It’s been hovering around 80 degrees here, and it’s too hot to think of a new blog post! (Apologies to folks who live in really hot places but we are not used to wearing shorts here in Southcentral Alaska.) So I am “cheating” and using the post I wrote for Romancing the Genres this month. Sorry–I’ll try to say something more original next week.
This month, we’re talking about our perfect time and place. I’ve already found my place—Alaska. As I’ve mentioned before, this is my home because I love the land, water, and people here. It’s great to be around beautiful landscapes, and friendly, independent folks. But as an historical author, I’m always looking back in time.
The Alaska Gold Rush ran from the late 1800s through 1915 or so, depending on your criteria. The Gold Rush time period is attractive to me because anything seemed possible and the territory was full of hardy, adventurous people. And while life was not easy for women then, they had more opportunity in Alaska than they normally would have in other places. Many women in Alaska were able to push the boundaries by owning their own businesses, like Belinda Mulrooney, and proving that women were physically as strong as men, like Fannie Quigley. It’s no accident that the territory was one of the first to pass women’s suffrage, and had women representatives like Crystal Snow Jenne, who grew up in Juneau during the Gold Rush, early in its legislative history.
As you can guess, many of my Gold Rush characters are based on these and other extraordinary ladies. I’m proud to be part of this legacy, and would like to think I would have been as remarkable as my Gold Rush heroines if I’d been there myself. This is as close as I can get, on the beach in Nome in my Gold Rush-inspired clothes. 🙂