The Fillies are happy to have Tessa Berkley come and chat with us. She’s such a delightful guest.
As a writer, I love how inspiration sometimes pulls from the truth to find the perfect solution for a story. I’ve been doing some work on a modern historical. I suppose since we’ve turned the corner some 15 years on the new century it would still be considered a historical. My focus has been on the early history of oil in Texas and the wildcatters who made up the work force. Little did these men realize their efforts to bring black gold or Texas ‘T’ to the surface would bring a huge change and usher in the modern age with one determined individual, Captain Anthony Lucas.
Lucas served in the Austrian Navy and was a trained engineer as well as a salt miner. He’d worked for the Gladys City Gas, Oil, and Manufacturing under Patillo Higgins who believed there was oil beneath the salt dome in an area near Beaumont, Texas. Drilling was hard in Texas. Sand made up most of the soil instead of the rock formations most drillers had experienced in the Pennsylvania oil fields. Anyone who has gone to the beach and dug deep into the sand understands the ease in which such loose grains can create cave ins. Ingenuity was the mother of invention, one of men under Lucas suggested pumping water into the hole thus stabilizing it. After two months of drilling and facing setbacks, on January 10th, 1901, the men found oil in a small place called Spindle Top, which will be the setting for my novella coming early next year.
My hero, Chase, is Clark Gable in disguise. No, not Rhett Butler, but the Gable seen in It Happened One Night. And yes, he is ruggedly handsome! Deep down, he believes there is oil beneath the salt lined sand on the St. James ranch.
My heroine, Lucy St. James, is the cynic. She’s the one that doesn’t believe in the new-fangled automobile, that fouls the air and frightens cattle and horses. She fights him tooth and nail to get him to see the error of his ways.
Of course, there are scally wags, cheats, and unscrupulous men who will dare to try and take advantage of them, but we all know its romance and where would we be without that happily ever after. I guess you are wondering how and why I began this little piece with the idea of inspiration pulling from real life. Oddly, Lucy’s father who plays a part in pulling the two together is named Lucas. Did I know about his finding oil at Spindle Top? Nope, not until after the first forty pages were done. Muses, God bless em.
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