By Kristy McCaffrey
Here's a few fun facts about my Wings of the West series.
The characters in THE WREN came to me when I was 15 years old. I saw a girl and two brothers. This grew into the characters of Molly Hart and Matt Ryan (and his brother Logan).
When I was 23, I moved across the country to attend graduate school in Pennsylvania. I drove with my mom and sister, and during a rest stop in Amarillo, Texas, I looked out over the flat rolling plains and ‘saw’ a young Molly running among the tall grass.
Although it felt like Molly was stalking me to tell her story, I didn’t publish THE WREN until I was 37 years old. I wrote it while I had four kids under the age of 5 underfoot. Despite that I’d been compelled to write since I was a young girl, it took me that long to finally do something about it.
The character of Molly was named after my paternal great-grandmother—Mary Agnes “Molly” O’Rourke Kearney, who emigrated from Ireland. ‘Hart’ is a family name on my mother’s side.
While writing THE DOVE, I traveled to Las Vegas, New Mexico, and was able to find local research books that helped immensely in the layout of the town in 1877. If you’re a writer, do this. Often, local research isn’t available on the internet or Amazon.
THE SPARROW took the longest for me to write—about 6 years. While I took a lengthy break to focus on raising my children, I also became stuck in the story at the halfway point. This book employed my most intuitive writing, guiding me toward shamanism, a discipline I knew nothing about. I spent over two years attempting to understand the skills and techniques utilized in this ancient healing modality.
THE SPARROW is my most mixed-reviewed book. Readers either love it or hate it. For me, personally, it was a labor of love, albeit a painful labor at times. While I’ve considered cutting portions of the story to make it more marketable, it encompasses an interior emotional journey that has spoken to similar kindred souls. When a writer is pushed by some unknown force toward a work that makes little sense to her, sometimes the best thing to do is to step out of the way and let it be what it needs to be.
Although I now live in Arizona (outside Phoenix), I wrote THE BLACKBIRD without ever visiting southern Arizona (the location of the story). Clearly this goes against my earlier advice of visiting the setting of a book; however, I’m a very detail-oriented person (probably why I studied engineering in college) and I always immerse myself in intensive research whenever I write a book. I did my homework.
While writing THE BLUEBIRD, I lost the file twice. The first time, the manuscript was two-thirds complete and I had no backup. It was a rude awakening about my lazy computer habits. I quickly cleaned up my act, but it took me a week before I could bring myself to sit down and write the book again. And then, near the end, I lost the file again. Thankfully, this time, I did have a backup. But my disillusionment with technology runs fairly deep now and I no longer trust ANY source completely, whether it be a computer hard drive, an external hard drive, a flashdrive, or Dropbox. These days, I backup in four places every day.
The entire series, including the short novella ECHO OF THE PLAINS, is now available at the following platforms:
and digital copies of THE WREN are currently FREE!!
Over the years, I've taken a bit of teasing about my bird books from fellow authors, friends, and family. So, I offer this little known series for your enjoyment that I've kept secret until now.
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