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Educator, writer, artist and equestrian – Claire Davis

Jack McNeel | Aug 1, 2012, 1:53 p.m.
Claire Davis John Campbell

The story of Claire Davis began as a child in Milwaukee, took a major change when she relocated to the west, and encountered the biggest changes and challenges when she turned 50.

Claire lived the first 37 years of her life within 25 miles of her birthplace, but after traveling west to finish her schooling she has remained in the west, a region that inspires her writing.

Following undergraduate studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., Claire received a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Montana. After a couple of years in Missoula, she came to Lewis and Clark State College to teach.

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Equestrian – Claire Davis

"I’ve now been teaching creative writing at LCSC for about 18` years, since 1994,” Claire explains.

Claire began working on her first book, Winter Range, after her move to Lewiston.

"Set in the Hi-line of Montana,” she says, “it might be called a literary thriller. It talks about man’s responsiblity to the natural world and takes place in a ranching community.”

The book was scheduled to be published near Claire’s 50th birthday. While the publication of a first book can be emotionally traumatic, during this time Claire also experienced emotional turmoil and loss from her family relationships.

“It was a lot of upheaval,” she remembers. “It seemed that 50 was a transitional time for a lot of people so I started rethinking the things that were important to me. That sustained me.”

“I was working on another novel at the same time plus some short stories. I got back to painting and I bought a horse and started riding again seriously. Painting, music, writing, horseback, it was all the things that made life valuable and full.”

Since that time she has published a second book called Season of the Snake. This story is set in the Lewiston area. Claire explains she works on books through an idea, a central issue.

“This story is about secrets and what if one of the partners in a marriage has a secret. I didn’t know what the secret was going to be until I started writing the book. It became the story of a man who is a sexual predator. His wife is unaware of it and it’s her process of coming to that discovery, her understanding of whom she’s actually living with.”

Both books are available through Amazon, among other outlets. This is Amazon’s comment about the two books. “Claire Davis’s debut novel, Winter Range, established her as a powerful voice in American writing. Season of the Snake extends her scope with a dramatic story, a vividly evoked setting, and an unforgettable group of characters.”

Claire has also published a collection of short stories called Labors of the Heart plus an anthology of essays she edited with Kim Barnes of the University of Idaho called Kiss Tomorrow Hello.

Her new novel Swimming with Horses is in the works.

Horses have long been important to her and purchasing a horse during that emotional year was one source of support and comfort.

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