Since you write about prospectors in the book and Superior is a real silver mining town did you try your hand at prospecting?


JG: I did not want to write about it if I did not try my hand at it myself. I found out it is really hard because it is hot, there is a lot of up and down climbing, steep hills, and when you hammer a rock it tends to hit back, vibrating all through your arm and hand. Now that I had done it once I do not see myself doing it again.


EC: How would you describe Cash?


JG: The antithesis of Matt Dillon. He is not the perfect hero who can out shoot, out fight, and is honest to a fault. He is flawed in the beginning of the book: selfish, impulsive, and uncaring. Hopefully throughout the book he grows and becomes a better person.


EC: How would you describe Gabrielle?


JG: An independent woman, brave, smart, tough with a lot of common sense. What happens in the relationship with Cash will be her decision. In fact, Cash comes to Glorious thinking she will take him back, not realizing that she has made a life of her own. I did not want to write a woman protagonist who is one dimensional, frightened, and has to be rescued. That is definitely not what a frontier woman was like because in many ways they were tougher than men.


EC: How did you come upon the name for the sheriff Joe Saint?


JG: Anytime I meet people with interesting names I ask them if I can use them for my characters. A friend of mine married someone with that name so I asked him and decided to use it for the sheriff since he is a good, decent human being.


EC: You have the classic western theme of the rich rancher trying to take over the town. True?


JG: Historically that has happened and is still happening. One person usually runs small towns. Then as well as today there is corruption, shady business practices, and powerful businesses trying to crush the small businessman. Someone tries to gain the upper hand by making all the money at the expense of the individual who is trying to achieve the American dream. Cash tries to escape it in Saint Louis only to find it happening again in Glorious. However, with that said, in fairness, towns centered on ore needed the big business to come in and take over the mining. Prospectors could only hope to find the silver, file a claim, and then sell it to a large company because excavating it was very expensive. This is what I showed in the book.


EC: What did you want readers to get out of the book?


JG: I hope readers will end up respecting and admiring those who lived in the frontier. This book is a testimonial to those who stayed. Besides good entertainment I wanted to write a realistic historical book that is an accurate picture. A novel that is informative and fun.


EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book?


JG: I know I left a lot up in the air, but it is a three book series. I promise that everything will be tied up over the course of the three books. Remember that settlement communities like Glorious usually lasted about three years. Then the towns dwindled and blinked out. In book two the characters of Glorious will only be provincial but will come back in the spotlight for book three. The second book has Cash, on his own, having to learn fighting skills or he will die. Readers will also find out what happens to MacPherson. Regarding the love triangle between Gabrielle, Cash, and Joe book three will have a conclusion and people will find out who she loves and what feelings she has for Cash, if any at all.