My sister, Suzanne Fisher, of Farmington, New Mexico, recently presented me with a framed photograph taken by Philip Boden, of Durango, Colorado, entitled “Baldwin-K36 Class Steam Locomotive.” This photo is of Engine 486 working on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. My sister and her late husband, Gary Fisher, treated my wife, Barbara, and me to that thrilling trip on the DSNG up the beautiful Animas Canyon in southwestern Colorado when I retired in 2003. That was a few years before I embarked on writing The Iron Horse Chronicles, my trilogy set at the time of building the first transcontinental railroad. Although the DSNG is not part of the transcontinental railroad, memories from that personal journey inspired several scenes when I wrote about Will Braddock pursuing his quest to determine his own destiny.
Sister Suzy’s photo gift now hangs on the wall above what my wife calls the “shrine.” Barbara conceived of this way of showcasing Eagle Talons, Bear Claws, and Golden Spike in our home. Each of the books is displayed along with its particular Will Rogers Medallion Award, and in the case of Bear Claws the certificate designating it as First Place in Fiction from the Wyoming State Historical Society.
Thank you Suzy and Barbara.