When I decided I was going to tell this story, I decided that I should do my best to highlight the difficulties that Billy faced and try to make it a profound one. I made it a point to have particular societal issues standout such as oppression (certainly of the citizens crushed beneath the great Cattle Kings of Billy's day, an unfortunate problem that reverberates today), especially that of women. It deals with the fallout caused by crooked politicians (and this includes anyone who has had to deal with those given even just a little bit of power and abuses every bit of it in order to feel superior whether it's in the work place or a particular organization) who are allowed to rule when given free reign or when the majority looks the other way. It concerns the gravity of the lynch-mob mentality and the dangerousness of it. Lynch-mob mentality is a major problem that I'm certain will never be dispelled and is one that I hate most fiercely.
This was an unfortunate condition of Billy's ill-fated, short, violent life thanks to the circumstances of the time and what people chose to believe through rumor and gossip, the worst of it provided by the crooked politicians and lawmen in power who wanted only to make an example of him. He was a victim of this fault in others. Though he truly was a charismatic personality and deserves every bit of a legendary status, despite being inherently flawed, he certainly doesn't deserve some of what's been told under the one that has endured for so many years. An overall lesson of the story itself is to implore one to exercise patience in judgment. I attempt this by helping to perpetuate the truth of Billy the Kid and who he was by providing my own account in disproving his horrendous legend as a sociopathic killer, and Lucy helps me do this because she makes him human.
And that brings me to the dangers of prejudice, which turned out to be an overall theme when it came to my female protagonist as well, and happily this only served to further my point.
Lucy is a strong-willed protagonist that some people find difficult to handle, and despite my penchant for "spelling it out" (a rule I broke as a writer, which is never condescend to your audience), the general consensus of Lucy is not a flattering one in spite of it being made inherently clear, and through Lucy's own words no less, that she is not indefensible.
The reader is directly exposed to Lucy's thoughts and emotions and her reactions based on the situations that dictate them. She bears her displeasure over being used as a pawn and her guilt over her poor conduct and thoughts in response to this. Despite her plea to the reader, she is rebuffed.
My husband was the only reader to pick up on Lucy's true nature. His impression of Lucy was that she is sad, miserable, and lonely given her predicament, and he hit the proverbial nail directly on the head. He was given no insight into Lucy outside of my writing, and he understood what I meant by her right away. Grant it, my husband is not your average reader; he's fastidious, paying attention to every word, recognizing the details and grasping the nuances, but most people see what they want to see. They hear what they want to hear. Because most readers misunderstood Lucy it brought to light an unintended genius of the novel because it served to prove one of the most important aspects of my tale--that people must learn to pay attention and not allow themselves to be predisposed to what they are told to believe without consideration.
Make no mistake: Nobody gets away unscathed in this novel/series. Every single character is damaged or weak in some way; Good guys do bad things, and bad guys do good things.
But I don't want to forget the smaller, but no less important, societal issues, and those are love, loss, and heartbreak. Everyone can relate to those.
If there are any books about Billy the Kid written like my series I have yet to find them. There certainly have been books about him written in a historical fiction format, but none that I believe are as gutsy, acerbic, humorous, or engaging as my own, or contain as many facets, and certainly none that have been created as a series, at least not that I'm aware of. I wanted to blow the doors off being stuck simply in the western/historical fiction genre and write it so the story could apply to anyone, especially women, of course. And thanks to Lucy, I was able to do that. She was my modern aspect; modern women should be able to relate to her despite her role as a Victorian woman. Because of her this truly is not your average story told of Billy-I wanted to shake the dust off the tale. But please don't let that be misleading. I find every credible account ever written about him to be quite valuable, and without them, my story could not have been written.