Are you a blogger who is also a Robyn Carr fan? Have you always wished you could go to Virgin River, hang out at Jack’s Bar, and kick back over a drink or three? Well, here’s your chance! Jack is going on tour this month, and on February 3rd, he could visit your blog. All you have to do is jump in on the comments below and tell us what you’d most want to ask Jack if you got the chance! First thing in the morning on January 10th, we’ll look through all the responses and pick our favorite idea. Make sure that you link us back to your blog!
Sometimes stories just sneak up on you and you’d better be awake. And the coincidences can be unbelievable.
An old friend of mine was visiting me and telling me about her stepson’s job as a farrier. She told me some of his stories–horses in trouble, sick animals, prize-winning horses rescued from barn fires, even those abandoned during these tough economic times. I listened raptly; I don’t know too much about horses, but I love them. They’re majestic to me; magical and beautiful. Something began to tickle my imagination. My friend lives in the mountains very near the Navajo Nation. But hey–my imagination needed to be focused on Virgin River– my readers hunger for more from that town. But I listened to my Arizona girlfriend’s powerful stories with great interest. Then she said, “Scott has been known to work with a Native American horse whisperer. He’s incredible.”
That little ping in my brain that I’m always waiting for sounded.
Not only was it time to introduce some new people into the Virgin River Series, I’d been fielding hundreds of letters asking me for more from Grace Valley, the series that preceded Virgin River. Many of the central Grace Valley characters had been appearing in Virgin River, but there was one beloved character who had not been heard from in a while–Tom Toopeek, the Grace Valley Police Chief. Tom is married to a Navajo woman, a woman raised on the Navajo Nation named Ursula. Not only that–readers had been pestering me to bring back more about the large animal veterinarian from Virgin River, Nathaniel Jensen.
Things started to pile up in my brain, like they sometimes do. Did Ursula have family? Any mystical, magical Navajos? Who were also perhaps farriers? Clay Tahoma was born—a beautiful, spiritual thirty-four-year-old Navajo man who was a gifted farrier, trainer and veterinary technician; a man who was also tuned in to the psyche of his equine patients. And guess who wants to hire him? His old friend, Nathaniel Jensen, of course.
Fast forward six months. It’s my turn to visit my friend in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona. Clay Tahoma had been scampering around in my mind for a while, coming into focus. My girlfriend and I drove into town, dropped into an art gallery and I lay my eyes on a large photo of a gorgeous Native American man at prayer; an inspirational, moving picture. I spoke with the gallery owner and said that if that image was smaller, I’d buy it to sit on my desk, as that is the face I have in my mind–the thick, long, black hair, the armband tattoos, the earnest expression the devotion. He said, “Go shop or have lunch. Come back in an hour and I’ll have an 8×10 tile for your desk ready. Easy.” But when I came back after lunch, not only was the 8×10 tile ready, holding it was a beautiful six-foot-two-inch Native American man with traditional, thick black hair down past his waist—the man in the image. The artist had phoned him and since he was out and about, he drove to the gallery. He was holding one of his CDs of Native American flute music, a gift. His name is Sean Vasquez, the living and breathing man from the Arizona mountains. And (please excuse me for being such a writer!) the living, breathing resource for cultural research. Inspired by his face on the tile and the flute music in the background, Promise Canyon became a reality.
Clay Tahoma is one of the most passionate and complex characters I’ve come to know, and like any Virgin River man, his integrity, courage and soul-deep honor come to center stage, especially when he finds the pure and endless love he has longed for his entire life. Lily Yazhi, a beautiful young Hopi woman, captures his attention and then his heart, all among the mountains and canyons of the beautiful horse country in Virgin River.
All your old friends will be there. I hope you’ll join us.
Come away with me to Promise Canyon. You’ll never want to leave!