Gunfight at the O.K. Corral:Luke and Jenny Visit Tombstone, was my first novel and my second book. I'd published a historic cookbook, titled, Anna's Kitchen, the year before, and was excited to try my hand at writing a novel. As mentioned in an earlier post, Luke and Jenny were inspired by the real-life kids I met doing living history storytelling performances for schools. Jenny was the first name that popped into my head for the girl, and I named her brother Luke out of homage to one of my all-time favorite storytellers, George Lucas.
I think the biggest challenge for any author writing a historical novel is the research as oftentimes historians don't agree. My solution was to use several different source books from credible authors. (They're all listed in the bibliography.) Then, when the sources disagreed, I resorted to the scientific approach and flipped a coin.
Another challenge was the level of violence. As I often tell people, history is not for the faint of heart. It's those violent events, such as wars, massacres, even plagues, that make into the history books. At the same time, however, I had be mindful of my readers, as the books are aimed at third through sixth grade students. This meant I had to tone the blood and gore while still maintaining the accuracy of the events I was describing.
The third, and final challenge was finding the right publisher, and I found her. I met Linda Radke, of Five Star Publications, Inc., at an event in Scottsdale, Arizona. She loved the project and published the entire series, and we had a successful run. Linda was also an amazing mentor. I was a graphic designer before I became an author, and a few years later I started up my own publishing company, Good Oak Press, LLC. So when Linda finally took the series out of print I later published updated editions. The changes, however, are minor and only affect the non historical portions of the story. The historical chapters remain the same.
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral:Luke and Jenny Visit Tombstone is available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.