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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Campfire chat with the Cowgirl - Patricia Gott talks westerns

Patricia Probert Gott has just published her fifth novel, Cowgirl Days which is a sequel to her popular contemporary western, So You Want to be a Cowgirl. A retired businesswoman, Pat has a zest for life that keeps her moving onwards and pushing boundaries. Her novels tell thrilling stories with a feminine slant that are firmly set in the myth and reality of the American West.

So who is Pat Gott? How would she describe herself?

"I'm a Western cowgirl living in an Eastern businesswoman's body.

I was raised in Strong, Maine by parents who didn't know one end of a horse from another--however, my grandfather was a South Dakota cowboy; his family from Nebraska. My grandmother was a cowgirl turned school teacher, as she bore ten kids. My grandfather taught me how to rope and throw a lariat and I listened to his tales of cowboy yesteryear with focused fascination. Who knew that I'd someday be a writer of westerns and teller of tall tales in fictional novels and short stories!

Horses have always been my passion. I wintered my first pony at age eight, and got an old (and I mean OLD) retired thorobred racehorse to ride at age 9. I traded and swapped until I ended up with a young two-year-old Morgan when I was age 14 that I trained and owned until I graduated from college. As a youth, I could be found riding throughout my county almost every day and have owned a horse or two (or three) all my life--fifty years later I still trail ride 3-4 times a week. I've ridden English, Western and presently ride in an endurancee trail saddle with a hackamore headstall on my Arab(s). I own two, both of whom I've owned and trained since they were yearlings.--Thus my love and knowledge of horses.

I've ridden on eight moving horsepack trips in the six western states of AZ, UT, CO, SD WY and MT, and have been horse trekking in Tanzania and Egypt, the Snow River area of Australia, Castle-to-castle in Hungary, as well as a 10-day horse safari in South Africa.

I also combined my horse skills with the western way of life when I worked for four summers as a lady wrangler around Cody, Wyoming.--Thus my love and knowledge of the west, especially Wyoming/Montana areas."

Pat seems to live and breathe the western. So what, I wonder, does the western mean to her.

" If I were to ask for a "western" book, I'd expect to receive a historic saga about life west of MN, IA, MO, AR and LA relating to horses, cattle, buffalo, wolves, wagon trains, stagecoaches, Indians, cowboys, cowgirls, miners, ranchers and farmers. I feel a real kinship with the American West and reading a western book is like reading/learning about my heritage.

I prefer stories about the "building of the West," vs the "shoot-em-up, bang, bang tales". Traditional westerns (prior to 1915) are my favorite, although a good contemporary western telling of unusual present-day adventures or situations can be interesting if it's well written.
In my youth I read all of Zane Grey's, as well as the My Friend Flicka Series, based in Wyoming. I've since read most of Louis L'Amour's and I REALLY like Richard S. Wheeler's, especially his character portrayals. "

So did Pat always want to be a writer?

"No, I was too busy raising a son as a single parent, and building a roller skating business, which I owned and managed for 24 years.

Although I took a Business Writing Course as a college requirement (I majored in Business Admin) and elected to take a Journalism Course for fun

, I never aspired to be a writer or author of books.

During snowstorms (and we get many in Maine) when I'd have to cancel roller skating, I began writing my personal biography, just for the fun of it, with no intention of having it published. However, about half way through, and upon the urging of a few close friends who'd read some chapters, I began adding more details and deleting some very perso

nal "stuff" with thoughts of publishing it. It took a couple of years to finish writing. I spent months editing and then added 80 pictures (I'm also a photographer). Finally, in 2004 I completed a good 185-page autobiography, "Metamorphosis, My Journey of Growth an

d Change." That was my first book. "

Archive readers should ride on over to PAT'S website and check out some of the wonderful pictures. I mention that the website contains many great snaps of her living the western lifestyle. But how much of Pat's busy life is led this way?

"Not enough...I love the openness and serenity of the west whereas Maine seems claustrophobic with dense woods, lakes and ponds everywhere in between hills and mountains. However, I trailride as in the west. We have many old county roads now grown over with bush and grass, along with cleared snowmobile trails on which to ride. I'm always exploring and discovering new trails that lead to other new trails or back to old trails. I ride Arabians and they love the freedom of trail riding. I don't do arena or show ring riding.

Cosmetically, I'm a jeans type of lady and always wear them whether riding or not. And I ride wearing my western (actually an Australian Akubra) hat, leather gloves, and lace-up Ropers with half chaps.
I return to the west periodically, my heart remains there. I visit friends in Colorado and horseback ride while I'm there at least every other year and I'm planning to visit Cody, Wyoming next year to do some book signing as well as ride into the Shoshone Wilderness again.
However, I'm booked at a ranch in Argentina this June to apprentice polo and do some distance riding! "

The Tainted ARchive is envious. So how would Pat describe her books to new readers looking for a thrilling western read?

"My two cowgirl books are contemporary westerns. "So You Wanna be a Cowgirl", 2007, is a memoir of my adventures as a lady-wrangler in Wyoming for four summers, packed with humor and behind the scene wrangler shenanigans.

"Cowgirl Days", 2008, is a fictional story about a lady wrangler training horses (including wild mustangs) and endurance racing in Montana, and wrangling packtrips into the Bridger-Teton and Shoshone Wilderness areas of Wyoming.
As I previous mentioned "Metamorphosis, My Journey of Growth and Change", 2004, is my autobiography with accompanying pictures.
I have also written two travel booklets, "Volunteer to Empower", 2006, tells my experiences volunteering in Tanzania, Africa and "Ancient Egypt & the Nile", 2007, relates my adventures in Cairo, racing Arabian horses in the Sahara and sailing down the Nile.
My sixth book and the first in the Horse Tails Series is "Horse Tails by Shasta", 2008. It is a story told from a horse's prospective of his precocious life. His adventures include trying to befriend a porcupine, snowman, kid goat, neighborhood ponies and dogs. By the time other horses finally join him in his pasture, his antics of getting loose and wandering his neighborhood free have become a habit and legendary. Shasta lived to be 30 years old. The story is true.
The cowgirl books can be purchased over the Internet from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or any of them can be purchased from my web site"

Assuming PAT can find time, I wonder what future projects she has lined up?

This winter, the second book in my children's Horse Tails series, "Horse Tails by Mookie the Mustang" is being illustrated, while I have just finished writing the third book, "Horse Tails by Horses in Harness". These should be available to the public summers of 2009 and 2010 respectively.
I am also writing and putting together from previously written short stories, a historic western adventure set around Cody, Wyoming between 1880 and 1910. This was an exciting time with Yellowstone opening to the public, the Johnson County War, Wyoming Territory gaining its statehood, Cody becoming incorporated, Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show, and the Shoshone dam coming to fruition.
The book's title is "The DAYES of Wyoming" featuring the adventures of Bertha and Charlie Daye."

Enticing news, then for the western fan. I wonder where Pat sees the western going over the coming years?

I'm optimistic about the western genre. After all, the pioneers who settled the west are the founders of modern America. The younger generation may be into reading murder mysteries and legal dramas at present. However as they age and appreciate history more, I believe they will generate toward the western as an interesting and exciting part of American history, as we of the olding generation already know. Western authors and readers just need to keep the general public informed and aware that western novels are a viable, versatile and exciting reading option, as you are doing in the Wild West Mondays."

The next WILD WEST MONDAY is the 2nd MARCH and PAT already has some great things lined up to help with the now global initiative.

I called my local library late this past Saturday; they're very cooperative to local authors. When I explained the concept behind the Wild West Monday, they agreed to use that day to kick off a Western Reading Week, ending on Saturday March 7th with me signing/selling and giving a presentation of my cowgirl books and children's horse story. They will place a bookrack in their lobby of western authors including Grey, L'Amour, Wheeler, Kelton, McMurtry, Paul A Hawkins and William W. Johnstone, as well as other lesser known authors, and my books.

They gave me permission to bring my western saddle, boots, hat, chaps and anything else that would epitomize western life like my ranch/wrangler photo album. They are using the picture of my book covers (that I've inserted, it's me on the cover of So You Wanna be a Cowgirl) for promotional posters. "

The Tainted Archive thanks Pat for her time in answering our questions.

WILD WEST MONDAY NEWS -The next one is the 2nd March.

This rather topical item was brought to my attention - I just read the gift Michelle Obama gave to Laura Bush was a journal with a quote from western writer Louis L'Amour: "There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. But that will be the beginning."

Thanks to Jim Griffin for that snippet.


Yep Wild West Monday is a new beginning for the wonderful adventure genre known as THE WESTERN.


Ray said...

Patricia Gott is really fired up with enthusiasm about her lifestyle and the love of the west.
Congrats Garry.

Sepiru Chris said...


You conduct your interviews very well, and you write them beautifully. I never would have guessed that I would have read this or the Spillane interview if you had asked me a week ago. And I cannot wait for the next. Higher praise I cannot give.


Charles Gramlich said...

Very cool. And congrats to Patricia for all her success, and for the hard work it took for her to get there.

I much enjoyed this.

Chris said...

That's pretty cool about Michelle Obama and the Louis L'Amour quote.


Chris - watch the Archive soon for an interview with Louis Lamour's son on his father's rich legacy.

pattinase (abbott) said...

If I had been born in Strong, ME, I think a different fate would have awaited me. You feel you owe a town like something. Great interview.

David Cranmer said...

I just checked out Pat's site and will definitely return. I'm with Ray, her enthusiasm shines through in this interview. Thanks.

PatriciaGott said...

Thanks for the possitive comments on my interview. Gary asked some great questions.
I just finished an anthology of historic novelettes based in Wyoming between 1880 and 1905, called "The DAYES of Wyoming". Probably won't be released until the end of this year.
BTW Western Week is happening at our library this week ending in my signing books, along with showing saddle, bridle, rope, chaps, hat and anything western.
Happy Trails, Pat

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