Inspiration Behind Lone Star Death

Ideas for a novel come in bits and pieces. Several incidences (or coincidences?) came together at almost the same time for me. This novel was mostly inspired by an antique printing press that sits in the window of the Georgetown, Texas newspaper, the Georgetown Sun (now called the Williamson County Sun). One weekend as my husband and I strolled along the streets of downtown Georgetown, a small Texas town near our home, I stopped and gazed in the window of the Sun, where I saw a fascinating circa 1800's printing press.

The week before, I had seen a book about women in the Old West. One particular drawing showed a group of young women running a printing press. As I explored further, I found that it was common in those days for women to take jobs working for newspapers -- usually as "typing machine operators". I had also recently found and bought a used copy of Barbara Cloud's book, The Business of Newspapers on the Western Frontier. I read about the problems that some of the early publishers had, and how they weren't always treasured members of some of the small towns they worked in.

And there I had the "bones" of my story -- a young woman coming into town for a job at the newspaper, an antique printing press, some conflict, and an ornery newspaper man. And oh yes, my love for horses. Once I had those facts, the characters took on a life of their own -- as they often do.

Most of the characters in the book are fictitious, although there really was a notorious madame living in Austin at the time by the name of Blanche Dumont. The Gold Institute was a real location, as is the Driskill Hotel and of course, the capital building that sits proudly at the end of Congress Avenue. Other buildings and areas in Austin, as well as historical monuments mentioned in the story, are also real.

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