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Author Update: William J. Fisher

William J. Fisher retired from one career as an Air Force officer and another as an economic and land development planner, and now enjoys a third career as an author. His newest release, the historical crime novel The Price of the Sky: A Tale of Bandits, Bootleggers, and Barnstormers (April 2023), is based on the true story of “a young aviator turned reluctant bootlegger and bank robber who spends his life seeking redemption, clemency, and romance.” You’ll find Bill on his Amazon author page. Read more about his writing in his 2021 interview for SouthWest Writers.

The Price of the Sky is based on real people and events. What was it about Foster Bedford Jones that intrigued you enough to write a novel based on his life?
My wife Vicki and I knew Bedford Jones in the 70s and 80s until he died in 1990. He was especially a friend of Vicki’s family. Few knew the story of his early life in our small hometown until we had access to his personal papers after he died. We discovered some interesting items in these papers about his past. Years later, I did research on Bedford and found numerous newspaper articles about him, his brothers, and his criminal gang in Texas. I thought his story would make a good crime novel.

What is your main character’s greatest flaw and his most endearing quality?
Bedford’s flaws were that he drank and gambled too much. But his biggest flaw was that he hung out with criminals and bad influences. His most endearing qualities were his skills as a pilot, his love of flying, and his determination.

How did the book come together?
I had some of the source material for many years. When I finished my first book Cruel Road, I started the heavy research on The Price of the Sky, which took about six months. The actual writing took about a year. I had two outside editors: a developmental editor and a copy editor. Editing took about four months. Vicki was my proofreader. I designed the cover.

What were the most challenging aspects of completing this book?
I find that editing and rewriting are the most challenging. Also, since this is mostly a true story, I had to balance the facts with the fiction and drama to make it interesting to the reader.

Any “Oh, wow!” moments while doing research for The Price of the Sky?
There were plenty of “Oh, wow!” moments. When I discovered that Bedford had robbed banks, had belonged to a gang of about twenty robbers, bootleggers, and murderers, and had two brothers that had been in prison for murder and robberies, I thought that nobody in my hometown really knew this man. The other moment was when I discovered he had five wives, and his second wife was a prominent woman with political connections in Indiana who helped him get a pardon from the Governor of Indiana.

What is it about historical fiction that draws you to it as an author?
I got into historical fiction by chance. I wanted to write and had historical material for sources of drama, mystery, action, romance, and adventure. I then used my intuition and imagination to write a good story. Cruel Road is based on the true story of my 6th great grandparents in colonial Pennsylvania. The Price of the Sky is the true story of someone I knew in my hometown in Indiana. Both books are personal.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I have two projects in the early conceptual phases. One is a contemporary novel set in modern Indian Country. I spent nearly 12 years working for two New Mexico Pueblo tribes as a planner and business development specialist. I was exposed to areas of the tribe that many non-Indians know little about. I want to write about native culture and issues on the reservations. There are so many stories in tribes often unknown to the public.

The future book may be science fiction. I have often thought about writing science fiction but have just started to think about plots, settings, characters, etc. I am looking for something unique.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kat has a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

An Interview with Author William J. Fisher

After William J. Fisher retired from the United States Air Force, he worked for twelve years for two Indian tribes in New Mexico as an economic and land development planner. In his debut release, Cruel Road (October 2020), he uses his knowledge of native culture and history—and his insight into military and historical political issues—to paint a picture of the struggles, privations, dangers, and drama of the mid-eighteenth-century historical period. You’ll find Bill on his Amazon author page.

What is your elevator pitch for Cruel Road?
John Fraser, Scots-Irish gunsmith and militiaman, faces a difficult dilemma when a local tribal chief abducts his new and pregnant wife. He searches for a year to find her and return her to safety. After he does not find her, he remarries, but shortly after, she returns on her own. Cruel Road is the story of real-life John and Jane Fraser, among the first settlers of western Pennsylvania. Indian conflicts, French and English fighting over territory, and survival in the Pennsylvania wilderness are major challenges for the couple. John and Jane Fraser are my direct ancestors.

When readers turn the last page in the book, what do you hope they take away from it?
I hope the reader has a better sense of this colonial period that is little known to the general public. Also, the lesson in the story is that the love between two people can be a powerful motivator.

What unique challenges did this work pose for you?
The story is about my sixth great-grandparents. I wanted to tell the story with the limited historical facts available and fill in with my own ideas about what really happened. I wanted to honor the main characters as my ancestors.

Who are your main characters, and what will readers like most about them?
John and Jane Fraser are the main characters. They are tough and flawed. They survived situations and dangers that most people could not.

What is the main setting, and how does it impact the story and the characters?
The setting is mid-eighteenth-century Pennsylvania. The place is a wilderness populated by native peoples who are mostly unfriendly, French and British armies fighting over territory, and new colonists who are trying to survive in a strange unknown land. The characters must deal with all of this.

Tell us more about the book.
The book took 16 years to finish after I completed most of the research. I started it and then put it aside when I went to work for Cochiti Pueblo in 2006. I had a long commute and 12-hour days until 2016, when I retired. I started in again in 2017 and hired an editor. I finished it in October 2020. I designed the cover myself and self-published to KDP.

What makes this novel unique in the historical fiction market?
I believe most historical fiction novels are mostly fiction in a historical setting. My novel is mostly history, but I wrote it in a novel format with dialog and some new characters and scenes that I created to tell the story. I did this to be true to my ancestors’ story and not put in contrived story lines to exploit the events and setting to sell a book. The book may not fit the usual historical fiction guidelines but is factual and true to the historical time.

What was the most rewarding aspect of putting this project together?
I am proud that I could tell the story of my great-grandparents and provide it to my extended family, as well as to readers who enjoy American history. The book is also a good action/adventure piece that readers in that segment would enjoy.

What inspired you to become a writer?
I wanted to tell the story of my great-grandparents that is little known today but had a great impact in their time. The book started out as a gift to my family but was entertaining to others as well. Finishing this book has inspired me to write more historical fiction and other genres.

Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if you started your writing career today?
I could not change much that has happened. I finished the book at the right time. I sometimes wish I had started earlier and finished it before my parents passed, but now was right for me.

Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? How do you feel about research?
I worked as a researcher and analyst in the Air Force, and I had college courses that taught those areas, so I am comfortable with research. Creating the story is the most fun. Editing is especially important but not my favorite activity.

What sort of decisions did you make about including or portraying historical figures or events in order for Cruel Road to work?
My main character, John Fraser, was a captain under George Washington during the French and Indian War. There is a lot written about Washington that includes details about John Fraser. I had to get the part Washington plays in the story correct or readers would complain. I spent a lot of time on this.

What are the hardest kinds of scenes for you to write?
I had a hard time with romance scenes, so I limited them. I also had to write war, killing, and death scenes. I did these subtly without being gory or overly dramatic.

How have your previous careers impacted your writing?
I wrote technical documents and reports for 40 years. Since then, I learned that kind of writing differs from novel writing and that I was not a brilliant writer. I have belonged to SouthWest Writers for almost twenty years. With their courses, lectures, workshops, and encouragement, I am becoming a better writer.

What is the best encouragement or advice you’ve received in your writing journey?
The best advice is that writing is hard, and it takes a long time to get it right. Keep writing and it will come to you.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I am writing a historical/crime novel based on a true story that I came across by luck. I took possession of the legal documents and personal papers of a man who died over thirty years ago. He was a nice, ordinary man, but he had a hidden past that I have uncovered. It is shocking, unexpected, violent, and heart-breaking. I am having fun uncovering this man’s past and writing his story.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

2020 New Releases for SWW Authors #3

Authors William Fisher, Cornelia Gamlem, Larry Kilham, BR Kingsolver, RJ Mirabal, and Lynne Sturtevant represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with 2020 releases in the genres of historical fiction, business, biography, and several speculative fiction sub-genres. The releases in this post couldn’t fit into this year’s interview schedule, but look for interviews or updates for most of these authors in 2021.

At the end of this post, you’ll find a list of interviewed SWW authors for books published in 2020.

William Fisher’s debut novel, Cruel Road (October 2020), is a mid-eighteenth-century historical drama. John Fraser, Scots-Irish gunsmith and militiaman, faces a difficult dilemma when his new and pregnant wife is taken captive by a local tribal chief. This is the story of real-life John and Jane Fraser, among the first settlers of western Pennsylvania. Their lives are challenged by Indian conflicts, French and English fighting over territory, and survival in the Pennsylvania wilderness. The book is a dramatization of true events. Most characters are actual historical characters. John and Jane Fraser are the author’s direct ancestors. Some characters are fictional, and certain actions and descriptions are conjecture.

Visit Bill’s Amazon author page.

They Did What? Unbelievable Tales from the Workplace (September 2020) is Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell’s newest nonfiction release. People have been misbehaving at work since work began. If you’ve ever been curious about workplace misbehavior, this book just might hold some answers. A compilation of stories collected from HR and other business leaders have been woven into a narrative that showcases the challenges HR professionals face daily in dealing with employees. They Did What? is funny, sad, and most definitely unbelievable—except it is all based on actual situations.

Visit Cornelia’s Amazon author page.

In Destiny Strikes Twice: James L. Breese Aviator and Inventor (November 2020), Larry Kilham tells the true story of the flight engineer on the first transatlantic flight in 1919 who went on to develop 130 patents for home and military space heaters. Dismissing a high society Long Island life, Jim moved to New Mexico in 1929 to start fresh in the unencumbered West. There he built his oil burner business with sales in the millions of dollars. The twists and turns through his adventure-packed life reveal lessons for everyone including many insights for aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs.

Visit Larry’s Amazon author page.

BR Kingsolver published three novels in 2020 (read the interview for Knights Magica here). The two most recent releases are in the new Rift Chronicles series. In Magitek (book 1, August 2020), the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Danica James’ grandfather wanted to end war. Instead, he broke the world. Through the Rift came demons, vampires, and monsters. Danica is a cop with the Arcane Division. She’s also a magitek. Her job is to clean up her grandfather’s mess. She’s not making much progress.

In book two, War Song (December 2020), Danica James is still a cop with the Arcane Division who works to protect humanity from monsters — whether they be human or creatures from the Rift. It beats sitting in a factory cubical all day, which is where magiteks usually work. Most of humanity hates the magic users who rule the world, but for a hundred years, the Magi have kept the demons, vampires, and other monsters in check. But now one Magi Family has allied itself with the demons in a bid for world domination. It was ugly before, but now it’s getting worse.

Visit the author’s Amazon author page.

RJ Mirabal’s newest release is the young adult fantasy Dragon Train (December 2020). Jaiden, a 15-year-old farm boy, dreams of a more exciting life in a world where people have enslaved dragons as beasts of burden, guard animals, and soldiers. He has never been more than a few miles beyond his farm and the quiet village of Hilltop. Yet Jaiden desires escape from his grouchy and somewhat abusive father. And then the dragon train makes an unscheduled stop in Hilltop. Skye, the huge Blue Dragon pulling the train, may die of exhaustion unless someone can help. Thus, a boy and dragon embark on an epic adventure in the hopes of fulfilling their longing for freedom, excitement, and happiness.

Visit RJ’s website and his book page.

Fairy Trouble (September 2020), by Lynne Sturtevant, is a contemporary Celtic fairy tale. People used to know the truth about fairies and they were afraid of them. When visiting homemaker Ginger Stewart encounters a troop of fairies in the wild, green hills of West Virginia, she learns magic is real. She also learns our ancestors were right. There are reasons to be afraid. Ginger is astounded when a fairy attacks her while she’s calling on an elderly client, Violet. Violet has spent her life hiding the fairies and protecting them from the outside world. But something has changed. The fairies have become angry and aggressive and she has no idea how to pacify them. As the mayhem escalates, Ginger and Violet negotiate a maze of folklore, ancient symbols, and dark family secrets. Will they find a way to restore equilibrium to the fairies before it’s too late?

Visit Lynne’s Amazon author page.

SWW Author Interviews: 2020 Releases

Connie Flores
Our Fascinating Life: The Totally Accidental Trip 1979
Sue Houser
BR Kingsolver
Knights Magica
Dr. Barbara Koltuska-Haskin
How My Brain Works: A Guide to Understanding It Better and Keeping It Healthy
Manfred Leuthard
Broken Arrow: A Nuke Goes Missing
Shirley Raye Redmond
Courageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God
J.R. Seeger
A Graveyard for Spies
Lynne Sturtevant
Hometown: Writing a Local History or Travel Guide and The Collaboration Kit
Patricia Walkow
New Mexico Remembers 9/11

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

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