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Dawn Nelson

April 22, 2011

Dawn Nelson via

We’re wrapping up our celebration of Cowboy Poetry Week with poet and author Dawn Nelson. Dawn was a late entry to this year’s party because our invitation caught her in the middle of calving season. A late snow slowed things down enough for her to give the questionnaire her attention, and we’re glad she did.

Dawn’s writing is drawn from her experience growing up on a ranch in North-Eastern Washington state. Her coming of age memoir A Cowgirl Remembers When won the 2010 Academy of Western Artists Buck Ramsey Book Award. Dawn now ranches with her husband and daughter near Creston, Washington. Between volunteering for 4-H, showing her registered cattle, and her involvement with her county Cattlemen’s Association, Dawn keeps up a busy schedule of readings and signings. Her newest book, A Cowgirl Never Forgets is now available from Gray Dog Press.

1. What is your hometown?

I was born and raised in Danville, Washington but now hang my hat in Creston, Washington. I consider them both my hometown, so I guess you can say I am the girl with two hometowns.

2. With what fictional character do you most identify?

Tasmanian Devil.

3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.

As long as you get a girl who can actually sit a horse, I am not too worried about who she is.

4. What work of art speaks to your soul?

I love real life photos of ranching life in the early days. I like artwork that shows a way of life, not set up for the camera.

5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?

As a western author of five books and three more coming out in 2011, I have to say I am reading, editing and recommending mine.

6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?

I don’t have an iPod. I have a CD player in my car and I think Coyote Joe Sartan’s CD is in there right now.

7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?


8. Cat person or dog person?

Dog person but I do like my barn cats.

9. What is more important, truth or kindness?

Truth by far is more important to me. I believe in saying things how they are. I can’t stand sugar coating things.

10. How do you define sin?

Something that you know deep inside is wrong.

11. How do you define virtue?

Your greatest points that make you who you are.

12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?

My headstone will be your basic stone with a carving on the back of a horse and rider chasing a herd of cattle and on the front will be my name and the words. “She lived how she wanted.”

Dawn Nelson’s website


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