I was writing a new book at the time, and the road sign we came upon, gave me an idea. So, I changed Checotah, Oklahoma to Yukon, and the book Seychelles Survivor was born.
I’ve discovered that people like to read about travel to interesting places. So, welcome to Checotah, Oklahoma, a geographic location that my husband and I found fascinating on our Western-Ho Trip.
Welcome to Checotah, Oklahoma. Carrie Underwood is probably the most famous person born and raised in Checotah. Country singer, Carrie Underwood, won the TV talent show American Idol in 2005. She ended up in a tight race with the southern rocker, Bo Brice. Carrie, narrowly beat out Bo Brice and became the American Idol.
It was about this time that my husband Ed and I were taking an extended western late summer vacation. We had spent some time in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, and Texarkana, Texas–located in the extreme northeast part of Texas on the Texas–Arkansas border.
My husband and I have traveled to every state in the United States with the exception of Alaska. On this particular journey, we were interested in exploring Indian country. We consider ourselves clones of the American Pickers, and by-the-way, we’ve been to Le Claire, Iowa and Antique Archaeology. We love the thrill of the hunt. Checotah is home to numerous antique malls, a Civil War battle SITE and a downtown historic district.
To our surprise, we came upon a road sign that said, “Home of Carrie Underwood, American Idol.” I was writing a new book at the time, and this road sign gave me an idea. Why not base one of my characters upon Checotah, Oklahoma and young ‘want-to-be’ Hollywood celebrity. I changed Checotah to Yukon and the book Seychelles Survivor was born.
The story is about… The story begins with orientation week at the University of Iowa. Five freshmen from different parts of the country are seated together in a college lecture theater. The group is unaware they share a common interest.
The friends set out on a tropical paradise vacation over a long 4th of July adventure without parental permission. Two days later, the parents are notified that the Beauregard Wilder private jet is missing from the radar. The families come together at the Wilder, Wyoming ranch, to wait as the FBI start their investigation.
Fearing the loss of their own child, and a twenty-year long separation of a failing marriage, will one of the couple’s own emotional journey, force them to come to terms with helping to find the missing children on the lost plane? And will the desire to strengthen a family bond after a long estrangement be a wise choice?
Surviving a plane crash can be a terrifying thing. The tension mounts as the story draws to a close on a beautiful tropical island in the Indian Ocean. The setting is compelling and the dialogue is real. Seychelles Survivor, is about a family separated by a plane crash and who are determined to find one another regardless of what they might find.
The following is an excerpt from the book Seychelles Survivor.
Kevin Beauregard Wilder was the only son of Beauregard Wilder, a single father and wealthy longtime Wyoming cattleman. Kevin earned the nickname, Kicks, because of the way he would jab his heels into the side flanks of a bull during the bull riding competition at the Wyoming State Fair.
His mother, Paula had left her family shortly after giving birth to Kevin. When she left Beau and Kevin, she said that it wasn’t her forte to become a mother, so she just packed her bags and walked away. Beauregard hired a lovely old Mexican woman named Lorinda. She moved in with the Wilder family and stayed for the next two decades, raising Kicks along with her own son Jose.
Beauregard had always considered Jose like a son and along with his own son Kicks, the three men became a close-knit team raising longhorn-steer-range cattle and champion horses. Kicks grew up on a horse and spent his youth on cattle drives roping and riding the herd. He spent the summer months during school break making the rodeo circuit entering in bull riding competitions.
Kicks was a tall drink-of-water, rugged, muscular, smart as a whip and cowboy handsome. His ‘true grit’ cowboy spirit was how he eventually won the title of Wyoming Champion Bull Rider.
Beauregard insisted that his sons Kicks and Jose attend college. It had been four years since the boys graduated from the Cheyenne, Wyoming high school, that they attended together.
Kevin (Kicks) Beauregard Wilder hung up his spurs at twenty-two years old, and entered the ivy halls of the University of Iowa. Jose married his high school sweetheart Carlotta and he stayed on at the Wilder ranch as head foreman.
The Wilder Horse and Cattle Ranch extended from where the Pacific Railroad crossed over the Crow Creek to the tributary of the South Platte River. The ranch was remotely situated on a ten thousand acre spread and was a considerable distance from any surrounding small towns. It encompassed ten thousand acres of rich ranch land where the antelope, buffalo, wild Mustang and deer roamed free.
When you were in Wyoming, you were as deep as you could get into the Old West with its intriguing scenery of vast plains, open spaces, rock formations, buttes, and small teepee villages dotting the landscape.
Rarely did the family encounter a passer-by or a visitor. But on this day, the parents of the missing college students began arriving at the ranch one family at a time. The Borges family, Steve and Carol crossed the Missouri River to Chamberlain, South Dakota which was nestled on the eastern bank of the river that provided a gateway to the west.
Once upon a time, Kearn Borges passed by Kicks Wilder, unaware that they would soon become best friends. It was on Main Street in Wall Drug, Wyoming, where they had walked down the street at the same time unnoticed. The buildings in Wall Drug were constructed of native timber and old brick… a treasure-trove of history and fascination.
Kearn was a strikingly handsome young nineteen year old skier from Boise, Idaho who had been selected by the University of Idaho to join the ski team, but to his parents dismay, he accepted a scholarship to Iowa State University. He was awarded a place in their winter athletic program.
Kearn Borges and the legend of the Jackalope, were unlike any other creatures that found their way to fame. Many tall tales about him were made on the streets of Wall Drug, USA.
Lela was the only child of Joshua and Naomi Weatherall from Yukon, Oklahoma. She was a spoiled, self-centered child, but the apple of her daddy’s eye.
Lela was captain of the cheerleading squad and most of the boys in high school and the entire football team, had dreams about dating her. The Weatherall family went back generations and they amassed their wealth from oil. Joshua Weatherall’s large farm implement business employed most of the local inhabitants in the surrounding area of Yukon, Oklahoma.
Naomi Weatherall inherited fifteen thousand acres of rich farmland that was rented out to local farmers who planted crops of sunflower and boundless fields of waving wheat surround by neighboring cities rich in oil and American history.
Lela had dreams of moving to Hollywood and breaking into show business. She was not only beautiful, but she was an “A” student. Lela Weatherall was eighteen when she left the town of Yukon, to attend the University of Iowa. Joshua and Naomi had different plans for their only child. Lela was also an extremely talented gymnast and her parents held out hope that she would join a college gymnastic team and make her way into the Olympics.
Leeza and Nate Maxwell flew to the Wilder Ranch from Laurel County, Kentucky in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest. London, Kentucky was named after London, England and it was the home town of Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants.
It was an area of small towns nestled in the beautiful mountains where the females outnumbered the males. Nate Maxwell was the Superintendent of the Laurel County, Kentucky School District and Leeza was a stay at home mother who was still raising small children. Boz Maxwell spent his weekend nights in the local bars entertaining the customers as a stand-up comic and looking for love in all the wrong places.
Martin Sossa called Lei Lani Keoki at her job on the Big Island of Hawaii to tell her in person, “Lei Lani, this is Marty, I need you to sit down because I have some disturbing news to tell you.”
She could hear the concern in his voice, “Martin, is Haleakala okay?”
Martin cleared his throat and tried to stay brave, “Lei Lani, Kona and her friends left the day before yesterday to go white water rafting in Montana, but something has happened.”
She interrupted him in a panicked frame of mind, “Martin, what are you saying?”
He replied, “I’ve not said anything yet, but the FBI is involved because the private jet the kids were on is missing.”
Lei Lani’s voice was shaking, “Martin, I need to know, did the plane go down on the mountain?”
The silence was deafening until Martin said, “Lei Lani, we don’t know, but I’m flying out soon. I’m on my way to the Cheyenne, Wyoming ranch of Beauregard Wilder.”
The end of the excerpt.
I hope you enjoyed the mini tour of the ‘Bread Basket’ of the United States and the smidgen of the book Seychelles Survivor.
Seychelle Survivor is available for purchase on CreateSpace and the K. Lorraine website – http://klorraine.com. The book is rated PG and does contain adult subject material.
Thank you for spending time with me and reading my blog.