Interview with Mark Greathouse, Author of Nueces Truth

Interview with Mark Greathouse, Author of The Tumbleweed Sagas

What inspired you to start writing?

Interview with Mark Greathouse, Author of Nueces Truth

Back in 2015 that I rediscovered a cache of documents that my father bequeathed to me. The ancestral treasure trove included a narrative by a long-departed Texas cousin that offered a history of my ancestors as well as his own experiences. John Hillard Dunn’s writings lit the fuse of inspiration. Research led me to the autobiography of Texas Ranger cousin Red John Dunn and thence to my great great grandfather Nicholas Dunn’s legendary story. I discovered my Texas family tree and the awesome tale of five brothers immigrating from County Kildare, Ireland to Corpus Christi, Texas. The Texas family tree itself was inspiring, as it revealed more than 2,200 ancestors across ten generations – all from those five Dunn brothers. The fire was lit, family history was the kindling, and it was up to me to add the fuel. I’ve been inspired to write western genre ever since, but here’s where it gets more complicated. I was captured by how western genre enables the delivery of unvarnished moral truths, as in delivering the good triumphing over evil message through edgy adventure, tough hombres, and impassioned romance. Bottom line, good versus evil messaging and accompanying moral tenets or convictions embed a driving desire deep within my bones to leave as a legacy. I’ve continued to stoke the fires of inspiration with research and enduring love for the genre and the channel it offers for legacy writings. I do believe that once you are truly inspired with noble purpose, there’s no turning back. Six western novels, a biography, and an anthology later, I’m still inspired.

How do you handle writer’s block?

I don’t know. I’ve never experienced writer’s block. I expect that comes with strong inspiration.

How do you do research for your books?

In addition to ancestral writings, I peruse library archives, history books, biographies, museums, newspaper articles, family caches of photographs and letters, interviews with elderly family members, and, importantly, actually walk the very landscapes in which my writings are set. I take notes on anything that grabs my attention, as it may fill a future need. I do not rely on Wikipedia.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?

I’m on Facebook at Tumbleweed Sagas and post to Western Writers of America, Gettysburg Writers Brigade, and Defiance Press Authors. I post videos at and

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have eight books published by Defiance Press: six novels, a biography, and an anthology. I previously self-published a teen novel and a men’s self-help book. I find myself partial to Nicholas Dunn: The Making of a Texas Legend, the biography of my great great grandfather. It’s packed with true tales of his forging a life on the Texas frontier, immigrating from Ireland as a 15-year-old, droving cattle, fighting Comanche, building a thriving ranch, raising a large family, supporting his community and church, and keeping his Texas-twang-laced Irish brogue until passing at age 77.

Can you share with us something about your current book that isn’t in the blurb?

My protagonist Texas Ranger Luke Dunn is a composite of the Rangers that delivered justice and peace across Texas. Notably, my writings include no “f-bombs,” though my romance scenes can be steamy and I do drop a “sonofabitch” or two. The title reflects the settings for my Tumbleweed Sagas on the Texas Nueces Strip reaching from Uvalde to the Rio Grande and Corpus Christi to Laredo. Nueces is Spanish for nuts and draws from the pecan trees lining the Nueces River and Nueces Bay. There is even a ghost town just west of Corpus called Nuecestown. It initially featured a ferry to cross the Nueces River. The railroad passed it by, and all that remains is a schoolhouse and cemetery.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with readers about?

While I’ve wrapped up the manuscript for my seventh and final Tumbleweed Saga, my heart is poured into Perilous Trails: Jack’s Adventure Begins, the first of a trilogy of teen faith-based westerns. Set on the vast Texas Comancheria of 1855, it relates the challenges faced by 15-year-old Jack O’Toole after a devastating Comanche raid on his folk’s homestead. His inner conflicts of anger, revenge, and guilt (at surviving) versus forgiveness and mercy are woven into a tale of friendship with a teen Comanche whose life he saves, a black cowboy, the rescue of his captive sister and brother, and dealing with the prejudices and broken promises of the era.

Who is your favorite author and why?

Here’s the rub; I don’t have a clear favorite. I enjoy the contemporary westerns of C.J. Box and Larry McMurtry and the tales of the old west as told by Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour. I crave the dystopian writings of George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, and Ayn Rand and the depth of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I find history thoroughly engaging, especially folklore authors such as J. Frank Dobie and Joseph Marshall. Last but hardly least, Dr Paul Kengor’s Dupes and The Communist and Michael Shellenberger’s Apocalypse Never gripped me.

What are you reading now?

I just finished C.J. Box’s The Highway and am about to start Social Justice Fallacies by Thomas Sowell.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Whew! I like playing and watching tennis (played in USTA national championships a couple of times), am a voracious reader, enjoy long walks with my wife, and love oil painting and home decorations (just built a king size headboard).

Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you?

Most of my creative writing occurs in coffee houses. My laptop and I have enjoyed delicious java across the country from Montana to Texas to Arizona to…you get the picture.

Excerpt from Nueces Truth: Texans Face War’s Realities

Nueces Truth Mark Greathouse Tumbleweed Sagas
Nueces Truth Mark Greathouse Tumbleweed Sagas

Luke Dunn had gotten hold of a weather-beaten but readable copy of the newspaper from Corpus Christi. The date didn’t matter none. Nor did it matter that he’d already been through it front to back. He spread it before him as he sat out on the gallery across the front of their home and sipped slowly from the cup of coffee he’d forced himself to brew. The news about Gettysburg was distressing to many but not nearly so much as the list of local residents who’d passed from the dreaded yellow fever. Many folks were going through what he was dealing with or worse. The yellow fever had ravaged the region once again with a vengeance, and its effect laid a pall across an already war-torn countryside. Try as he might to climb inside the protection of his cool and collected Texas Ranger persona, there was simply too much heartache throughout the community. Heartache…and fear, as the war and now disease continued to ravage minds and livelihoods.

            His beloved Elisa still languished with the fever. Every time it looked as though it would break, she’d relapse.

            Luke gazed out at the depressingly-gray rain-laden sky. Off in the distance, a bolt of lightning rippled across the darkened heavens followed by an earth-shattering clap of thunder. Only yesterday, the arroyos around the ranch were dry as a bone. Rain now fell in heavy sheets on the rock-hard earth. The few longhorns he could see off in the distance grazed uneasily. The beeves were at best confused. They’d stick their snouts upward now and again as though relishing the unfamiliar raindrops glancing off their noses. Luke longed to be out among the beeves. They’d be needing settling down. With such a deluge there’d likely be swollen creeks, and it wouldn’t do to lose newborns to drowning in any flash floods. Anxiety clawed at him.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkedin

Leave a comment