Imagine a time and place where the law was followed based on whim and fancy…where punishment for crimes was just as likely to be a hangman’s noose as a slap on the wrist…where black and white blurred to gray.
During a random browsing of history blogs, I discovered that description applies to the post-Civil War Colorado Territory. Gold fever had lured droves of prospectors to the area, along with prostitutes, politicians, thieves, and other unsavory characters. Added to this was the newfangled idea that criminals could be reformed.
With all this terrific wildness in history, the Colorado Territory seemed the perfect setting for a story that had been doodling in my head.
I had my hero, Jared, in mind for years. Stories of western lawmen fascinated me. (I blame my mother’s obsession with TV Westerns for this.) I wanted him to be a man whose family meant everything to him and on whom the responsibility lays heavy, so I gave him a widowed mother, two younger brothers, and a large cattle ranch.
What better foil/love interest for a Western lawman than a thief—one he could rehabilitate? And what better conflict than a heroine who isn’t sure she wants to be rehabilitated?
I had originally intended to make this story a romance told from Jared’s point of view, but Teagan kept shoving her way to the front. When high-class bad guys kept turning up in Teagan’s past and in her present adventure with Jared, I realized Colorado Territory’s history would provide much more than just a place for my characters to live.
The best part about writing is watching the story pieces weave together into something so much better than I could have planned beforehand.
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 her 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/
For an excerpt of Once a Thief, please go to http://www.amazon.com//dp/B00TCLDGE0