The idea for Shoot-out at Jasper Creek came from a story circulated in my grandmothers neighborhood when I was a child.
As the story goes, a thirty-something mystery man who had, somehow, lost a good deal of his face, walked around the back roads of the area at night, talking to himself and his dog. His looks were shocking. His face and neck were bright red with waves of scaly scar tissue buckling it in all directions. His looks frightened children to the point that they were afraid to wander away from their yards without their mother or father. Some said that if he caught children alone he beat them with his flashlight. Of course it never really happened. Although the man was never actually seen by any of the local residents, the folk tale persisted.
It is not difficult to imagine that many tales had sprung up about how the mans injuries came about. For some unexplained reason, one man thought he had been a former pirate.
One of the tales often repeated was that he was homosexual and his lover had accused him of being untrue and had shot him, maiming him for life. I have no idea how that story came about, or whether there was even a grain of truth to it. Actually, I doubt that the man ever existed.
Novels come about for various reasons. The tales have haunted my thoughts through the years. It was time to bring the mystery man to life. Shoot-out At Jasper Creek is my version of the story. Im a lover of Western lore, and I live in the West, so I decided to put the story in context by placing it in the country I know the best with realistic western characters and their local speech habits.
Novels come about for various reasons. Shoot-out At Jasper Creek is my way of explaining the folk tale about my grandmothers mystery neighbor who, whether he actually existed in the real world or not, was very real to a community of folks who had a lot of questions, but none of the answers. I dont have them either, but I found myself plotting.