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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Writer's family is basis for pioneer story

  • Book-signing slated for Saturday
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  • Niki Lewis Shepherd will be signing her book, "The Wintering" from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 27 at Simply Southwest. The book is also available on Amazon.com.
    Shepherd grew up on the Lazy L ranch near Kinsley and is the sister of Mike Lewis, general manager and former owner of Pratt Livestock. Although she has lived in suburban Kansas City for the past 46 years, she still considers herself a country girl.
    "The Wintering" is a work of fiction, but drawn from Shepherd's experiences and stories of her great-great-grandfather, I.V. Lewis, who trailed cattle north from Texas to the railheads in Kansas and grazed cattle in the same pastures she roamed as a child.
    Serious in tone and striving for a sense of reality, "The Wintering" is a character-driven story showing the kinds of people who settled the American West. It is set in the winter of 1885-86 when western Kansas cattle ranges, over-stocked and drought-ridden, endured a series of devastating snowstorms.
    The novel explores subjects such as women's lives on the frontier, relationships, nature as teacher, racism and the cattle industry's change from open-range grazing to settlement.
    After working with an agent for a while, Shepherd decided to self-publish the book. She continues to write essays, short stories and poetry.
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