I have one of my favorite people on here today with a special post.
Welcome, Susan. Tell us about Arizona.
My new book, Almost Arizona, is set in 1912, and is a tribute to this achievement. Another author, Darlene Franklin, envisioned a series of books about the states that make up the
Four Corners region. She has
written a book about Colorado, Pride’s Fall, and Carla Olsen Gade
contributed the first in the series, set in New Mexico and titled The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter. Each of these stories highlights a
historical event centered at Four Corners—the surveys and locating of the spot
where the four states (including Utah)
meet. Almost Arizona ends with the
placing of the modern monument there.
In my story, Julia Newman has been away from the small mining town where her family lives. She expects to come home to live a peaceful life there with her brother, but things have gone awry. Here’s the back cover copy:
Julia Newman heads home to her
Arizona mountain town on
one of the last surviving stagecoaches. Instead of a happy reunion with her
brother, she is treated to a holdup. The man investigating the robbery is
Deputy Sheriff Adam Scott—whose marriage proposal Julia turned down two years ago.
Now Adam thinks her brother Oliver is mixed up in the robbery. Julia knows
better, but when she arrives home, Oliver is nowhere to be found. She knows she
must locate him before Adam—or the lynch mob—does. A cryptic message from
Oliver sends Julia riding across the high desert to find him.
Researching this book was very interesting. I learned a lot about the Navajo tribe and about the petroglyphs found carved on stone in the Southwest. I also studied about Canyon Diablo, a town that came to life overnight in 1882, when the railroad was being built. The tracks had to cross a deep river canyon, but the wrong materials were sent for the trestle bridge. A very rowdy town sprang up while the railroad workers waited, but it lasted only a few years. As soon as the railroad bridge was complete, most of the people moved on. The town had 2,000 people at its peak, but today only ruins can be seen.
Among Canyon Diablo’s claims to fame was its short-lived first marshal. He was sworn in at 3 p.m., the story goes, and buried at 8 p.m. the same day. By 1903, the only building remaining in town was the Navajo trading post, which I’ve made use of in my story.
Almost Arizona is a current selection of the Heartsong Presents Book Club, and will soon be available in other venues.
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