The American West held an aura of adventure for me as a child. I’d grown up watching westerns on television, and when my parents and sister moved to Oklahoma, I went to local museums on Native Americans and pioneer days. I had learned to ride a horse while I was in high school. So, I also enjoyed horseback riding at nearby ranches. Learning to handle a horse helped with some of the research I would do later for my first book, Wildflowers, a historical western romance.
When I visited the pioneer museum in Independence, Missouri, which happened to be the “jumping off” point for the pioneers heading west, I learned a great deal about the lifestyle, the provisions, and the men and women who braved the frontier in search of new homelands. In addition I read a great deal on the wildlife, mountain men, missionaries, and topography of the region covering the Oregon Trail. I have camped and hiked in various places including the mountains of Virginia, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, the Canadian Rockies, and elsewhere which gave me a feel for the great outdoors. Yet, I could not imagine the rigors and dangers of those who trekked westward, many by foot to reach the Oregon Territory. Fishing, canoeing, and bird watching have also added to my appreciation of the outdoor living that went on for the pioneers. Cooking over a camp stove, cleaning up without benefit of a dishwasher or kitchen sink echoed some of the reality of their time; however, picture not having a bath house to wash and change in, lack of toilets, and relying on supplies which had to last for months without benefit of refrigeration and it’s a tough journey. Many did not make it, but those who did became the forbears of future generations of Americans.
From early notes scrawled on a commuter bus, tons of research, and many revisions later, Wildflowers became published in both e-book and print-on-demand versions.