Historical fiction with a hint of magic and touches of grace
This Horse Thief 1898 website will share background on the people, places and events in the story and what it’s been like for me to write it–an inside view of one author’s experience.
I hope you will enjoy it!
Hi, I’m Debra. I’ve been a storyteller all my life, to my sibs, kids, and now grandkids, but this is my first novel. It’s been delightful! My previous published work has been nonfiction and mostly in Brazil, where our family lived for twenty years. Most recently I wrote a memoir about my daughter called Karis, All I See Is Grace, available in Portuguese and Spanish as well as English (see ButGod.blog). For most of the last seventeen years I’ve lived in Pittsburgh, PA with my husband Dave near our other two daughters and their families. Our son, his fiancée and our energetic granddog June live in DC.
What will this website offer?
I plan to post weekly about the fun of writing the story, and each week post a new page with historical background about places, people, events and situations important to the story. You’ll be able to access those pages through Historical Links at the top of this page. I’m posting today the first one, featuring Cally’s birthplace, Killeagh, in County Cork, southern Ireland.
There will be pages about historical situations I didn’t know about before. Of course I’ve heard about Ireland’s Great Hunger in the 1840s, and knew it drove a huge volume of Irish emigration. I didn’t know that emigration continued into the time of our story in the late 19th century. In fact, it’s hard to find historical fiction addressing this fraught “between times” period, both reacting to and setting the stage for major conflicts in both the United States and Ireland. I hadn’t heard of the orphan trains which carried thousands of homeless children from the big cities on the east coast of the United States to work on farms and in factories in the west. I learned more about the stealing of Indian lands and breaking of treaties with the original Americans. And so much more.
I’ll also post pages about the historical figures who play important roles in the novel, including Irish hero Daniel O’Connor, whose fictional granddaughter Cathleen is Charlie’s mother. The Malcomson family, Quaker by origin, whose legacy embraces my fictional Charlie and his father Peter, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Viennese artist Olga Wisinger-Florian, ragtime king Scott Joplin, Susan B. Anthony and her sister Mary, and Dr. George A. Tann, the first African-American doctor in Kansas and Oklahoma Territory, all become important to my characters. I hope you’ll become as fascinated by these people as I am. I read and researched enough to feel like I know them. Their roles in Horse Thief 1898, though entirely fictional, fit their personalities. I think what they do in the story they would have done in real life in those circumstances.
It will take me some time to create all of these pages for this site, so I hope you’ll come back weekly to see what’s new. The best way to know when there’s new content, as well as progress toward publication of Horse Thief 1898, is to sign up below for news in your Inbox.
To complete this introductory post, I want to brag about my nephew Joel Griswell, creator of The Soundtrack Gallery Joel crafted the beautiful Horse Thief 1898 image for this site. He patiently asked great questions to help me identify what I wanted in this image and educated me on what would work best (eg. an upright tombstone rather than flat). The historical “Horse Thief 1898” gravestone was replaced many years ago, and I haven’t found a photo of the original stone. So while that gravestone inspired the story, we decided to use this more legible upright stone for the website image. When you read the story, you’ll understand why the roses and the cross are significant. If you need help creating an image, I highly recommend you contact Joel!
Enjoy Spring! Happy Easter!!
Love to you,