It’s week two of Harper Impulse Fortnight and today I am delighted to welcome Lori Connelly.
I was blessed (or cursed) with an active imagination and a curious mind. Stories of all sorts fascinated me, especially those grown from tidbits mined out of real people’s lives. When I became interested in genealogy, researching my family history delivered some valuable nuggets.
Although I’d loved the Little House on the Prairie series (both the books and TV show) the American west felt far in the hazy past until I learned my material grandfather was born in 1896. Although I’d never had the pleasure of meeting him, he passed away before I was born, suddenly the 1800s didn’t seem so long ago. Honoring this connection is why my Men of Fir Mountain series is set in the 1890s.
Next, my grandmother mentioned her grandmother often told her stories of coming west in a covered wagon. That tidbit fascinated me, compelling research. I soon learned my maternal great, great grandmother, Martha Edgerton Rolfe Plassmann, was the daughter of Montana’s First Territorial Governor, Sidney Edgerton. She was also the first white woman to live in Great Falls Montana arriving in May of 1884 and the first woman newspaper editor (Great Falls Leader) in Montana. She undertook a series of business ventures including life insurance sales, poetry writing, and cattle ranching. She also wrote over 500 historical articles during the 1920s and 1930s covering a wide range of topics, including fur trappers, explorers and vigilantes as well as her autobiography.
My great, great grandmother inspired the newspaper article writing heroine, Claire McConkey, in The Lawman of Silver Creek.
A snippet from The Lawman of Silver Creek:
’With her arms wrapped around her waist, Claire stared out of the window into the night. The stubborn man had followed her home. It annoyed her a little, but also warmed her heart. She’d been hovering close to the barn door until her family had pulled up, torn. The desire to run back into his arms had been so strong that she nearly had.
Lighting a candle seemed too much effort, so Claire shuffled in darkness to her room. She loved Matt with a fierce passion, but finding a way for them to be together, happily, eluded her. Ever since the incident with the Nash brothers, he’d been completely unreasonable.
Claire paused at a small writing desk on her way to the bed. She’d been patient with him being overprotective at first, certain that he’d relax, given time. But he hadn’t. The last straw for her had been when Matt insisted that she would have to give up her writing after they married.
One hand slid over her leather bound journal. Newspapers in Corvallis and Salem had published her stories. Matt had been so proud. They’d celebrated each story sold together. A tear rolled down her cheek. One stupid mistake changed everything.’
And for my grandma who spent hours sharing our history with me, my heroine in The Outlaw of Cedar Ridge is named Evie in honor of Martha Evie Way.
More Men of Fir Mountain books are coming this fall.
The Men of Fir Mountain books available now:
The Outlaw of Cedar Ridge:
The Lawman of Silver Creek :
Free reads from Written Fireside: http://writtenfireside.blogspot.com/
Or if you’d prefer some are available on Amazon:
Naughty or Nice? http://smarturl.it/naughtynice
Loving Winter Nights, Love Romance
A Witch by Chance http://smarturl.it/awitchbychance