Lexi: Winter isn’t the only great time to visit Colorado. If you’re in the mood for a Colorado book escape, our guest today can help you out. Please help me welcome J.V.L. Bell!
Julie: Thanks so much for having me Lexi, it is a pleasure to be here.
Lexi: Colorado is one of my favorite states. Breath-taking scenery, wildness, and peace. You are a native of the Centennial state; what parts that you love made it into Millie’s story?
Julie: I grew up with a father who loved to climb, backpack, and explore Colorado’s wild country. I was fortunate to accompany him up many fourteen thousand foot mountains (called 14ers in Colorado), to encounter wild mountain goats, mountain sheep, bear, and other wildlife, and explore old ghost towns and mines. I try to capture some of the beauty and wildlife of the Rocky Mountains in my novel, but it is the history and stories I grew up hearing with that made it into The Lucky Hat Mine.
Lexi: Millie certainly finds herself in a predicament in THE LUCKY HAT MINE. She is gutsy enough to be a mail-order bride but finds her groom-to-be dead. Not a situation that I’d want to be in in 1863…or even now for that matter. What was the most interesting thing you learned about mail-order brides?
Julie: I learned two interesting things while researching mail-order brides. First I searched historical newspapers for the ‘perfect’ ad (the one on the cover is an actual ad, with just a few adjustments) and was amazed to find out how many ads there were. Next I researched actual mail-order bride histories and I came across the story of a mail-order bride who had her stagecoach robbed during her journey west. She approached the bandits to save her trousseau and noticed a scar on one man’s arm (they were wearing sacks on their heads so she couldn’t see their features.) The next day, as she signed the marriage certificate with her new husband, she noticed the same scar and his arm and realized she’d married the outlaw who held up the stagecoach. I loved the story, so of course I had to fictionalize it and use it in my book.
Lexi: One thing I find very interesting is that Millie’s dead groom was murdered and his brother, Dominic, isn’t leaving Millie until he finds out who did it. Old west mystery, yeah! What was the most intriguing historical tidbit you learned.
Julie: The wash-tub panning I describe in the book was my favorite historical tidbit. Women were often hired to wash miner’s clothing, but while researching life during that time period, I found women often earned more from the gold dust washed off the clothes, than the payment from the miners. They had to be careful when emptying their wash buckets and would pan the gold from the dirt in the bottom.
Lexi: So many great reasons to read THE LUCKY HAT MINE! But I’m positive there is one more, perhaps a romantic reason. What is your favorite scene between Millie and Dom?
Julie: My favorite scene to write was when they visited the hot springs and Millie was forced to take a quick dip. I love reading etiquette books from that day and had so much fun making Millie a ‘proper lady.’ When I wrote the hot springs scene, I enjoyed imagining how mortified Millie would have felt taking a bath while Dom was in the area.
Lexi: Congratulations on the release of. And thank you for stopping by the blog to talk about it!
Julie: Thanks so much for having me. The Lucky Hat Mine is my first published novel and I love hearing what my readers think. If you read it, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell me if you enjoyed it.