I wrote Proving Her Claim: On the Dakota Frontier 20 years before it was finally published. But my second book took only (only!) a year to research, write, polish, and bring to readers.
I write “only” because more prolific writers publish three, six, or nine books a year. I can’t imagine the pressure, but I’m proud to say that Lone Tree Claim: On the Dakota Frontier will be published in October. It’s the story of another strong pioneer woman who stakes a claim in Dakota Territory. Katie Rose Kelly, a determined widow, leaves her father’s home in Chicago to start a new life after the Civil War.
Like Proving Her Claim, the inspiration for Lone Tree Claim has historical roots. Several years ago, the South Dakota Ag Heritage Museum featured an exhibit entitled “The Unspun Tale: Sheep in South Dakota.” As I walked through the exhibit, I was struck by the headline “Sheep for the cash. Cattle for the prestige.” It’s a common and well-known adage among farmers and ranchers in our part of the country.
And on those ranches that ran both sheep and cattle, women were often responsible for the sheep. That’s the plot for Lone Tree Claim — that, and a host of natural and man-made challenges that my gutsy heroine faces.
I’m excited to introduce this new book — and a new family of characters — to readers this fall.