Message From The Author
You want to set a trilogy where? That was the first question my agent and editor asked when I proposed the idea for these booksDAKOTA BORN, Dakota Home and
Why North Dakota? The answer
to that is simple, and in some ways profound. My grandparents on both my mothers side and my fathers were German-speaking Russian immigrants who settled in the Dakotas. This is my familys heritagethe Black Hills, the Badlands, the buffalo, the Red River. My parents were shaped by this place, by the changing seasons, the fertile farmland, the smell of the earth after rain. Those are experiences and impressions they never forgot. My grandparents were farmers who devoted their very lives to the land. Although I live in the city and have never even worked on a farm, their influence, passed down through my parents, remains important to me.
Before I even wrote a word, I visited the Dakotas again. I convinced my cousin Shirley Adler to travel with me. We met in Minneapolis, rented a car and drove to Fargo. Im fortunate enough to have several good writing buddies who live in North Dakota, and their assistance was invaluable. Sandy Huseby answered my questions and escorted Shirl and me from one end of Fargo to the other. Best of all, she introduced me to a number of booksellers who had exactly the kind of research material I was going to need.
Road map in hand, Shirl and I headed toward Grand Forks. No doubt you remember, as I do, the devastating flood of 1997. Any part of Grand Forks that wasnt under water seemed to be on fire. What incredible courage those people showed! We all followed their story night after night on the television news and saw the strength and determination etched on their faces, the same strength and determination
that my grandparents brought to their own struggles during those dust bowl years of
the Great Depression.
It was in this part of the state that I decided
to set the Buffalo Valley trilogy. I received a lot
of help from another wonderful writer, Judy Baer, who lives in this area. Shirl and I visited Judy, who showed us her town and her land
and her home. She answered my questionsincluding those about bison!
We met all kinds of fascinating people on
our travels and talked to a number of farmers and ranchers. In Bismarck, we met Pat Gerlach,
a talented photographer from whom I purchased
a large photograph of buffalo huddled together in a snowstorm. This picture hangs in my office and inspired me every day as I wrote these three books.
In Dickinson, my mothers hometown, I visited family I hadnt seen in more than 30 years, like my aunt Gladys and my cousins Gary and Letty, Paula and Mike. Spending time at Paula and Mikes farm gave me a real feel for a farmers life. From Dickinson, Shirl and I headed south to Ipswich, South Dakota, where my father was born and raised. I walked on the land my grandparents homesteaded, visited relatives and cousins who remembered me as a teenager. I saw my Aunt Betty and my Uncle Vern whove been married nearly 70 years. Seventy! What an inspiration they are to me. Still vital. Still in love. And witty as ever in their own laconic way.
The Dakotas are where my familys from, where my roots are. Its truly the place of my heart. And these stories are a part of me, of who I am, of what I strive to become. They are rich and real and the best books Ive ever written. (My editor says so, too!) I know youre going to love them.
I always value what my readers have to say. You can reach me through my website: www.debbiemacomber.com or write to me at P.O. Box 1458, Port Orchard, WA 98366.
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