AN INTERVIEW WITH CAITLIN STRONG
LAURIE: Caitlin, I know you must be busy, so I really appreciate your taking the time to answer a few questions. How’d you become the only woman riding with the Texas Rangers?
Well, I haven’t really given it much thought. It’s not the kind of thing you think in the midst of a gunfight and I’ve had plenty of those in my time. Being a woman I certainly wasn’t born with the kind of skills normally associated with a man. But I got indoctrinated into the Ranger way real early thanks to my father and grandfather who both spent the better part of their lives in service to the Rangers. I took that code as my own ‘cause it was all I ever knew. And that doesn’t even account for the hours spent at the shooting range with my granddad, the great Earl Strong, from the time I was seven or eight. He gave me his Colt Peacemaker just before he died when I was around twelve and that old pistol remains in shooting condition today.
LAURIE: When did you know that this was the right life for you?
Guess I kind of already answered that. Truth is I knew I was meant to join the
Rangers about the time I learned how to walk. While most girls were playing with Barbie, I was playing with guns and I shot my first gun, a .22 rifle, when I was five and my first pistol when I was six. Lots of kids, especially in Texas, get their first experience with guns through hunting. But both my granddad and dad never cottoned much to that. Always said they spilled enough blood out Rangering to see the need to spill anymore. As for the teachings and training I got from my grandfather, well, that started with him putting me to bed at night with stories of his exploits riding with the Rangers. He’d retired by then and my dad was out following in his footsteps and my mom died when I was four. So I guess you could say Earl Strong practically raised me and he raised me to be a Ranger from the time I was born.
LAURIE: Aside from an unconventional upbringing, your relationship with the notorious Cort Wesley and his teenage sons has raised some eyebrows. Are you having an affair with him?
That’s none of your business, ma’am.
LAURIE: Then let me put it this way: do you think you’re compromising your position as a law enforcement official by being involved with him and his boys?
I say judge me by the results I get out there in my duties and tell me if you still think I’m compromising my position. And I also say don’t judge Cort Wesley Masters just on what you’ve heard—I should know since I’m the one who wrongly arrested him based on planted evidence and cost him five years of his life. You wanna criticize my judgment, that’s fine. But you need to see this man with his kids, as a father, and you need to realize he left the outlaw he used to be behind when he took over responsibility for their upbringing. The simple fact of the matter is as of late I’ve come up against some pretty tough bad guys and Cort Wesley is the only man I know, short of Jim and Earl Strong, skilled and resolute enough to help me take them on. Man was a Green Beret in the Gulf War, but nobody ever talks about that, him being a war hero and all. And they never met his sons either, the oldest of which just got accepted to Brown University, an Ivy League college.
LAURIE: Okay, then, let’s talk about the ties you've built strong ties with Dylan and his brother. You worried at all about setting a bad example for them?
I don’t know what you mean.
LAURIE: You’ve killed a whole lot of people, Ranger Strong. What kind of role model does that make you?
I never killed anyone who didn’t deserve it and I don’t mind using that as an example for anyone, whether I’m a role model or not. Sure, Dylan especially has gotten himself into more than his share of scrapes over the last few years, but those weren’t really his fault, never mind getting shot at while he and I were out visiting Brown University recently. Comes down to context. You look at somebody’s actions you don’t necessarily approve of, you gotta consider the reasons behind those actions. Do I approve of Dylan, when he was fifteen cutting school to run off with a runaway Mexican girl? No. But when I learned he’d run off with the girl to save her from a man who turned out to be a serial killer responsible for the murders of maybe 400 like her, my mind got changed in a hurry. You can legislate values and maybe it’s unfortunate for Dylan that he’s got a pair of modern day gunfighters for role models. But I’ve never known him, or his father, to do anything but the right thing when you look at the whole picture.
LAURIE: When was the last time that you had a vacation? If you could take a month off from work, how would you spend it?
Man, that’s a tough question. I got no idea how I’d spend that month ‘cause I love what I do so much I can’t imagine being away from it for that long. I don’t think my dad or granddad ever took a real vacation in their lives—you know, like sitting on a beach or something like that. First off, and say what you will about this, I’m just not comfortable without my gun and I haven’t seen many bathing suits that adept well to holsters. Being a lawman, at least the old-fashioned kind the Texas Rangers remain to this day, isn’t something you can turn on and off. Cort Wesley and I have talked about going away together but it wouldn’t be for long and it wouldn’t be too far, I can tell you that much.
LAURIE: Do you ever have time to read? What's on your nightstand at the moment?
I’m not much of a book person, truth be told. I read some nonfiction, especially about Texas history and the history of the old West ‘cause that fascinates me, mostly since it doesn’t really seem times have changed as much as folks think they have. We still got more than our share of bad guys out there looking to do harm to civil folks like you and it’s my job to stop them or punish them after the fact. Unfortunate thing is these kind of folks don’t like being stopped any more than they did back in the day of my granddad. That’s where the Texas Rangers come in. That’s where I come in, and God help anyone who gets in my way when there’s justice to be done. May sound like a cliché, I know, but it’s who I am and I don’t see myself changing anytime soon.
Strong Rain Falling
by Jon Land
on August 12 - September 30, 2013
Book Details:Genre: Thriller
Published by: Forge Books
Publication Date: August 13, 2013
Number of Pages: 368
Series: Caitlin Strong, 5 (Can be read as a Stand Alone)
Synopsis:Mexico, 1919: The birth of the Mexican drug trade begins with opium being smuggled across the U.S. border, igniting an all-out battle with American law enforcement in general and the Texas Rangers in particular.
The Present: Fifth Generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong and her lover, former outlaw Cort Wesley Masters, both survive terrifying gun battles. But this time, it turns out, the actual targets were not them, but Masters’ teenage sons.
That sets Caitlin and Cort Wesley off on a trail winding through the past and present with nothing less than the future of the United States hanging in the balance. Along the way they will confront terrible truths dating all the way back to the Mexican Revolution and the dogged battle Caitlin’s own grandfather and great-grandfather fought against the first generation of Mexican drug dealers.
At the heart of the storm soon to sweep away America as we know it, lies a mastermind whose abundant power is equaled only by her thirst for vengeance. Ana Callas Guajardo, the last surviving member of the family that founded the Mexican drug trade, has dedicated all of her vast resources to a plot aimed at the U.S.’s technological heart.
This time out, sabotage proves to be as deadly a weapon as bombs in a battle Caitlin must win in cyberspace as well. Her lone chance to prevail is to short-circuit a complex plan based as much on microchips as bullets. Because there’s a strong rain coming and only Caitlin and Cort Wesley can stop the fall before it’s too late.