David G. Rasmussen has authored a total of five books, two of them have been published, and the other three are a trilogy, in the process. His writings are fiction, based on western history.
"Castizo," his first book, has been published for about 10 years. It takes place in modern day New Mexico. The story follows an old Hispanic man, Beneficio Duran, who was one of the very last of a religious brotherhood called "Penitente." When the Pueblo Indians revolted against the priests, who had taken over the villages, the Spanish settlers, who had stayed, developed their own religion, the Penitente.
Beneficio leaves a retirement home in Albuquerque to return to his old sheep ranch on Black Mesa, west of the city. He is pursued by his son, who has political ambitions and does not want his father to be subjected to the media.
The story is of one wise man's trek across dry desert, hiding in canyons, deep crevices in the surface, and under bushes to avoid searchers. His knowledge of the area and use of animal-like instincts enabled him to complete this last journey in spite of his son's use of modern equipment, vehicles, a helicopter, and ground searchers to find him. They did not meet up until Beneficio had completed his last journey.
"Castizo" was first written as a short story for a course taken with Writer's Digest. It was well received and David decided to expand it, becoming his first book.
David and his wife Carol Ann lived in New Mexico when he conceived the book and was quite interested in the early Hispanic settlers (originally from Spain), their villages, beliefs, and customs of the earlier time. He spoke with descendents of those settlers who were living in the high desert country of New Mexico. He found them to be very independent, self-reliant people.
"The Man Who Moiled for Gold" (moiled, an archaic word, was used in the poem by Robert W. Service, "The Cremation of Sam McGee") is about a man, Charley Martin, who started chasing gold in the Pike's Peak gold rush, then moved on with his cousin and partner to the Montana gold rush. There he and his cousin found wealth, but the cousin was murdered by road agents. Charley was obsessed with finding and hanging the man who killed his cousin and became one of the famous vigilantes during the 1860s in Montana.
The story evolves as Martin, now a retired hard rock miner with silicosis, relates these experiences to his grandson.
The vigilante movement and other historical events were carefully researched in both Montana and Colorado with emphasis on the gold mining periods. Plans are to re-edit the book this next year and have it published under another title.
The trilogy's first book starts with a 13-year-old orphan Jewish boy stranded in the break of the Missouri river country in 1865. Cholera was a quite common occurrence. He was on a river boat that was stopped and quarantined because of the disease. Though he doesn't become ill, his mother dies of it. His father is murdered. The boy is alone, is seeking friendship.
The story recounts his wanderings and connection with a "spirit bear." Eventually the bear kills the man who murdered the boy's father, is wounded and eventually dies. The old bear shows himself to the boy as a spirit and his "wyakin," the boy's spirit guide for the rest of his life.
This first of the series is in the editorial process, to be in print soon. The others are finished and will follow six months to a year from now.
"Overall I've been writing for 20 years," David said. "The first of my books was completed 20 years ago. It did not come to a complete conclusion. I had it reviewed by an editor. He said that the story wasn't resolved . . . it needed more.
"I got to thinking about it, did some more research, found a lot on the Nez Perce, as a tribe and their ultimate trek when they escaped from the army that was pursuing them from Idaho, across Montana with some of them making it into Canada to join up with Sitting Bull. I found good non-fiction writings. There were several people who had recorded their stories. Those stories were quite different from those written books about Chief Joseph. I tried to be as honest as I could be, writing from the point of view of that young boy, now matured and 14 years older and an apprentice to a healer shaman.
The second book, "Legend of a Dreamer," is about the dreamers who were a cult of the Pacific Northwest Indians. They believed they could converse with the spirit world. Some were reported to have gone to the spirit world and returned. The main character, the boy from the first book, now a grown man, eventually became their shaman.
The last book in the series, "Legend of the Shaman," continues with the life and love of the main character.
Even as a kid, Rasmussen liked to make up stories in his head. "I was never very good at writing, in fact I still can't spell very well, possibly dyslexic. I depend on the spell-checker, thesaurus, and dictionary. I hadn't taken a fiction writing course or a typing course. For many years, I bought and read a lot of books."
One section of his office library is devoted to books that relate to writing, another bookcase is filled with books with an emphasis on history, mostly of the West, especially about the explorers. As a geological and mining engineer, he had to write technical reports and working with consulting companies, and actually learned to edit reports written by others.
"Most of all, I like to research and experience the places that I write about. I like to develop my own characters and write my own stories based on that research. I plan to continue to write," he said. "There are many more stories to tell."blog comments powered by Disqus