For Painted Pony Books, Jim pens the Lone Star Ranger series. Recently, Richard Prosch caught up with Jim and visited with him as follows.
Richard: What inspired the idea of a teenager becoming a full-fledged Texas Ranger? Is there an historical precedent?
Jim: When Livia and Cheryl approached me about doing a series of Young Adult Westerns, I knew the main character would be a boy who ends up riding with the Rangers. My favorite subject to write about is the Texas Rangers, so it was a natural fit. And yes, there is definitely an historical precedent, not necessarily in the time frame when the Lone Star Ranger books are set, the mid-1870s, but in the earlier days of the Texas Rangers, before and even during the Civil War. Back in the 1840s, when the Rangers were mainly a volunteer organization, boys as young as fourteen were full-fledged members of the Rangers. And Nate Stewart, and his best friend and Ranger partner, Hoot Harrison, are part of a long tradition of boys, which probably goes back to when the first soldiers picked up a spear way back in history, of lying about their ages so they can join a fighting force and head off to war.
Richard: One of my favorite things about your Lone Star Ranger books is that as Nate learns about roping, or working on a horse's hoof, the reader does too. I'm assuming a lot of that comes from your own life's experience?