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Published on Sunday, December 23, 2012.

An Interview

with Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson


Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson are a co-authoring team of forty novels of mystery, suspense and westerns. Their new western release Death Comes in Pairs was recently published by Amazon Encore.

The Western Online: Can you describe your story for our readers?

    Vickie Britton / Loretta Jackson: Jack Liege was acquitted of murder in the deaths of two sheepherders, but that hasn't stopped the people of Douglas, Wyoming, from treating him as if he's guilty. So Jack, hungry for peace and a fresh start, travels to the small town of Ellis Crossing. But the quiet life he longs for isn't in the cards; shortly after his arrival, he breaks up a gunfight between sheepherder Andrew McGarwin and cattleman Tobe Kranston. In return for saving his life, Kranston offers Jack a job on his sprawling ranch... assuming he can stay alive long enough to claim it.

    A war is raging in Ellis Crossing, a cutthroat battle for dominance in a rapidly changing world. When McGarwin invites Jack to join him for a fateful poker game, Jack becomes trapped in a violent conflict that threatens the lives of the ranchers, whom he trusts--and the woman he has grown to love.

TWO: How is your story one that would interest the readers of The Western Online?

    We love the traditional Western, but try not to write the same old tale. We include a strong element of mystery and suspense as Jack struggles to find out who has set him up.

TWO: What motivates the protagonist in your story? What is he trying to prove?

    Jack has been acquitted of two range war motivated killings, and is trying to make a new start when two more murders take place, thus the name, Death Comes in Pairs. The killings appear to be linked and point to Jack's guilt. He must prove himself innocent and establish for himself the kind of life he wants.

TWO: How would you define the term "Western" and what does it mean to you?

    Guidelines vary, but according to most publishers, Westerns are normally set west of the Mississippi in the time period between 1830-1920. Others settle on the later period, around 1865, the end of the Civil War, as the beginning of the Western era. Most of our books are set in the 1880s, which was an exciting time in the West, when towns were being established and many were seeking new opportunities. Whatever the time period, it is the rugged character that defines a Western, an independent person willing and able to battle overwhelming challenges to achieve his goals.


TWO: What draws you to writing Westerns?

    Vickie: I lived for fifteen years in Laramie, Wyoming, and was fascinated by the legends and history of that area--Tom Horn, train robberies, stagecoach holdups. I found a wealth of material and even in the contemporary West, an abundance of heroes and villains.

    Loretta: I taught high school on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Living close to the Badlands, I felt a close association with that isolated area--home of the Sioux Indians, of cowboys, and outlaws.

TWO: What writers have influenced you the most??

    We both love the novels of Tony Hillerman, because of his appealing characters and his great setting, John Steinbeck, for his terse, vivid style, and of course, Louis Louis L'Amour.

TWO: What is your favorite Western, either novel or movie? Why?

    We both like Shane, because it has a strong hero and heroine, conflict, a little romance, and everything that makes a good Western.

    Vickie: When I was growing up Clint Eastwood and the "Spaghetti Westerns" were very popular. I associate going to the movies and seeing them as happy times.

    Loretta: I like all of Louis L'Amour's work, a man who according to him "wrote about what he loved." I admire his characters, who like him, were self-made men. I like nothing better than to watch a rerun of "Gunsmoke" or "Bonanza."

TWO: The Western has seen a bit of a resurgence in recent times and is returning to both the box office and television. Why do you think that is?

    We are living in confusing times. People are missing the concept of the hero, and for clear-cut standards of right and wrong.

TWO: What are you plans for the future? Are you working on a sequel?

    At present we a writing another single title, but we are planning to do another series, complete with gambling and gold, perhaps set in Alaska.

TWO: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

    Many people find it unusual that sisters write together--and that they write Westerns, often about gambling and poker games gone wrong. We enjoy writing mysteries as well as Westerns and often combine elements of both genres.


Vickie Britton / Loretta Jackson
Photo © Christy Upham.
Vickie Britton and Loretta Jackson, sisters, are a co-authoring team of forty novels of mystery, suspense and westerns. They are authors of the Avalon High Country Contemporary Mystery Series. Titles in this series include Murder in Black and White and Whispers of the Stones. They are also authors of the Avalon Western "Luck of the Draw" Series. Titles in this series are The Devil's Game, The Fifth Ace, and The Wild Card.

The sisters are authors of the Ardis Cole Mystery Series, novels set in exptic locations around the world, Their research has taken them to Peru, Russia, Egypt, China and Australia. Their novels Path of the Jaguar and Nightmare in Morocco, have been reprinted as Thorndike Large Print editions and have sold internationally.


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