A Sweet Tale of Love, Loss and Bluebirds.
The prolific Prineville author, Rick Steber, has released his latest book, A Promise Given, A True Story of Life, Love…and Bluebirds. With more than 30 titles authored, Steber has become a recognizable voice in Central Oregon as he creates a literary landscape of western adventures and historical chronicles.
A Promise Given tells the story of the Oregon couple Trevor and Vivian Russell. Throughout their courtship, marriage and subsequent struggles with the inevitabilities of getting older, Steber creates a portrait of a hard-working, honest-living couple growing old together and honoring each other, even after death.
With a promise, Trevor commits to aiding in the return of the mountain bluebird to his corner of Oregon. His dedication built more than a thousand birdhouses, an essential element to the lifecycle of the bluebird as their decline over the years has been partially traced to a lack of adequate nesting sites.
“I didn’t know about bluebirds,” Steber said. “I didn’t know we had lost 90 percent of the songbirds since the arrival of the Europeans to America, but what really got me [about Trevor’s story] was the fact that if everyone put up birdhouses, we could bring our songbirds back.”
Steber’s interest in the Russells began with an account he heard about a man building bird houses and giving them away to anyone who would put them up. “It piqued my interest,” he said. “I knew there was a story there.”
The tale that unfolds through Steber’s prose reveals details about the family’s life, some delicate and intimate in nature. Writing with tact can be a daunting task when working on a true account about real people in a small community, but Steber’s descriptions are honest and respectful.
“The challenging part in any story is getting it down and getting it down right because the people are still alive. You have to have respect and a little finesse,” commented Steber. “Trevor knew I would be honest in telling [his life story] and he had respect for me and that is why he allowed me to tell the story I wanted to tell.”
The book serves as an eloquent reminder that the actions of one can have a lasting impact.
Caught in the Crosshairs
Steber has received national acclaim for his writing, selling over a million copies of his books. Recently his book, Caught in the Crosshairs, was selected as a finalist for the 2012 National Indie Excellence Book Awards.
A non-fiction account of cowboy Phil Brooks, Steber explores the event of Brook’s death, struck through the heart by a high-powered rifle, as he was riding in the hills of Eastern Oregon in 1994. Although an intensive police investigation was launched, nobody has ever stood trial for his murder.
When notified of his latest award selection Steber said, “It’s always an honor to get a pat on the back for your work. Caught in the Crosshairs is already in its third printing and that tells me people are reading the book and encouraging others to pick up a copy and read it. But I believe the real test for this book cannot be measured in awards or the sales it generates. In the end I want justice to prevail and the person who killed Phil Brooks to stand trial. We are still waiting for that to happen.”
Steber’s numerous awards include the Western Writers of America Spur Award for Best Western Novel, Western Heritage Award, Benjamin Franklin Award, Mid-America Publishers Award, Oregon Library Association Award, Oregon Literary Arts Award and the Independent Publishers Book Award. Two of his books have been optioned to movie production companies.