My First Story: Trinity Adler

by Emerian Rich

My First Story
with author Trinity Adler

Age first started writing: about 19
Location of first writing: I live on the foggy coast of Central California near Monterey. I wrote my first story while on a summer break from college in North Carolina.


I wrote my first story for my Dad. He’s a fan of Westerns. I’d spent most of my college break that year at my Uncle’s farm. I had plenty of inspiration after weeks in humid southern summer heat where I’d worked outside with horses and cattle. I returned home determined to spend the last month of my vacation indoors, with the air conditioning blasting and a supply of iced lemonade. To achieve this goal, I got out my typewriter to write a story for my father. I had more than enough research material. Dad kept the house littered with Western novels I could reference by Zane Grey or Louis L’Amour. My mom preferred murder and mayhem written by Agatha Christie or Stephen King. I think that’s where I got my taste for the macabre. While I worked out my story, I read, and reread, everything I could. I mined all the literature in the big bags of used books my family traded among ourselves. Each shared section of the family library evolved into collections of genre fiction and nonfiction you might never have opened if not for the serendipity of the bag. By the time my vacation ended I’d become a writer and I’d started reading with a writer’s eye.

My first story/Basic plot:

Bounty is a ghost story set in the Wild West. A bounty hunter, haunted by the men he’d hauled to justice dead instead of alive, is driven to a point of extreme sleep deprivation. He refuses to believe any of his victims may have been wrongly posted as wanted dead for a crime. Despite warnings of his fate from men he tracked and killed, he believes his work is justified, with or without a judge’s ruling. He ends up in the gunfight of his life after he ignores threats from the ghostly chorus that hounds him. When the bounty hunter arrives in a small town one afternoon to hunt down a boy he knows is innocent, his luck turns. The ghosts intervene. There is no one to mourn his death at the end of the story.

What did you think of the story then? 

I considered it a cross between High Noon and the Twilight Zone. I’d grown up with Western stories the way other kids learned fairy tales. Cowboy yarns felt like part of my life. These days I prefer the supernatural and unexplainable when I pick my own reading materials. Looking back now, it seems logical that my first short story would blend Wild West gunfighters and ghosts.

What do you think of the story now? 

I think it qualifies as a “weird Western”. At the time I wrote it, it didn’t seem to have a settled place other than as a ghost story set in the Old West. I stored it away in my files. However, when my Dad came to live with me, I decided to pick up the thread of my old story, polish it and add to it with a fresh series of Western ghost tales. Many of these new stories have Steampunk themes. The Steampunk genre is a good fit to my love of cowboys, contraptions, clockworks and the supernatural. I’m organizing the stories into a book for fans of the haunted West.

How did the story help you on the road to writing? 

It helped me feel comfortable constructing and sharing a story with family and friends. That’s a big step for a young writer and a necessary one. It takes bravery to bring a Western to family members steeped in the genre. As a writer considering the audience, you’re aware every aspect of exposition and character right down to the bullets in the gun, choice of rotgut at the bar and the character’s motivations to act with violence will be recognizable to your readers. Western genre experts demand a fresh approach or you’ll strike out before the ending is revealed.

Current work: 

Clockwork Wonderland contains stories from authors that see Wonderland as a place of horror where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book you’ll find tales of murderous clockworks, insane creations, serial killers, zombies, and a blood thirsty jabberclocky. Prepare to see Wonderland as a place where all your worst nightmares come true. You may never look at classic children’s literature the same way again.

“Clockwork Justice” by Trinity Adler

With only one day and two clues, a bloody torn card and carrot tarts, Alice fights to prove she’s innocent and avoid losing her head to the Red Queen’s executioner.

Trinity Adler is a Steampunk writer from Carmel California. She’s a member of the Central Coast Writers branch of the California Writers Club, Wicked Women Writers, Steampunk 7 C’s, Monterey Bay Steampunk Society and the League of Proper Villains. Her work is featured in the anthologies Written Across the Genres and Clockwork Wonderland. Trinity’s among the winners of the SF Writers Club’s 2014 Fault Zone Shift Anthology contest for The Oracle at the Delphi. She’s an authority on terrier movies and Toto the dog. She curates a Cairn Terrier movie website and Facebook pages. Her Trinity Adler webpage is

 Next time, you’ll hear from author Kristin Battestella.