Sheridan author and outdoors writer Tom McIntyre has a wondrous novel out, his first, “The Snow Leopard’s Tale.” It’s about Xue Bao, a snow leopard living an untamed existence on Black Mountain in Central Asia. McIntyre traveled and hunted in this area, enabling him a unique perspective on developing the book’s primary character.
One critic notes: “This book is inspiring…riveting and wonderful. It boils down the human soul to the bare elements of our once-free existence….Xue Bao’s journey not only leads the reader through Black Mountain (and through the city), but also contemplates our ability to learn, to adapt and overcome the perilous events that life throws our way.”
Bob Krumm of the Billings Gazette, too, gave Tom’s book high marks. As did Ted Kerasote of Kelly, Wyo., also a novelist and celebrated outdoor writing essayist. Writes Kerasote of McIntyre’s book: “It is haunting, beautifully written and thought-provoking tale, as all great parables are.”
Tom is one of The Sheridan Press’ outdoors page columnists, joining us more than a year ago. He writes a fortnightly column on Thursdays, rotating with fishing writer Gordon Rose. Tom also writes for “Field & Stream” magazine and “Sports Afield.”
He began writing for “Sports Afield” more than 35 years ago and is the magazine’s longest-tenured writer. He’s also written another book, “Shooter’s Bible Guide to Optics,” and is considered a leading national authority on riflescopes, range finders and binoculars. He’s hunted on six continents.
He and his wife Elaine moved to Sheridan more than 20 years ago. When asked why, “I came here because I could.” An apt response, which has been heard often. Their son, Bryan, is a recent U. of Iowa graduate. Tom, 61, whispers he’s a “southern California native,” and left there after the riots of 1972. “When I saw the National Guard coming down the street with a tank, it was time to go.”
His outdoor writing in nationally-circulated magazines, as well as The Press, is one way he makes a living. Another is how he writes scripts for Orion Entertainment, a major production company for outdoor shows.
“I started out like many others to be Hemingway, but became an outdoor writer where I made money,” Tom says over coffee last week at the Red Velvet Bakery on Main Street. He adds that his novel, written and re-written over a period of 14 years, was inspired partly from the June 1985 National Geographic cover, often refered to as “the girl with the eyes.” Snow leopards have eyes like no other, he says. (The cover portrait by photojournalist Steve McCurry is one of the magazine’s most famous and is of Sharbat Gula, then a young Afghanistan teenager and member of the Pashtun tribe, the country’s most warlike. She is a mother of three and had never been photographed before.)
McIntyre also drew inspiration from his hunting expeditions in Tibet at 16,000 feet where he was affected by the sight of snow leopard pelts stacked high, victims of poachers. His next hunting trips abroad will be next year in Tunisia and Cameroon.
Incidentally, Sheridan artist Joel Ostlind did the artwork for the front and rear covers of the book
His book is available at Sheridan Stationery, Books & Gallery.