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Published on Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An Interview

with Joy V. Smith


Joy Smith, the author of the new Western novel, Detour Trail, recently granted an interview to The Western Online.

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

Joy Smith: Lorena Emerson and her uncle are traveling west on the Oregon Trail when he is killed during a botched robbery, and she is advised to leave the train and return east. Heck, no! She escaped from greedy relatives back there, and there's no way she's going back. So, since she has the money and determination, she rounds up others who are in similar quandaries, and they join a later train. That wasn't easy, but she recruited a couple boys and a man for temporary backup to help with a rescue... The trek up and down mountains is even more difficult, and there are complications, and she has to make a hard decision. Maybe this time she should turn back--or at least sideways (hence the title)--and start her own settlement? And that's just the beginning of Lorrie's adventures and travels...

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

Joy: Settling the west covers a lot of territory, of course, but I hope they would enjoy learning more about how it was accomplished and about the courage, grit, and perseverance needed; and then there are the companions: Gray Cloud, Jake, Blizzard, the horses...


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

Joy: My heroine, Lorrie Emerson, isn't consciously trying to prove something. Well, maybe she'd like to show that wagon master that she doesn't have to return to what was expected of women back then!

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

Joy: Excitement and exploration, with adventure and interesting characters on our early frontiers.

TWO: What draws you to writing Westerns?

Joy: Telling a story about men and women who strive to make their world a better place while dealing with the challenges of the time.

TWO: What writers have influenced you the most?

Joy: I teethed on Zane Grey, but Max Brand is a favorite author; I especially enjoyed Brand's Gunman's Gold. Clair Huffaker's Seven Ways from Sundown is also a favorite.

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

Joy: I always have trouble with that question because I have so many favorites! There are at least a couple John Wayne classics, including Rio Grande. And The Virginian is a favorite novel. If you ask me about the series, I shall gnash my teeth and shriek--Trampas was the villain!

TWO: If you could go back in time and meet one famous person in the Old West, who would it be and why?

Joy: Is Sacagawea too far back? Now there was a woman l'd like to learn more about.

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

Joy: No sequel to Detour Trail yet, but it has characters I could have more fun with. Actually, I should be working on the rewrite of my latest science fiction novel, which happens to be a sequel.

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

Joy: I've always loved the characters--and the horses--in westerns. Oh, and I just remembered Silvertip and his companions. Adventure and exciting characters and sweeping vistas! Thank you for the opportunity to share and recall the classics.


Joy V. Smith has been writing since she was a little kid and made her own little books—complete with covers. She loved to read, and she wanted to create books too. She lives in Florida—inland safe from hurricanes, except for 2004 when Charley, Frances, and Jeanne came through and wreaked havoc. Downed trees and blue tarps everywhere.

While her favorite genre is science fiction, she writes fantasy, romance, and children's stories—and non-fiction so she's used to research. She's written mostly short stories, which have been published in print magazines, webzines, anthologies, and two audiobooks, including Sugar Time. Detour Trail is her first western, and she spent a lot of time with maps and books.


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