Kirby Jonas, Author
I was born Kirby Frank Jonas in 1965, in Bozeman, Montana. My earliest memories are of living seven miles outside of town in a once-remote, rambling vee between two mountain ranges known as Bear Canyon, where cattle range gave way to spruce and fir, and the wild country was forever ingrained in me. At that time it was a wild and lonely place, where a boy with an overactive imagination could grow and nurture his mind, body, and soul.
It was there I gained my love for the Old West, listening late at night to my daddy tell stories and sing Western ballads, and watching television westerns such as Gunsmoke, The Virginian, and The Big Valley, and listening to a well-worn long-playing record about Davy Crockett.
From Montana, my family moved almost as far across the country as we could go, onto a remote piece of real estate known as Roland Farm, in the middle of Civil War battlefield country near Broad Run, Virginia. Although not as deep in the timbered mountains as Bear Canyon, this home was every bit as remote. Once again, unless I was with my older brother when he wasn’t in school, I spent my time mostly alone. I learned there to hike with my mother, fish with my father, and to dodge an unruly horse
I moved to Shelley, Idaho, in 1971, and from that time forth, with the exception of a couple of short sojourns elsewhere, I became an Idahoan. I attended all twelve years of school in Shelley, graduating in 1983. In the sixth grade, I penned my first novel, The Tumbleweed, and in high school wrote my second, The Vigilante. It was also during this time that I first became acquainted with Salmon, Idaho, staying toward the end of the road at the Golden Boulder Orchard, where I worked picking cherries for owner Warner VanHoose with my brother Jamie and took my first steps toward manhood.
I have since written over twenty-five published novels and two which are forthcoming, two of which were co-authored by brother Jamie. My offering from 2003, entitled Yaqui Gold, was written in partnership with my biggest childhood hero, actor Clint Walker, star of the TV Western Cheyenne.
In 1998, I also had the vast good fortune of meeting another childhood hero, James Drury, of The Virginian fame. Jim enjoyed my novel Death of an Eagle so much that he offered to narrate my books on audio, and since I was already friends with an audiobook producer, as they say, the rest is history: Jim ended up narrating my first four audio books.
Besides writing novels, I try my hand at painting landscapes, portraits, wildlife, and the West. Other than the covers that are photographic, I have done all of my own cover art and hundreds of other pieces. I fancy myself a songwriter and guitar player and singer of old Western ballads and trail songs and get a kick out of the joking title given me by my friends: “The Renaissance Cowboy.”
I’ve lived in six cities in France, in Mesa, Arizona, and explored the United States extensively. I’ve fought fires for the Bureau of Land Management in five western states and carried a gun now in three different jobs.
In 1987, I met my wife-to-be, Debbie Chatterton, at church, and in 1989 took her to the altar. Over some rough and rocky roads we’ve traveled, and across some raging rivers that have at times threatened to draw us under, but we survived, and with four beautiful children to show for it: Cheyenne, Jacob, Clay, and Matthew.
I’ve been employed as a security guard and Wells Fargo armed guard in Phoenix, Arizona, a wildland firefighter across the West, Pocatello, Idaho, police officer, and municipal firefighter. I retired from the Pocatello Fire Department in 2017 and am currently employed once more as an armed guard, guarding federal facilities.