Beaux Cooper is a writer, explorer, and wife. Much of her writing is pulled directly from life experiences, revelations, and lessons which seem to come in spurts if given enough time to formulate. As a fresh transplant to the bluffs region of Wyoming from her home state of Oregon, Beaux has grown to appreciate just how small she really is compared to the rest of the earth.
Wyoming skies can do that to a person.
Beaux craves adventure, travel, and fish tacos. She hoards knowledge like a magpie after carnival and watches entirely too much British television. Surprisingly, Beaux’s weekends are filled with all things quintessentially Wyoming: national parks, cattle brandings, rodeos, and the Oregon Trail. But only because she seeks them out.
Beaux shares a household with her husband, two dogs, and two cats – in no particular order.
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What is your writing process?
I’m very much so a person who needs to experience things to write about them. This comes out mostly in my landscapes descriptions. There are some things you simply cannot research – like the way the wind blows in Wyoming or how the stars cluster together down the center of the night’s sky. There is an awe of appreciation that comes from seeing, feeling, hearing wide open spaces that a textbook or website cannot convey. And when inspiration hits me I’ll take anything I can write on to jot it down… the back of bills, napkins, journals, my phone… whatever I can get my hands on.
Describe your journey as an author so far.
It’s been subtle. Much more low-key than I ever thought it was going to be. I had placed becoming an author on some unobtainable pedestal growing up that when it finally happened, when a publisher emailed me a publishing contract for Dust, I was kind of dumbfounded at how subtle that feeling was. Even now I’m fairly shy about explaining it to people. Having an eBook is something of a challenge, but thankfully there is a whole world of blog tours that help us get the word out! The Meet The Author events have been fun and a worthwhile experience for me. Certainly something I look forward to doing more often.
How do you stay motivated?
I’ll admit, I’m not always motivated. I can be lazy and distracted and Netflix-obsessed. Then there are days when I don’t want to do anything but write and anything that gets in the way of me and my computer is viewed as a burden. That’s actually why I cut my hair to a pixie from mid-back length – the time it took to care for it in the mornings was too burdensome. So my motivation ebbs and flows. Hopefully this summer I’ll be in a peak of motivation to get some writing done.
What has been your biggest obstacle while Dust and how have you overcome it?
Honestly, it was writing about a place I had never been – Wyoming. Once my husband and I relocated here the pages seemed to fill up all on their own. I needed to see, taste, feel this place to truly understand its magnificence. I hope that I was able to capture even just a glimpse into what Wyoming is really like.
Why did you write Dust?
I wrote Dust because I knew that what the lead character, Austen, was experiencing in her marriage was not singular. Many of my friends, family members, and even myself have experienced similar struggles. I wanted to write a story about a young woman who is unhappy in her marriage, but realizes it is she who needs to make herself happy, not her husband. I wanted to write a story about a young woman who continues to be married rather than giving up and looking for the next man who will inevitably let her down, too. Because the important message here is that the only one in charge of our happiness is us. It’s not something that can be found externally in other people.
What do you hope readers would take away from Dust?
Just what I said above, but also that we never have to be just one thing in our lifetime. It’s never too late to change the direction you are going and make your life out to be what you want it to be. That’s a big lesson Austen (and I have) learned.
How long did it take you to write Dust?
It started about 2 years before I moved to Wyoming. Just little bits that came to me about character development, etc. Once we moved to Wyoming, though, it took me about 6 months to write and 3 months to edit into a submission ready draft.
What’s next for you?
More writing! I’ll be spending the summer writing the sequel to Dust while I go to school. I am a full time student at University for Geology and Anthropology so I have my hands full.
What genres do you read?
My absolute favorite is more of an era than genre. I collect books that were published between 1880-1940. There is just something about the innocence of the characters, the retrospective naivety, and the level of intelligence of vernacular. My own writing is strongly influenced by this era because they focused much on descriptions and laying the scene as well as developing a story for the sake of a story rather than blockbuster movies filled with unnecessary action and drama. Their writing feels more genuine and acts as a true portrait rather than a modern caricature of those who occupied that time and space.
What do you know now that you wish you knew as a teenager?
Probably a million things, but as far as writing goes? Simply, it really isn’t that hard or scary to put yourself out there and try. Try to get published, try to get an agent, but most importantly act. When we live our lives based on assumptions we end up missing out on making our dreams come true.
Title: Dust by Beaux Cooper
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Some people seek marriage counseling; others find wisdom in horse manure. Austen St. Johns has taken up a shovel.
When her marriage transitions from blushing newlyweds to people who merely co-exist, Austen realizes perhaps she’s responsible for her misery.
Desiring change, she leaves Oregon for the open plains of a Wyoming ranch where she discovers through love of self how she can save her marriage.
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Squatch attached Austen’s bag and camping gear on the rear of the saddle and handed her the reins. The other men had already made their way to the open yard and were waiting for her. To Austen’s relief the horse followed her without a fight, and when Austen pulled around to join the semi-circle of men the horse fell right into place. Squatch walked up beside her with his butterscotch palomino, its platinum tail twitching in excitement.
When the other men mounted their horses, Squatch offered his hand to Austen. “Up you go.” He flicked his eyebrows up and winked at her.
Austen stuck her boot into the stirrup, and, hand on the pommel, hoisted herself, not without grace, into the saddle and took the reins. The other cowboys stopped tending to their belongings and sat still to watch the dapple’s reaction to the new rider. At first, the horse stood steady, without concern for the rider on her back. But as the other horses began to snort, uncomfortable with the stillness of their own masters, the mare started to shift about in place. Her breathing became shallow, her eyes widened, and her head bobbed up and down.
From behind them someone snapped a twig underfoot, which was all the edgy beast needed. The horse reared up onto her hind legs and hopped up and down. Austen held onto the pommel and squeezed her knees into the saddle, her instincts taking over. As the animal jumped upward Austen leaned into the horse, coming close to the neck, but always keeping enough distance so she wouldn’t be caught in the face with such a powerful force.
The cowboys cheered, compounding an already bad situation. It was dark and the horse was scared. Austen petted her neck and tried to coo her into a calmer state, but to no avail. Just as Austen was about to lean forward in anticipation of another hop, the horse pitched with her and kicked its hind legs into the air. Austen’s bag sprung up and struck her from behind. The additional force knocked Austen off balance, and over the top of the horse she went.
The hard compacted dirt met her back and the breath was stolen straight out of her chest. Her eyes clouded over into darkness with bright white sparking through them and a low humming burned in her ears closing in like the black vignette of photographs. She wasn’t sure if she had passed out, but all was suddenly quiet. The jeering stopped, the horses faded away, and the soft sunrise fell into darkness.
When her eyes opened again she found herself lying in Squatch’s lap, his eyes looking on furiously at the other men, who were still laughing.
Thwaite was nowhere she could see, but his booming voice carried far. “You told me that horse was ready!” The laughter died away when Thwaite singled out and scolded those responsible for her fall.