Thrill-Filled Journey

From Mary M. Rodgers, editor in chief, Lerner Publishing Group

I’m beyond thrilled for Vaunda Nelson for winning the 2009 CSK award for Bad News for Outlaws. With this book, she found a wonderfully authentic western voice that enriched the telling of a little-known story. It was a joy to work with her to finalize the book. Her care and attention to detail shine through every page. Vaun gave precise feedback to artist R. Gregory Christie on his initial sketches to ensure that the “bigness” of Bass Reeves came through. And working with her made me revisit my own remembrances of often-flawed TV westerns.

Working with Greg was thrilling too. His process stretched over several months, with sketches and finals coming in batches. Each batch was like getting a special Christmas present. During a lull, when I’d be wondering how things were going, he’d reassure me that he was painting by sending me a picture of a work in progress, surrounded by his painting materials. Those always made my day!

So, I’m thankful to Vaun and Greg for letting me be part of their posse!