Inspiration for a story comes from…my readers!

Pt. Loma Lighthouse

Often my inspiration to write a story comes from a setting. For instance, the very first book I ever wrote grew out of my fascination with the Old Pt. Loma Lighthouse on the peninsula in San Diego Harbor. The peninsula is windswept with tide pools and cliffs on the ocean side and a sloping hill on the harbor side. That book is The Angel and the Outlaw. That lighthouse is featured again in my latest book, The Gunslinger and the Heiress. However, rather than having the setting inspire me this time, the main reason I felt compelled to write this story came from readers. They asked (repeatedly) for a story about the little girl, six-year-old Hannah from The Angel and the Outlaw. Many wondered what had happened to her.US_Boundary_Survey_1850

Hannah, grows up living the life of a princess with her grandfather in San Francisco. He owns a shipping business with a fleet of ships. Life for Hannah has been one of adults, tutors, and boardrooms. She is a princess in an ivory tower—smart, beautiful, and lonely. And one more thing…Hannah is mute.

Caleb, her childhood friend from the peninsula, has not been so fortunate to be born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Caleb had to fend for himself and learn life lessons the hard way. At a young age, he joined the army at Fort Rosecrans in San Diego. While looking out for his friend in an out-of-the-way saloon on the Mexican/American border, he was drugged and the next day found himself aboard a steamer heading for Alaska and the gold fields—shanghaied.

Crazy as it may sound, they never forgot each other. Hannah thrilled at the letters Caleb would write to her that were full of adventures and excitement in worlds she would never know. And Caleb liked hearing from her. Her letters gave him a “home” when everything else felt tossed and twisted in his life. They remained good friends up until Hannah’s sixteenth birthday. That is the day that everything changed, a day that Hannah chose to exclude him from her life.The Gunslinger and the Heiress

Five years later Hannah is on his doorstep. She needs his help to keep her family’s shipping empire. She has no right to ask him for help. She was callous and cruel before, driving him away, but he is the only one she can turn to now. And he is the only one that can help her step down from her ivory tower.

It’s been said there is a thin line between love and hate. Is it possible that he will help her…even though he might never forgive her? Would he do such a thing? And could she trust him if he did accept? She knows that if she were offered the same situation again from all those years ago…she would not choose any differently.  Where does that leave their friendship? How can she have the slightest hope that Caleb will help her…let alone forgive her?

She finds her answer only as they both work through old prejudices. She must come to realize that no matter the trappings and rules society places on her, it is up to her to find and grasp her own happiness. Can she be as strong as he needs her to be?

I loved writing Caleb and Hannah’s story. I have a soft spot in my heart for each of them. I guess in a way they are my “children.” For an excerpt click here.

I have one copy of The Gunslinger and the Heiress for someone who comments today. I would love for it to be YOU! Last month when I offered a book, I was unable to connect with the winner through their email, so I must ask that if you post in the hopes of winning a free book, please check back the next day to see if you won. Should your name be drawn, I will need to know if you want a print copy or an ebook and where to send it!

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36 thoughts on “Inspiration for a story comes from…my readers!”

    • Hi Janine,
      Welcome today to Wildflower Junction. I suppose my biggest regret with this story is that I didn’t write it sooner so that those who haven’t read Hannah’s earlier story would have had a chance to. The Angel and the Outlaw is available in ebook format, but not in print at this time (unless you can find a used copy.) However, The Gunslinger and the Heiress can easily be read as a stand-alone story.

    • Hello Kim,
      You are welcome! We authors give away our books in the hopes we’ll expose new readers to our work and hopefully they will enjoy the story and want to read our next book.

  1. Hi Kathryn! I read “The Angel and the Outlaw” many moons ago, knowing it was set in my beloved hometown, San Diego (I still live in the area). I was impressed with how accurate you portrayed the history and unique geography of the Point Loma peninsula and lighthouse, and had to send you an email. Nothing would please me more than to read Hannah’s continuing story. (Having lovely weather in San Diego today, after too many days of clouds and rain — though we do need that rain!) All the best…

    • Hi Wanda Sue!
      I’m so glad you stopped by. YAY! A fellow lover of history AND San Diego! Have you ever taken one of the trolley tours that leave from Old Town? The one that makes a lot of stops and you can hop off for a spell and then back on? It is so informative. The hosts really know their history. I learned a lot even though I’d grown up there and thought I knew most of San Diego’s history. It made a for a fun day with my friends.

      Good luck on the giveaway!

    • Hi Connie,
      Thanks for posting! I’m thinking that you are the one who won a free book LAST TIME I posted and I could not get hold of you. If you let me know how you would like the book, it is still waiting to be sent to you. You can contact me at and let me know –ebook or print — and the email or snailmail address you would like it sent to. I hope I hear from you!

  2. Hi Kathryn–this book sounds awesome! The excerpt is great. I added it to my “to buy” list. I’d buy it now, but I just spent over $100 on books at the Barbara Vey Luncheon! I was out of control 🙂

    • LOL Kairee —

      Those conferences can suck you right in and get you to spend a lot. I know! I’ve done the same thing. It is especially challenging when you are an author and want to support your friends that are authors and read their books too. Maybe you will get lucky and win mine as a result of commenting today ! Good luck!

  3. Great post, The Gunslinger and the Heiress sounds like an awesome read and I would love to read it. Thanks for the great giveaway

  4. I’m glad you mozied (I wonder about the spelling of that!) on by Wildflower Junction, Quilt Lady! Best wishes in the drawing! My question for you is…with a name like Quilt Lady…do you enjoy quilting? I’m curious because I hope to start quilting and don’t quite know where to start. I think I will have to check to see if there is a quilt store nearby and take a few classes. I want to start with a wall hanging or table runner–nothing so huge as a bed quilt at first!

  5. It sounds like they’re opposites in some ways which I think adds to the story – sounds wonderful!

  6. Life often forces people to make choices they may regret later, but at the time it was the necessary choice. It will be interesting to discover what happened between Caleb and Hannah and how they work it out. Thank you for giving us “the rest of their story.”

  7. Hello Kathryn. Hope i didn’t lose a book. I never received an email. I enjoyed your post and would love to win this one. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  8. i have a daughter Hannah. I would be so pleased to read Hannah and calebe’s story. I am so pleased to meet you Kathryn Albright.
    Have a wonderful day .

  9. Hi Deanne,
    Hannah is one of those names that keeps coming back generation after generation. Like “Elizabeth” it really has stood the test of time and is a classic name. Good luck on the giveaway!

  10. I’m closing the giveaway contest now. Congratulations to Melanie Backus whose name was drawn and has won the free copy this time.
    Melanie – contact me at and let me know if you would like an ebook or a print copy and where you would like me to send it!

    Thank you all for participating and coming to “chat!”

  11. Dear Kathryn,
    Both of your books sound great. I have not had the opportunity to read your books so I hope to win:). Whether I do or not, I am sure I will pick up your books soon.

  12. Hi Karen – I would love to win a copy of The Angel & the Warrior. Enjoyed the excerpt & the picture of Adam Beach. You write the historical side of the Indians that really interest me as I have looked up a lot of info about other tribes & what they had to overcome to survive the white man taking over their lands & as they say the rest is history. Keep your books coming, history never goes out of style.

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