What would YOU like to read?

541842344As you know, my latest novel, ALOHA SPIRIT, is finished and being queried to agents. Time to begin researching novel #6! For both UNDER THE ALMOND TREES and ALOHA SPIRIT, I used women in my family as inspiration. There are several other interesting stories in my family tree, and I want to see which one interests readers the most. Indicate your preference in the comments below. Add a comment if you wish!

  1. Emily Miree was born at Fort Snelling, Minnesota in 1836. Her mother was the sister of James Lockwood, the first governor of Wisconsin. Her stepfather, James Churchman, was a circuit attorney in Illinois, and Emily’s mother traveled with him. They went to California in 1851. Emily was living with the James Lockwood family in 1850. Why didn’t she go west with her mother? James Churchman was a prominent attorney and knew Abraham Lincoln. He went to Valparaiso, Chile, as Lincoln’s ambassador in 1861, taking Samantha with him. Emily had married in 1858. Her husband sold water to the gold miners. They had five children in four different mining towns. Life must have been difficult for Emily–Indian troubles at the fort, stepfather issues as he took her mother traveling, and living hard in mining camps with a young family.
  2. Emeline Beach was the daughter of Moses Yale Beach, an inventor and publisher of the New York Sun, which at that time was a pioneer penny newspaper. Her mother was Nancy Day, sister of Benjamin Day, the founder of the New York Sun. Benjamin was the family member who sold the family’s heirloom Brewster chest, handed down from William Brewster of the Mayflower. Emeline was a lifelong friend of Mark Twain and might have married him, but her father made it clear he did not want a ‘Western rough-neck’ for a son-in-law.  She married the great painter, Abbot Thayer, and lived in an art colony where Mark Twain spent his summers for years. I would love to research these artistic people more deeply and write a story about Emeline and Mark Twain.
  3. Margaret Cusack was 16 in 1888 when she came to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, from Ireland. Her large family was strongly tied to the MacMillan family, with many marriages and census information showing members of both families sharing living quarters. After the Gold Rush, the timber industry in Northern California created a new rush. Scottish and Irish immigrants poured into the state from Canada, including the MacMillan and Cusack families. Margaret married Michael MacMillan in Scotia, California and they had nine children. For this story I would explore the complex family dynamics of a large multi-generational family making its way in a new state and a new industry.

So what do you think, readers? Emily, Emeline, or Margaret? Who intrigues you the most?

24 responses to “What would YOU like to read?”

  1. Difficult choice but I’m leaning towards Emeline Beach. Her life seems a bit more non-traditional. Also I work for a museum so the art colony dynamic captures my interests moreso.

  2. You could use my family. One side came to SF in 1850 to sell coffee to gold miners while on the other side my grandfather walked from Vera Cruz, Mexico to SF.

  3. I’d be most interested in Margaret’s story because I’ve written both western lumber and Cape Breton stories. I’m also familiar with Scotia’s later history and would be interested in how you develop life in that company town.

    1. When I get ready to write this one, since eventually I’ll write them all, I will definitely need your input!

  4. Emeline Beach because I like stories about artists and writers.

  5. Emeline Beach! I would love to read the story between her and Mark Twain.

  6. I think they all sound interesting, but I’m most curious about Emeline and the Mark Twain angle.

  7. I’m going with Emeline. Always a plus when your protagonist’s life intertwines with a famous historical character.

  8. I’m intrigued by Margaret’s story. I live in Humboldt and have done research on early preservation efforts, including the foundation of the Save-the-Redwoods League, which was originally a women’s group, The Women’s Save-the-Redwoods League. More history of Palco and company towns would be interesting and exciting, I think. Good luck!

    1. Humboldt is beautiful! I’m related to almost anyone named MacMillan in Eureka, Blue Lake, Scotia, and Arcata!

  9. Penelope Duckworth Avatar
    Penelope Duckworth

    Emmeline most interests me. Have fun with her story!

  10. I vote number 2!

  11. I vote for Emily Miree. I love books that cover the settling of North American, particularly the Civil War. There also seems to be more potential for conflict. 🙂

    1. This is the one I kind of wanted to do first! I may end up going with Emeline though.

  12. I’m i retested in Emaline! It would be interesting to know about historic artists.

  13. I’m thinking Emeline Beach. You had me at “…lifelong friend of Mark Twain and might have married him, but her father made it clear he did not want a ‘Western rough-neck’ for a son-in-law.” That begs exploration. 🙂

    1. absolutely! I love the notion of looking forward and predicting Mark Twain as a
      Western roughneck, then looking back and laughing.

  14. Emeline, hands down. The interplay with Sam Clemens would be great fun, and the heritage chest has a nice storyline also.

  15. I have to go with #2. MARK (OMG) TWAIN! And having read several of your books, I can say it will be, beyond a doubt, an amazing read! Under the Almond Trees is one of my all time favorites.

    1. Thank you, Susan!

  16. Emeline. Love the intrigue with Mark Twain. Although I do love a good period story about the Scottish and Irish, so Margaret sounds fun too.

  17. Michal Strutin Avatar
    Michal Strutin

    Emeline Beach. Mark Twain and artist colony: lots of potential for crazy conflicts and ideas.

  18. All of these stories sound interesting, but I’m intrigued by Emeline and Mark Twain. 🙂

  19. Emiline. Her story resounds with me because I’m an author and I tend to relate to creative people or those that surround themselves with creativity.

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