Letters home tell the story

One of my beta readers commented that it appeared I’d done a lot of research while writing Proving Her Claim.

She was right. I wanted to learn about the lives of real women homesteaders, and there was no better resource than reading their accounts in letters sent “back home.” These letters documented the challenges and triumphs that women on the frontier experienced. The letters are an intimate look into their lives, how they interacted with other homesteaders, and why they persevered under trying circumstances.

A highlighted, dog-eared copy of Land in Her Own Name gave me insights into these women — and inspired me to end each chapter with a letter home to Anna’s family, or letters from Anna’s family. These letters allow my readers to learn more about the characters: their back stories, their motivations, and, yes, even their secrets.

From Land in Her Own Name:

Eliza Crawford, a widow with two children, wrote “…Holding down a claim is not what it is cracked up to be. I wish I had not taken this one for I will have to go through so much before I can prove up.”

On the other hand, Bess Cobb, a Grant county settler, was more upbeat. She wrote “Suppose you girls are saying ‘Poor Bess’ and feeling dreadfully sorry for me out here in the wild and wooly uncivilized regions of America. But really time just seems to fly…Wish you could come out, but I suppose you think I am too far away.”

The accounts from actual women homesteaders helped me to see the frontier through their eyes, and hopefully, helped me to portray that life in Proving Her Claim.

Proving Her Claim is now available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.