After Linda Ford kept me up until the wee hours of the morning reading her latest Love Inspired Historical, The Cowboy Tutor, set during the Great Depression, I decided to invite her to share a bit of the book's history.
But first let me tell you a little about Linda Ford.
Linda lives in Alberta, Canada. She's the author of more than 25 books, writing for both Love Inspired Historicals and Heartsong Presents. Her stories have been described as deeply emotional with a touch of humor, and I absolutely agree.
The Cowboy Tutor, is the first in a three-book series, with the next books releasing in February and March.
The series centers around a family of three sisters during the Great Depression. What resonated with me the most in this first story was how firmly the heroine believes that God will see her through every crisis in her life.
She works hard, extremely hard, to keep her family together and from losing their home. Considering the world's current economic situation, and how our faith is increasingly being challenged by similar crises, I found it a timely book.
Here's what Linda had to say about what inspired her to write these stories:
I'm not sure what got me started on the idea of these stories. My brainstorming file suggests I was concerned with the circumstances of young women during the Depression.
Here is a bit from that file:
Mrs. Morgan has 3 lovely daughters who seem destined to be spinsters due to the lack of suitable single men. Most of them have been whisked away to relief camps or ride the rails looking for something better than what the Depression offers. But Mrs. Morgan isn't about to stand by and see her daughters denied the joys of marriage and a family. So she devises a plan...
I’ve always had an interest in the Depression, partly because my parents and grandparents lived through it. I also did human-interest articles for a newspaper and interviewed a number of seniors. They all told stories of strength, heroism and inventiveness in dealing with the Depression.
I know they probably didn’t look back at the time as ‘the good old days’. But I loved the feeling I got of people who faced incredible odds with humor and came out as victors.
I’ve learned some interesting tidbits in my research. First, in Canada we also call it the Dirty 30s (because of the violent dust storms.) I thought everyone was familiar with the term but my editors weren’t.
Paper was expensive so used carefully and as many ways as possible. Letters were written across the page then the page given ¼ turn and more words written across the original. I found it almost impossible to read.
Groceries came wrapped in brown paper, tied with string. The paper was folded carefully and used over and over. The string was added to the ball kept in the kitchen drawer and rationed for use.
I grew up on the prairies and have lived most of my life in an area that was deeply affected by the Depression. In fact, we don’t have a county. We are called the Special Areas. Most of the land is owned by the government and leased to farmers and ranchers. Before the Thirties, many settlers came to the area and broke a few acres.
But then the rains failed to come. The land dried up and contributed to dreadful dust storms. The settlers walked away leaving the banks with unpaid mortgages and loans. The government bailed them out and took over ownership of the land. The people of the area still face many of the same challenges of the Dirty Thirties.
As my family drove along the various roads there were many empty farm sites. Some were only an empty cellar but there were leaning barns and weatherworn houses. I never saw any of these without wondering what had happened to the people who once owned them. I would get lost in imagining their struggles, their disappointment, and lost dreams.Sandra again: Thank you, Linda for visiting with us today. I love seeing glimpses of other writers' creative process and research.
Your turn blog readers: Linda's characters lived during the Great Depression, but our world faces similar challenges today? How might these challenges strengthen, or make us question, our faith?
Shades of Truth, the second instalment in her Undercover Cops series, releases in March. To learn more about her upcoming releases, giveaways, and to receive special book extras, subscribe to Sandra's newsletter and/or connect with her on Facebook.