The rugged mountains surrounding Telluride and Ouray are part of the San Juan Mountain rang. (The front cover photo displays real mountains in the area.) Towns sprang up to support the intrepid miners who searched for gold, silver, and other minerals in those treacherous granite cliffs. Interest in the history of the area prompted me to read real-life accounts of women in the area; TOMBOY BRIDE, and FATHER STRUCK IT RICH were vivid accounts of women who lived near Telluride and Ouray in mining days. Then I discovered an old copy of Isabella Lucy Bird’s travels in Colorado, A LADY’S LIFE IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS, in my mother-in-law’s library. Miss Bird was an English gentlewoman, the daughter of a minister, who traveled alone during a rough-and-tumble time in Colorado history. She started her journey in San Francisco and later visited Denver and the mountains around the area now known as the Rocky Mountain National Park.
During the years since my first exposure to the narrative, I “thought” about how I would rewrite the story, developing a romance between two charismatic English compatriots who met in the Wild West. When I completed my third High Seas Mystery, I decided it might be fun to transport my familiar characters into the magnificent mountains of Colorado. After all, Kayla lived in Colorado before she met Steven and went back home to recover from a gunshot. What better than a lost gold mine and a journal written by a plucky lady in the 1880s to guide them to a gold mine?
Once I finished writing the journal, it became easier to write the modern-day part of the story, or so I thought. Having immersed myself into the 1880s, I found modern-day language less colorful and dull. I needed danger and excitement to enliven the narrative, but I also needed to mesh the two stories together in a believable manner. Therefore, I decided that Kayla needed to find clues in her ancestor’s journal to pass a test and inherit the family legacy. I built a “family tree” from Ginny down to Kayla, using dates and approximate life-cycles to determine how many women might have already completed the family quest, and established names and brief histories for each woman.
I encourage you to visit the page on my website for GOLDEN LEGACY at bit.ly/1kpMy6U and see the slide show of pictures used in the book. (The photo of Lake Como is used for the back print cover.) Some of you previously read my blog episodes of the journal written by Ginny and might wonder how her tale ended. The book is nearly complete and will be available soon on Amazon. Watch for my launch. I hope you all will consider reading and reviewing this year-long project. It is literally close to my heart, so let me know if you’d like to receive a free review copy by making a comment on this blog.