Authentic Historical Fiction by Mary Armstrong
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I started writing early in my teens
I think it was the summer between my ninth grade and sophomore years. I hand-wrote stories and submitted them to different magazines. None were accepted and I was disappointed but the truth was they were awful. Despite doing well in junior high, I was not placed with the other college prep students and my writing wasn’t mentored by any teacher, and school no longer was fun. Still, I wrote my little stories and read. Later in high school, I hand-wrote a “novel” while working as a pin-chaser at a local bowling establishment. For those of you that don’t know, that is the person that works largely unseen behind the pin setting machines taking care of stray pins, unreturned balls, and various other mechanical issues, and yes it was very noisy. Regardless, I wrote!
I went on to a junior college to improve my grades so I could get into Iowa State University where I wanted to study landscape architecture, which I was certain would eventually get me into the golf course design business. I graduated from ISU in 1974 and my career took off. I was a city planner, a recreational planner for the Corps of Engineers Missouri River District, a refuge planner for the US Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region, a real estate planner and designer in the Boston metro area, and finally, I had the career I always dreamed about as a Golf Architect. Over the twenty years I designed new, remodels, or did consults on over one hundred golf courses worldwide.
Through that nearly half a century of writing thousands of pages of technical specifications, environmental impact statements, and master plans I found time to read. When I retired in 2014 I came to a time when I could indulge my storytelling again. The urge to create, which my design career sated was still with me and it intersected with my love of the history of the old west and especially of the Mesilla Valley and Tularosa Basin in the New Mexico Territory. The result is the “Two Valleys Saga.” So, I hope you will come away with me to meet some new folks and get to know historic ones in their times.