Last Modified: Friday, August 03, 2012 5:40 PM
“Fire Hair: A Novel of the West,” the first novel of the late Harvey Honsinger of Moss Bluff, was published in October 2011.
Honsinger, who died on March 29 at age 78, was a lifelong scholar of the cultures of the Old and New West, particularly his native Texas. He also had in-depth knowledge of the far western United States. As well as being a chronicler of daily life in the late 1800s, Honsinger had detailed expertise of ancient and modern firearms.
“With enough horse-sweat and gunsmoke to satisfy readers of traditional westerns, ‘Fire Hair’ also has the authenticity of a well-researched historical novel and the grandeur of an epic,” the cover blurb reads.
The story centers on the life of Rebecca, a gutsy redhead who is transplanted by circumstances from Tennessee to the quite different terrain and culture of Arizona in 1870. She arrives as a woman alone and learns that she must depend on herself for survival in the harsh atmosphere.
Even when she finds love and marriage, her life still has its challenges. One reader said the work is as much a romance as it is a western.
The foreword provides a preview of the writing style that will captivate the reader:
“Quiet as mice on cotton, two Apaches crept through the brush and squatted on their heels in the dark not twenty yards from where Rebecca bathed. They took in the whiteness of her skin, the darkness of her tanned face and hands, and, most of all, they stared at the candlelight shining on her red hair …. Fire Hair Woman had come to the Valley of the Verde River.”
Honsinger’s family plans to publish two other novels he completed. “Jason Tallifer” is expected to be published later this year, according to his son and editor, Paul Honsinger of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. His dad finished the author’s revisions of that book before his death and requested that it be the first to be published, Paul said.
After that, “The Man from Salt Hill” will come out, the author’s son said.
Honsinger was a native of the small southeast Texas town of Mont Belvieu, also known as Barber’s Hill, named for an ancestor. He received a bachelor of fine arts degree in radio and television from University of Houston in 1958 and worked briefly at KLFY-TV in Lafayette. He worked at KPLC-TV in Lake Charles for more than 20 years, first as a director and later as production manager and production-sales liaison.
He retired from Louisiana Department of Corrections after 25 years as a probation and parole agent, and district administrator/ manager of the Lake Charles District.
He and the former Judith Arceneaux were married for 53 years. “Fire Hair” is dedicated to her “infinite patience with an impatient man.” They had two children, Paul Honsinger and Kathleen DeVille.
His interest in writing began with his high school newspaper and continued throughout his life. He was a member of the Bayou Writer’s Guild and was a graduate student of creative writing at McNeese State University.
“Fire Hair: A Novel of the West,” by Harvey Honsinger. Available as electronic book for Kindle and other e-readers, as well as paperback from amazon.com and e-book for Nook and paperback from barnesandnoble.com. 270 pp. E-book $5.99, paperback $14.95.