Bronwyn Trotter grew up with four older males so the television viewing choice in the '50s and '60s was westerns and war films.
"I think we all favoured westerns over war movies," she says.
This explains why the Taree author has chosen to write a book set in the 1800s in the wilds of the American Rockies.
"I heard someone say you should write what you know. I asked myself, 'What do I know?'"
She knew a bit about the history of war, and had done some research into her family tree. "But then, I know a heck of a lot more about westerns."
'The Trappers Promise' is the first of three books in this series, and Bronwyn has four more on the boil, three westerns and one set in modern day Sydney.
Two and a half years ago Bronwyn began writing - by hand, which made editing and re-writing a bit of a chore. She had retired in 2013 after 25 years in local government and had done a couple of road trips with a girlfriend but was looking for something more to do. And she had always wanted to write a book.
We must have watched every western ever made.Taree author Bronwyn Trotter
She eventually transferred her handwritten work to computer but soon realised her story wasn't going to fit in one book, so it became a trilogy.
The books follow the life of Sarah Cole, daughter of a trapper during the peak of the fur trade in America in the 1800s. Four trappers make a promise to Sarah's father that should anything happen to him, they would take care of her.
Growing up with those westerns, where it was always a male in the lead role, Bronwyn wanted her main character to be female. Sarah grows to be a woman with guts and determination, she's stubborn and courageous, and she faces much tragedy.
"There are moments that bring great sadness," Bronwyn says. "But there are moments of joy too, and moments of fun." 'The Trappers Promise' is also sometimes violent and sexually explicit.
Bronwyn self-published the book which is available in hard cover and e-book. The second book in the trilogy, 'Cedar Creek' will be released early next year and the final book is 'Sarah's Mountain'. See bronwyntrotter.com
About the author
Bronwyn Trotter was born in Taree, one of a family of six. They lived in Tuncurry where her father was a professional fisherman and moved to Orange in the Central West when Bronwyn was five.
Bronwyn met her husband after finishing school and their two sons were born at Orange. The family returned to the area, to Tuncurry, when her youngest was nine months old. He is now 45.
Bronwyn moved to Taree in 1977 to raise her two boys as a single parent. Both her sons still live in the area and Bronwyn has 12 grandchildren, ranging in age from four to 25 years. Two of her brothers and many nieces and nephews live locally and one of her brothers still lives in Orange.
"I love Taree," Bronwyn says. "It is so central to everywhere. We have beautiful beaches that can't be beaten and don't forget the hinterland."
At school, Bronwyn wanted to be an air hostess, which was considered a glamorous job in the '60s and '70s. And then, because she loved art, she wanted to become a commercial artist.
Growing up in the '50s and '60s, other than going to the picture theatre, television was our only form of entertainment.Taree author Bronwyn Trotter
She loved to read, to "disappear into the many genres of literature. I had a few goes at writing earlier on, (but) often became stuck for ideas and became disheartened." So she put writing aside.
Television played a huge role in her family, she says. "Growing up in the '50s and '60s, other than going to the picture theatre, (TV) was our only form of entertainment."
Bronwyn and her mother were outnumbered by her father and three brothers when it came to viewing choices. "We must have watched every western ever made."
"There were weekly shows like Rawhide. What young girl didn't love Rowdy Yates, aka Clint Eastwood? He must have been all of 17 when he made that series.
"Wagon Train was another favourite. I loved it when the wagons formed a circle and the Indians rode around them firing their arrows at the pilgrims and the pilgrims fired their rifles back at the Indians.
"The Indians would fall off their horses and get up again. The pilgrims would get an arrow in them and keep on fighting. The best part was, you never saw blood."
Gunsmoke, Rifleman and Bonanza were also on the watch list.
So deciding to write a book set in the American West made perfect sense.
When writing the trilogy, Bronwyn treated it as a day job, starting at 10am and finishing at 4.30pm. She is also president of the Club Taree Travel Club so over the two and a half years she was writing, there was time for breaks and holidays.
Her daughter and granddaughter read through her books before publication and some of what they read may have raised an eyebrow. But Bronwyn was just 'writing what she knows'.
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