I COME FROM A FAMILY OF PACK RATS. History stirs on the shelves in teapots and in boxes full of letters and journals as long ago as 1830. The family story goes back to 1638. But it’s been the stories of my Nana, her mother Martha Parker March and my own mother who have nourished me. There are strong women in the family. Ansenith Parker, Quaker missionary to the Shawnee and Kaw. Martha March, teacher of ex-slaves and Kiowa children and president of the Idaho Womans’ Relief Corps. Mysterious Judith March who was fined for wearing a lace cap above her station in the 1600s. Writing about them has helped me examine my own life and upbringing.
Then there was my great-grandfather William F. Osborn. I was seven years old when my mother put into my hand his small, leather-bound pocket journal. He was a Union surgeon in the Civil War writing under the thunder of guns and duress at Gettysburg and many more horrendous places. He wrote quick notes in pencil and pen, sometimes only a few lines at a time.
Wednesday, July 1st
Found a part of our corps engaging the enemy, about 20,000 strong. A severe engagement followed. Our forces were driven back by superior numbers.
I wrote my first historical fiction story in fifth grade. I haven’t stopped.
Today, I write historical fiction that spans the mid-19th century to WW II with characters standing up for something in their own time and place. I’m proud that my writing has been recognized with a 2013 Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Award, the 2013 Chanticleer Grand Prize, the 2014 First Place Chaucer Award, an Everybody Reads and Bellingham Read pick and the 2015 WILLA Silver Award, Pulpwood Queen Book Club 2016 backlist pick for February 2016.
When not writing, I demonstrate 19th-century folkways in the schools and at San Juan Island National Park. And I have a cat who thinks she’s editing.