It is with joy that I inform you, literary wayfarers, that Hills of Nevermore, the first installment in Montana Gold, a western historical romance series, is now available for Kindle preorder.
This story took me on long journeys, both mentally and physically. I had to stretch my understanding of the American West in ways I never anticipated. My grandfather was a Native American, so I didn’t have to work at being sympathetic toward the Indians in my story. However, my research uncovered facts that made me suspect that the Indians wanted to be far more peaceful than I realized. I’m still assimilating that information.
Writing Hills of Nevermore called for my first long research trip as an author. I couldn’t have been happier about that. It seemed a rite of passage that would turn me into a professional writer. And you can’t beat a tax-deductible vacation, right?
I smile at both those ideas now. In reality, anyone willing to buy a ticket or gas up a car can go on a research trip. And after getting lost tracking down remote historical landmarks; hanging off the side of a cliff or bending into odd positions while snapping pictures; and buddying up to strangers to pick their brains about the history of a place, a research trip is not a vacation.
I wanted to go in the spring, but the money wasn’t there, so I had to postpone my trip. When a flood washed away part of Bannack, one of the ghost towns I intended to visit, and endangered visitors, I wondered if divine providence had come to my rescue. I almost gave up on the trip, but then I received an invitation to a Missoula book festival to feature as an author representing my Tales of Faeraven epic fantasy series. With two reasons to go to Montana and more than a little inclination, I planned the trip.
Since the book festival coincided with our anniversary, it seemed a good idea to take my husband along. We spent one of our most memorable anniversaries sleeping in the inhabited ghost town of VIrginia City, another location in the story. We hadn’t realized that the town closed for winter, and when we rolled into town had a hard time finding somewhere to stay. We were able to persuade the owner of the Gingerbread House bed and breakfast to rent us one of her cabins, thankfully. We spent a comfortable night inside while winter winds blew outside the door.
My favorite memory from that trip was being let into Robbers’ Roost, a vintage roadhouse popularly known as an outlaw hangout. I can still pull up vivid mental images of the wooden turnstile gate, the covered well, and livery stable. Inside the stagecoach stop the floorboards rang beneath our boots and the stairs led upward into darkness. At the top, in a long room without walls, light filtered through dusty windows, revealing portions of the ceiling boards giving way to gravity.
All of these experiences went into the writing of Hills of Nevermore.