This is a short article I wrote for the “From The Author” feature on my White Witch details page on Amazon. I just posted it last evening, so it’s still under review by Amazon, but I thought some of you might be interested to know how I came to write about the Great Chicago Fire and how it ties in with the Texas Devlins series.
While living near Chicago years ago – more than I care to admit – I became fascinated by the history of the Great Fire of 1871, which leveled most of the city. Prior to the fire, Chicago’s buildings, even the fine hotels and mercantile district, were built out of wood. That summer was hot and deadly dry. The city’s fire crews had their hands full fighting one fire after another, even managing to tame a vicious blaze the day before Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over her lantern (so the legend goes). But there was no stopping the wind-driven monster that sent Chicagoans running for their lives on the night of Sunday, October 8, 1871.
How could anyone not be moved by such a tale? Certainly not me! With my imagination on fire (pun intended) I decided to use the fire as the opening for my first book. It didn’t sell, despite the efforts of two different agents and yours truly. Disappointed, I stuffed the manuscript away and kept writing in between raising two kids, being a soccer mom, a rabid band parent during the afore mentioned kids’ high school years, and running a boarding house for six unruly, lovable cats. See Six Cats In My Kitchen.
Eventually, after publishing the first two books in my Texas Devlins series, I decided to dust off the tale of the Chicago Fire, restructure it to fit the series and publish it as a prequel. This required adding a new story line illustrating the fact that my characters are psychics. How did that come about? That’s a story for another day!
As a novella, White Witch is necessarily short, but it spotlights the heroine’s clairvoyant ability in a highly dramatic fashion – at least I think it does – and sets up the great adventure she undertakes in search of the man of her dreams. For that story you’ll need to read Darlin’ Irish (Texas Devlins, Jessie’s Story).
You’ll also meet Jessie’s brother Tye in both the novella and Jessie’s book. He’s kind of a charming rascal, but Jessie loves him dearly. I hope you do, too, because he gets to strut his stuff in Dashing Irish (Texas Devlins, Tye’s Story). His encounter with a feisty Texas cowgirl begins a “stunning story set against the backdrop of the not-so-civilized state of Texas in the . . . 19th century.” – InD’Tale Magazine, 2013
Oh, and don’t forget baby sister Rose! She doesn’t experience the terrifying fire, lucky girl, because she’s not living with her family at that time, but she’s tucked away in Tye and Jessie’s thoughts. Her secrets won’t be fully revealed until she meets her destiny, a hunky half-breed cowboy, in Dearest Irish (Texas Devlins, Rose’s Story).
My advice, dear reader, is take a deep breath and prepare for a wild ride from the ashes of Chicago, across the plains and mountains of the Old West, into the heart of Texas romance. Um, you might need a small fire extinguisher.