How many little girls grow up wishing they’d been born during the 1800s and lived a wild, free life on the range? I certainly did. My sisters and I played farmer and rancher, my friends and I played cowboys and Indians, and I spent hours reading books about horses and cowboys. Then there were the TV shows—Bonanza, High Chaparral, Gunsmoke, Roy Rogers, Wagon Train, Maverick, and so many more. Doesn’t that bring back wonderful memories for all of you Old West fans? And let’s not forget the Western books, with Zane Grey and Louis L’ Amour topping the list during my teens and twenties. How I wished I’d been born in that era and could ride the range, sit around the campfire and experience all the exciting adventures with the heroes and heroines in the books I devoured.
I didn’t get to follow that dream, but the Lord gave me something just as good, the opportunity to live out my dreams through writing historical fiction, and with it, the opportunity to research Old West towns. I’d have to say my favorite so far is Tombstone, Arizona. It was like walking into the past as we traipsed the dirt streets of the three-block, preserved section of town. Many of the buildings have stood the ravages of time since the last fire in the 1880s that wiped out much of the town….it was rebuilt shortly after and those are the buildings we were privileged to visit.
Another town we visited that I loved was Baker City, Oregon, the setting for my current Love Blossoms in Oregon series. I have a friend who moved to this picturesque small city nestled between the Wallowa and Elkhorn Mountains, only a couple of years prior to my visit. She escorted me to businesses, pointing out buildings that had been erected in the late 1800s, and introduced me to locals who had family extending back almost to the town’s inception.
Local museums are always a fantastic source of information, and I take hundreds of pictures of the artifacts, old photos, furniture and clothing, as well as pictures of any original structures in the area. Baker City has an incredible hotel that was built in the mid 1880s called The Geiser Grand Hotel. If my books spanned a longer time period, I would have loved to work this magnificent structure into my story, but it was still fascinating to tour.
Often when on these research trips, I find little known facts that turn into interesting story plots, or I’m able to create true-to-life scenes using events that happened during my specific time period. It’s even better when I can discover and use a famous person who lived in the town at that time, as I did in my book set in Tombstone, when Doc Holliday showed up at a saloon and interacted with one of my characters.
I was able to include more than one true event in Wishing on Buttercups. One was an episode with a paint can, including a rather humorous but messy accident, based on a true event that happened in my own family history. The other incorporated weaving in the historical setting of the town, which is only a mile from the historic Oregon Trail, an important detail that ties in closely to one of Beth’s secrets. Much of this book revolves around secrets—both those of Beth Roberts, my heroine, and Jeffery Tucker, my hero—as well as revisiting all of the characters readers met and loved in book one, Blowing on Dandelions, and who will continue on through the next two books in the series, as well.
Wishing on Buttercups, historical romance
Can Love Survive When Secrets Collide?
She’d kept her secrets safely hidden—those from her past, and those in the present. Some things, Beth Roberts knows, a lady simply doesn’t share, even in the 1880’s West. The townspeople would never understand. No one ever has.
Jeffery Tucker, a handsome young writer, has kept his own secrets. He doesn’t have a right to pry into Beth’s affairs but finds himself strangely drawn to her and intrigued by the whiff of mystery surrounding her.
Beth knows that one day someone will unravel the threads of her past. And when two men from her past arrive, the truth might just hurt . . . Beth’s future and her heart.
As shadowy memories surface, Beth sketches the scenes she sees and is shocked by what—and who—her illustrations reveal. Dare she risk her heart again?
Miralee Ferrell is a speaker, accredited counselor, and former ACFW chapter president who has published multiple contemporary and historical romance novels since starting to write in 2005. She enjoys horseback riding, gardening, and family gatherings around their eleven-acre property in Washington State’s beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Miralee has had eight books release, both in women’s contemporary fiction and historical fiction, with another 6 under contract (two more releasing this year in the Love Blossoms in Oregon series). She’s an award-winning author of Western fiction, and her newest novel, Wishing on Buttercups released February 1, and is the second in a series set in Baker City, Oregon, 1880s.
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Movies, TV, Museums, Living History Reenactments?
Miralee is offering a copy of Wishing on Buttercups to one lucky visitor today, so be sure to leave a comment. Or, if you would prefer, you can chose the new e-novella, Forget Me Not, that will be available at the end of the month.