High Plains Fiction

Any doubt of what Dr. Nishi O’Dell Giefer (’97) writes about were dispelled immediately upon meeting her.

Decked out in denim, a long-sleeved cowboy shirt, boots, and a cowboy hat, Giefer lives the ranch life through and through. She has a lot of experience in that area.

She’s coped with inclement weather. Suffered the financial hardships that comes with ranching. She’s traveled with a wheat harvest crew, shod horses, built miles of fence, cooked for hired hands, and has spent days in the saddle.

She has even been bit by a rattlesnake.

“I have the cowboy gene in me,” Giefer said. “My family has always been on the frontier and manifested the ranching attitude.”

Giefer has translated her ranching background into a series of high plains novels. Her 21st book was released last May and all are in the western mystery genre. Here’s just a sampling of what Giefer has written…

  • Brennan’s Odyssey – Set in the present-day American High Plains, Brennan only wants to be a cowboy but life just hasn’t worked out that way.
  • Convergent Trails – Three cowboys – one running from his family life. One haunted by dreams of combat. One managing life in a wheelchair. An old widow who hears ghosts and a debutante who is failing trying to run a ranch. Of course, their trails converge.
  • Doctor of Veterinary Murder – Dr. Shiloh Bennett opens a clinic in rural Kansas and rans across a convicted felon seeking revenge.
  • Keep Your Enemies Closer – Can Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Cord Hallock break up a drug ring and solve a series of armed robberies before he meets the same fate as his slain predecessor?

“I love writing mysteries,” Giefer said. “I get the same pleasure doing it as some people get doing a crossword puzzle as you try to put all the pieces together.

“I think mysteries chose me. I have always loved reading mysteries and if no one dies in the first ten pages, it’s not worth reading.”

Giefer comes by writing naturally. Her mother is a published author and as a young child, Giefer says she “wasted a lot of paper as a kid writing stories.” She finished her first “salable” book while in veterinary
school and the book will finally be published next year.

And like she mentioned earlier, Giefer also comes by ranching naturally. She grew up on a farm in southwest Iowa and after graduating with her DVM, was a mixed animal practitioner for a few years in Kansas.

Giefer and her husband have owned a herd of 200 Red Angus cattle in WaKenney, Kansas, for the past two decades. Because of the demands of the ranch, her writing, and raising a family of four, Giefer no longer practices veterinary medicine.

That is if you discount the care she gives her own animals.

“I practice virtually every day,” she said. “I love it, still love to work with animals and the only client I really work with is me.”

The Giefers are now empty nesters, allowing Nishi more time to write. She was especially prolific during the first months of the COVID pandemic, writing and publishing seven of her 21 books. There are times when she has three books in development.

She created her own publishing company to market her books and has expanded into other authors recently.

“I love the autonomy of being my own publisher,” Giefer said, “because in the end you have to market your books if you are going to sell them.”

And market them she does. Giefer does frequent talks at library and book clubs. She has developed a website where fans can buy her books. They are also available on Goodreads and Amazon in print and e-books.

While ranching and the American High Plains are the settings for her books, there is another constant.

“Almost every book I have written has a veterinary character in it, although sometimes they are minor characters,” Giefer said. “Writers should always stick with what they know and I know veterinary medicine and ranching.”

August 2022

Brennan's Odyssey book cover
Convergent Trails book cover
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Murder book cover
Keep Your Enemies Closer book cover