Sunday, February 10, 2013

Charles Whipple, Western Author, tells a true love story

Writing as:
Posted by Celia Yeary
Welcome, Charles Whipple! I know you are a Western author and you write under the name Chuck Tyrell. So why do you live in Japan?

Who me? Why do I live in Japan? Well, that’s a love story, a real one. Here’s how:
  That girl.
  She stood there making copies, her black hair shining in the spring sun. Her white teeth flashed in a warm smile for me, a man she did not know.
  Where are you from?
  The third floor. I work part time.
  They keep me so. I copy a lot. She plucked a page out and grabbed the copies. Got to go, she said, and gave me that warm smile once more. See you, she said.
   With a twirl of her skirt that showed off her slim legs, she left. But the sight of her burned in my eyes. My mind whirled. Third floor. Part time. No name. Just a face, that black hair, and those slim legs.
   I went to my desk and tried to work. But she got in the way. I wanted to hear her voice and see her face again. I got up and walked, thinking of her, ending up on the third floor.
  I worked in sales. I was a suit, not a wrist or a pen. So why was I on the third floor? The pens wrote copy and wrists laid out ads on the third floor. For suits, the air up there was rare. We took the stairs only when called.
  Still, there I was, walking the aisles, peering in nooks, looking for that shiny black hair and heart-shaped face, searching for her.
  Her nook was way in the back. She hunched over her desk, studying data. I breathed a sigh.     
  I’d found her.
  Now she's my wife.
Japanese flower arrangement--the vase for flowers is from La Paz, BCS, Mexico. The large pottery vase is Japanese, as is the one with the vine bail.
~~*~~You see, it was a romance. A love affair. But when I asked her parents for her hand, they disapproved. She was an only child, and I was a foreigner, someone who would take her far away. “What will become of me?” her mother asked. Not once, but time and again. So we promised not to leave them alone. And, although we lived in Hawaii for a couple of years, all the rest of our married life has been spent here in Japan. Her mother is gone, but father lives with us still.

Why do you write westerns?

  I’ve always read westerns, since I was but a boy (which I still am, at heart). The first book I remember reading was Smokey the Cowhorse, by Will James. Of course Louis L’Amour was a favorite.
  Actually, I didn’t decide to write for a living until I was 33 or 34 years old. And then I didn’t sell a single magazine article until I was 35. Since, of course, articles number in the hundreds, if not thousands. But why westerns?
  I caught wind of a Louis L’Amour write-alike contest, whipped out a novel in about a month, and sent it off.
  Didn’t win.
  Came to the conclusion that I couldn’t write fiction. I mean, after all, I already had awards for advertising copy, for annual reports, for corporate newsletters . . . supposedly, I could write.
  I put the manuscript, painfully typed out on an IBM Selectric typewriter, in a bottom desk drawer. It stayed there for 20 years. Then, for some reason, I pulled it out. Sent it to a British publisher, Robert Hale Publishing, which agreed to publish it if I’d trim the manuscript to less than 40,000 words. Of course, I agreed. The novel became Vulture Gold, the first of the Havelock stories. 
  And, as with most westerns, there’s a love interest. Laura Donovan shoots the protagonist, Marshal Garet Havelock of Vulture City, but at the end of the book, she agrees to marry him, setting up the next Havelock story, of course.

Return to Silver Creek
Newlyweds Laura and Garet Havelock move to his homestead on Silver Creek, an actual creek in central Arizona that eventually runs into the Little Colorado, which dumps its load of silt into the Colorado river. Silver Creek, however, runs cool and clear from its headwaters in the White Mountains. Havelock’s budding ranch is located where I used to fish for trout lo those many decades ago. And they should have been able to raise the blooded horses that they planned to and made a decent living for a young and growing family. That was before Loren Buchard of the 24 ranch tried to buy them out. That was before someone came by while Garet was off buying young stock and raped Laura. That was before she went missing and all Garet had to go on were the signs left around the cabin and in the soft ground around it.

Once I made a list of characteristics that defined Garet Havelock. They included:
~*~Never draw your gun unless you are going to pull the trigger
~*~Never pull the trigger unless you are aiming to kill
~*~Always be willing to help a neighbor
~*~Make friends with stray dogs
~*~Want to live
~*~Be ready to die
~*~Hope for a son
~*~Love a daughter
~*~Stop your horse just to watch the sun go down
~*~Pay attention to the little things
~*~Love your woman to distraction

Return to Silver Creek is 80,000 words about how much a man loves his wife, and how much she loves him. You can’t get more romance than that, IMHO. Thing is, after what happened in that homestead cabin, Laura’s not sure if she can ever return to Silver Creek.

Now, here’s what the Havelocks are like.
One Havelock gets in trouble and Havelocks start showing up from all over. Little brother Johnny galloped in from El Paso. Cousins Willem and Wylan (Will & Wont) come up from the mines at Bisbee to help build the ranch house at Silver Creek. Families mean a lot, a whole lot.
Remember Johnny Havelock? He’s a drifter, kinda. He’s been all up and down the Outlaw Trail, which stretches from Canada to Mexico. Not a wanted man, as such, but not really a man with roots. All he has to his name is a good horse, a good rifle, and a good six-gun. But Laura’s friend, Rita Pilar, finds him intriguing. She decides Johnny is to boyish a name for a man like the younger Havelock, whose full name is Johannes, so she christens him Ness. And the name catches on.
But when the Pilars and their vaqueros and the Havelocks and their hired help have Christmas fiesta at Silver Creek, Ness Havelock is not there. That sets things up for Havelock book #3.

Pitchfork Justice
  Ness Havelock is riding the rock country north and a little west of Moab, Utah, when he’s stopped by Isom Dart, a historical character who was called “The Outlaw Mail” because everyone trusted him to deliver messages. A friend in Saint Johns, Arizona, it seems, needs Ness’s help.
  Easier said than done. You see, Ness wants to see Rita Pilar, but now a friend has asked for help, and you don’t turn down requests for assistance from those you’ve ridden the river with.
  There’s more. Some years ago, Ness had a shootout with three hardcase brothers in Telluride, Colorado. He rode away, they didn’t. Now their little brother, Ruel Gatlin, has sworn a blood oath that he’ll get Ness Havelock by hook or by crook.
  At Moab, Ness finds out that Gatlin is on his trail. Then he runs into Harlow Wilson, owner of the Pitchfork Outfit and sadistic pedophile. What a love story, eh?
  Ness’s friend, Roland Prince, owns a spread just north of Saint Johns. Harlow Wilson, who calls himself Judge, says he has 50,000 cows on the way up from Texas, but they never seem to arrive. Rita’s father, Don Fernando Pilar, owns a Spanish Land Grant rancho just north of Concho, which is west of Saint Johns (you can check the map of Arizona, if you wish), but Ness doesn’t just go riding up and say, “I’m back, darlin’.” You see, Rita’s landed, and her family stretches back three generations and more. Ness is the son of a Texas Ranger who died in the War between the States and a Western Cherokee woman. He’s a halfbreed. He’s not worthy of her. He has nothing but a horse and two guns and a Stetson hat. He loves her, but sees no hope of ever being what she wants and needs. (Of course, Rita does not agree with his evaluation of himself.)
  Naturally, when badman Baldy Fontelle takes Rita hostage to ensure his getaway from Saint Johns, Ness Havelock rode in pursuit. You’ll have to read the book to know the end of this love story.
Charles T. Whipple is an international award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction books, articles, and stories. He was born and reared in Show Low, Arizona, just 19 miles from Fort Apache (the real thing), and rode a horse more than he rode a bicycle. He writes westerns as Chuck Tyrell, a name chosen when his first western was published. Whipple is not a noir writer, and his westerns tend to be less gritty than some that find favor in these wicked days. Whipple also writes fiction set in Japan, some ancient, some fantasy, and some modern day. Several of his novels and stories feature female protagonists.

LINK TO AMAZON PAGE FOR: Chuck Tyrell, aka, Charles Whipple  

Charles will give away ebooks of Vulture Gold through Smashwords. Please leave a comment!

Thank you, Charles Whipple, for being our guest today.
Look for this Western author's books on Amazon and B&N under the name Chuck Tyrell.


  1. Hi Charles. Welcome to Sweethearts of the West. What a sweet love story and you must be a wonderful son-in-law.

    I love westerns. Elmer Kelton was one of my favorite authors. I write some contemporary westerns but am now hooked on writing time-travels set in the old west.

    I look forward to taking a look at your books. Great covers, by the way.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Linda.

    Elmer Kelton was a grand old man. I feel very privileged to have known him. I think his novel--The Time It Never Rained--is one of the best contemporary westerns ever written. IMHO of course.

    My love story was quite sweet. Still is, for that matter. Those in my books may not be so. But you know, fire tempers the steel. When a woman has to go through hell for (and not because of) her partner, mate, man, whatever you want to call the other half of the whole, the love comes through bright and clear.

  3. I loved that book too and still have it. Another one I liked was The Pumpkin Rollers.

    Most lasting loves have been tempered by fire.

  4. What a romantic story about how you met your wife! You could do a book on that!

    Morgan Mandel

  5. Charles, you are a sweetheart to write books that sound like those I enjoy reading. So happy to "meet" you. You can bet you've made a new fan. Thanks for stopping by with us. Y'all come back now, y'hear?

    P.S. I love Elmer Kelton's books, too, and met him when he spoke at the local college.

  6. I loved the story of how you met your wife and that you stayed in Japan to make her parents happy. How sweet.
    I like the way you wrote the characteristcs like a list for your character. He's so well thought out.

  7. Morgan Mandel, the crime writer. No? Who would know copy machines were matchmakers?

    Caroline. Thank you. Elmer and I met several times at WWA conferences. I live quite a way from Texas, so was not fortunate enough to have him as a neighbor. It would have been delightful, though, to live next to him.

    Sarah. Actually, the list of characteristics for Garet Havelock is about twice as long as the one I posted. Here I listed the ones I thought were interesting to people of the romance genre. And yes, a writer must take a hard look at every character to see what makes him or her tick. Listened to Kiefer Southerland last night via Youtube. He was talking about deconstructing every sentence in dialogue to get the full meaning from every word. Kinda the same thing, maybe.

  8. Why, you are such a romantic guy. Your lady is so fortunate to have found you...and you, her. Love is grand, no matter where and no matter how long. You are so lucky, and I recognize that because, I, too, am incrediably lucky.
    Charles, you're a great guest.

  9. Thank you, Celia. Romance is a great motivator. No, love is a great motivator. And you can never tell when it's going to come. My hero in Hell Fire in Paradise lost her husband and two sons on the very same night. She dedicated the remainder of her life to preserving the Rafter P ranch they'd built in Paradise Valley. Or so she thought. Happens a man with two young sons, a barbwire fence builder, comes to Paradise. It takes a while, but love once again blooms.

    Again, thanks. I have that girl (and she has me) forever, I reckon.

  10. Charlie, I'm here, better late than never. What a sweet story of your meeting your wife! Sometimes you just "know" the minute you see someone, don't you? It sounds like a true love story to me. Thanks for being our guest here on Sweethearts of the West!

  11. My pleasure, Cheryl. As you know, my Christmas Cake story in the anthology was bonafide romance, as far as a man can write romance I suppose. Hope you might let me come around again sometime to conflab with the sweethearts.

  12. How nice getting to meet you, Chuck. I like a man who makes up his mind and sticks with it. Your wife is very lucky to have you in her life.

    Your characters and stories sound intriguing. Best of luck always with your sales.

  13. Hi Charles. Sorry I didn't get here faster. I love the story of your own personal romance. I'm also glad to know you stress the importance of family in your books. So do I in mine. I believe characters need roots, in other words family, to give them depth.

    So nice to meet you! I hope you'll visit us again.

  14. Paisley: Can I tell her you said that. Sometimes she probably wonders.

    Lyn: Not all my stories are family like the Havelocks, but some stress it a lot. A Man Called Breed, which gritty and racist, is a love story. Road to Rimrock ends at the start of a love story (which I have not completed yet). Dollar a Day shows how faith can be stronger than gunmen, and the settlement, of course, is made up of families.

    Thanks guys. Now I have to pick the winners out of a hat, right.

  15. Lyn and Sarah, can you each give me an email address (via a direct message on FB would be good) so I can send you a coupon to get a free book?


  16. Hey Chuck, here is my email address:
    Thank you so much for my book. I am very happy to have it.


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