A Lifetime West of the Mississippi
K. Lyn Wurth has been writing unique novels and short stories of the American Great Plains and Western experience for more than thirty years.
Her fresh historical novel of the American West, The Not So Quiet Life of Calamity Jane, is scheduled for release by Five Star Publishing in July of 2020.
Born in Nebraska, she has a special attachment to the Republican River Valley, where her grandparents and parents lived. She has since lived in several states, ranging from the bayou-tracked Gulf Coast of Texas to densely-wooded northeastern Wisconsin, and from Rocky Mountain-cragged Colorado to the rich prairie earth of Iowa.
Throughout her childhood, the once-American Frontier West was a wide, wild home. Fields and pastures, rivers and lakes, prairies and pine forests, mountains and high desert were her playground. Wide vistas and open spaces framed her world view. In her young adulthood, the West became a longing for home and a backdrop of images. It remains a stage set for characters and a wellspring for storytelling. Not settling in any one place for long, she learned to embrace local histories and diversity. Alert to regional distinctions, she observed meaningful details with an outsider’s clarity of view.
K. Lyn was introduced to literature of the Great Plains and American West (Western fiction) and encouraged in fiction writing by two early creative writing mentors. The first was Dr. Arthur Huseboe, a Western literature scholar and Center for Western Studies Director at Augustana College (now Augustana University) in Sioux Falls, SD. The second was Siouxland’s bestselling fiction author Frederick Manfred. With their blessings, advice and ongoing attention to her work, K. Lyn recognized her own creative writing as part of a larger literary tradition. Willa Cather, Herbert Krause, O. E. Rölvaag, Mari Sandoz and Louise Erdrich were significant literary influences in her early storytelling, and remain some of her favorites to this day.
While earning her M.A. in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she focused on Great Plains and Western literature and creative writing. Cather scholar Susan Rosowski mentored and inspired her during her graduate studies. Dr. Rosowski’s encouragement reinforced K. Lyn’s dedication of her fiction to this rich, regional storytelling tradition. Creative writing instructors Marly Swick and Gerald Shapiro gave her confidence to push her creative boundaries and improve her craft.
The West as a Place of Imagination
For K. Lyn Wurth, the Great Plains and West are places in history and dimensions of imagination. This vast region holds the aspirations and failures of the American experience, and brims with stories yet to be told.
Supporting her stories with careful research, she combines fictional characters with real places and events. Her stories explore some of the West’s deepest struggles, transgressions, conflicts and meanings. With a special concern for the dispossessed, she reflects compassion for every character. Yet, she never flinches from the violence committed in the name of human progress, and the ongoing devastation of injustice.
The land, water and sky figure large in her fiction, as they do in the West. Her tales of the Great Plains and West often resound with ancestral voices and legends from the land’s first, Native nations.
K. Lyn Wurth lives in rural Northwestern Iowa with her husband, David. She published her first novel, The Darkwater Liar’s Account, in 2013. Another novel set in Nebraska, Seven Kinds of Rain: River Saga Book One was released in 2016. Its sequel, Remember How It Rained: River Saga Book Two debuted in 2017. Numerous journals have published her award-winning short fiction.
K. Lyn Wurth is an active, supporting member of Women Writing the West.