by Paty Jager
I’ve dabbled in different venues of writing over the course of my lifetime. First as a child writing plays for stuffed animals, then at thirteen writing stories of love and lust that my friends and I passed back and forth adding scenes, to witnessing what words can do when an English teacher read one of my assigned fiction projects to the class- all the way through writing children’s stories for my kids, writing murder mystery when I wanted to kill someone (killed that person off in two manuscripts), writing for the local paper when it fit my lifestyle, and then to finally settle into historical western romance.
Each stage of my writing had to do with what was going on in and around me at the time so it only makes sense that I find myself writing about history- American History, specifically the 1800’s has always been my favorite subject. I love museums, historical sites, and finding bits of history that were so integral to life when this country was spreading and growing.
I think having grown up in a semi –isolated part of the state that was slow to get technology it brought out the pioneer spirit in me. Until I was twelve, my paternal grandparents lived with us. There were seven people in a three bedroom, one bath farmhouse. We had a woodshed where we chopped kindling and stored the wood for the cookstove. When we did get an electric range we still had a wood heating stove and used the wood cookstove when the power went out which was fairly often. When the power went out we used kerosene and oil lamps, the outhouse, and hauled buckets of water to the house from the ditch. Looking back, it was usually in the winter when we were forced to relive the pioneer days. And on many occasions the pipes from the well to the house froze, and we had to haul water to the house.
My family had a small herd of dairy cows and used an old hand crank separator to separate the milk from the cream. We used the milk for ourselves and the hogs we raised. We made our own butter from the cream and sold the rest to the creamery. We raised 100 chickens every year, butchering all but thirty, which were laying hens. I hated the smell of the wet feathers after you dunked them in the boiling water to loosen the feathers. And disemboweling them and cutting them up- I’d always offer to fold clothes, clean the bathroom, or whatever other chore I could think of than spend hours smelling the feathers and butchered chickens. My grandmother sold extra eggs to neighbors and the local grocery store.
These are all events in my life that easily happened in the era that I write about. I can feel the woodstove, hear the clank of the metal plates as grandma put more kindling in the fire. Smell the acrid smoke that slipped through the chimney that went through my bedroom. I more or less lived the life I write about in my historical westerns.
My love of the west and the area where I grew up, led me to write the Christmas Novella I’m giving away free. Christmas Redemption came about from my reading a story about a man from Joesph, OR who robbed a bank as a young man and twenty-seven years later became the vice president of the same bank.
Van Donovan doesn’t become the bank president but I used the premise as the catalyst for the story.
Christmas Redemption Blurb
Van Donovan returns to Pleasant Valley, Oregon where twelve years earlier as a boy of fifteen he left in handcuffs after standing guard for a bank robbery. He's learned a trade and excelled at it and is ready to prove to his father and the town he can amount to something.
Upon his return he learns the fate of the daughter of an innocent man who died in the robbery crossfire. To make amends he takes her out of the saloon and gives her a job, not realizing she'd been squatting in the very building he'd purchased for his business.
Can two battered hearts find solace or will the past continue to haunt their lives?
You can download Christmas Redemption Free at all ebook outlets but Kindle. (If you want to go there and click the “I found this cheaper elsewhere” button they might eventually drop it to free there.)
Also available at Apple iBooks
What is your favorite genre to read and why? I’ll pick a name from the comments and send the winner a $5 Amazon GC.