You have been sooooo patient with me. And that patience was needed. West of Santillane--my upcoming title, was not an easy book to write. Julia Hancock is one of those obscure historical figures that very little is known about. We certainly know a great deal about her husband, explorer William Clark. Thus, much of my research focused on Lewis and Clark letters both before and after their famous trek to the Pacific and back.
But Julia? We know her birth and death dates, her wedding date (at Santillane!) the number of children she bore, how she despised mosquitoes that assailed her on the way back from Virginia while returning home to St. Louis. William Clark wrote about her struggles with homesickness in a remote frontier town that had its own culture, foreign to her. Yet she was a capable woman, and judging by her letters, much better-educated than her husband, and her handwriting offers proof.
I reviewed a partial notebook of inventories that she left for posterity, showing her determination to be organized in a household where many people lived--both slave and free. And Julia (portrait at right compliments of the St. Louis Missouri Historical Society and Research Ctr.) loved her family. A letter she wrote to her brother in 1814 eloquently shares her adoration for her newly delivered daughter, Mary Margaret. Even some of her jewelry is housed at the St. Louis Missouri Historical Society Research Center that I visited in the summer of 2021.
So where am I now in the process? My launch date is Friday, March 8 and I'm scrambling about to get my manuscript ready for formatting. I have a new cover designer and she's done a magnificent job. I'll be sharing my cover with all of you--my readers first--prior to posting it on social media. I've said this before, and I'll restate it: it takes a lot of people to write a book.
There's my phenomenal editor, Jenny Quinlan (with me at left), Dee-Dee, my new cover designer, Cathy Helms, another graphic designer working on a small logo for the book's internal content, Roseanna White, my formatter, not to mention the legion of individuals serving as beta readers, advance readers, and consultants regarding historical and cultural research. Truly a huge network who have all been so patient and supportive--just like you.
This is just another update to let you know what's happening behind the scenes, with the hope that once you hold West of Santillane in your hands and start to read it, it'll transport you back in time, just as the Antonius Trilogy did. .
Again, thank you for your patience. I'll keep you informed. Until then, READ ON!