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.
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.
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!