Author Interview

6Ws with Author Wanda DeHaven Pyle

Wanda DeHaven Pyle, who lives in California, is a member of my BooksGoSocial team. Her latest novel is The Steel Canyon Legacy, “a gritty and poignant reminder of a lost decade.”

Here are Wanda’s responses to my 6Ws — who, what, when, where, how, and why. Steel Canyon C(Yes, how does end with a W.)

Who is author Wanda DeHaven Pyle?

I am a retired educator and grandmother of 10 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. I grew up on a farm in the Flint Hills of Kansas and was a frequent writer of stories as a child. I always thought that one day I would grow up to become a writer. Unfortunately, life had a way of intervening in best of my plans.

I am descended from a long line of educators going back as far as anyone can remember. It seemed a natural course for me to take at a time when few careers were open to women. Thus, a career in education coincided nicely with marriage and children and allowed me the flexibility to be home when they were little while still pursuing my love of literature.

I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Kansas State Teacher’s College in Emporia, Kansas as did my mother and grandmother before me. I earned a Master’s Degree in Education from Wichita State University and a Doctorate in Education from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. Retiring after 38 years as a teacher and administrator, I decided to reinvent myself as an author and pursue a dream that had been deferred since childhood.

I live in Claremont, California with my husband and spend my retirement years writing, traveling and volunteering my time in support of at-risk children. I author two blogs: one entitled “School Marms and Cowboys” at where I record the personal reflections and insights gleaned through my writing, and another entitled “The Write Stuff” at focusing on the work of indie authors.

What does she write?

It is difficult to categorize my work into just one genre. I am somewhere between Literary Fiction and Historical Fiction/Family Saga. My first book, Windborne, is more of a fictional memoir covering the lives of three extraordinary women against a century of social and political changes. I am currently at work on the final book in my legacy trilogy, which follows one family through three decades during the 60s, 70s and 80s. Although there is certainly a historical backdrop, the stories lean more closely toward literary fiction.

When does she write?

I began writing stories as a youngster to entertain myself on the farm. When we weren’t working in the fields, or had some idle time, I used to spin fantasy stories about magical lands far away. Now I try to write a little every week when I can work it into my schedule. It comes in spurts. Some days, when the ideas are flowing, I can write all day not even stopping to eat. Other days, I do well to write for an hour. I have written three books in the last five years so that gives you an idea as to how often I write.

Where does she write?

My husband and I share an office in our home. I have a little corner where I write. I tend to shut out everything when I write and concentrate only on the story I am trying to tell.

How does she write?

I compose and edit on my laptop. My process begins with a story outline or map. This is followed by a brief description of the characters – what they look like, how they act, what motivates them. Then comes the research into the time and place of the action. I try to keep it as authentic as possible. Once I have this in place, I can begin to fill in the details and tell the story.

Why does she write?

I feel compelled to tell the stories in my head. They are often based on personal experiences or encounters that spark a story. My may catch a glance of someone in a park and that will set me off in an imaginary direction as I invent a story to go with the person or situation. At that point, I feel I must write it all down.

About Steel Canyon Legacy

Something was terribly wrong in the 1970s. In some ways the decade was a continuation of the 1960s. In other ways, however, it was a repudiation of all that gone before. The American character had changed. For Tessa Kingsley and her family it was a decade of tears and triumph.

Finding herself alone and responsible for her two sons and an aging mother, Tessa must navigate her way through a world filled with fragmentation and skepticism. As a woman reentering the workforce, she finds herself facing the same kind of discrimination and lower wages that she and Simon had previously fought so hard against. The way of life she had always dreamed of now seems outdated and out of reach.

Tessa’s children also reflect the dilemma of the decade. Each views the world from a different perspective. Aaron, the youngest, sees the promise and excitement of a world on the brink of change. Christopher, however, manifests his adolescent rebelliousness in a reflexive cynicism toward authority, blaming adults for all the world’s ills.

Tessa’s journey takes her through the glittering nightlife of Miami, Chicago, and Las Vegas. But, ultimately, she is unable to escape the demons from the past that follow her. She soon finds herself drawn into a world of drugs, gambling and mob vengeance before she finally finds the strength to break free. In the process she also discovers her own sensuality and individuality. It’s a legacy she will pass on to her children in the years to come.

The Steel Canyon Legacy is a gritty and poignant reminder of a lost decade. It is filled with passion and intrigue, and the divergent story lines will keep the reader guessing until the very end.

Other Works by Wanda DeHaven Pyle

The Stone House Legacy (The Legacy Trilogy Book 1), Windborne

 More about Wanda DeHaven Pyle

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TWITTER: @pyle_wanda

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