Friday, November 20, 2015

Lee R. Atterbury, Equestrian and Author

Lee R. Atterbury

Lee R. Atterbury is an avid equestrian and prolific author. Lee resides in Wisconsin USA with his  family and beautiful herd of horses. His current novel, Crazy Woman, will draw you in and keep you captivated. Crazy Woman is a crime drama engaging charismatic characters with intriguing scenarios that escalate in suspense…

Welcome Lee!

When did you meet your first horse?
I met my first horse about 30+ years ago.  I leased a big fat lazy warm blood named Roany.  He was a great first horse; he knew how to do everything but took his time.  He was so laid back that I could actually visit him in the pasture, get up and lay down on his back. 

What is your horse history?
For about 15 years I took dressage lessons and did dressage.  I got kind of burned out and in the past 15 years have ridden western, especially reining which is just fantastic.

What horses do you currently stable?
We bought our farm about 15 years ago so that we would have a place to keep all of our horses.  My wife keeps acquiring them.  All our horses right now are either quarter horses or registered paints plus a pony that is half Shetland half quarter horse.  Everybody is extremely mellow. The farm is isolated and is a wonderful place for horses and humans.

You have a lot of horses. Which one is your go-to horse and the one you connect with?
That is Nick.  Nick is an 18 year old quarter horse gelding who is 15 hands high.  He has a beautiful mahogany coat and really long jet black mane and tail.  He is trained and has competed as a reiner.  I have actually competed on him myself.  He is a fantastic guy and my buddy.  As you will see below, he is also the inspiration for the character Buck in my books.

What is the best thing about stabling horses in Wisconsin? Tramping through the snow to the stable on cold days must be a challenge! 
There must be something great about Wisconsin and horses as Wisconsin is ranked No. 5 in the United States in terms of horse population.  We have 9 wonderful months of weather and lots of fantastic places to ride.  Although the winters can be extreme, the extreme weather doesn’t last and the horses like to play in the snow.  However, I confess that it is not much fun doing chores when it is 20 below and there is howling wind. 

Do you have a favorite horse anecdote to share? 
When we first bought the farm, we had to learn all of those things that go along with taking care of horses.  I remember the time I first spread manure.  I was very careful in hooking up the manure spreader and making sure that everything was ready before I pulled on the PTO (power take off).  However, I forgot one thing…the wind direction.  When I pulled on the PTO, all of the manure came blowing back on top of me. 

I enjoyed reading ‘Crazy Woman.’ I was engaged and entertained throughout. How did you come up with the storyline and characters? 
I have been a practicing trial lawyer for over 40 years and so I have met lots of interesting characters.  I blend together some of the people I have known to create the characters in the book.  As far as the storyline goes, I read lots of crime novels and from these I get all kinds of strange ideas about bad guys and crimes. 

Who is your favorite character in ‘Crazy Woman’ ?
My favorite character is Buck because I love horses much more than people and Buck gives me a way of not only describing how horses move but also how they think and feel.  I think horses are very emotional creatures and Buck gives me a chance to explore how wonderful horses are.

Can we expect a sequel? 
Crazy Woman is the third book in the series featuring Jim Taylor and Buck. The first two novels are Solitude Showdown and Meeteetse Massacre.  I am currently at work on a fourth novel featuring the same characters and setting and hope to have it done this year. 

Who are your influences, mentors, and muses? 
My muses are my horses, especially Nick.  I am greatly influenced by my love of the Wyoming wilderness and mountains.  I have spent vacations in the Wyoming wilderness for the past 35 years.  Unfortunately, my time out there is brief and for the rest of the year I miss being out there.  Writing novels set in the Wyoming wilderness gives me a chance to vicariously experience an environment that I love. 

You are a motorcycle enthusiast, pilot, and into Tae Kwon Do. What else? Are you a black belt? How do your hobbies/activities affect your writing?
Learning to fly an airplane and learning and practicing to get my black belt required a lot of effort and discipline and that is carried over into my writing.  In many ways, writing is a very lonely experience and can be very discouraging.  I needed the discipline I learned from these hobbies to help me through the process. 

Do you have advice for novice writers?
Read, read everything.  Read as much as you can, especially in the same genre that you plan to write in.  Look at what is good and what is bad and what works for you.  Also, don’t give up.  I recommend that you find one or two people who are good readers who will give you honest criticism.

Murder and mayhem in the search for missing children
by Lee R. Atterbury

A DEA agent, who claims that he was chased by giant bats, dies in a blazing highway crash. When the sheriff brings Jim Taylor on as a detective and saddles him with a reluctant partner, they investigate the crime. As Jim, his horse, and new partner investigate, they are haunted through the wilderness by Neo-Nazi killers. A stakeout in a drug operation becomes a wild hunt that leads Jim to one surprising find.

Born on the East Coast, Lee grew up in Wisconsin, where his parents published a weekly newspaper. He operated a linotype and a letter press from age ten onwards. In 1970, Lee graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, with an honors thesis on Aristotle. He then became a motorcycle bum until he entered law school at the University of Wisconsin. From 1974, he has practiced plaintiff’s personal injury, handling a wide variety of product liability, construction site, and motor vehicle cases. For his legal resume, see

Lee is an avid reader. His tastes include history, mysteries and crime novels, science fiction, and historical fiction. Some of his favorite authors are: John Sanford, Lee Child, Ian Rankin, Michael Connelly, Robert Galbraith, and Kate Atkinson. Horses and writing consume his free time, but he remains interested in his former pursuits: flying and Tae Kwon Do.

Lee Expounds…
Why do I write? Friends ask me this because I have a full time job (trial lawyer) and take care of eight horses. If you've ever lived with horses you know how much work is involved including hauling hay and water and cleaning stalls when it's ten below, not to mention trying to carve out time to ride.

Horses are wonderful creatures. Speed, power, and grace combined in an animal that bonds with you--to know them is to love them. They are intuitive and sensitive to our moods. I'm amazed that these big, strong beasts can be gentle and affectionate. So I felt compelled to write stories in which a horse was an important character. And I wanted to set the stories in a place I loved: the mountain wilderness of Wyoming. (I can close my eyes and picture my favorite spots and riding trails.) What really gave me a boost (in addition to my wife's encouragement) was the horse I chose to partner with the human character. The horse Buck is patterned after my special horse, Nick. As you can see from the photos Nick is a handsome fellow. Like Buck, Nick is intelligent and intuitive. Also like Buck, Nick is a talented athlete and trained as a reiner. Reining is hard to describe. Nick's trainer, Kim, uses the analogy of figure skating compulsory movements--done on horseback at speed. Anyhow, I'm going to stop here. I'm working on two more Jim Taylor and Buck novels and they won't get written by themselves.

An excerpt from Crazy Woman
          An hour later it was full dark as the sun dropped below the high peaks. They were below the tree line. They halted for a snack. Jim shared a granola bar with Buck. With the loss of sunlight the temperature dropped. Jim grabbed his duster from behind the saddle mumbling about old, cold bones. Hook followed suit.
          “Where are we going? Where will we come out of the forest?”
          “This trail should take us out not that far from where we started. From the map it looks like we’ll end up at a lodge called Aspen Meadow.”
          “Can we make it there tonight?”
          “Yeah. It’s gonna take a good while and we’ll need to lead the horses for part of the way.”
          “I’m going to hang back a ways in case they catch up with us. When the horses step on rocks you can hear it a long ways off. If you lead both of them, those men won’t hear me at all. That way they can’t sneak up on us.”
          Jim didn’t argue. Hook was right to worry about their pursuers catching up.

Connect with Atterbury…

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