08. January 2012 · Comments Off on Looking Ahead to 2012 · Categories: Uncategorized

For me, the new year of 2012 is a chance to take a breath – having finished Daughter of Texas and Deep in the Heart, which told of the life of Margaret Becker in early Texas. I had set the release of the first in conjunction with observances of the 175th anniversary of San Jacinto day (and indeed, the whole of the Texas war for independence) and the second in time for Christmas. Having finished all that … well, I can take a little break before commencing on the next book project.

I had projected another three books, after the Trilogy, to follow the adventures of some of the minor characters who had experiences that were just barely hinted at. Margaret’s story turned out to be too extensive and eventful to be contained in one book – that is, unless I wanted to release it as a 700 page epic, and frankly, too many readers would find the prospect a little daunting. But now her life and experiences, and the historical events of her time have been fairly dealt with, and I have learned – and hopefully relayed to readers – about a wide range of incidents and personalities in early Texas.

Which leaves me with two more books to be checked off my to-do list; one of which I have about six chapters roughed out, and the other of which I have nothing but a stack of books to read for and some notes about characters. The one with the roughed-out chapters will be a kind of sequel to the Trilogy, following – among other characters – the experiences of Isobel, Dolph Becker’s English bride as she adjusts to a life in Texas very different to that she she lived as the daughter of minor nobility. The story that I am going to try and complete first, though, is the picaresque Gold Rush adventure that I’ve always wanted to write.

Now and again in the Trilogy I alluded to Fredi Steinmetz and how he had trailed cattle to California sometime in the 1850s, had stayed there for a bit and returned to Texas. So – what had he seen, besides the gold diggings? That will be the next book; Gold Rush-era California. There was a lot going on in the far west, in the decade before the Civil War, much of it every bit as entertaining and relatively unknown as anything else I have ever written about. The Mormons were thriving in their settlements established in present-day Utah, freight and emigrant traffic was constant on the Platte River Road, and the US Army was holding their own, along the routes of communication between east and west, and all kinds of off-beat characters had made their way to California. There will be a slippery Fenian named Polydore O’Malley, and a teenaged girl disguising herself as a boy among the main characters – besides the wide-eyed teenaged Fredi himself – friendly and unfriendly Indians, vigilantes, express-riders and adventurers. Other characters will emerge from research, and as for the plot, other than ‘to California and back again’ I have no idea … yet, anyway.

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