When The Saddlemaker’s Wife came
out, a cry of protest (well, not a cry, more of a moan) went up from my
fans. How could I abandon
Benni, Dove, Gabe and the rest of San Celina?
The problem with writing a series, especially a mystery series,
is your ability to tell a story is often hampered by the
“requirements” of the genre. As
you well know, I do my best to push the envelope, but there’s only so
much a writer can do when writing a mystery.
In this story, I decided on the setting first.
I love the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains and I’d been
visiting the towns of Bishop, Lone Pine, and
since I was a little girl. Once
I decided to set my book in “Cardinal” (a mixture of the three real
towns I named), the character of Ruby came to me almost immediately.
One of the things I’d thought a lot about was what if a young
woman was suddenly widowed, much like Benni Harper, but she didn’t
have the wonderful friends and family to support her as Benni did?
And what if everything her husband had told her about his life
was a lie? Like Ruby, I
would have wanted to find out the truth.
This book had lots of false starts, lots of difficult moments for
me as a writer. It was truly
like writing my first book all over again.
This book made me cry…a lot.
Not just because of how I felt for Ruby, but also because I was
afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it.
But everything eventually turned out okay for Ruby…and for me.
Trying something new and difficult is always hard, but I think we
can be better people for doing it. Still,
I’m glad that year is over! And,
yes, there were many readers who were kind of upset with me and refused
(temporarily, I’m happy to say) to read this book.
But, once they did, I received hundreds of letters telling me
they were glad I wrote it. In
the long run, so am I.