Howdy! Thank you for having me here for a visit today. I first wanted to say happy Veteran’s Day and thank you to all of those who’ve served in the military or are currently serving. We appreciate you.
So, you may be wondering how a ranch of guinea pigs can possibly tie into a western theme. 🙂 And is there such a thing as a ranch of guinea pigs? When I set out to work on book three of my current series I’m writing, I ended up researching guinea pigs. My heroine’s name is Gertrude Miller. Many years ago, when my boys were still living at home, I had a picture frame sitting on a table and had yet to put a photo in it. Instead, it had a photo of a woman that the frame came with when we bought it at the store. We jokingly named her Aunt Gertrude. Eventually I spun a story about her living on a ranch in Texas and how she was raising guinea pigs. Many, many guinea pigs.
When my sons found out the name of my next heroine, they teased me about having a guinea pig featured as part of her story. They sent me photos of cowboys riding guinea pigs, while also corralling guinea pigs into fenced areas. They found videos of people who have hundreds of guinea pigs they are raising. I’ve since learned that in Peru, guinea pigs are often eaten, but we won’t go there.
I thought it would be fun to add a guinea pig to Gertrude’s story since she lives in Kansas in the 1870s in honor of my sons. The question I had to answer, was it feasible? Research showed these little critters first came from South America. They ran wild and were eventually domesticated. They were introduced to Europe and North America in the 16th Century. They became pets of the wealthy and elite. It’s believed that even Queen Elizabeth I had one as a pet. There’s a painting in the National Portrait Gallery in London of Elizabeth as a young girl holding a guinea pig.
Several sites I checked into mentioned that they were shipped to America in 1627 to Jamestown, Virginia. Others stated they were first introduced as part of the exotic pet trade during this time period. I had enough information to realize that while unusual, it definitely was possible and believable to have a guinea pig or two be featured in Gertrude’s story.
I also decided to make mention of Queen Elizabeth I having one as a pet. I always love when I can introduce fun historical facts in a story I’m writing. I enjoy discovering fun things like this when I read historical romance books. I decided to go one step more and have Gertrude make an off-handed comment about wouldn’t it be nice to have a ranch of guinea pigs. It was a humorous way to honor my sons and our family joke.
In honor of Veteran’s Day and being exactly one year since the release of Protecting Annie, I’ll be giving away a print copy of it (US only), or ebook for international readers.
Leave a comment by answering this question: What amusing stories and history do you like to see included in historical romances?
After twenty years living along the trail as a deputy U.S. Marshal, Joshua Walker takes a job as sheriff in Burrton Springs, Kansas so he can be closer to his sister. Only problem is, she no longer requires his protecting.
After the death of her father, Annie McPherson needs a change. She accepts a position as schoolmarm hoping her past won’t catch up with her. Life is good, except for the pesky lawman who creates confrontations at every turn and continually questions her ability to adjust to life in the west.
When the irritating schoolteacher’s past and present collide, dragging Josh into the turmoil, he has to decide who he’s willing to defend.
Jodie Wolfe Stories
Where Hope and Quirky Meet