Published Tuesday Jun 19, 2018
Both in his work as assistant history professor at Tennessee Technological University and a fiction author, Troy Smith is a portrayer of the past.
Smith has written nine novels and more than 50 short stories and for his most recent published work, he was extended a special invitation not only to write a short story for a Lone Ranger story collection but he also combined his historical knowledge base to pen the collection’s introduction. Published by Moonstone Press, the anthology is the second volume of Lone Ranger stories to feature Smith’s work.
“I think I am more excited about the opportunity to write the introduction than I am about the short story because I got to be the historian and the fiction author at the same time,” Smith said.
The short story in this volume features Tonto, a Native American companion character to the Lone Ranger. Tonto sees a vision he believes to be sent to him by the spirit protector of his fellow Potawatomi peoplewho once inhabited Wisconsin. Tonto decides to travel to Wisconsin to find the root of the message and the Lone Ranger travels with him.
“I like to sneakily bring in historical information in my fiction writing, so people will be entertained but learn something as well,” Smith said.
The story of Tonto was a chance to bring in some of the knowledge Smith gained while in graduate school researching timber rights of Native American groups and in the story collection’s introduction, Smith was able to share even more about the history of the Potawatomi people and the historical roots of Tonto’s character.
As the collection was published in June, Smith had just wrapped up teaching an honors colloquium course at Tech exploring the imagination of the west, an area he explores often in his writing.
“The facts are obviously important, but I feel like sometimes fiction can be truer than nonfiction because of that true feeling of the human experience it can portray,” Smith said. “It is really exciting to be in both of the Lone Ranger collections with comic writers and western authors I have read and admired since I was a child. I am honored to be among them.”In addition to his novels and short stories, Smith served as editor and co-writer of the series “Wolf Creek.” He won the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award in 2001 for his work “Bound for the Promise Land” and again in 2017 for his novella “Odell’s Bones” and the Western Fictioneers’ Peacemaker Award in 2011 for “The Sin of Eli.”