“Valentine’s Day”

52 Pick-Up 2.0 #6, 2/11/2020

Nora Lou Wilson: “Is there a real Vic “The Terror” Moretti?”

Sure, I’m married to her.

My wife, Judy, is from Connecticut, went to school in Boston and spent most of her adult life in Philadelphia—with all that entails… Most people think getting my books published or having a TV show might’ve been the greatest accomplishments in my life but it’s actually getting my east-coast wife to move to Ucross, Wyoming, population 25. She still wanders around out here looking for a Wawa (a Philadelphia based convenience store).

Judy shares a number of qualities with Vic, the foremost one being her mouth. The way I built the ranch, it’s divided into different sections, providing privacy which is handy when she wants to watch ballgames and I want to write. Judy has embraced Wyoming, and I honestly don’t ever see either of us living anywhere else, but she has brought her passion for the Philadelphia sports teams along with her. It’s not unusual for her to scream at the television in the kitchen at the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, or Sixers, even though I’ve explained to her numerous times that, “Honey, they can’t hear you.”

The language she uses is right off the streets of Philly, a town I grew to love while going to graduate school there—and, by the way, where Judy and I met. At the ranch she’ll be down there yelling at the TV, and you’ll hear words in combinations that you’ve never heard before–I take advantage of the resource by jotting them down and using them in the books.

Judy’s relatively fearless. There was one time I took her to a Broncos vs. Eagles game in Denver, and she almost got me beat up by sixty-three thousand people… Never do that again.

Some readers have complained about Vic’s language, but I think they’re missing the point. First of all, all police officers don’t talk like Mister Rogers–it’s an emotionally charged job and sometimes language is not only called for but drastically needed–anything else would be censure, something I can’t abide. As Clarence Darrow once said, I don’t use these words for shock value, I use them because there are few enough words that everyone understands, and they appear to understand those.

I use that language because it’s the way that a woman with five years of street duty in a large metropolitan area with four cop brothers and a father who is a chief detective would speak. The other thing she provides, which is priceless to me, is the counterpoint of an eastern, big-city perspective to give a different flavor to novels that take place in Wyoming.

My wife’s incredibly intelligent and a ferociously honest judge of situations and people. I use that a lot in the books, along with Vic’s unswaying support of Walt. Judy has been the rock in my life through some troubling periods, and I can only wish everyone a partner as devoted as my wife has been to me.

Judy’s also a very physical person–she won the Mike Schmitt Invitational Golf Tournament (women’s division) back in Philadelphia and swam competitively. She doesn’t shoot, and I haven’t ever attempted to teach her simply for the sake of self-preservation.

I have a tendency to fall in love with all the female characters in my novels, but my relationship with “The Terror” is kind of special. Judy and I have been married for twenty-five years, and I’m still madly in love with her—an appropriate statement for Valentine’s Day, huh?

See you on the trail,



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