Jamie Lisa Forbes was raised on a ranch on the Little Laramie River thirty miles west of Laramie, Wyoming. Like many Wyoming children of her generation, she attended a one-room schoolhouse during her early school years.
She received a degree in Philosophy and English from the University of Colorado in 1977. She spent the next year and a half of her life in Israel, where she met her husband.
In January 1979, Ms. Forbes and her husband returned to the Little Laramie Valley where, for fifteen years, they ran the family ranch and raised two children.
The Forbes family ranch was sold in 1993 and Ms. Forbes then moved to Greensboro, North Carolina. She began writing her first novel, Unbroken, while in law school.
In 2011, Unbroken won the WILLA Literary Award for best outstanding fiction about women in the West.
Today, Ms. Forbes is a practicing attorney. She is completing a short story collection and she has a novel in progress. She is the proud grandmother of four grandsons and true to her native country, still owns a horse, Cody and a cattle dog, Reb.
Thirty years of browbeating from rancher Bud Smalls has penned his wife, Leah, into emotional isolation. Now Bud is gone and Leah owns the ranch, but there is no help forthcoming from Bud's brothers who want to force her out and take the ranch for themselves. When their attempt to humiliate her instead becomes her opportunity to succeed, Leah begins to find her way back to herself and learns how much she can gain by opening her heart. The Widow Smalls is just one of the stories in this collection by the WILLA Award winning author of Unbroken, Jamie Lisa Forbes, who writes about the hardships of making a living from the land with an understanding that comes from first-hand experience. Her deftly drawn characters include star-crossed lovers, a young rancher facing his first test of moral courage, an inscrutable ranch hand claiming an impressive relative, a father making one last grasp for his daughter's love and a child's struggle to make sense of the world around her. Each will pull readers into the middle of their stories and keep them turning the pages.
Ranching is a life of extremes, perhaps even more so on the high plains near Laramie, Wyoming. And no one knows that better than Gwen Swan, who married both her husband Will and his family ranch where she works hard beside the men and struggles to raise her two children.