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Fortune’s Journey

Fortune’s Journey had a long journey of its own in the process of becoming a book. The trip started well over a decade ago when an editor began working at convincing me I should try my hand at an historical novel. This was so different from what I usually do that I resisted for some time. What I really wanted to write about, I told her, was the theater.

It longer than it should have for me to realize I could combine the two and write an historical novel that had a theatrical basis. Which was how the idea for Fortune’s Journey, a story about a teenage girl leading her late father’s acting troupe west during the goldrush, was born.

One great pleasure of writing a story set in the past is that you have to do research for it—which gives you a perfect excuse to read! (My life is so busy I usually don’t have the chance to read nearly as much as I would like.)

An interesting aspect of the research for this book was finding out how important women were in the westward movement. In fact, after some early readers critiqued the manuscript by saying no woman would ever do some of the things that I had already found many women did do, I began to understand that all too often when we think about the past “few” becomes “none” and “most” turns into “all.” This is dangerous, I think, because it often means that if something was done by only a few women it is now believed that NO woman could do such a thing—which is unfair, both to all those women who were actually doing the dangerous, difficult or forbidden things we now think that none of them did, and to the young women of today, who need to know that while there have always been barriers for women there have also always been women who resisted those barriers, and insisted on dealing with life in their own terms.

It’s also important to know that I didn’t have any of that in mind when I set out to write this story. As always, I just wanted to tell a whacking good tale.

The other stuff just comes along in the process.

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