There’s a book about to drop, for now in soft cover, sometime in early May. As the cover states, it’s a tale about “peril, loss and love in the Convict Lake backcountry of the High Sierras,” but it has some local connections.
Kim Lankford Banker, daughter of the book’s first-time author, Sandy Stacey, lives in rural Lyons in the X Bar 7 Ranch area with her husband John Banker. Kim runs her Living Horsemanship program there, a melding of Pilates with a relational and healing approach to horsemanship.
The book, entitled “L’il Darlin’,” has already been acknowledged as the International Writers Seminar’s “Best First Novel of 2019.” “I have been moved and delighted by Stacey’s new old-fashioned story of loss and love,” states Donald Freed, an American playwright, novelist, screenwriter, and actor.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Stacey came West in 1937. After graduating school at 16, she began her career as a touring singer with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera Association, ultimately singing in over 40 Broadway shows. Unexpected events led Stacey to the Convict Lake backcountry of the eastern High Sierras in 1970, which is where Stacey’s family ended up running a pack station–and where the book’s story embarks.
At the Harrington Arts Alliance in Loveland last June, there was a staged reading of excerpts from Stacey’s book. Character roles were read aloud by the Bankers and others, including two Lyons locals, Zak Skrivanek and Tom Brome.
The painting for the “L’il Darlin’” book cover was created by Jack Olson of Severance, Colorado, one of the long-featured artists at Western Stars Gallery in Lyons. His work was commissioned by the Bankers for this project. Olson explains, “I felt that doing a painting of the High Sierras as a backdrop instead of my usual Rocky Mountains would be an interesting challenge. Although a bit out of my comfort zone, it proved to be a very satisfying experience.”
A local book-signing opportunity is planned for sometime this summer at Western Stars Gallery. “L’il Darlin’” will be for sale there as well as through Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.