Author Introduction

07 Dec 2013
Posted on Saturday, December 7 2013 By Anthony Whitt | 0 Comments

Hello, I’m Anthony Whitt and I write fiction. My novels are created with the intent to capture a slice of realism. I am of the belief that a true depiction of the stories that make up life also delivers the best entertainment. You will not find twisted scenarios and unbelievable action sequences strung together in order to fill the pages. I like to put meat in my stories. Stuff that readers can sink their teeth into and identify with the experience of the characters caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Hard Land to Rule is the first novel in a trilogy about the trying times in the Texas Hill Country after the Civil War. But don’t be fooled, this is not your grandfather’s western.

Hard Land to Rule started out as a short story about an incident that occurred on my great-great grandfather’s homestead in the hills outside of Austin. I originally intended to document the details of a failed attempt by Indians making a nighttime raid on the food supply of the ranch. This unsuccessful foray by the Indians ended with several of the rugged frontiersmen pursuing an injured Comanche and his accomplices that had been waiting on a ridge above the cabins. The path of the fleeing Indians led my ancestors out the well-worn Comanche trail and past the location of the currently popular eating establishment known as The Oasis. This old beaten track is now paved and appropriately named Comanche Trail. It winds down off the hills in a steep descent before ending at Windy Point Park on Lake Travis where the Indians dropped off into the river bottoms in an attempt to lose their pursuers. In the real life account, they are successful at disappearing in the heavily timbered Colorado River bottoms and the pioneers return home without overtaking their adversaries.

This true version was passed down in family oral history and ultimately inspired my fictionalized recital of the event. I first heard the details of this anecdote as a youngster and became enchanted by the thought of what my pioneer ancestors experienced in the wild times of settling in the Texas Hill Country. They homesteaded on a large tract of land bordering the Colorado River far upstream from Austin. The terrain consisted of rocky uplands, rugged canyons, and rich black soiled fields along the river. The land was wild, and the Indians roaming the area, even wilder.

My grandfather’s grandfather was challenged with the task of wrestling a living from the inhospitable terrain. He had to be a resourceful man to make the hard land sustain a large family so far from the conveniences of town. I know he made a name for himself from his service as a Texas Ranger and time spent in the Civil War as a sergeant. He most certainly was a tough individual. Those times required a man to be a man. His family depended on him. Failure was not an option. While I never knew the man personally, my main character is based upon how I imagined a strong frontiersman from that era would conduct his affairs.

Positive feedback from my wife encouraged me to evolve the narrative into a full-length novel. In the process of creating the characters and storyline, a few things became apparent. History would play a big role in shaping the subject matter. The tale required accurate facts to guide the characters in their actions. As a result, there is a current of historical fiction flowing throughout the story. Also incorporated in the narrative is the role that women played while raising families in the remote hills outside Austin. As in real life, there is an undercurrent of romance that complicates relationships swept up in a state of turmoil. The challenges shared by men and women shape their behavior as they contend with the pressures of unforgiving situations. They all suffer the consequences of their neighbors and loved ones decisions, good or bad. What emerged after years of work was an authentic account of the struggles of frontiersmen, their wives, and family.

There is death, pain, and doubt. Dreams, conflict, and despair. Love, hurt, and lust. In short, Hard Land to Rule is a dramatic tale about life on the wild Texas frontier. It's a saga that sweeps the reader into the moment and transports them to the past in descriptive passages. The here and now rolls away. This is not the stereotypical western. It's a novel that any reader can appreciate for bringing a historic period to life with characters that are captivating and genuine.

I’m glad to introduce myself to the reading public and thank you for taking the time to read this brief introduction. The manuscript is now out in eBook and paperback form on Amazon. 

Take a ride on the Texas frontier! You won’t regret it.