MEEKER I On Saturday, about 45 people attended a book signing by former Meeker resident Diane Les Becquets for her latest novel “Breaking Wild” at Meeker Public Library. The event was sponsored by Les Becquets’ publisher (Berkley, Penguin Random House).
The event was more than just a business occasion. It was a time of reminiscence, remembrance and reflection with many of Les Becquets’ old friends in attendance. This is evident on the book’s dedication page. Not only is it dedicated to Les Becquets’ late “mentor and publishing legend,” Carol Houck Smith, but also “For the town of Meeker, Colo.” The story’s fictitious town of Rio Mesa, in fact, is based on Meeker.
Les Becquets goes further to add on the acknowledgments page, which she read to the attendees through a few tears, “The community and the land of northwestern Colorado where I lived for almost 14 years will always be a deep reservoir within me from which I draw. And so it is to the people of that community that this book is dedicated and who I wish to acknowledge with all the gratitude in the world.”
Special emphasis was made on Les Becquets’ interest and work in archeology. In attendance was her long time friend, archeologist Glade Hadden, who she credits with teaching her about the archeology of northwest Colorado and training her in actual field work. A slide presentation of the area archeology was part of the event.
“There are more than 300 archeological sites in this area,” Les Becquets said. Of special significance was the work she was able to be a part of concerning the Fremont People, who existed from AD 1 to 1300 in what is now Utah and parts of Nevada, Idaho and Colorado.
It was because of this background, as well as her general outdoor lifestyle in northwest Colorado—she hiked, camped, snowshoed, and hunted—that Les Becquets made this area the setting for the novel.
Inspired by a similar incident in the author’s own experience, the book follows the story of two women, one a female bow hunter who struggles for survival after getting lost in the Colorado wilderness and the other who tries to find her.
“After my many experiences in northwest Colorado, I knew I wanted the story to be set there,” Les Becquets said.
The book is available wherever books are sold, of course, but it is also available right here in Meeker at Wendll’s Wondrous Things.
Wendll’s owner, Colorado native Wendy Gutierrez, was also at the event taking care of book sales and commented to the Herald Times, “The story and characters are accurate to the locale. Those who are interested in this area will enjoy this book.”
Now living in New Hampshire, Les Becquets, a professor of English and a faculty member within the master of fine arts program in fiction and non-fiction at Southern New Hampshire University, is currently working on her next novel, having already finished her research in Montana, Washington and Alberta.
“It’s about a female canine conservation handler who falls in love with another such handler, but after a tragedy occurs, she begins to wonder if he might have been responsible for the disappearance of several women in the area.”