Green River Star -

By Lillian Palmer
Staff Writer 

Author, former resident signs new book


Star photo by Lillian Palmer

Author Julie A. Burns signed copies of her book "The Purse" at Get Real Coffee in Green River Friday evening.

Lydia's story begins in Chicago. Little did she know, her tale would soon lead her to Wyoming. She sets out on a journey searching for her long lost mother. Her search brings her to Rock Springs, where she unexpectedly finds more than what she is looking for.

Lydia's story is the premise of author Julie A. Burns' murder-mystery novel "The Purse."

Like Burns' book character Lydia, she originated elsewhere yet found herself in Rock Springs later in life. Burns is originally from Iowa, and has returned to her home state after years of immersing herself in southwestern Wyoming. She lived in Rock Springs from 1998 to 2003 and in that time grew to love the area; a love for the "West."

"I'd never been out west. The air was different," she said. "And I still have that feeling."

She said the feeling was in the mountains and in the air; the feeling of peace. It would make her sentimental.

"It gets in your lungs," Burns said. "And I still have that feeling."

Elements of the Wyoming air and mountains are incorporated into her story, as well as more concrete aspects of the area. Cruel Jack's restaurant also makes an appearance in the story.

"That was the first restaurant I ever whet to when I moved here," she said. "So it has sentimental value to me."

An old friend of Burns from Rock Springs even inspired the story itself. Her friend Dawnlee Besso, who passed away last year received an antique purse from her grandmother. Besso joked at the time her grandfather probably won it in a poker game somewhere.

It was then, Burns imagination started churning. Thoughts of where the purse could've been and how it came to be circulated in her mind.

Star photo by Lillian Palmer

"I just came up with the story," she said. "It didn't actually turn out how I had it in my head when I started, but it just kind of took on a life of its own."

"It's a twisty, turny kind of story," Burns said.

There are murders and kidnappings, adventure and suspense in her story. Green River residents had a chance to meet Burns and purchase a signed copy of her book at Get Real Coffee Friday, as she made her first visit back to the area since 2005.

The event was her first-ever book signing. It was a perfect first book signing for her book, she said, because Wyoming and this area are in the book.

"I just love this area," she said.

Over a dozen books were sold and signed Friday evening. Burns' book is also on sale on, Barns and Noble, and the publisher's website


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