My husband and I enjoy riding our tadpole recumbent bicycles. (Technically, that should be tricycles, but I feel so juvenile telling people I ride a trike.) Our favorite place to ride is on the Katy Trail—a rails-to-trails project that bisects Missouri.
My husband is a fan of its gorgeous scenery and solitude. I like it because it’s flat and it runs though lots of little towns with unique histories. Each trailhead has a sign that tells about the locale and its environs—particularly as it relates to the MK&T Railroad.
On one of our many jaunts, we stopped at the tiny town of New Franklin, Missouri. (Brief aside—In the early 1800s, Franklin was second only to St. Louis in size and population west of the Mississippi. Then the Missouri River flooded it…twice. They moved the town uphill and renamed it New Franklin.)
Joseph A. Kinney was a steamship owner. He hated the railroad. Actually, he loathed the railroad. Railroads made small towns prosperous, but they were also taking business away from the steamships. Captain Kinney wrote vitriolic editorials to newspapers as far away as St. Louis vehemently opposing the railroad’s encroachment.
I’d already been toying with the idea of writing a story using the railroad as background, and I suddenly wondered what a romance between a steamship owner’s daughter and a local railroad trainman would look like.
After changing the names to protect the innocent (namely me!), I started researching. Tales of vandalism, officially called malicious mischief, piqued my interest. The story turned into a bit of a mystery when Gerald Eastman (the steamship owner) is accused of vandalism on the Katy Railroad. His daughter Delia works to clear his name and, in the process, meets up with the young trainmaster assigned to investigate.
Lora Young has never lived outside the state of Missouri. She grew up reading the Little House books and Trixie Belden mysteries, so it makes sense that novels would entail history, mystery, and adventure.
Lora lives in rural Platte County with her husband, three cats, and the constant interruption of her children and grandchildren. She enjoys riding her tadpole recumbent, ballroom dancing, the Oxford comma, and making stuff up. Please visit her at http://lorayoung.com/
About Malicious Mischief: Delia Eastman returns home from teachers’ college with two goals: find a teaching position and sidestep her mother’s insistence on finding her a husband. But employers don’t care for women who are smarter than they. Neither do suitors. As she struggles to find her place, she discovers her sleepy riverboat town has turned into a powder-keg of rivalry between the steamships and the railroads. (For an excerpt, please go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OBYL19U )