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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Story Behind the Story: Gunslinger: The Dragon of Yellowstone Park by Edward J. Knight

Inspirations for a Girl Gunslinger
By Edward J. Knight

So… my daughter has decided she wants to be a writer like her father (but she's nine, so is this serious or an interest du jour?). She's started a novel that's now about 6000 words and growing. She formed an authors’ club at her school with other fourth graders and they do Google Hangouts a couple of times a week to discuss their stories and have writing sessions. She even sat through one of Daddy’s online writer group critique sessions, taking notes the whole time.

She has a very bemused and amused daddy as a result.

I’m especially surprised because of how she reacts to my writing. For the past month, I’ve been reading my own book Gunslinger to my daughter. And she hates my cliffhangers. When I remind her it’s time to sleep, she huffs, “That’s just mean! Why do you end your chapters like that?”

So the reader won’t want to put it down?

She accepts the explanation, but only after a little pleading for me to read “just one more.”

I have to admit, reading my own book to my daughter is a bit surreal. While I did write it with her in mind, it’s not a kid’s book or even Young Adult. So I find myself explaining this and that and doing my best not to let her wheedle me into divulging upcoming plot twists. She seems a sponge with everything I say.

And she’s determined to write her story.

I love that determination. I love knowing my daughter can do almost anything she sets her mind to. But I know it wasn’t always that way for girls.

A few years ago, I came across an apocryphal Annie Oakley quote: "When a man hits a target, they call him a marksman. When I hit a target, they call it a trick. Never did like that much.”

It made me think of both my daughter and a secondary character, Beth Armstrong, in my novel Sidekick. That’s when I knew Beth had to be the star. Gunslinger is her story.

The tag line for Gunslinger is: “They say girls can’t be gunslingers—she’s gonna prove ’em wrong. Even if she has to fight a dragon to do it.”

There’s something about a determined, driven young woman in the wrong era (a historical fantasy 1880’s old West) that was just too appealing to not write. Especially watching a driven young girl in 2021 chase her dream.

I don’t know if my daughter will still be writing at nineteen. But right now, it’s an amazing bond.


Gunslinger: The Dragon of Yellowstone (A Gunslinger Beth novel in the Mythic West universe Book 1)
by Edward Knight
April 7, 2021
336 pages
Genre: historical fantasy, sword & sorcery, mythical west
They say girls can’t be gunslingers. Beth’s gonna prove ’em wrong.

Even if she has to fight a dragon to do it.

It won't be easy to prove her worth while working as a hotel chambermaid in Golden City, Colorado. The famous battle that defeated the giants was fought 13 years ago. The trolls remain confined east of the Mississippi. No one's spotted a harpy since 1875.

But Beth trained with legends: the ghost of Calamity Jane gave her the gun, Wild Bill Hickok taught her to shoot.

And at sixteen, she’s ready to make a name of her own.

So when strange assailants murder a visiting Arapaho Indian shaman, Beth straps on her Colt .45. Without waiting for help, she must find the killers, defeat their dragon, and prevent the destruction of the Western world.

About the author:
A fourth-generation Coloradoan, Edward J. Knight only left the Denver area long enough to learn how to put a satellite into orbit. Four satellites (and counting) later, he's returned to both the mountains and writing fantastical fiction. Along the way, he met the love of his life and became the father of two amazingly curious kids. He’s a huge fan of tightly constructed universes and smart plots. He hopes his own Mythic West stories hold up to those standards. More of his work can be found at

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