What is the West?
"This is such a hard question, especially for someone who edited a whole anthology on the subject, but I would have to say that it has become more a state of mind than an actual place. And it's a state of mind that is based mostly on misconceptions, that this place we call the West produces a certain kind of person, and provides certain opportunities, particularly in terms of redefining yourself. Some of these myths have been powerfully effective, but they've also provided some negative consequences, like an incredibly high suicide rate."
Russell Rowland's latest book is Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey. He has published three novels, In Open Spaces, The Watershed Years, and High and Inside, the last two of which were finalists for the High Plains Book Award for fiction. He also co-edited, with Lynn Stegner, the anthology West of 98: Living and Writing the New American West. Rowland has an MA in Creative Writing from Boston University, and he teaches writing workshops and does private consultation with other writers. He lives in Billings, Montana.