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About the Author

Author Info

John Wiltse, or "Johnny Diamond"- a name he picked up while packing horses along the mountain trails (but that's another story), grew up in a mud-chinked log house on a ranch at the base of the Beartooth Mountains in Clark, Wyoming.

As the youngest of five children growing up in the 1970's, his childhood was filled with ranch chores and the wanderings of a curious child through the sage country, rivers, streams, sandstone buttes and snow-covered mountains. Along the way, he learned the riding, horse-packing, and mountain living skills necessary to become a horse wrangler and guide for his father's outfitting business. The wild, and sometimes rough nature of this work led to many adventures, mishaps, and horse chases with some very colorful characters- both animal and human. John brings these unique experiences to life for his readers in his semi-autobiographical stories.

John eventually left the trails of the Wyoming mountains behind to pursue a successful career in photography. Traveling to far away locations such as Russia, South Africa, Botswana, China, and the UK. John's work has been published in Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Businessweek, Smithsonian and Der Spiegel. 

In a box of letters passed to him from his mother's belongings, John found the inspiration for "Little Johnny Diamond and the Very Windy day", when he discovered that his mom had kept a letter he had written to his grandparents when, as a child of eight, he had nearly been blown off his pony by the ever present, and often fierce Wyoming wind.

Now living in Boise, Idaho with his wife Heidi, they cherish the simple pleasures of life - travel, photography, music, art museums, camping, hiking, skiing, and quiet afternoons with a good book and their two cats. As proud grandparents themselves, John and Heidi thrill in the role that inspired his first book.

John is available for book readings and book signings, and media interviews. He can be reached at:

Cell: (307)631-1797 / email: johnewiltse@gmail.com


‘Drawing’ Inspiration with Published Book:

District art department coordinator and Ward Melville High School art teacher Jennifer Trettner has become a published illustrator. For the past two years, Ms. Trettner has been illustrating and designing the children’s book, “Little Johnny Diamond and the Very Windy Day.” The book, which recently came off the press, is a heartwarming western that follows the journey of Little Johnny to his Grandpa’s house after the wind blows him and his pony off their trail.

Throughout the creative process, Ms. Trettner used many of the skills she teaches her own students. She began with brainstorming and conceptualizing illustrations with the book’s author. They identified the themes, moods and elements they wanted to convey through illustrations and Ms. Trettner extensively researched the best ways to depict these. To add a personal touch, she captured her own images of people close to her to be used in the illustrations. For example, a photograph of her cousin and his son served as an inspiration for the final scene drawing of Johnny and his Grandpa.

Ms. Trettner first created thumbnail sketches to plan to composition, arrangement of elements and visual flow. She studied the unique color palette of Wyoming prairies to select a harmonious color scheme. She then entered the digital realm by using a pen stylus on a tablet and Adobe Illustrator to bring her vision to life. Once the illustrations were finalized, Ms. Trettner began the book’s layout and design, ultimately using Adobe InDesign for the final creation.

While the two-year artistic process was difficult in itself, Ms. Trettner illustrated this book while going through intensive medical treatments.

“I illustrated this book while going through treatment for breast cancer. Illustrating this book gave me hope and helped me to stay positive during one of the most challenging times in my life,” she said. “After two years of working on the illustrations, I couldn't help but cry happy tears when I held the press proof in my hands for the first time. This book represents so much more than my dream of illustrating a children's book. Perseverance, hard work and dedication are the ingredients needed to make some dreams come true.”

Ms. Trettner’s creative process involved research, personal experiences, digital tools and artistic intuition. She is an accomplished illustrator, but most importantly, an inspiration to her students in Three Village.
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