Travels with My Royal: A Memoir of the Writing Life

Nevada's preeminent living writer reveals the ideas and creative process behind his published work. Renowned Nevada writer Robert Laxalt has embraced a wide range of subjects in his nearly half-century career. In this candid, beautifully written memoir, he explores for the first time what is perhaps his most difficult subject ever - himself and his life as a writer. The first part of the book consists of a series of vignettes about his youth in Carson City as the second son of an immigrant Basque family and his later experiences as a student at the University of Nevada in Reno. We are introduced to the colorful characters of Carson City and to some of Laxalt's extended family, made privy to the family's rags-to-riches-and-back-again past, and invited to his father's isolated sheep camp in the Sierra and to his mother's warm kitchen in Carson City. The second part of the book tells of Laxalt's career as a writer - his early days as a reporter when his assignments included interviews with gangsters and obligatory attendance at executions; his later adventures as a contract writer for National Geographic, and his two stays in the Basque Country, where he gathered material for several books. He also recounts his days as director of the University of Nevada's news service and his role in the founding of the University of Nevada Press. The third section discusses the writing of several of his major books - where the ideas came from, what he tried to accomplish in each book, the challenges he faced, and the ways he chose to resolve them. It is rare that an author writes with such insight and vivid memory about the creative process, and the result here is certain to fascinate readers.