How much research did Wishing on Buttercups take?
I did the bulk of my research for the three-book series prior to writing book one, by visiting Baker City, Oregon for a few days and making contact with local people and a historian there. By the time I started writing book two and three, it was a simple matter of going back occasionally to my research sources and checking a fact or two, but there was no large amount of time that I needed to invest in research by that point.
What is the background behind this story?
The background actually originated from book one, Blowing on Dandelions. I’m a lay-counselor credentialed with The American Association of Christian Counselors, as well as a licensed minister (to women, not a pastor), and as such, have occasion to talk to, and pray with, many hurting women. I met a woman who represented other women I’ve dealt with, who had a very difficult relationship with her mother and despaired of it ever improving. I felt the Lord leading me to depict the struggle of a woman (Katherine) in the Old West, widowed, and trying to raise her children alone, who comes up against the tyrannical personality of her mother when she decides to move in to ‘help’. From that point, I met two other characters, Jeffery and Beth who lived at Katherine’s boardinghouse, who also had secrets and issues I could explore.
How much of your book is based on fact?
There is only an occasional idea or episode in the story based on fact. One scene in particular, where there is an incident with a paint can, came from my family history and was related almost exactly as it happened close to 100 years ago. In all of my books, I try to weave in true events and show occasional glimpses into the actual history that took place in an area.
How did you choose this setting?
All of my prior books are set in the West, but many of the recent ones were not within driving distance of my home. I wanted to find an area in Oregon or Washington that I could easily visit, but it needed to be very close to the old Oregon Trail, and have been in existence in the 1880’s, which narrowed the field quite a bit. I researched towns in both states, and was thrilled when I discovered Baker City qualified on all counts.
What is the most interesting thing that you learned while writing Wishing on Buttercups?
I spent some time digging into our own family history, and I discovered some interesting stories in diaries my father and grandfather kept, along with records my mother unearthed, that I didn’t know before. I was able to incorporate one humorous story into Wishing on Buttercups. I’m not sure I’d have learned as much about my family, had I not been looking for historical elements to weave into my book.
What is the most challenging part of being a writer?
I think that once I was published, the challenging part has been recognizing that this is my career and having the self-discipline to treat it as such. I’m now my own boss and must set my schedule when it comes to writing, editing, keeping up with social media and other forms of publicity, and meeting all my deadlines. There is always something demanding my attention, whether it’s related to my work or my family, and trying to keep everything prioritized and completing it all can definitely be a challenge.