As if tracking down train robbers isn’t enough, now Sheriff Jericho Silver’s backup detective is a gun-toting, head-turning beauty who sure spells trouble.
Madison O’Donnell had the perfect life—a beautiful home and all the ladies luncheons she could stomach—but it left her bored to tears. Now the determined widow fills her days with daring deeds and wild adventures, including working with Jericho. But he insists on her returning to the city where she belongs and finds she is one lady who refuses to take no for an answer.
By Lynna Banning
It’s now late 2014… shortly to be 2015. That’s far, far from the 1870s. When people ask me what I write and I say “westerns,” they look at me funny. And then they ask “why? Those days are long gone.”
Well, why does anyone write a historical novel? Because those days are long gone. And they’re interesting. At least they are to me.
I write about the Old West on the Oregon frontier, partly because I was born in Oregon and feel a real connection to the state and its history, and partly because my mother was raised on a ranch near Roseburg and I grew up hearing how things were done—churning butter, cleaning chickens, milking cows, herding cattle, cooking for the hired men, even threshing wheat.
My grandfather’s barn, built in 1913, is still standing on his old ranchland. Knowing that my grandfather started a farmer’s coop in Roseburg that is still operating fills me with pride
There are difficulties. Writing historical romances set in the Old West for a publisher located in England (the Harlequin Historicals office is in London) is problematic. First, the English (bless ‘em) (1) don’t know much about early western history and (2) don’t care much. This American setting is so far “across the pond” it’s like setting a story on the moon. Not only that, English readers are still gobbling up Regency-era novels, and American readers aren’t far behind. Apparently the foreign markets aren’t much interested in the Old West, either. My biggest-seller world-wide (60,000 copies sold) was a medieval work (Crusader’s Lady).
So, why do I prefer this period? It’s not just because I love rugged John Wayne movies or have a hankering for historical reenactments involving mountain men or covered wagons. I love this period because it’s a time when men (and women) struggled to survive in a rough, untamed land, created new lives, new towns, new customs, and new ways of surviving alongside their fellow man. It’s a time that demonstrates some old-fashioned values that I admire: courage, perseverance, ingenuity, and just plain grit . Reading diaries written by women trekking across the country in a covered wagon makes me cry and fills me with admiration. What guts they had! What faith and reliance on their own capabilities.
Life was hard back then. You heated your house or cabin by chopping wood; read by kerosene lamp or candlelight; went to a 1-room school; made most of your own clothes; fed and killed and eviscerated the chicken for your Sunday dinner. But in time of sickness or disaster, you helped your neighbor. We should all live that way.
About the Author
Lynna Banning combines a lifelong love of history and literature into a satisfying career as a writer. Born in Oregon, she has lived in Northern California most of her life. After graduating from Scripps College she embarked on a career as an editor and technical writer, and later as a high school English teacher.
An amateur pianist and harpsichordist, Lynna performs on psaltery and harp in a medieval music ensemble, and she also plays cortholt, recorders, and tar (drum). She enjoys hearing from her readers. You may write to her directly at P.O. Box 324, Felton, CA 95018, USA, or at email@example.com. Visit Lynna’s website at www.lynnabanning.net.
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